Friday, February 11, 2011

A Few Words About Frank Gehry

Maniacally, I check out videos at the Abington Free Library, five at a time, the max. Imagine my surprise when I found an 84-minute film Sketches of Frank Gehry by his good friend director Sidney Pollack (1934-2008).

What a great film. I liked it even better the second time when I watched it on my laptop and could stop the action and really give a good stare at the screen....the fabulous buildings, the room where Gehry and his associates do their work, watching Gehry, b. 1929, progress from a mustachioed young man into the mature mellow person he is today at age 81.

A full profile of Gehry emerges. The man is not shy in talking about himself. His psychoanalyst the late Milton Wexler gives illuminating commentary about his patient. The late Wexler is best known as founder of the Hereditary Disease Foundation which cracked the genetic code of finding the gene for Huntington's disease. Wexler's wife Leonore died from the disease 10 years after diagnosis. Their two daughters had a 50-50 chance for inheriting the gene. Both are fine but chose not to have children.

What is your relationship, o reader, to buildings? Are you blase about them? Are you aware of them? For some reason I've always had a deep appreciation for enclosures, large and small, which house us, entertain us, inspire us, or make us miserable.

I am sitting here blogging in my living room, which I thoroughly made over in December. Vive la difference. It is a pleasure to work in here. Loads of light on this sunny day. Speakers flowing with classical music. (Finally sent in my check to WRTI, the classical/jazz station, carefully scribbling out my address on my check cuz I don't want any of their mail).

Let's visit Frank Gehry together. It was difficult for me to take the shots. They don't stay still for very long. But for you, Dear Reader, I would do anything. Actually, these blogs are really for me, to wile away my time when I'm 100 years old, or lying in bed after my kidney operation come April 1.

Oh no! How did Baby Grace get here? My son captioned the pic, "Please, sir, may I have more?" Shades of Dickens.

Frank Gehry, nee Ephraim Goldberg. His first wife wanted him to change his name due to discrimination against Jews. He admitted to therapist Milton Wexler "I was pussywhipped."

Gehry and director Pollack walk among Frank's creations. The Times had a photo essay of his new Manhattan skyscraper.

Couldn't get the Times photo onto this blog. It was far better than any others in the scale of the shot. The new tower, variously called the Beekman Tower, Spruce Project, Gehry tower, is 76 stories high and is the tallest residential bldg in Manhattan. It's nearing completion. Can't wait to get my invitation for the black-tie opening.

The late Philip Johnson gave a rousing endorsement to our Frankie. So did Julian Schnabel appearing in his white robe who called Gehry's work on the scale of that at Luxor.

Gehry himself talked about Chartres saying you gasp when you enter and wanna fall down on your knees.

Gehry works with models. He and his team are constantly building with models, then using various forms of paper to get that 'crumpled look' on his buildings. You either like it or you don't.

I must confess that when I went into his Weatherman Building on the campus of Case-Western Reserve in Cleveland, I felt like my head was scraping the ceiling. A very uncomfortable feeling.

Gehry's therapist Milton Wexler.

Wexler gave Gehry an ultimatum. Make up your mind about your wife. Either stay with her and give her your full commitment, or take steps to leave her. After the session, Gehry moved out of the house (they had one daughter) and moved into the Beverly Hills Wilshire. After that, his life took off and so did his work.

Sidney Pollack videotaped Frank Gehry. And I photographed snapshots from the documentary. I liked the look of my shapely water glass on my classy TV table I bought many years ago from a neighbor who just happened to have a problem buying everything in sight. She had manic depression.

A diehard hockey fan, Gehry, who was born in Canada, designed this professional hockey rink which Michael Eisner, former head of Disney, says is reminiscent of Canadian rinks with its wooden beams on top. Eisner described the outside as looking like a couple of gently sloping breasts.

Gehry's "Anaheim Ice" in California.

I love how Frank stands so tall in front of these guys.

His most famous building is The Guggenheim Bilbao in Spain. I'd give ANYTHING to see this except my new kidney.

"Snake" by Richard Serra fits perfectly into the high-ceiled Bilbao.

I liked this shot with the open door in the background. Note Sidney Pollack's camera. Frank, don't eat so much pasta.

Huge fish sculpture. He went thru a fish-making phase.

Frank and Berta Gehry. He didn't wanna remarry b/c of his bad first marriage. Berta did. Gehry and his therapist discussed it thoroughly and Gehry gave in. After that, his work took off like a thunderbolt. His volatile personality also tamed down.

Well, I guess I can return the DVD now to the library.

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