It can't be easy being the world's most famous living architect. Sometimes you have to say what's on your mind. Sometimes words just won't do. No, that's not Frank Gehry demonstrating the spire of his newest skyscraper. That's Frank Gehry giving you—and all his critics—the finger.
Now, keep in mind, this is the same architect who built this:
The same man who many consider the world's worst living architect. But Gehry's digit was raised nonetheless recently, at a press conference covered by El Mundo in Oviedo, Spain – not far at all from his beloved Guggenheim in Bilbao – where he was receiving an award. Sure, Gehry has become a little more crotchety in recent years, but things were going as well as could be expected, until a reporter asked this: "How do you answer to those who accuse you of practising showy architecture?"
The crowd fell silent as the Great Gehry replied by slowly curling his hand into a fist and extending his middle finger towards the sky. The moderator asked for the next question. But Gehry was not finished, according to El Mundo (translated back into English by our own Jesus Diaz):
Let me tell you one thing. In this world we are living in, 98 per cent of everything that is built and designed today is pure shit. There's no sense of design, no respect for humanity or for anything else. They are damn buildings and that's it. Once in a while, however, there's a small group of people who does something special. Very few. But good god, leave us alone! We are dedicated to our work. I don't ask for work. I don't have a publicist. I'm not waiting for anyone to call me. I work with clients who respect the art of architecture. Therefore, please don't ask questions as stupid as that one.
This was followed by a long, uncomfortable silence, according to the report.
Gehry managed eventually to mutter an apology, explaining that he was tired from his trip.
Hey, no need to apologise, Frank! You're 85! And you know what? You can keep on building whatever shit you want!
Gehry's new Fondation Louis Vuitton, which opened last week, via Christophe Ena/AP
Top image AP