Frank Lloyd Wright Virtual Museum

Performance of VB18 - Avatar Chess, in the Frank Lloyd Wright Virtual Museum courtyard on 5 June 2010

Last year Bruce Sterling wrote an article about Eva & Franco Mattes 2003 prank Nike Ground in which they installed a large exhibition claiming that Nike had purchased Vienna’s legendary Karlsplatz and was renaming it Nikeplatz, and for which Nike sued the Mattes for €78,000.

In the end, Sterling concluded that Nike’s 2003 lawsuit would never be repeated in 2009:

Those times are gone; Nike, who are superbly hip, will surely never fall for such a provocation again. If some lesser artists than our invisible pair pulled off some similar effort today, Nike would leap all over it as “viral marketing” and grass-roots “urban experience design.”

I’ve just learned from Sensuous Maximus that the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation which had previously licensed the Frank Lloyd Wright Virtual Museum in Second Life has unexpectedly revoked that license and issued a take-down notice for the FLWVM.

How ironic that in Sterling’s (a founder, with Neal Stephenson & William Gibson, of the cyberpunk movement that envisioned so much of the world we live in today) judgement, 2003 was close enough to the Read-Only Culture of the 20th century that Nike would attempt to close-down the worldwide dialog engaging their identity, but that 2009 was far enough into the Read-Write Culture of the 21st century, that Nike would understand the value of even seemingly offensive media like Nike Ground, yet the FLW Foundation can’t see the enormous value of the FLWVM.

Far from being a prank like Nike Ground, the FLWVM is a sincere, reverent, beautiful museum and educational facility dedicated to the architectural legacy of Frank Lloyd Wright.

I find it deeply disturbing that the Foundation charged with advancing the legacy of the American architect of the 20th century is oblivious to the mediascape of the 21st century. Great artists like Wright remain alive as long as their work lives on in dialog with the larger culture. In killing the Frank Lloyd Wright Virtual Museum, the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation is killing that dialog and the dissemination of information about Wright. In denying our culture the ability to view, consider, and access materials about Wright, they are killing the cultural dialog about Wright and his work.

In their attempt to exert hegemonic control over Wright’s legacy, the FLW Foundation is killing Frank Lloyd Wright.

— VB

Disclaimer: Vaneeesa Blaylock / Company performed VB18 – Avatar Chess at FLWVM on 5 June 2010.

Rowan Derryth, FLWVM board member, on the takedown.

As a virtual public artist my work invites avatar communities to express their identity, explore their culture, and demand their civil rights.

8 thoughts on “Frank Lloyd Wright Virtual Museum

  1. I think that makes sense Wizard. What I tried to express in the post is that even if that is the case, it’s old media thinking that to do so means they must crush all other expression about Wright.

    Wikipedia, Amazon (reviews), Flickr, and even Linden Lab, have at least some appreciation for what their “fans” have contributed to their current and future vitality. I believe that if the FLW Foundation understood the media of 2010 they would have reached a different decision.

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