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If you like Frank Gehry's story, you might also like:
J. Carter Brown,
Dale Chihuly,
Philip Johnson,
Maya Lin,
James Rosenquist
Vincent Scully and
Wayne Thiebaud

Frank Gehry also appears in the video:
Art and Architecture: Freedom of Expression and Form

Related Links:
The Pritzker Prize
Gehry Partners

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Frank Gehry
Frank Gehry
Profile of Frank Gehry Biography of Frank Gehry Interview with Frank Gehry Frank Gehry Photo Gallery

Frank Gehry Interview (page: 3 / 7)

Award-Winning Architect

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  Frank Gehry

You have to be a big risk-taker, don't you?

Frank Gehry: Yeah. It's not about making money. I think you stick your neck out a lot, but over time, you feel more confident.

My house was strange. I mean some of the things I did, like the chain-link fence. It wasn't about what people thought it was about. The chain-link fence, so much of that material is made and used and absorbed by the culture, and there is so much denial about it. I was fascinated by the denial, and I was trying to humanize it, so that if you are going to use it, at least use it, find some way to use it right or aesthetically more pleasing. Well, that backfired on me. Everybody thought I was making some kind of great "stick in the ribs" kind of thing about it. Also, the house was me trying to find my middle class self in a middle class neighborhood. How do I relate to this? I guess I am here. I am with them. They have their cars on the front lawn. They have chain link. They have corrugated metal. They have all these things, and how am I going to? So I dealt with it, but when I dealt with it, it was like the neighbors thought I was making fun of them, which I wasn't.

[ Key to Success ] Courage

Your house created quite a stir.

Frank Gehry: It did, yeah.

Is it true that there was a gunshot in the picture?

Frank Gehry: Well, the police chief said it was architectural criticism. I heard two gunshots, but later he said it was some neighborhood stuff, and it was happening all over the neighborhood.

What was it that provoked this kind of reaction? Could you tell us a little more about what you did with your house?

Frank Gehry: I bought an old house, and I put a new house around it. I got interested in the dialogue between the old and the new and trying to sculpturally create a new entity, but that retained the qualities of the new as independent of the old. I set myself goals like that when I started. I kind of pulled it off. I also wanted it to be seamless, that you couldn't tell where it began and where it stopped, and that was very successful, and that was the power of it. In fact, critics would come in and would look at a rain spot on the plaster and say, "Is that on purpose or not?" They thought they were maligning me, and I thought that was just wonderful. That was exactly what I wanted them to worry about.

[ Key to Success ] Vision

Frank Gehry Interview Photo
Recently, I had to remodel it again, because my kids are grown up, and we needed to. Now it's ten years later, and I couldn't be me as I was then. I couldn't tear the house down and start over again, which artistically would have been the right thing to do. I couldn't sell it, because it wasn't saleable. So I had to fix it, and once I started, it was like unraveling a sweater. What you see, if you go there now, is not seamless. You can see the old house and you can see the new house. I couldn't hang onto it. I realized I was losing it. In fact, I had a dream. I was hanging onto some parts of what I did in '78 for dear life, and I realized they weren't working with the new stuff. Some of this, because it was my house, I played out as we went. I don't do that often, but in this case, I did some of that.

I had a nightmare that a helicopter crashed into a Zeppelin, and the helicopter had a woman in a pink dress -- and my house is pink, pink outside -- flat against the hull -- and she came crashing down on me in the street, and I pulled my mother to safety. I realized when I woke up, that it was about my house, that I was losing it. It made me resolve that I could go forward somehow. I don't know why, it's kind of mystical. But I did. I cut out all the stuff that I was hanging onto, and after that, I slept. It was wonderful. Something was going on. It was a panic of losing something that I had really worked on, and now it's becoming something else, but it's not as good as it was. It's not. I know it isn't -- yet. It will be, I hope.

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This page last revised on Sep 21, 2010 20:58 EDT
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