Is Frank Gehry Turning His Back on L.A. Architects?

Frank Gehry's "selfish" withdrawal from a planned exhibition on contemporary architecture in Los Angeles, part of a citywide reflection on the discipline's recent history, threatens to derail a debate the city "desperately needs", says Sam Lubell.

"By now most of us in the LA architecture world have heard about the troubles surrounding the upcoming MOCA exhibition A New Sculpturalism: Contemporary Architecture in Southern California. Just before press time the show had been reinstated, although delayed from June 2 to June 16. This piece of news came after the show had been put on hold for weeks, its future very much in doubt, and after LA’s best-known architect, Frank Gehry, had already pulled out," explains Lubell, who helped break the news of the show's strange saga.

"Gehry of course has the right to pull out of whatever exhibition he wishes, and he certainly raises valid questions about the show's focus. But even if he finds the show unscholarly and unfavorable to him, does that give him the right to jeopardize the work of so many others?" 

"You would think someone with a career as illustrious would be a little more resistant to criticism and interpretation. It seems that one man’s insecurity, and his intellectual differences with the show, are enough to jeopardize a whole community, in particular the generations to follow him. It’s a classic act of selfishness that only reconfirms people’s stereotypes about architects."



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