The New York Times
Conversations with Frank Gehryby Barbara Isenberg
Gehry’s subjects range
An unprecedented, intimate, and richly illustrated portrait of Frank Gehry, one of the world’s most influential architects. Drawing on the most candid, revealing, and entertaining conversations she has had with Gehry over the last twenty years, Barbara Isenberg provides new and fascinating insights into the man and his work.
Gehry’s subjects range from his childhood—when he first built cities with wooden blocks on the floor of his grandmother’s kitchen—to his relationships with clients and his definition of a “great” client. We learn about his architectural influences (including Le Corbusier and Frank Lloyd Wright) and what he has learned from Michelangelo, Rembrandt, and Rauschenberg.
We explore the thinking behind his designs for the Guggenheim Bilbao and the Walt Disney Concert Hall, the redevelopment of Atlantic Yards in Brooklyn and Grand Avenue in Los Angeles, the Gehry Collection at Tiffany’s, and ongoing projects in Toronto, Paris, Abu Dhabi, and elsewhere. And we follow as Gehry illuminates the creative process by which his ideas first take shape—for example, through early drawings for the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, when the building’s trademark undulating curves were mere scribbles on a page. Sketches, models, and computer images provided by Gehry himself allow us to see how so many of his landmark buildings have come to fruition, step by step.
Conversations with Frank Gehry is essential reading for everyone interested in the art and craft of architecture, and for everyone fascinated by the most iconic buildings of our time, as well as the man and the mind behind them.
From the Hardcover edition.
The New York Times
With such signature buildings as the Guggenheim Bilbao and the Disney Center in Los Angeles, Frank Gehry has been called "the most famous architect in the world." These conversations, edited from interviews California-based writer Isenberg (Making It Big) began with Gehry in the 1980s, cover topics from his first buildings-made as a boy from chips of firewood on his grandmother's floor-to current large-scale projects like a $3 billion redesign for Grand Avenue in downtown L.A. There is talk about the architectural politics of Los Angeles and the practical aspects of running a large architectural office. And while Gehry never name-drops, readers do get a sense of the celebrity and high-finance crowds in which he circulates. Gehry says he has always been more influenced by artists than by other architects, and those influences range from such friends as Robert Rauschenberg to Vermeer and Hieronymus Bosch. Whether designing jewelry or museums, he sketches constantly and his assistants build dozens of models before reaching a final design. Illustrations of these preliminary steps and of realized buildings add a visual component to the wide-ranging and informative conversations. 165 color and 41 b&w illus. (Apr.)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
In the 1990s, Frank Gehry established himself as one of the greatest architects of all time, with the completion of his celebrated and spectacular Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain. Since then, he has surmounted this achievement with stupendous success, in terms of both the quality and the quantity of his commissions all over the world. This book of interviews is absolutely fascinating-for the general public, fans, historians, and scholars alike. It brings together in one book a series of candid interviews that the accomplished Isenberg recorded between 2004 and 2008, embracing Gehry's entire life and career, comprising a kind of verbal autobiography. Gehry emerges in this self-portrait as a man of flesh and blood: unusually humble, painstakingly ethical, and frankly thrilled with the exciting prospects of modern art and architecture. This very accessible, readable volume will be a gold mine for scholars and the general public for generations.
Peter S. Kaufman
-Martin Filler, The New York Times Book Review "Ambition and what [Frank Gehry] calls his 'aw-shucks' personality collude in such precedent-setting projects as Guggenheim Bilbao, Disney Hall, and his own chain-link-happy home in Santa Monica. This conversation sheds light on them all." -Los Angeles Magazine "A frank conversation with Frank [is] unusually revealing, and few have done it better than arts reporter Barbara Isenberg . . . Compelling . . . Even the familiar stories sound fresh, and there are sharp insights on the creative process." -The Architect's Newspaper "Essential reading for everyone interested in the art and craft of architecture." -Larry Cox, Tucson Citizen "Highly engaging . . . Especially valuable because, unlike the other 'star' architects working today, Gehry eschews theory, doesn't write manifestoes, and has no interest in projecting a stylish personal image . . . Isenberg presents a warmly human Gehry whose intuitive approach to design begs to be experienced." -Jack Quinan, The Buffalo News "Isenberg . . . keeps her sharp questions front and center, reminding the readers that these are intelligently interactive interviews . . . With a plainspoken directness certain to embarrass his TheorySpeak colleagues, Gehry's comments center on his lifelong learning, his innovative projects, and his assessment of his legacy. There are levels upon levels of insights to be culled from his candor . . . Gehry's conversations with Isenberg offer portraits of an astute listener as well as talker, an architect as aware of his flaws and limitations as of his virtues." -Norman Weinstein, ArchNewsNow.com "A gold mine for Gehry admirers; for more casual followers of his work, there are plenty of intriguing insights into the creative process." -Mason Currey, Metropolis Magazine "Articulate and disarmingly unpretentious." -Starred review, Booklist "Absolutely fascinating . . . Gehry emerges in this self-portrait as a man of flesh and blood: unusually humble, painstakingly ethical, and frankly thrilled with the exciting prospects of modern art and architecture . . . A gold mine for scholars and the general public." -Library Journal
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Meet the Author
Barbara Isenberg writes and lectures about the arts. Formerly a staff reporter for the Los Angeles Times and The Wall Street Journal, she has also written for Time, Esquire, and London’s Sunday Times. Her books include Making It Big: The Diary of a Broadway Musical and State of the Arts: California Artists Talk About Their Work. She received a Distinguished Artist Award from the Los Angeles Music Center and has been a Visiting Scholar at the Getty Research Institute. She lives in Los Angeles.
From the Hardcover edition.
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The book transcribes conversations between Barbara Isenberg and Frank O. Gehry. It's very interesting and insightful for those interested in the life and work of Frank O. Gehry. The question and answer format is very easy to read and follow. I'm not sure what the editing process was like, and what was removed from the actual interviews and conversations, but it would be a great treat to see more volumes of these conversations. I'm particularly interested in the autobiographical quality of the conversations. Barbara Isenberg does a great job at asking the right questions to get Gehry to speak about his life and work.