Reading Conversations With Frank Gehry is like listening in on a warm conversation between longtime friends. Indeed, author Barbara Isenberg has written about Gehry for some twenty years, and the interviews assembled in her book are both intimate and revealing.
Who Is Frank Gehry?
Whether you love him or hate him, there's no doubt that the Pritzker Prize-winning architect Frank Gehry has captured the word's attention with buildings that take on twisted, unexpected forms. Some critics say that Gehry is more sculptor than architect, others say he reshapes our concept of what buildings "ought" to look like.
Who Is Barbara Isenberg?
Barbara Isenberg is a widely published author and journalist who has covered art and architecture for the Los Angeles Times, the Wall Street Journal, Time Magazine, and other publications. During her long career, Isenberg interviewed Frank Gehry many times, and Gehry asked her to help organize an oral history of his life and works. In December 2004, Isenberg and Gehry began meeting regularly to compile the book Conversations With Frank Gehry.
What's In The Book?
In just under 300 pages, Conversations With Frank Gehry presents a sweeping view of Gehry's life. Sixteen interviews are arranged chronologically, beginning with Gehry's childhood memories and concluding with Gehry's thoughts about his mortality and creative legacy. Barbara Isenberg provides her own commentary in the preface and at the beginning of each interview.
Each interview includes sketches, renderings, or photographs that trace the evolution of Frank Gehry's work from early inspiration to completed project.
The Bottom Line
Conversations With Frank Gehry is a friendly chronicle compiled by a writer who clearly admires the architect and his work. Rather than desconstruct the deconstuctivist, Isenberg touches lightly on the controversies and negative commentary that Gehry often stirs.
Perhaps because the author's approach is gentle, the usually-reticent Gehry speaks with a refreshing openness. Instead of dense architectural theory, the breezy, highly readable conversations offer a relaxed and human view of Frank Gehry and his creative process.