The much-anticipated Louis Vuitton Foundation in Paris is now open to the public
Frank Gehry gives the finger to all new buildings (except his)
Gehry: "There’s no sense of design, no respect for humanity or anything else"
The architect Frank Gehry, designer of the Guggenheim Museum, has declared that 98 per cent of modern architecture is “s**t”.
The put-down came after a journalist suggested his buildings are “showy” and another asked whether “emblematic buildings” such as his own would continue to feature in modern cities.
Peering stonily from a podium he raised his middle finger in a gesture of contempt and rudeness before declaring his own genius and his disdain for the majority of his peers.
“Let me tell you one thing. In this world we are living in, 98 per cent of everything that is built and designed today is pure shit,” he said.
“There’s no sense of design, no respect for humanity or for anything else. They are damn buildings and that’s it.
“Once in a while, however, there’s a small group of people who does something special. Very few. But good god, leave us alone!
“We are dedicated to our work. I don’t ask for work. I don’t have a publicist. I’m not waiting for anyone to call me. I work with clients who respect the art of architecture. Therefore, please don’t ask questions as stupid as that one.”
Gehry made the comments soon after reaching Oviedo in Spain prior to receiving the Prince of Asturias prize from King Felipe. He later apologised, blaming his behaviour on jet lag and saying the reporters “caught me at a bad moment”.
The prize, set up in 1981, is intended to strengthen links between the Spanish principality of Asturias and the royal family while promoting “the scientific, cultural and humanistic values that form part of mankind’s universal heritage”.
Gehry is regarded by many as the most important architect of the modern era and several of his constructions, including his home, have become tourist attractions.
His trademarks are curves and canopies, which earned him fame for the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain, and have been repeated in a variety of forms on his subsequent creations.
The most recent building to be unveiled is the Fondation Louis Vuitton art museum, in Paris, which has won the acclaim of aficionados but has also been compared to a fish and a broken perfume bottle.
The comments made at a press conference before the prize-giving ceremony have echoes of Prince Charles’s condemnation of post-war architecture in 1984 in reference to a proposed extension to the National Gallery in London. “What is proposed is like a monstrous carbuncle on the face of a much-loved and elegant friend,” said the prince.
The prince has earned the enmity of much of the architectural fraternity but in 2010 Gehry told The Independent he was on his side.
“It’s OK for Prince Charles to be who he is, and want what he wants – God bless him for coming out of the closet and saying what he thinks,” he said. “I mean some of things he likes, I like, and some of things he’s come out against, well, I’m on his side.”
Friday 24 October 2014