Frank Gehry has exploded the landscape of modern architecture, transforming it from a conventional science into a sublime and majestic form of art. Rebelling against the status quo, Gehry's struggle to create the impossible has resulted in such contemporary masterpieces as the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles and the stunning Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain. Beginning with rough sketches, then moving to models made of cardboard and tape, Gehry's genius transforms steel, titanium, and glass into the most heart-stopping structures the world has ever seen. Directed by his longtime friend and supporter, Academy Award(r)-winner Sydney Pollack (1985 Best Director, Out of Africa), the fascinating SKETCHES OF FRANK GEHRY looks inside the mind of the most acclaimed and controversial architect of the twenty-first century.
Sketches of Frank Gehry by Sydney Pollock
chronicles the friendship between director Sydney Pollock and the famed architect every bit as much as it does Gehry and his work, and it makes for a delightful window into the world of creativity and genius. Gehry has made a big imprint (which critics might liken to Bigfoot's) on architecture at the turn of the 21st century; his molten-looking visions have graced buildings small (actor Dennis Hopper's industrial-looking home in Venice, Calif.) to enormous (the sprawling Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain). He's the genius behind Los Angeles's sweeping Walt Disney Concert Hall--which, though formidable in shape and size, manages to nod gracefully to its adjoining, beloved predecessor, the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion. (He also created the controversial Experience Music Project museum in Seattle, which residents have likened to a giant psychedelic beetle crouched at the foot of the Space Needle.)
For creating such mega-structures, Gehry is remarkably self-effacing; as he and an associate fiddle with a model with bent rooflines and walls, Gehry chuckles, "That is so stupid-looking, it's great!" Yet make no mistake, he possesses a singular vision and strong ego, which we view not only through the wide variety of his works, but also from interviews with friends, architecture critics, and clients, including artist Ed Ruscha, Hopper, L.A. talent manager Mike Ovitz, architect Philip Johnson, and others. Pollock's intimate conversational film allows us to feel as though we're sitting right there on the couch with them, or in Gehry's "factory" of associates and assistants; in its backstage look at the process of creativity, the film feels a little like TV's Project Runway, in the very best sense. As the viewer gets to know Gehry, one finds oneself wishing for more biographical details to be fleshed out--what was Gehry's childhood really like, for instance, and how does he feel about having changed his birth name, Goldberg, at the request of his first wife? Still, for a peek into the world of one of America's most prolific artists, the film is a rare opportunity to get up close and personal. Extras include more conversations between Pollock and Gehry and further examinations of his creations. --A.T. Hurley