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Misunderstood Architect in Company With Greats

June 14, 1997

It was disheartening to read the responses of two readers (Saturday Letters, Calendar, June 7) to the article "Gehry's Guggenheim: An Instant Landmark" (June 2). Both letters expressed horror and disbelief, one describing Gehry's masterpiece, the Guggenheim Bilbao, as looking like "a building that has been hit by a bomb," while the other likened it to Universal Studio's "Waterworld" stage show.

It is truly saddening--but I suppose to be expected--that people still react as they always have to visionary artists working on the cutting edge of their discipline: with scorn and ridicule. I am reminded that people taunted Van Gogh as he walked through the streets of Arles; that Mozart's early compositions were considered incomprehensible by many of his contemporaries; that Picasso was laughed at by viewers--and even art critics--who claimed his paintings were nothing a child couldn't do.

I guess misunderstanding is a burden great artists must forever be prepared to endure. I hope Frank Gehry can take comfort that he is in good company!

SEAN COLGIN

Santa Monica

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