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Building Art: The Life and Work of Frank Gehry Hardcover – Deckle Edge, September 15, 2015

4.6 out of 5 stars 34 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“Goldberger’s big, colorful biography is a tale of moxie and success in the New World . . . an encounter with an architect who is ambitious, cocky and clever—and [a guide who] will present him with a wry and trenchant perspective . . . An informative, startling journey into the inner sanctums of modern architecture’s power structure.”—Nicholas Fox Weber, The New York Times Book Review

"If you're interested in Frank Gehry, the creative force who has conjured up everything from the ebullient billows of the Bilbao Guggenheim to the strong lines of our very own Concord Pavilon from 1975, I can't recommend this expansive survey of his life and work too highly."--John King, San Fransisco Chronicle

"An enthralling story . . . more gripping than any novel . . . Gives a deep insight into the life of a revolutionary architect and modern architecture. Both architects and lay people who are itnerested in arts and architecture will benefit from it."--The Washington Post Book Review

"Excellent, comprehensive [and] undeniably fascinating . . . Mirroring the rise of contemporary architecture, Gehry emerges from the constraints of mid-century modernism, grapples with questions of urban development and human scale . . . To a remarkable extent, he seems to have found a language of his own, which he can finally and fully articulate."--James Tarmy, Bloomberg Business

"Fascinating . . . Agilely balances the disparate subjects of art and biography. Goldberger's critical assessments of Gehry's designs are insightful and often riveting, but he does not neglect the prosaic details of the man's personal life."--Doug Childers, Richmond Times-Dispatch

"A big biography . . . penetrating . . . revealing"-Susan Stamberg, NPR

"A critically fluent, socially and psychologically acute, and well-constructed comprehensive biography, the first of the 'most famous architect in the world.' . . . With avid precision and invaluable insight, Goldberger charts the complicated, punishing battles Gehry waged to construct his ambitious, dreamworld buildings, from private homes to Guggenheim, Bilbao, the Walt Disney Concert Hall, Facebook headquarters, and beyond. The result is an involving work of significant architectural history and a discerning and affecting portrait of a daring and original master builder."--Donna Seaman, Booklist

"A riveting storyteller and accomplished reporter . . . [Paul Goldberger] offers a comprehensive look at not only the stories behind Frank Gehry's acclaimed buildings but also the experiences and influences that shaped his life and work. His book is full of little-known facts about the Pritzker Prize-winner that will surprise the most knowledgable Gehry-philes."--Architectural Digest

"Terrifically readable . . . satisfying detail on Gehry's career path and hugely complex personality."--Christopher Hawthorne, Los Angeles Times

"[Goldberger] paints the architect as a down-to-earth sort who designs eminenty functional buildings that respond to their surroundings, exhibit continuity with the past, and embrace Earthlings despite looking like crashed spaceships. He contextualizes Gehry's work with smart discussions of trends in modernism and the Los Angeles art scene that inspired such trends, and offers his usual shrewd, evocative insights."--Publishers Weekly

"This is a proper biography, being as much about the personal life of Gehry as it is about his buildings. It reads well, mostly avoiding archi-speak and technicalities, preferring the clarity of plain English."--Architectural Record

"Goldberger interrogates the peculiar psyche and restless contradictions of the man to shed light on the motivations behind the architecture."--Samuel Medina, Metropolis

"Wonderfully detailed . . . gregariously fascinating . . . invaluable . . . All future biographies will be indebted to Goldberger's groundbreaking, affectionate work."--Steve Donohghue, Open Letters Monthly

