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They're Either Mad About--or Mad at--Frank Gehry

November 22, 1998

Frank Gehry complains that Los Angeles is unappreciative of his talent ("Inside the Mind of Frank Gehry," by Nicolai Ouroussoff, Oct. 25). As a Brit who has lived, worked in and loved this city for 30 years, I've often wondered why Angelenos seem reluctant to recognize and honor their own.

Too frequently Angelenos have focused their eyes eastward, toward what they believe must be a brighter shining star. While many have hastened to the new Getty Center to marvel at the translucent quality of its marble, I'll bet that when Disney Hall is finally built, it will be the defining building of this city. Hopefully, it will do for Los Angeles what Gehry's Guggenheim Museum building did for Bilbao, Spain.

Eyes around the world are now focused on the West. If Gehry holds on a bit longer, his day of appreciation will surely come.

Jo Ann Burton

Los Angeles

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In the '70s and '80s, I owned and operated the Santa Monica restaurant Le Saint Michel. My regular customers included Gehry and Sam Francis.

One night, I had an interesting conversation with Gehry during which he advised me to offer complimentary dinners to his dining companion. The idea was that Francis would, in return, offer me a painting or perhaps even draw something on a menu, a la Picasso.

In hindsight, I would have been wiser to offer the complimentary meals to Gehry. Maybe he would have offered me a plan for my house.

Paul Guillemin

Manhattan Beach

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Finally, the truth comes out: Gehry admits, "I'm confused as to what's ugly and what's pretty." The pilgrimage to the Guggenheim in Bilbao must have much to do with a public that wants to witness firsthand how a rich client can be fooled into building such an ugly building by a "confused" architect. Los Angeles will be next. People will come from miles around to ask, "How could this happen in the center of our city?"

Brian Mitchell

Los Angeles

*

The king's new clothes are alive and well and worn daily by Frank Gehry. He and his benefactors should be prosecuted for blighting landscapes and affronting the sensibilities of the sane.

Lawrence J. Pippick

Los Angeles

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