“The Dionysus of Modern Architecture,” is how James Cuno, President and CEO of The J. Paul Getty Trust, described architect Frank Gehry when awarding him the third annual J. Paul Getty Award at a lively and elegant event at the Getty Center in Los Angeles on September 28, 2015.
Among a well-dressed crowd of some 350 attendees that included Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, Executive Vice Mayor Rick Jacobs, LA Philharmonic Artistic Director Gustavo Dudamel, Esa-Pekka Salonen, as well as artists Chuck Arnoldi, Larry Bell, Ed Moses, Charles Ray, Ed Ruscha, Barbara Kruger among many other notables from the worlds of art, finance and LA civic life, Mayor Garcetti called Gehry “truly an angel in the city of Angels” for his civic engagement and for architectural gems such as Walt Disney Concert Hall which speak, the mayor said, of Los Angeles’ “unlimited freedom, innovation and creativity.”
Dudamel described Gehry’s Disney Hall as a “very magical” space that provides for a spiritual connection. Maria Hummer-Tuttle, the Chair of the Getty’s Board of Trustees said, “tonight we honor one of our own” saying of Gehry that his architecture succeeds at “bringing us together in a new way.”
What I discovered about Frank Gehry when we sat down for a conversation a few days before the Getty award is that Gehry, who is 86, sees himself as working in a tradition that reaches back to the ancient Greeks and Romans and whose goal is to create an emotional response from inert materials. Outside of his office, Gehry has a life-size photo of a Greek statue of a charioteer from 500 BC of which he said; “That unknown artist did a statue that made me cry. How did he do that? That’s our goal, emotion. When you do a concert hall, it is Shakespearean. It is a stage. We all are on stage and that we are all players. It’s not just the orchestra playing. You want to maintain the connection between the two.” […]