After reading the Comments section of a recent article dealing with Frank Gehry, my overwhelming feeling was, “I now hate architecture.” The negativity expressed was only rivaled by the ignorance.
After a number of years of hearing less about Frank Gehry, he seems to be everywhere again. He continues to be known for the type of architecture that rocketed him to The Simpsons status; however, the greatest amount of recent discussion has been applied to projects that have departed significantly from Bilbao, Disney Concert Hall and the like. He is currently being raked over the coals for his work with the Eisenhower Memorial, has been working with the relief effort in New Orleans and, most famously, been redesigning the new headquarters of omnipresent Facebook.
Inherent to this discussion, it seems, is an opportunity for people to wag fingers and shake heads as he’s become some type of lightning rod for insult. Upon Wang Shu’s recent acceptance of the Pritzker Prize, he seemed to dig at Gehry among others (although when you create this type of work, you get to say whatever you want); moreover, a large portion of the American public have become overnight architectural critics (when the extent of your creative output is a website that looks like this, you don’t)
After thinking about the amount of criticism (fair and unfair) that’s been directed his way recently, I’ve decided I’m in support of it. It’s probably a personal character flaw based on some childhood insecurities, but I always tend to question the type of unabashed praise that Gehry received for all those years. On the other hand, sticking up for the underdog is something I think everyone should strive towards. Subsequently, I find the refined-and-persecuted-Frank-Gehry (and his work) incredibly endearing; much more at least, than that of Frank Gehry Starchitect.