In this week's New Yorker, Lauren Collins has a funny bit on the popularity of "Fuck Frank Gehry" T-shirts. Popular, that is, with Frank Gehry himself!
The T-shirts first were a hit with Europeans who opposed the Bilbao project. Then they were sought after by critics of the Atlantic Yards. Then Gehry's driver saw the T-shirt at a super bowl party and soon a sample batch landed at Gehry's office. The architect explained, "Somebody sent it to me, and I thought it must have been the people in Brooklyn who are sort of angry. But then I thought, well, it must be loving, too. So I decided it was funny, and I put it on. And I wore it to the office, and everybody got a kick out of that, and then I wore it to the gym...”
Says T-shirt designer Barnaby Harris, who created the shirt as a follow-up to his "Fuck Yoga" shirts:
“First, someone from his office called and wanted me to deliver one to a friend of Frank’s who was giving a lecture at Baruch College called ‘Starchitecture,’ ” Harris recalled. “A week later, he called again: ‘Would you please send some shirts to Bruce Ratner?’ A couple of weeks ago, I got a third call: ‘Frank needs two in every color and every size.’”
And Gehry obviously has a lighthearted approach to being skewered publicly.
"You know, when Bilbao was presented publicly, there was a candlelight vigil against me.” He let out a rueful laugh. “And then there was a thing in a Spanish paper saying, ‘Kill the American Architect.’ That was scary. So I stood beside the President every time there was an event. I figured, if they’re gonna kill me . . . Anyway. Once the building was built, I could live there for free. And the same thing with Disney Hall—when it was first shown they called it broken crockery, and now everybody thinks it’s great. So it takes a while. The little building on the West Side Highway, in New York? A few months ago, everybody was telling me how horrible it is, and now they like it.” He laughed again and went on, “You kind of say, ‘At least they’re looking!’ It’s not that big a deal, is it, compared to what’s going on in the world?”
The NY Times mostly likes Gehry's IAC building.
Photograph of the IAC Building by ranjit on Flickr