Frank O. Gehry
Frank Gehry is considered one of the most influential architects of the late 20th century. He completed his architecture studies at the University of Southern California in 1954, and enrolled at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design to study urban planning, but dropped out soon after and returned to Los Angeles. There he worked at Gruen Associates until 1962, when he established his own firm. During the early period of his independent practice he developed close associations with the artists of the Venice and Santa Monica art scene, particularly Edward Kienholz, Robert Irwin, and Ed Ruscha.
Gehry came to national attention with his Easy Edges furniture line, made of corrugated cardboard and fiberboard and including the Easy Edges Body Contour Rocker (1971) and the 1970 and 1972 editions of the Easy Edges Side Chair. But it was not until the rebuilding of his own house, an existing bungalow in Santa Monica (1978–88), that his reputation as an experimental avant-garde architect was established. Using common home-building materials such as corrugated aluminum, unfinished plywood, and chain-link fence, he was able to create rich, interlocking spaces. The additive and collaged character of his house, based on semi-independent timber-frame structures, became the signature language of his 1980s work, which was presented in MoMA’s 1988 Deconstructivist Architecture exhibition and in a retrospective of Gehry’s work at the Whitney Museum of American Art that same year. He received the Pritzker Architecture Prize, the most prestigious international award given in architecture, in 1989. At this time he completed the Vitra Design Museum, Germany, his first building in Europe, and the design for the Walt Disney Concert Hall, Los Angeles, which remained unbuilt until 2003. In these works, Gehry explored the sculptural form of architecture as a synthetic and unifying proposition.
In the 1990s, Gehry’s formal language saw a move toward complex curvilinear forms, of which his most remarkable design remains the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, Spain (1997). He conceives these forms through a series of freestyle hand sketches that have progressively gained in complexity due, in part, to advances in computer software. This formal development in his architecture has become the signature of his later work.
Introduction by Patricio del Real, Curatorial Assistant, Department of Architecture and Design, 2016
Endless House: Intersections of Art and Architecture
Jun 27, 2015–Mar 6, 2016
Nov 16, 2011–Feb 9, 2014
Rough Cut: Design Takes a Sharp Edge
Nov 26, 2008–Oct 12, 2009
Architecture & Design Drawings: Rotation 3
Apr 29–Oct 23, 2006
On-Site: New Architecture in Spain
Feb 12–May 1, 2006
- Frank O. Gehry has online.
If you would like to reproduce an image of a work of art in MoMA’s collection, or an image of a MoMA publication or archival material (including installation views, checklists, and press releases), please contact Art Resource (publication in North America) or Scala Archives (publication in all other geographic locations).
All requests to license audio or video footage produced by MoMA should be addressed to Scala Archives at [email protected]. Motion picture film stills or motion picture footage from films in MoMA’s Film Collection cannot be licensed by MoMA/Scala. For licensing motion picture film footage it is advised to apply directly to the copyright holders. For access to motion picture film stills please contact the Film Study Center. More information is also available about the film collection and the Circulating Film and Video Library.
If you would like to reproduce text from a MoMA publication, please email [email protected]. If you would like to publish text from MoMA’s archival materials, please fill out this permission form and send to [email protected].