“There have been very few individuals in all of history who have changed the course of architecture, and Frank is one of them,” said J. Paul Getty Trust President and CEO James Cuno. “He effectively reinvented architecture with his use of new technologies in the design of beautiful and iconic buildings. And architecture will never be the same as a result.”
Over more than five decades, Frank Gehry has built an architectural career that has produced iconic buildings in North America, Europe and Asia, and earned him the most significant awards in the field, including the Pritzker Architecture Prize, perhaps architecture’s premier accolade. Other honors include the National Medal of Arts, Ordre National de Legion d’honneur Commandeur from the French government, Golden Lion Lifetime Achievement Award at the Venice Biennale, and others too numerous to mention.
Among his most notable buildings are the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain; the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, California; the Jay Pritzker Pavilion and BP Bridge in Chicago, Illinois; Eight Spruce Street Residential Tower in New York City; and Fondation Louis Vuitton in Paris, France. In all, his buildings have received more than 100 national and regional AIA awards. In 2010, Vanity Fair conducted a survey of architects to determine the most important building of the last 30 years: Gehry’s Bilbao museum was the overwhelming winner.
Raised in Toronto, Canada, Frank Gehry moved with his family to Los Angeles in 1947. He received his Bachelor of Architecture degree from USC in 1954, and studied city planning at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design. He founded Gehry Partners, LLP, in Los Angeles in 1962, a full-service architectural firm that developed extensive international experience in the design and construction of academic, museum, theater, performance and commercial projects.
Hallmarks of Mr. Gehry’s work include a concern that people dwell comfortably within the spaces that he creates, and an insistence that his buildings address the context and culture of their sites.
Despite his international stature and renown, he continues to be closely associated with Los Angeles, where his 1978 redesign of his Santa Monica home launched his international career.
“Frank holds a special place in his art for the work of contemporary artists. He was a central figure in the contemporary art world in Los Angeles in the 1960s and 70s, working closely with Billy Al Bengston, Larry Bell, John Altoon, Bob Irwin, Ed Moses, Ed Ruscha and Ken Price. And he continues to work closely with artists, including Claes Oldenburg and Jeff Koons, for whom he has collaborated on deeply sensitive installations of their work,” said Cuno. “Given his contributions to architecture, and the Getty’s extensive research and collections in Los Angeles art and architecture at the mid-century and beyond, and the commitment of the Getty Conservation Institute, the Getty Foundation, and the Getty Research Institute to the conservation and study of modern architecture, it is fitting that we present Frank with our highest honor.”
The J. Paul Getty Medal was established in 2013 by the trustees of the J. Paul Getty Trust to recognize living individuals from all over the world for their leadership in the fields in which the Getty works. The first recipients were Harold M. Williams and Nancy Englander, who were honored for their leadership in creating the Getty as it exists today, and the second was Lord Jacob Rothschild, honored as the most influential volunteer cultural leader in the English-speaking world.
The J. Paul Getty Trust is an international cultural and philanthropic institution devoted to the visual arts that includes the J. Paul Getty Museum, the Getty Research Institute, the Getty Conservation Institute, and the Getty Foundation. The J. Paul Getty Trust and Getty programs serve a varied audience from two locations: the Getty Center in Los Angeles and the Getty Villa in Malibu.