An Iowa-based philanthropist and architecture aficionado has offered a $300 million reward to any city anywhere in the world that dares to hire someone other than Frank Gehry to design its gleaming new art museum.
\”Don\’t get me wrong, I like iconoclastic, swoopy structures that look like bashed-in sardine cans as much as the next guy,\” says the philanthropist, who wishes to remain nameless for fear of enraging close friends in the art world. \”I like Czech dance halls that look like a 747 plowed right into the façade as much as anybody. I bow to no man in my admiration for an architect who can design an art museum that looks like a intergalactic recycling center. I just thought it would be nice to give the second-most-famous architect in the world a shot at a payday. Whoever he is. I know I\’ve got his name here somewhere.\”
The philanthropist\’s gambit underscores how amazingly popular Mr. Gehry\’s playful, irreverent architecture has become in recent years, and how hard it is to find anyone helming a major municipal building project who would dare to hire someone else to execute a commission. The latest is a 76-story structure in lower Manhattan, the largest swoopy apartment building in the world.