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What have I gotten myself into now? (Help, Osso!)

 
 
Eva
 
Reply Sat 10 Nov, 2007 09:41 pm
I'm posting this here instead of in a "pm" because others may find this an interesting discussion.

OK. So you remember I'm a docent at the art museum now, right? Well, there's this big exhibit opening tomorrow on Frank Lloyd Wright...furnishings, fixtures, lighting, etc. I just got back from the Member's Opening and a first look. It's all very interesting, and I'll get more info on Thursday when they hold a Continuing Ed session for the docents. (People expect us to know more than they do about this stuff...imagine that.) The Continuing Ed session will give us talking points and also lots of seemingly esoteric background stuff that no one is likely to ask us about and most of the docents ignore anyway unless it happens to be a personal interest of theirs.

So...(stop rambling and get to the point, Eva!)...I picked up a printed schedule of public programs tied to the exhibit, and lo and behold, there was my name. On January 12, it says, I am supposed to give a gallery talk comparing the villa (the museum was originally a 1920s home designed after an Italian Renaissance villa) and Frank Lloyd Wright's 1920s residential designs.

WHOA, BABY! When they asked me about doing a gallery talk in January, they said they wanted me to talk about the villa's Great Hall, a subject I actually have researched and presented as part of my docent training. However, other than spending 1 hour tonight going through the new exhibit, I have never even thought about FLW's residential designs. I am not an architect, nor am I the slightest bit knowledgable about FLW. I bet at least half of the membership of A2K knows more about FLW than I do...especially the Chicago members.

So, I am torn. I figure I have three options. One, I can storm up to the Education Dep't. office and demand to know whose bright idea this was, to put an untested newbie like me on a program without checking, and refuse to do it. (Then, of course, I might as well resign as a docent. I'll never get any help from the Ed. Dep't. again.) Two, I can show up at the appointed time and tell the audience there must have been a mistake on the program, and I'm here to talk about what I volunteered to present in the first place. (You can't fire a volunteer, right? Laughing Again, though, I'll make enemies in the wrong places.) And then there's Three. I can buck up and try to cram for it, expressing my displeasure privately to the Ed. Dep't. people while asking them for study materials.

Okay, so now you know why I'm here.

What can you tell me about FLW's 1920s residential designs? In plain English, please. I figure if they want an expert, they should've asked someone from the AIA. (They have AIA staff doing other lectures, etc.) The docents explain stuff to the great unwashed public.
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roger
 
  1  
Reply Sat 10 Nov, 2007 10:08 pm
You discovered your "commitment" by reading it on the schedule? That is pitiful, but I suspect you will go through with it, anyway. My guess is that they would just love for you to continue as docent anyway, but that's just my guess. They know they should not have done that.

Have you considered a forth option? Give the presentation you have prepared for, but without any unusual preface. I did something similar with the last class I had to give on chemical warfare before leaving the army. I expected the entire company to either go to sleep, or leave looking very puzzled. It was a success. They loved it.
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ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Sat 10 Nov, 2007 10:13 pm
I was just checking google news before signing off of a desultory set of hours posting on a2k and doing laundry, cleaning the kitchen, and so on, and clicked on a2k by mistake... and caught this.


Jan. 12, plenty of time.

I'm not all that practiced a speech giver, but one of mine, the best (as opposed to the worst), was to a couple of hundred people at a fancy schmancy design get together at a famous architect designed library and then a luncheon at a southern california villa...

You know me and my italy freneticism. I've probably read 400 books about it, maybe more; silly books, serious books, what did I care. But none of that is a substitution for genuine primary source scholarship, or, hey, living there with this kind of interest. So, I faced a crowd of well dressed folk much afeared, and, indeed, having known my material... they were my own slides... cold (and I had studied the places in the slides quite thoroughly), I still, as I was being introduced, forgot what I was going to say, entirely.

I ended up saying hello in a seeming relaxed fashion (oh, god, look, there's David - an architect friend I admire - I might just die right here) and made a truthful introduction about who I am/was and some of the basis of my enthusiasm for Tuscany's gardens and piazzas, including my shortcomings re number of visits. And asked how many in the audience had been to Tuscany. Geez, something like a third of the room... say, 75 people. So I was glad I didn't start out as the expert from the skies.

