Some New Trend

Building as Sculpting :: Sketches of Frank Gehry by Kevin Wilder

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DVD REVIEW :: Kevin Wilder

I Netflixed Sketches of Frank Gehry to learn something new about architecture. It wasn’t a bad way to go, considering the documentarian claimed to not know a thing about the topic himself. It’s for precisely this reason that Gehry requested using him. Having a friend shoot his movie, and with mostly handheld cameras, gave it a wonderfully rough, lifelike feel. It was a new kind of project for Academy Award-winning filmmaker Sydney Pollack: a thoughtful look at an American artist as told through informal conversations, interviews with noteworthy friends and his team of experts, and even stories from his longtime psychoanalyst.


Frank Gehry might always be remembered for his ultra-quirky modernist buildings, and for aiming to never repeat himself. Like young Josh Bates, the somewhat shy Gehry seems to enjoy his space, both in privacy and in his affections for sweeping buildings. Some of the more famous big ones in the movie are the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao (above), and the Disney Ice hockey arena (don’t judge by the name). My favorite inclusion might have been, in Gehry’s far more-qualified opinion, one of his more-erred buildings (the Vitra Design Museum, below).


Gehry questions the possibilities of function and structure, and tends to feel quite limited by the two-dimensional plane. These things have constantly battled him throughout his career, leading him to perceive create buildings more like a sculptor might. Each building is it’s own question. Instead of changing his process to take on more traditional methods, his work has demanded technology to play catch up. I think the film might have captured this unique approach the best, and it’s a total delight to witness.


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The camera work of this documentary was pretty spectacular. It’s hard to convey the lines of a building on a 2D screen, but it was done pretty damn well.

My personal favorite was Gehry’s own house – pretty traditional mid-century exterior spewing oddly shaped tumors of corrugated metal and glass.

Some of the interviews were pretty amusing (not necessarily in a good way). The one that sticks in my mind is Bob Geldof trying his hardest to sound poetic while describing capping “the hills of Germania” and seeing the sun shining off of one of Gehry’s works.

Comment by Jackson

[…] quaint pond or spring might have to do, sometime after I’ve received international recognition as Frank Gehry’s […]

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