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Building Art

On my travels this summer, I took as a little light reading Frank Gehry’s biography (haha, only an interior designer or architect would call this light reading!).building-art-the-life-and-work-of-frank-gehry

For me it was an unlikely choice, as I am not a huge fan of Gehry’s work. Admittedly, I haven’t seen any of his best work in person.  My understanding is from impressions made over twenty years ago when I stood on the banks of the Mississippi River as a young college student.  The “Standing Glass Fish”, at the Walker Art Center, with its’ internal structure supporting the fish scales, is fabulous;  the Weisman Art Museum, with its’ impractical gallery spaces, is a mess to my mind.


But long ago impressions and prejudices can be overcome by new encounters and gentle persuasion by others. While in Paris, artist Daniel Buren provided that persuasion with his “visual tools”: acrylic colored paneled applied in checker board fashion.


At Fondation Louis Vuitton , Buren transformed the Gehry designed space and its’ context to create Observatory of Light.  Now Gehry’s twelve glass covered sails, or “icebergs”, are defined in thirteen colors and stripes. This intervention gives physical presence to light, as the light shifts and moves throughout the day.

gehry-buren-exterior gehry-buren-orange-blue

gehry-buren-aqua-blue gehry-buren-exterior-2

My appreciation of this work stems from the interplay light and visual transparency in architecture. This is why I like the visual effect of Gehry’s IAC Building. I also see the positive gains derived from architect-artist collaborations. In reading about Gehry, he surrounded himself with and learned from artist. Gehry learned about subverting existing vernacular, and developed strategies to overcoming creative blockage through risk-taking. Well, Hank…this blog post is for you!

David Bjørngaard, December 2016


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