Mini-review of NYC seminar on Ayn Rand and architecture

A brief report from Atlasphere member Don Hauptman on the seminar on Rand and architecture last night at the Museum of the City of New York:

Rand biographer Anne Heller discussed Rand’s early life, her fascination with New York’s skyscrapers, and other factors that led to her writing The Fountainhead. Then Donald Albrecht, the museum’s architecture curator, narrated a slide show that compared actual buildings with the buildings and designs in the film.

Of course, Rand’s relationship with Frank Lloyd Wright was covered, including the abortive attempt to enlist him as the film’s set designer. Both speakers treated Edward Carrere, who was ultimately hired for that task, too charitably. I’ve read that he was a studio hack and that Rand and others deemed his “Roark” designs pretty awful ”¦ and not awful pretty!

Anne noted that, contrary to Rand’s insistence, many of the events in Roark’s life parallel those in Wright’s. (I can’t recall if she makes this point in her book.)

In the Q&A, I mentioned the favorable review of the novel in The New York Times Book Review. There was a lot of talk about how both the book and film received only negative reviews and I thought this important exception should be noted.

There was nothing really new or surprising in these presentations. The evening was also short””under an hour. Perhaps 30-40 people were in the audience, including a bunch of regulars from our monthly Objectivist Meetup group. An admission fee was charged, and some may have felt shortchanged, perhaps expecting more dancing girls or free recreational drugs!

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