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With “Building Art: The Life and Work of Frank Gehry,” Paul Goldberger has drawn upon his long friendship with the architect, as well as his years of championing his subject’s startling work, to tell a warm and personable biography of the man behind Guggenheim Bilbao and the Disney Concert Hall.
From Canadian emigre to Los Angeles art-scene hanger-on, and from scruffy builder in cheap materials to the world’s pre-eminent titanium-clad “starchitect,” Mr. Gehry’s remarkable achievement will not be completely demystified in this eminently readable book. “Building Art” will impart a sense of the humble perseverance, patience and resilience necessary to compile the many setbacks, disappointments and minor victories into a singular creative career leading to a Bilbao or a Disney.
Mr. Gehry’s early Santa Monica house, a Dutch colonial deconstructed with chain-link fencing and corrugated metal, has long been a postmodern icon. “Destination architecture” and “Bilbao Effect,” terms coined for his mature work, testify that a single, spectacular building can revive a post-industrial region culturally and economically. […]