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"Frank Gehry, Architect: Retrospective Features Models, Plans, Drawings, Furniture, Photographs, and Video Footage, as well as Two Site-Specific Architectural Elements"
2001-05-18 until 2001-08-25
Guggenheim Museum
New York, NY, USA

Frank Gehry, Architect, the most comprehensive exhibition of Frank Gehry's work to date, opens at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum on May 18, and remains on view through August 26, 2001. This full-museum retrospective presents approximately 40 of the architect's most significant projects and commissions, from early residential designs and furniture to his most recent public buildings worldwide. The exhibition explores the origins and continued development of Gehry's unique vocabulary through drawings, plans, models, furniture designs, photographs, video footage, and the installation itself, providing a context with which to view the Los Angeles-based architect's extraordinary contributions to the field of architecture and design.

Frank Gehry has raised the bar for architectural innovation, said Thomas Krens, Director, Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation. He has accomplished this because of his openness to the concept of difference and radical juxtaposition. Place two unlikely elements together and Frank will say, ‘Why notNULL’ He is a master at transforming the material environment—whether natural or artificial—into architecture.

The uniqueness of Frank Gehry’s work is the blending of the functional with the artistic to create an innovative product, said Jeff Skilling, Enron President and CEO. This is a quality Enron relates to every day as we question traditional business assumptions and embrace innovative solutions. We are pleased to help showcase Frank Gehry’s genius. Frank Gehry is indisputably one of the greatest architects of our time, said Werner Baldessarini, Chairman and CEO, Hugo Boss AG. His hallmark use of materials, organic shapes, and interlocking structures has already become legendary. It is an honor for us to support this outstanding exhibition.

The exhibition has been organized by Mildred Friedman, guest curator, and J. Fiona Ragheb, Associate Curator for Collections and Exhibitions, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum. The exhibition installation is designed by Frank O. Gehry & Associates, who worked in collaboration with Bruce Mau Design.

Frank Gehry, Architect fills the Frank Lloyd Wright Rotunda as well as Tower galleries 5 and 7. The exhibition loosely traces the chronological development of Gehry’s career and organizes the architect’s most important projects so as to highlight key moments that have informed the development of his architectural vocabulary. The variety of building types represented—including residential designs, institutional projects, performing arts facilities, and commercial properties—illustrates the ease with which Gehry’s vocabulary adapts to both building program and context. Seminal projects featured in the exhibition include: the renovation of the architect’s own home in Santa Monica, California (1977-1978, 1991-1992); Loyola Law School, Los Angeles (1978-present); the Winton Guest House, Wayzata, Minnesota (1983-87); the Chiat Day Building, Venice, California; the Vitra International Manufacturing Facility and Design Museum, Weil am Rhein, Germany (1987-89); the Lewis Residence, Lyndhurst, Ohio (1987-95); the Walt Disney Concert Hall, Los Angeles (1987-present); Guggenheim Museum Bilbao (1991-97); and the DG Bank at Pariser Platz, Berlin (1995-2001), among others. These projects are set against a backdrop of large-scale backlit photographs which, seen in their totality, create a filmstrip-like effect that unwinds along the museum’s ramps to create a visual narrative of the architect’s career.

For the exhibition, the architect and his firm, Frank O. Gehry & Associates, have designed and created a spectacular architectural intervention in the Frank Lloyd Wright Rotunda. Suspended from the ribs of the skylight are huge swaths of aluminum mesh, which have been manipulated into billowing, organic forms. The aluminum mesh—a kind of refined chain link—both recalls the architect’s early vocabulary and reflects the formal direction of his current work. Half of this architectural element will be installed for the opening of the exhibition. The second half will be installed in early June, providing visitors with a sense of architecture in progress.


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