Architects and critics are obsessed with prizes, so maybe, on the strength of Philip Nobel's recent dissection of their mutual back-slapping tendencies (see yesterday's post), I should institute a Nobel Prize for Craven Criticism.
However, I don't think Chris Ayres -- LA Correspondent for the London Times -- would have won it for his piece at TIMESONLINE on Frank Gehry. His is just Dumb Criticism, utilising a technique that would be an insult even to Paris Hilton. He's never read any other interviews with Gehry, evidently: asking him to tell the story about the carp in the bath-tub, and registering Frank's reaction to the question -- "Oh, that's an old story", and "[heavy sigh] you don't want to go into all that, do ya?" -- without a hint of self-awareness. And he clearly has no conception of how an architect works: asking why there is cardboard all over the floor, and then wondering why Frank leaves the room for 15 minutes. Still, it neatly puffs Pollack's Sketches film about Gehry, just released in the UK -- which I suppose is all an LA Correspondent is for.
This is the Toby Young school of car-crash journalism, and sheds no new light whatever on the "Great Man". Is there any new light to shed? you might ask: I'm sure Tom Dyckhoff -- the Times's real, and rather admirable, architecture critic -- will do a better job in finding out, after spending two whole evenings conducting public interviews with the architect: last night and tonight.
Who critiques the critics? Well, Jack Hughes has a try. He's interested in the pack mentality that raises some architects to prominence, and dashes others to pieces. Or worse ... that ignores vaste swathes of what gets built.