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 1,301 users   Metascore: 71/100
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A look at the life and work of the renown architect.


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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 Columbo (1971) See more »

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User Reviews

A Nutshell Review: Sketches of Frank Gehry
30 November 2006 | by (Singapore) – See all my reviews

Frank Gehry is the world renowned architect who designed the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain. This documentary, directed by his friend Sydney Pollack, takes a quick look into the man himself, as well as to showcase some of the designs of the past 20 years or so, including the Guggenheim, which is given plenty of airtime.

Nearer to home, the Kerzner-CapitaLand's Sentosa Integrated Resort bid boasts of having its architecture designed by Gehry. Response has been mixed that it resembles one of his earlier pieces, but hey, it's Frank Gehry, and having one of his designs here, if it gets awarded, will be one heck of an attraction in itself.

Gehry mentioned during the interview that Pollack was given the nod to do the documentary was because of his lack of knowledge in the field. Perhaps it's because coming from the outside, he would be able to provide a fresh perspective into how architecture is viewed, from a layman. There's nothing much to shout about in this film, except to drool at the various eclectic designs and buildings Gehry built, and to go behind the scenes to try and pick his brain about the processes and idiosyncrasies he lives by.

And watching the master at work is amazing. From his squiggly sketches, they evolve into grand monuments, often undergoing countless of changes on the fly. There are plenty of hacks on models, and the amount of material spent making these models is simply staggering. It's no wonder he has a dedicated team of professionals working under him, and together they create art. I'm also impressed by Gehry's vast knowledge on materials, as they are equally important in bringing to life the designs from paper to the actual building.

Watch this documentary if you want to have a glimpse of how Frank Gehry goes about his work combining art with architectural design, and of the little nuggets of information he shares about his work and design philosophy, as well as a rare glimpse into this life from interviews and dialogues with colleagues and friends.

Now I'm rooting for the Kerzner-CapitaLand bid, just to have a Gehry designed building on our shores :-)

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