I do have a certain viewpoint re progression in space, and can talk lucidly once I start and avoid throwing up. So that one went well, I was even funny on purpose, apparently, a bunch of times.

After the lecture, an older gentleman approached me and congratulated me on the speech. He turned out to be an appreciated scholar on hidden roman gardens, that is, the deeply buried ones...

I was even gladder I didn't try to come off as Ms. Garden and Piazza Queen.

So, my first advice is to not knock yourself, but be straightforward. sharing what you have found out in your research.


I'll do a bit of noodling in the next few days to see if I can find some good
stuff for you.

One place to look is the Chicago architecture group we took our various tours from... maybe there are some pertinent summaries on their site.




On putting you in the brochure without checking, that's both tacky and dumb. You could, after all, be in Spain that day...
0 Replies
 
roger
 
  1  
Reply Sat 10 Nov, 2007 10:16 pm
That's IT. Send them a letter that starts off something like "Buenes Dias, Senors".
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Butrflynet
 
  1  
Reply Sat 10 Nov, 2007 10:23 pm
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frank_Lloyd_Wright

An overview

http://www.delmars.com/wright/flwright.htm

Wright on the Web: A Virtual Look at the Works of Frank Lloyd Wright

http://www.delmars.com/wright/flw2.htm

The Prairie Style

http://www.delmars.com/wright/flw4.htm

The Twenties
0 Replies
 
CalamityJane
 
  1  
Reply Sat 10 Nov, 2007 10:26 pm
I'm not osso Wink but as far as I remember was FLW in the early 1920s
building a lot of residential houses in Oak Park, IL mainly to support
his large family - I guess he had 5 or 6 kids to support. These houses
all had a similar look to it, flat roof and lots of windows, no frills, just
plain walls, with lots of wood exposed and glass.
0 Replies
 
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Sat 10 Nov, 2007 10:35 pm
A probable good website to look at his work would be ArcSpace.com.

Don't try to copy their photos, they are quite certain about that, mean it.

I had a little tussle conversation with them at one point about linking a photo here (I couldn't remember if I did, and got a blasting email, and conversation ensued, and 'they' ok'd it, but I backed off and only give links from there.) Premier architectural photography by major photographers.

It may be that there would be some ok if you ask them, as a museum docent, dunno. But, I think it would probably be a good place to study the buildings, and then you can look up the ones that make sense to you to talk about, in relation to your museum, on google image or some other search engine, always giving credit, natch.
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Eva
 
  1  
Reply Sat 10 Nov, 2007 10:41 pm
roger wrote:
You discovered your "commitment" by reading it on the schedule? ...


Well, I did commit to the date with one person in the Education Dep't., but somehow the subject changed (evolved?) by the time the Publications Office printed the schedule a month or two later. I don't really know how it happened, just that what ended up in print is quite different than what I thought I agreed to. And I will certainly tell the Education Director that. We definitely need to talk about this.
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ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Sat 10 Nov, 2007 10:43 pm
Um, on slides (whatever), if you do them, permission is a good idea anyway...
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ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Sat 10 Nov, 2007 10:47 pm
On my lecture at the university on piazzas, one of the gripes about it that I saw on the anonymous student reports on the lecture, bletch, was that should have gotten copyright permission for the handouts. In fact I had, via the department, from the publishers, but didn't put that on the handouts.
Lesson #872.
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Butrflynet
 
  1  
Reply Sat 10 Nov, 2007 10:49 pm
http://www.boston.com/ae/theater_arts/articles/2007/08/26/the_flaws_in_frank_lloyd_wrights_design_for_living/

The flaws in Frank Lloyd Wright's design for living
The Portland Museum shows downside of the architect's indoor vision
By Ken Johnson, Globe Staff | August 26, 2007


http://www.loc.gov/exhibits/flw/flw04.html
Library of Congress
FRANK LLOYD WRIGHT
Designs for an American Landscape, 1922-1932
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Eva
 
  1  
Reply Sat 10 Nov, 2007 11:00 pm
I really do love you guys. (((HUGS)))

My breathing has almost returned to normal. I think I can get to sleep now. I will start looking up those links tomorrow.

