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Getty Museum Acquires Collection Of Architect Frank Gehry


Frank Gehry has designed world-renowned buildings, including the Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, the Guggenheim in Bilbao, Spain. Recently, the Getty in LA acquired a vast archive of Gehry's work that spans three decades of the legendary architect's career. NPR's Mandalit del Barco reports.

MANDALIT DEL BARCO, BYLINE: Frank Gehry is giving the Getty his collection, everything from scale models of the Walt Disney Concert Hall in downtown Los Angeles, with its swooping steel curves, to paperclips he had laying around his studio.

FRANK GEHRY: It's so much stuff. I have a big warehouse. I saved everything since my bar mitzvah (laughter). They've only taken part of it.

DEL BARCO: The archive comes from projects he created or started before winning the coveted Pritzker Architecture Prize in 1989.

GEHRY: There are scholars who are interested in it, trying to understand the journey I went on. It's pretty flattering. I'm just knocked out by that.

THOMAS GAEHTGENS: Everybody's interested in Frank Gehry.

DEL BARCO: Thomas Gaehtgens is director of the Getty Research Institute. He's excited to conserve the work and put it into context. He and senior curator Maristella Casciato say the archive illustrates how Gehry works, collaborating with artists and clients, sketching out ideas, modifying versions of architectural models of, for example, the Disney Concert Hall.

MARISTELLA CASCIATO: The fact that we received the original drawings, which have never been studied, will allow us to also - to understand better the complexity of the building that was finally built.

GAEHTGENS: Look at this. If you look at - from the first model to the last ones, you can see how dramatic and more dynamic this whole process became. And this building stands for emotion and movement, music



DEL BARCO: Gehry is 88 years old and still working. He says he appreciates the Getty preserving his legacy.

GEHRY: I hope people will realize that I tried to do something special and I had a pile of integrity about what I was doing. I worried about cost control and constructability and all of those kind of things that aren't usually associated with architects like me. I've never really been over budget. I hope they'll find that out (laughter).

DEL BARCO: Scholars and architects will now have a chance to see how he pulled it all off. Mandalit del Barco, NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

As an arts correspondent based at NPR West, Mandalit del Barco reports and produces stories about film, television, music, visual arts, dance and other topics. Over the years, she has also covered everything from street gangs to Hollywood, police and prisons, marijuana, immigration, race relations, natural disasters, Latino arts and urban street culture (including hip hop dance, music, and art). Every year, she covers the Oscars and the Grammy awards for NPR, as well as the Sundance Film Festival and other events. Her news reports, feature stories and photos, filed from Los Angeles and abroad, can be heard on All Things Considered, Morning Edition, Weekend Edition,, and