"Richly researched, intelligent, and graceful."--Kirkus Reviews

About the Author

PAUL GOLDBERGER, a contributing editor at Vanity Fair, spent fifteen years as the architecture critic for The New Yorker and began his career at The New York Times, where he was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for distinguished criticism for his writing on architecture. He is the author of many books, most recently Why Architecture Matters, Building Up and Tearing Down: Reflections on the Age of Architecture, and Up From Zero. He teaches at The New School and lectures widely around the country on architecture, design, historic preservation, and cities. He and his wife, Susan Solomon, live in New York City.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 528 pages
  • Publisher: Knopf; First Edition edition (September 15, 2015)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307701530
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307701534
  • Product Dimensions: 6.6 x 1.6 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #102,250 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Arguably today's most influential architect, Gehry's work is already well documented, and can easily be seen with a simple Google search of his name. Paul Goldberger, however, dove much deeper than to create simply a monograph of his work. Gehry's "celebrity" stature in architecture has brought new interest to the field (i.e. see episode of the Simpsons). But to only know him as a "starchitect" does not allow one to understand how he came to be. Goldberger's critical review of Gehry's life leaves no stone unturned, and presents Gehry as a regular man, trying his best to make his father proud. This analysis helps the reader understand that Gehry is more than just about crazy shapes, or seemingly expensive projects. Who better to write Frank Gehry's biography than his friend of 30+ years? This book is a great read for anyone, from the architecture enthusiast to the novice wanting to understand the key figures in the profession. It is "celebrity meets high culture". I highly recommend this book to any and all interested in the realm of architecture.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I want to start my review by saying that I'm not particularly a fan of Frank Gehry's work, but I certainly find him amazing for his influence on modern architecture and his years of contributions to society. I was anxious to read critic Paul Goldberger's biography of Gehry, "Building Art: The Life and Work of Frank Gehry". The book, which was written with the cooperation of Gehry and his friends and family and clients, is very even handed. It's clear that Goldberger admires Frank Gehry, but his fondness for his subject doesn't blind him to Gehry's lesser points.

Frank Gehry, by now in his mid-80's, is still hard at work. A man who is uncompromising in his architectural principles, he is known for his buildings all over the world. As an architect, the Canadian-born Gehry - he changed his last name from "Goldberg" to "Gehry" - began his practice in Los Angeles in the early 1950's. He was sought out to design commercial buildings and public buildings, but he gained worldwide fame with his Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain in the 1990's. Suddenly everyone wanted a Frank Gehry-building, but his type of architecture must go through many levels of approval by both financial and artist groups, and many a design never left the drawing boards in Gehry's Los Angeles office. But he has built grand buildings from Berlin to Paris to Los Angeles to parts of Asia.

Paul Goldberger gives as complete a picture of Frank Gehry on a personal level as he does on a professional one. Twice married and the father of four children, Goldberger makes no secret of Gehry's failings as a parent, particularly of the two daughters from his first marriage. Of course, Gehry was building his career, which is often the case.
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Format: Hardcover
This is a fascinating biography of a great man who changed the face of one of the world's biggest cities
and in fact changed the face of the world. I found the biographical elements about Gehry's life to be as fascinating
as the critical architectural aspects. An easy, accessible read but a profound one. I couldn't put it down.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I read Kindle's eBook version. It has a very few photos. Really? A book about architecture with few photos? I went to bookstore to look at the hardbound version. It has a lot more photos and many are in color. I feel cheated. I'm sure they do this to keep prices down. The problem is, you d/n know before you buy the eBook version that it has no or fewer pictures than bound versions. I want this info upfront.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Really interesting book written by an honest admirer of the subject. Mr. Goldberger provides not only the good aspects of the Gehry person and architect but quite a bit of the bad as well. I would have given the book a 5 except it lacks enough images of the buildings described to lessen the impact the excellent writing could have had.
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Format: Hardcover
Anyone with even a passing interest in contemporary architecture will surely know the work of Paul Goldberger, leading international critic, essayist and author on this most fascinating of subjects. One of his earlier works, ‘Why Architecture Matters’ was for me a turning point in my understanding of the importance of both the art and science of buildings and I have since read almost everything he has written, remaining a firm fan of his work.
However, it’s one thing to be able to skilfully critique a building but an altogether different matter to write a brilliant biography, which demands rather different skills and talents. Thrillingly, Goldberger has more than risen to this challenge and his portrait of Frank Gehry is undoubtably the best biography in any category I have read in recent years. Chronicling the career and work of one of the world’s design geniuses, Goldberger gives us a picture of a person who is clearly brilliant but not without flaws…in other words a real human. He doesn’t shy away from the less perfect sides of Gehry but neither does he fail to point out the scope and breadth of his highly individual vision, which we are fortunate to have had bestowed on us in the form of landmark buildings around the world.
A resounding cheer of approval and five stars from me for this 'must read' ...and from the four other people for whom I bought this remarkable book as a gift!
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