People with the means, the time and the religious zeal often head to northern Spain if they are interested in a pilgrimage. Depending on the nature of one’s religion that can include either or both of these:
Santiago de Campostela
or the Guggenheim Bilbao.
Fenster likes to travel. And as a green tree frog originally from the Pogo comic strip, he has the leisure time and the resources from his residuals from Pogo to make a journey. It’s expensive though and the larger problem is that the religious zeal is lacking. One could say the flesh is willing but the spirit is weak.
But a smaller commitment made sense. So Fenster and a friend headed off to see another Gehry Building, the Stata Center at MIT.
Instead of a long, expensive journey, possibly undertaken at risk of life or limb, this was just a short, free bike ride from home. And let me tell you it was worth every penny.
The vehry name Gehry is going to get people riled up in these parts I know. Over on a related Facebook page someone posted a quote of his in which he is asserts that “denying the architect’s right to self-expression is like denying democracy.” Well, the comments lit right up, lighting into Frank for wrapping his elitist sensibilities in the flag, as though he is entitled–by the commoners–to his commissions.
But let me give Stata one cheer. And I give it a cheer for being–well, if not cheery, at least a little looser and more flippant than the generally dreary environment at MIT. That campus until not so long ago resembled a set of army barracks, with overtones of an aging electronics assembly factory in 1965 China. The campus has gotten way glossier in the past decades but it still feels like it is not much fun. It’s now half white collar industrial park and half construction site.
You have to give the Stata Center this: it has a certain theme park hall of mirrors fun side to it, and that is not all bad. Much architecture nowadays is hell bent on making you feel rotten since what is so great about normal human reactions anyways? Take your postmodern medicine, asshole.
My wife and several of her friends found themselves there not so long ago and reported back, as regular human beings and frogs with pronounced non-elite tendencies, that they liked it. It was fun. It was pleasurable. And if you want to hang around, you are free to do so in the amphitheater out back, a venue that is perhaps lacking in pure classical grace but which is intended to function in a classic fashion, as a place where recognizable human creatures can assemble either informally or formally, for a performance or event.
Fenster’s friend also thought it OK. Here we are out front . . .
I am looking to increase the volume of comments to my posts and I figure saying anything positive about Frank Gehry might get the juices flowing. Bring it on!