[Frank Lloyd Wright]

Tuesday, November 30, 1954

This episode is from the WNYC archives. It may contain language which is no longer politically or socially appropriate.

Seldes discusses Frank Lloyd Wright. He discusses his early career and notes that he had some years before he formed his perfected style. He was never neglected by the media. He discusses the chip on Wright's shoulder about mass produced items. He refers to a Wright quote about "art is down there with a can of beans." Seldes notes that you can spice up a can of beans. He discusses the European perception of American architecture as an assertion of independence unlike any other art.
He discusses functionality and beauty, and the history of architecture.

Seldes goes on to talk about James Joyce. He notes the book "It Isn't This time of Year at All" by Oliver St. John Gogarty. He discusses some of the storyline of the book. He notes that aside from the particular anecdote most of what Gogarty says about Joyce in his book is unfavorable.

Finally, Seldes discusses the treatment of intellectuals. Relates this to communism and Stalinist Russia. He goes on to relate the lack of respect for American intellectuals has to do with the lack of historical education in the United States' education system.

For more on Frank Lloyd Wright, please visit

Audio courtesy of the NYC Municipal Archives WNYC Collection

WNYC archives id: 71502
Municipal archives id: LT3088

Hosted by:

Gilbert Seldes


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About Lively Arts, The

Legendary critic and author of The Seven Lively Arts Gilbert Seldes discusses big-thinking issues in art and life from his characteristically populist perspective.

Simultaneously a timely and visionary program, Gilbert Seldes's The Lively Arts (1953-1956) examines contemporary issues of 1950s television, radio, and theater, as well as current events and the intellectual arts. Seldes, who was the first Director for Television at CBS News and the founding Dean of the Annenberg School of Communications at the University of Pennsylvania, was also a renowned critic, author, playwright, and editor. As a major social critic and observer, Seldes viewed theater, television, and radio with a prescient eye to the future based on a well-informed understanding of the past. 

These programs feature commentary and discussion on a wide range of topics — from sex and censorship in the movies to progressive education to juvenile delinquency to political campaigning on television — many of which are still hotly debated today. Serving as a precursor to Seldes's television programs and providing an audio context for his seminal books, this show is key to understanding today's cultural commentary.


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