Thank you...more than you know.
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Joe Nation
 
  1  
Reply Sun 11 Nov, 2007 08:06 am
I think you should introduce yourself and say you are proud to able to talk about the work of Franklin L. Wright, one of the great pioneers of American Living Space.

Then show the first slide:

http://www.armstrongtrailers.com/images/splash/collage.jpg

In the confusion that follows simply say that you may have been given some incorrect information as to the subject matter of the evening.

Joe(and sit down)Nation
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BumbleBeeBoogie
 
  1  
Reply Sun 11 Nov, 2007 08:59 am
Eva
5th alternative: Put the mob on a bus and drive them to Arizona.

http://www.franklloydwright.org/index.cfm?section=tour&action=taliesinwest


BBB :wink:
0 Replies
 
Tico
 
  1  
Reply Sun 11 Nov, 2007 09:11 am
Are there any FLW residences in your vicinity, Eva? Many have open tours, and you could probably glean a lot from one.

There's so much material out there on FLW that I suspect, once you start researching, your problem will be that FLW info will swamp the Italian villa. I also suspect that once you dive into it, you'll come up with great discussion points. Keep a good balance between the two.

You need a theme -- something that links the two forms of architecture together -- to make the whole presentation cohesive. For example: The human scale, use of natural light, materials, how one moves through the space, integration with nature, etc. I doubt that you will be called upon to expound on technical matters -- this is a museum presentation, not an engineering one and the audience will be a very mixed demographic with very few interested in, say, the elasticity of cement.

Is this to take place in a lecture hall, with a powerpoint presentation or similar? Beautiful photos (with credits) showing the similarities, differences and continuity between the two, will take a lot of heat off of you. People are visual creatures, they love pictures.

Keep the talk natural -- have your discussion points down cold, but allow for pertinent digressions. Keep an eye on the audience to see what makes them sit up and take notice, and build spontaneous points from there. Keep an eye on the audience to see what makes them squirm, and shorten that portion of the talk. If the audience is small enough, try to engage them -- ask questions, answer their questions.

Admit when you don't know the answer to a question, and ask if anyone there does. This can be quite engaging, but don't allow them to go off on tangents (probably won't happen, anyway).

Make it personal. A few (but not many) saucy anecdotes will lighten the mood (there's plenty on FLW and I'm sure that any Italian villa has some, too). Try to get the audience to project themselves into the space. I gave a talk on Art Nouveau architecture last year, had a great slide of a staircase and managed to get audience to imagine the feel of the sinuous handrail, for example.

Getting the audience out of their seats is great, too, if possible. Depends on the numbers of course. But I'm imagining the lecture, or part of it, taking place in the villa's Great Hall, with slide images projected onto different walls, so that the audience moves around and experiences things, while you stay stationery in the centre, talking.

Plan to end the presentation 5 minutes before the allotted time. The uninterested will be grateful, and the avid ones will stick around to ask more questions and discuss.

If the budget allows, full-colour handouts of your slides are always appreciated. Each photo should have just one or two salient points, and credits.



Does that help?
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ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Sun 11 Nov, 2007 11:51 am
great advice, Tico, I so concur....
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Eva
 
  1  
Reply Sun 11 Nov, 2007 03:44 pm
'Scuse me, but I'm still in hysterics after JoeNation's post.

BWAAAAAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!


(You see, Joe not only knows the place I'll be presenting this, but has also seen me get myself into stuff like this for years, so it's doubly funny.)
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roger
 
  1  
Reply Sun 11 Nov, 2007 04:52 pm
Me too, Eva. That is totally hilarious.
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Roberta
 
  1  
Reply Sun 11 Nov, 2007 05:34 pm
Tico wrote:
Are You need a theme -- something that links the two forms of architecture together -- to make the whole presentation cohesive.


Tico, You took the words right out of my mouth. Theme. I have little knowledge of architecture. But I have some experience with presentations. Eva, the theme is the key. Holds the whole thing together. Gives you a thread to follow. Gives you a way to make key points. I wish you well with this. Also wish I could offer more to help.
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ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Sun 11 Nov, 2007 05:45 pm
And I just checked arcspace, nothin on FLW on there. Well, there's a lot about him out there anyway. I didn't sleep last night so I'm not in a google search mode. Be back.
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