Racine photographer and author, Mark Hertzberg, recently received one of the seven prestigious 2019 Wright Spirit Awards. The nationally-nominated honors were presented on Saturday, October 5, 2019, at a gala dinner in Los Angeles. The Wright Spirit Awards were established in 1991 by the Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy to honor individuals and organizations who have demonstrated an extraordinary commitment to preserving visionary architect Frank Lloyd Wright’s legacy. The Conservancy’s Awards Committee selects the honorees from nominations received during an open nomination period. Awards are presented in the categories of private individual, public entities, professional service, and special honors to recognize extraordinary efforts. Hertzberg was the sole recipient for this round in the professional category.
An award-winning photographer, Hertzberg is the retired Director of Photography for The Journal Times, Racine, Wisconsin’s daily newspaper. He has lectured extensively across the country on Wright’s buildings with an emphasis on the architect’s work in Racine. Hertzberg was honored with a Wright Spirit Award 2019 as an author, photographer, and advocate for helping save the Wright-designed Hardy House in Racine. He was recognized for his advocacy work in Wisconsin and for the way his books––as well the sharing of his extensive photography archive with Wright organizations across the country––exemplifies the definition of this award.
“There are so many different people who make an impact in the Wright world, from private homeowners who spend great amounts of time and money restoring Wright houses, to those who help facilitate the rescue of buildings that might otherwise be lost, to government officials who prioritize historic preservation in their planning and budgeting,” said Barbara Gordon, executive director of the Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy. “There are always far more people and organizations who’ve made a difference than we can honor in a year.”
Hertzberg has published four books on Wright’s work, each documented with his photographs of the featured buildings. Three of these books—Wright in Racine-The Architect’s Vision for One American City (2004), Frank Lloyd Wright’s Hardy House (2006), and Frank Lloyd Wright’s SC Johnson Research Tower (2101), focus on buildings in Racine. These publications not only contribute to the scholarship on and broader appreciation of Wright’s work, they also focus national and international attention on Racine as a destination for people who are interested in 20th century architecture and Wright’s work in particular.
Hertzberg’s fourth book, Frank Lloyd Wright’s Penwern: A Summer Estate, was published this year by the Wisconsin Historical Society Press. It focuses on a large summer home built on Wisconsin’s Delavan Lake that Wright designed for a family. The home is still in private hands and Hertzberg’s book provides an intimate look at the residence that is not usually available to the public
Racine Art Museum will host Hertzberg for an illustrated lecture on Penwern during Free First Friday in Downtown Racine on November 1, 2019 at 7 p.m. Following his talk will be a book signing in the Racine Art Museum Store, which carries all of his Wright publications. The event is free and open to the public. If you plan to attend, RAM suggests calling 262.638.8300 to reserve a seat for the lecture.