Sunday, May 1, 2011

T.Russo - Gehry/Weisman Art Museum

Frank Gehry: Frederick R. Weisman Art Museum

I chose to write about the Frederick R. Weisman Art Museum designed by Frank Gehry. It’s hard to pick just one of his man designs: They are all intriguing and admirable, and wish I can pick all of them! The Frederick R. Weisman Art Museum is located in Minneapolis, on the campus of the University of Minnesota. Although the museum existed since 1934, the actual current structure was not completed until 1993. Future expansion was planned in 2009, but due to economic restlessness, expansion was delayed until spring of 2010 and five new galleries were added in October of 2011. The museum was named after Frederick R. Weisman, who was a recognized art collector born in Minneapolis. Other museums dedicated to Weisman are located in California, which exhibit much of his personal collection.
Upon first look, I am immediately reminded of the movie, “House on Haunted Hill”, by Alfred Hitchcock. The stainless steel paneling gives the building an “aggressive” and somewhat intimidating look to it. The various vertical inclinations in certain areas of the building make it seem paramount to it’s surroundings – just like the eerie building in the film. I also like this building because it reminds me of a castle-like structure filled with imagination and awe like something from the Disney classic, “Fantasia”. I think the scariness is overshadowed by a castle look, and puts aside any feelings of uneasiness, invoking curiosity and wonder with a childlike fascination to explore the building. The various curves in the structure look wild and creative and compliment the contrasting “confinements” of the steel.
I think the inspiration of the building can be from the personal art collection of Weisman. A well-known collector of 20th century modern art, Weisman was also a successful business entrepreneur in various markets consisting of canned packaging and Mid-Atlantic Toyota, as well as pharmaceuticals and banking. The structure definitely has industrial undertones, but is mixed with a creative, imaginative, contemporary design.

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