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An unprecedented, intimate, and richly illustrated portrait of Frank Gehry, one of the world’s most influential architects. Drawing on the most candid, revealing, and entertaining conversations she has had with Gehry over the last twenty years, Barbara Isenberg provides new and fascinating insights into the man and his work.
Gehry’s subjects range from his childhood—when he first built cities with wooden blocks on the floor of his grandmother’s kitchen—to his relationships with clients and his definition of a “great” client. We learn about his architectural influences (including Le Corbusier and Frank Lloyd Wright) and what he has learned from Michelangelo, Rembrandt, and Rauschenberg.
We explore the thinking behind his designs for the Guggenheim Bilbao and the Walt Disney Concert Hall, the redevelopment of Atlantic Yards in Brooklyn and Grand Avenue in Los Angeles, the Gehry Collection at Tiffany’s, and ongoing projects in Toronto, Paris, Abu Dhabi, and elsewhere. And we follow as Gehry illuminates the creative process by which his ideas first take shape—for example, through early drawings for the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, when the building’s trademark undulating curves were mere scribbles on a page. Sketches, models, and computer images provided by Gehry himself allow us to see how so many of his landmark buildings have come to fruition, step by step.
Conversations with Frank Gehry is essential reading for everyone interested in the art and craft of architecture, and for everyone fascinated by the most iconic buildings of our time, as well as the man and the mind behind them.
“Wide-ranging and informative.”—Publishers Weekly
“Revealing and entertaining . . . It’s the best book of the year. You won’t be able to put it down.” —Edward Lifson, “Hello Beautiful!”
“Absolutely fascinating . . . Gehry emerges in this self-portrait as a man of flesh and blood: unusually humble, painstakingly ethical, and frankly thrilled with the exciting prospects of modern art and architecture . . . A gold mine for scholars and the general public." —Library Journal
“Ambition and what [Frank Gehry] calls his ‘aw-shucks’ personality collude in such precedent-setting projects as Guggenheim Bilbao, Disney Hall, and his own chain-link-happy home in Santa Monica. This conversation sheds light on them all.” —Los Angeles Magazine
“Surprising . . . Conversations reveals an architect every bit as engaging as his buildings.” —Steven Kurutz, The New York Times
“Rich and . . . revelatory . . . Gehry’s long relationship with Isenberg . . . has produced a level of trust and familiarity that allows him to open up in ways he has rarely done publicly.” —Christopher Hawthorne, Los Angeles Times
“Isenberg . . . keeps her sharp questions front and center, reminding the readers that these are intelligently interactive interviews . . . With a plainspoken directness certain to embarrass his TheorySpeak colleagues, Gehry’s comments center on his lifelong learning, his innovative projects, and his assessment of his legacy. There are levels upon levels of insights to be culled from his candor . . . No better refutation of Gehry as ‘impratical’ or ‘absurdist’ exists than Isenberg’s book . . . Gehry’s conversations with Isenberg offer portraits of an astute listener as well as talker, an architect as aware of his flaws and limitations as of his virtues.” —Norman Weinstein, ArchNewsNow.com
“Articulate and disarmingly unpretentious.” —Mark Knoblauch, starred review, Booklist
“Isenberg . . . offers worthwhile new information for architecture devotees and an engaging introduction for general readers.” —Martin Filler, The New York Times Book Review
“Conversations with Frank Gehry offers Gehry aficionados a variety of fertile topics to explore . . . Isenberg’s book may be the best way to explore Gehry’s work . . . A wonderful place to wait for the world to start bustling again.” -Doug Childers, Richmond Times-Dispatch
“A gold mine for Gehry admirers; for more casual followers of his work, there are plenty of intriguing insights into the creative process.” -Mason Currey, Metropolis Magazine
“Absorbing.” -Fredericksburg Freelance-Star
“Particularly exciting comments from Gehry include reflections on his early career and insight into his creative process . . . Reading this book gives us an idea of where the Gehry we see today came from, as well as an appreciation for his method of working.” -Philip Syvertsen, St. Louis Beacon
“A frank conversation with Frank [is] unusually revealing, and few have done it better than arts reporter Barbara Isenberg . . . Compelling . . . Even the familiar stories sound fresh, and there are sharp insights on the creative process.” -The Architect’s Newspaper
“Essential reading for everyone interested in the art and craft of architecture.” -Larry Cox, Tucson Citizen
“Highly engaging . . . Especially valuable because, unlike the other ‘star’ architects working today, Gehry eschews theory, doesn’t write manifestoes, and has no interest in projecting a stylish personal image . . . Isenberg presents a warmly human Gehry whose intuitive approach to design begs to be experienced.” -Jack Quinan, The Buffalo News