The Wright Angle

Sep 1 2012 @ 8:32am

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The RNC's set design was loosely based on Frank Lloyd Wright's "Prairie style." A possible reason why:

Ayn Rand based the architect-hero character in The Fountainhead on Wright. Howard Roark soon became the poster boy for Rand’s Objectivist philosophical system. (Rand idolized Wright and tried to connect with him while writing the book, only to have Wright resist. The two became friends after the book’s publication in 1943, however.) … When Ryan stands in front of that stage accepting the VP nomination with an homage to the ultimate Randian hero looming over his shoulder, the associations might be too hard to ignore.

Christopher Hawthorne has more on the connections between the architect and the writer:

Rand and director King Vidor wanted Wright to design the sets for the movie version of "The Fountainhead," but the job ultimately went to Edward Carrere. Not that Wright was uninterested in how the movie would turn out. After the great designer George Nelson trashed the designs in Interiors in 1949, in an essay called "Mr. Roark Goes to Hollywood: A Comment on Warner Brothers' Attempt to Interpret F. L. Wright to the Masses," Wright sent a telegram to the magazine.

"Any move I would make against such grossly abusive caricature of my work by this film crew would only serve their purpose," the telegram read. "They belie the one decent thesis of 'The Fountainhead,' the inalienable right of the individual to the integrity of his idea. It is best to laugh."

(Photo: A man steps onto the stage with a US flag at the Tampa Bay Times Forum in Tampa, Florida, on August 28, 2012 ahead of the day's Republican National Convention events. By Mladen Antonov/AFP/Getty Images)