Paul Goldberger Publishes Book on Frank Gehry (and other news)
December 3, 2015 in Arts, Notes, Publications
This fall, Paul Goldberger (ES) published his latest book, Building Art: The Life and Work of Frank Gehry. (Paul was recently interviewed on National Public Radio, along with Gehry.)
Here’s Paul’s account and other news:
“Building Art: The Life and Work of Frank Gehry has been a project of nearly five years’ duration, and it represents something entirely new for me; while I’ve written several books, I’ve spent most of my time as an architecture critic writing about people’s work, and this is the first time I’ve written about someone’s life. I’ve loved doing it, in part because the adventure of doing something new professionally in your sixties is a good way to remind yourself that you aren’t that old, at least not yet. The process of writing this book has not only taught me a lot about Frank Gehry—it’s left me with even more admiration than I had before for Robert Caro, David McCullough and every other great biographer who does this for a living.
Although Gehry’s architecture has been written about widely, the story of his life has never been told in full detail. Here we come to know his Jewish immigrant family, his working-class Toronto childhood, his hours spent playing with blocks on his grandmother’s kitchen floor, his move to Los Angeles when he was still a teenager, and how he came, unexpectedly, to end up in architecture school. Most important, Building Art presents and evaluates Gehry’s lifetime of work in conjunction with his entire life story, including his time in the army and at Harvard, his long relationship with his psychiatrist and the impact it had on his work, and his two marriages and four children. It analyzes his carefully crafted persona, in which a casual, amiable “aw, shucks” surface masks a driving and intense ambition. And it explores his relationship to Los Angeles and how its position as home to outsider artists gave him the freedom in his formative years to make the innovations that characterize his genius. Finally, it discusses his interest in using technology not just to change the way a building looks but to change the way the whole profession of architecture is practiced.
At once a sweeping view of a great architect and an intimate look at creative genius, Building Art is in many ways the saga of the architectural milieu of the twenty-first century. But most of all it is the compelling story of the man who first comes to mind when we think of the lasting possibilities of buildings as art.
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