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Frank Gehry 2021 A Playful Ninety-two Years Young Master

We are not surprised by Frank Gehry surprising us as an architect. We know that he is also prolific as an artist. What surprised me this time is that, at ninety-two, following a pandemic year when he had to lay 170 people working at his office, is that he has not stopped pushing the envelope of creativity. 

Gehry’s dual exhibition at the Gagosian Gallery in Beverly Hills (June 24 – August 6, 2021) is remarkable. The ground floor exhibition is titled Spinning Tales and shows several hanged Fish Lamps made for the first time in polyvinyl and copper. This last version of his fishes evolved through large-scale sculptures, such as Standing Glass Fish at the Weisman Art Museum in Minneapolis, 1986; the 22-meter high fish for a fish restaurant in Kobe, Japan, 1987; and El Peix (The Fish) at the Barcelona Olympics, 1992.

The upper floor immersive installation, Wishful Thinking, is based on a scene of Alice Adventures in Wonderland. Framing the show is a mirror wall and a textured chain-link fence. This artwork echoes preceding architectural works such as the Museum of Pop Culture in Seattle, 2000; the Marqués de Riscal Hotel, Elciego, Spain; and the Biomuseo in Panama City, 2014.

During the last nine years, I documented three of his architectural masterpieces: Disney Hall in Los Angeles in 2012, the Lou Ruvo Center for Mental Health in Las Vegas in 2013, and the Louis Vuitton Foundation in Paris in 2018. This is the first time that I approach his artwork unlinked to a building. Although the scale and complexity of architecture and art can be very different, this exhibition proves that one medium can feed into the other.

As We Saw It – Part 4: Brushing Art in Paris Art as Integral to Urban Life Quality

Paris without art is inconceivable. The art world permeates the city at all levels. It impacts people’s lifestyle, what they eat and its aesthetics, their fashion, their filmmaking, their architecture.

As We Saw It – Part 4: Brushing Art in Paris is a potpourri of art seen during the summer of 2018. The focus was on alternatives to traditional tourist art-sites such as the Louvre and the Orsay museums.

The biggest surprise was the Palais de Tokyo. Sitting next door to Paris’ Museum of Modern Art, this place it has an intense program of avant-garde contemporary art that includes all media. In spite of its name, the artists – many women – shown are from many countries. We found remarkable the works of Anita Molinero, Caroline Achaintre, and Laure Prouvost

The Museum of Modern Art, besides its own collection, also has periodical shows. During our visit we so a retrospective of Judit Reigl’s fantastic work. She continues to be productive at age ninety-five!

The Centre Pompidou had a large exhibition on the Russian avant-garde in Vitebsk during the 1918-1922 period. Very well curated, it showed artworks by Marc Chagall, El Lissitzky and Kazimir Malevich.

The Picasso Museum was a surprise, not so much for the collection of the master’s work – that can’t match those shown at the Picasso Museum in Barcelona – but of Picasso’s own collection of other artists works, such as Miro and Modigliani.

We found the relatively small Musée de l’Orangerie collection exquisite for the quality of the works exhibited. Besides Claude Monet’s large paintings of water lilies, the show included first-rate works by Matisse, Soutine, Picasso, Modigliani, Renoir, Utrillo, and Pollock, to name some.

The Guimet Museum of Asian Arts has an extraordinary collection of Chinese, Cambodian, and Indian art. On both the Orangerie and the Guimet, the presence of children being taught about art was uplifting. Its renovation was sensibly designed by architects Henri and Bruno Gaudin. 

Other visits included the Grand Palais‘ retrospective on the work of František Kupka, the Petit Palais with great art from the late 1800s, and the new Louis Vuitton Foundation, by Frank Gehry, shown in Part 2: Paris Builds.

Street art in Paris has become part of the urban components, as in many other cities. Some are very good, like the works of JR.

 

Muhamad Bourouissa, Urban Riders, Musée d’Art moderne de la Ville de Paris, Paris (2018)