The beginning of summer in Seattle was celebrated with more fanfare than usual in 2000 as the long awaited Experience Music Project opened in a spectacular building designed by Frank O. Gehry. For many months Seattle residents and visitors watched and wondered as the muscular steel ribs of the building grew in the shadow of the Space Needle. Steel beams bent like pasta were knit together to form a sculptural shape that was unique, dynamic and unquestionably the work of one of the world's best-known architects. As a poly-chromed skin was stretched over the structure, in hues rarely seen in the architectural palette of the Pacific Northwest, it was clear that Seattle's newest and most remarkable landmark was coming to life.
As public curiosity grew about the building we thought a fitting celebration of our newest museum coincided well with the Henry's longstanding interest in expanding understanding of contemporary architecture. We set out to find an exhibition that would put EMP in the context of Frank O. Gehry and Associates' previous projects. As luck would have it, architectural curator Kirsten Kiser had conceived of such an exhibition for the Louisiana Museum in Denmark: Frank O. Gehry: The Architect's Studio. After completing a tour in Europe, and with the enthusiastic support of Ms. Kiser and the FOGA office, it has been slightly reconfigured for its only presentation in the United States here at the Henry.
We are grateful for Kirsten Kiser's intelligent and dynamic evocation of Frank O. Gehry's creative process and the energy and goodwill she brought to the Henry's presentation. We are very appreciative of Frank O. Gehry and Associates' support for the exhibition at the Henry and their willingness to provide updated material for this presentation of the exhibition. Local collectors William and Ruth True and Bagley and Virginia Wright provided additional works for the exhibition, and art critic Christopher Knight wrote an insightful essay for this catalogue. Support for presentation of the exhibition at the Henry Art Gallery has been provided by: the Corporate Council for the Arts Guendolen Carkeek Plestcheeff Decorative and Design Arts Fund; Krekow Jennings Inc.; LMN Architects; NBBJ; Sparling; Stuart Silk Architects; Carlson Architects; Rohleder Borges Fleming; George Suyama Architects and the Henry Art Gallery Contemporary Art Fund.
Finally, I would like to thank the staff of the Henry for their efforts to bring this exhibition to Seattle, in particular, Sara Pasti, Director of Curatorial Affairs, Jim Rittiman, Exhibition Designer/Head Preparator, and the staff of the curatorial department for their combined efforts in realizing the show at the Henry; Monique Shira and Dean Welshman for their contributions in communication and design; and Rebecca Garrity and Felicia Gonzalez for their success in securing exhibition underwriting.
Director, Henry Art Gallery