American Masters: Season 20, Episode 7

Sketches of Frank Gehry (27 Sep. 2006)

TV Episode  -   -  Documentary | Biography | History
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Ratings: 7.1/10 from 1,302 users   Metascore: 71/100
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A look at the life and work of the renown architect.


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Title: Sketches of Frank Gehry (27 Sep 2006)

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Episode credited cast:
Charles Arnoldi ...
Himself (as Chuck Arnoldi)
Rolf Fehlbaum ...
Hal Foster ...
Himself (archive footage)
Mildred Friedman ...
Frank O. Gehry ...
Charles Jencks ...
Philip Johnson ...
Thomas Krens ...
Peter Lewis ...
Herbert Muschamp ...


A look at the life and career of architect Frank Gehry (1929 - ), a visit to four buildings (the Vitra Museum in Germany, Maggie's Centre, the Guggenheim in Bilbao, and the Disney Concert Hall in L.A.), and an inquiry into creativity in conversations between Ghery and Sidney Pollack, whom Gehry asked to make this picture. Early experiences (playing with blocks with his grandmother, drawing with his father, hearing Alvar Aalto lecture), discovering computer-assisted design, finding a psychoanalyst, experimenting on his own home, and bringing an artist and sculptor's sensibility to architecture are part of Gehry's story. Friends, artists, critics, and curators comment. Written by <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for brief strong language | See all certifications »





Release Date:

27 September 2006 (USA)  »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$17,239 (USA) (12 May 2006)


$438,256 (USA) (1 September 2006)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


The last film (documentary) directed by Sydney Pollack. See more »


References Apocalypse Now (1979) See more »

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User Reviews

Let's Get Crankier
17 June 2006 | by (Dallas, Texas) – See all my reviews

Greetings again from the darkness. "Where did that come from?". That is the question Frank Gehry admits to asking himself after some projects are complete. His art should be considered along with the great painters, sculptors and musicians of our time. Gehry's friendship with director Sydney Pollack adds a different dimension to this documentary. Normally the focus should be on the subject, but Pollack actually helps us crawl inside this unique, brilliant man.

Watching the Princeton art "expert" provide the alternative take on Mr. Gehry's creation is actually quite humorous. The art world can't possibly take architecture seriously - especially when they are concerned that the building may be more impressive than the art work inside! One of the highlights is the exploration from design to completion of the magnificent Guggenheim in Bilbao, Spain. This is unlike anything I have ever seen and may just motivate me to someday make the trip. Some of his other structures are viewed, but the disappointing aspect of the film is that we don't see enough. What we do see is nothing short of fascinating. His house around his home is mind-boggling. However, what makes this special is the conversation and opening up with Mr. Gehry. He attempts to provide credit to his "team", but we are left with no doubt that the man is a genius.

Some celebs get their chance to spew forth with glowing comments. These include Bob Geldof, Michael Ovitz, Barry Diller and Dennis Hopper. Hopper's interview is disappointing in that we never get a glimpse of the Gehry design. Another interesting aspect is the curious inclusion of Mr. Gehry's long time psychiatrist, the colorful Milton Wexler. Wexler has a twinkle in his eye when discussing Gehry and how the two have been very good to and for each other.

Overall, a very insightful look into the creative process of a giant in the world of architecture. Nice work by first time documentarian Pollack and thanks to Mr. Gehry for opening up.

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