Frank Gehry Gives Spanish Critics the Finger

Frank Gehry responds to critics during a press conference held yesterday in Oviedo, SpainPhoto via: Faro de Vigo
Frank Gehry responds to critics during a press conference held yesterday in Oviedo, Spain
Photo via: Faro de Vigo

Frank Gehry’s press conference in Oviedo, Spain—on the occasion of his picking up the prestigious Príncipe de Asturias 2014 art award—was running smoothly yesterday. Then a Spanish journalist asked the starchitect what he made of the critics who consider his architecture a “spectacle.”

By way of response, a silent Gehry proceeded ceremoniously to raise his middle finger, El País reports, leaving the attending journalists stunned and laughing with embarrassment.

Gehry was in top form yesterday. And the finger incident was not his only stunt. At another point during the conference, he declared: “Let me tell you guys, in the world that we live in, 98% of the buildings built are pure shit. They have no sense of design, or respect for humanity, for judgment, for nothing.”

Gehry apologized for his behavior later that evening, after a day packed with cultural visits, meetings with local figures, and public speeches all over town. “I’m sorry about my reaction before. It caught me off guard,” he apologized. He later added: “I’m not asking for anyone to hire me. I just want to be left to work in peace.”

Gehry had flown to Oviedo from Paris, where he attended the inauguration of the Fondation Louis Vuitton—housed in a building he designed (see “Take a Sneak Peak at the Fondation Louis Vuitton“)—alongside France’s president François Hollande. The foundation’s inaugural program includes an exhibition of Gehry’s oeuvre, which runs concurrently with his first major European retrospective at the Centre Pompidou.


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