This is my first blog post about art and I am very pleased to present Frank Gehry’s Fish Lamps, now at the Gagosian Gallery in Beverly Hills. Gehry is one of the most celebrated architects alive today; he’s renown for designing the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain; the Jay Pritzker Pavilion in Chicago; the Marqués de Riscal Vineyard Hotel in Elciego, Spain; Walt Disney Concert Hall in downtown Los Angeles. He’s also a very well respected sculptor. I love the Knoll furniture series, fashioned from bentwood, that he had designed from 1989–92 and The Fish Lamps sort of remind me of that. Did you know that the fish is a perfect form? Yes, indeed. Apparently the fish is considered to have a “good design” and noticeable iconographical and natural attributes! The way Gehry ended up realizing it is funny though. The Fish Lamps actually evolved from a 1983 commission by the Formica Corporation to create objects from the then-new plastic laminate ColorCore. But just after accidentaly shattering a piece of it while working, Gehry was inspired by the shards, which reminded him of fish scales. The Fish Lamps are the result: fabricated between 1984 and 1986, they are made of wire armatures molded into fish shapes, onto which shards of ColorCore are individually glued, creating clear allusions to the morphic attributes of real fish. Since then the fish has become a recurrent motif in Gehry’s work and it’s in 2012 that he decided to revisit them. The resulting sculptures range in scale from life-size to out-size, and the use of ColorCore is bolder, incorporating larger and more jagged elements. To me, it’s simply fascinating how versatile Gehry is and how easily he could play with raw materials and shape them into something extremely dynamic and imaginative. The Fish Lamps are softly glowing and that warm incandescent light creates a lot of of whimsy. They can be displayed as individuals or groupings of two and three, fixed to poles or wall sconces, or placed on any existing horizontal surface.
The first Fish Lamps were shown in “Frank Gehry: Unique Lamps” in 1984 at the former Robertson Boulevard location of Gagosian Los Angeles. The exhibition will be presented concurrently in Los Angeles and in Paris. Gehry is also designing the installation for the Fish Lamps, following his inspired design for the Ken Price exhibition at LACMA earlier this year.
FRANK O. GEHRY
Frank Gehry was born in Toronto in 1929. He studied architecture at the University of Southern California and urban planning at the Harvard Graduate School of Design. His drawings, models, designs, and sculpture have been exhibited in major museums throughout the world. Among his most celebrated buildings are the Vitra Design Museum, Weil am Rhein, Germany (1989); the Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao, Spain, (1997); and the Walt Disney Concert Hall, Los Angeles (2003). Awards include the Pritzker Architecture Prize (1989); the Wolf Foundation Prize in Arts (1992); the Praemium Imperiale in Architecture from Japan Art Association (1992); the Dorothy and Lillian Gish Prize (1994); the National Medal of Arts (1998); the Gold Medal from the American Institute of Architects (1999); the Gold Medal from the Royal Institute of British Architects (2000); and the Lifetime Achievement Award from Americans for the Arts (2000). “Frank Gehry, Architect,” the most comprehensive exhibition of his work to date, was presented at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York in 2001. Gehry’s latest building, the Louis Vuitton Foundation for Creation in the Bois du Boulogne, Paris, will be completed in 2013. Gehry lives and works in Los Angeles.