[quote]There are iconic architects and there is the architect who is the icon of iconic architecture. Whether he wanted to or not, Frank Gehry, as the creator of the titanium-clad Bilbao Guggenheim, made the original for 10,000 wannabes – pointy, swooshy, shiny things, would-be masterpieces that proclaimed regeneration for whichever ex-industrial swamp or intended megalopolis that happened to host them. He was feted in magazines and film and by an appearance on The Simpsons. He became the epitome of the idea – again, without much reference to his own wishes – that genius in architecture lies in spectacular shape-making.[/quote]
[twocol_one]In Other News
[twocol_one_last]Then there was the inevitable reaction. Iconic architecture came to be seen as wasteful, extravagant, unsustainable and, worse, a gaudy distraction from the dark financial forces for which it was a bauble. It seemed perfectly to encapsulate the great pre-crash deception, by offering only the appearance of glamour and prosperity. According to the art critic Hal Foster, Gehry’s Walt Disney concert hall in Los Angeles is a “media logo” and his style of architecture is a “winning formula” for “any corporate entity that desires to be perceived, through an instant icon, as a global player”. Someone started selling T-shirts saying “Fuck Frank Gehry” (and he bought some).[/twocol_one_last]
Not that he or his office seem unduly perturbed by the change in the critical wind. Recently his Signature theatre in New York opened, one of several projects in a city that once shunned him. Last year he completed the New World Symphony, a complex of performance and rehearsal spaces, in Miami. He finished his first skyscraper, in Spruce Street, Lower Manhattan.