Architect Frank Gehry recalls as a young man how he went from delivering furniture to studying ceramics and architecture. He shares his thoughts about the importance of long-time artist friendships with the likes of Claes Oldenburg, Jasper Johns and Peter Voulkos, and how this came to affect his future as an architect.
Harry Dennis: How would you describe your long-time association with the California artistic community?
Frank Gehry: I loved art so I followed the California artists and their work. Ed Moses, Larry Bell and Kenny Price used to appear at my building sites, and since I knew who they were, I was quite excited. They sort of invited me into their camp which was great because I was getting just the opposite from the architectural group.
Dennis: What do you think about mixing architecture and sculpture?
Gehry: I think that’s a red herring. I don’t get into that. Richard Serra said on television I was parading around as an artist.
Gehry: He is one of my friends, but that’s how he talks about me. I don’t want people to call me an artist. I want just to be an architect. I don’t have any interest in crossing lines where people are protecting their territories, like Richard is. He doesn’t have to but he thinks he does.
Dennis: Do you think that sculptors would make good architects?
Gehry: Depends. Painters would make good architects too. Anybody could make a good architect. It’s not that hard.
Dennis: Frank Lloyd Wright once said, “Tip the world on its side and everything loose will land in Los Angeles.” What’s your comment to his famous remark?
Gehry: That’s me. I was on the East coast and God damn it, the fuckers tipped it. And that’s how I ended up out here.