Frank Gehry's Grammy Awards Poster: A Transparent Attempt at High-Brow Legitimacy? Not So Fast

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Wed, Dec 14, 2011 at 3:28 PM

click to enlarge Gehrycrop.jpg
Last week saw the release of the official poster for the 54th Grammy Awards, which was designed by the patron saint of L.A. architecture, Frank Gehry.

At first, the poster seems to be another flailing attempt by the Grammys to maintain their relevance in a world where the value of music, and the award itself, is changing. It's like they wanted someone respected in another industry to say, "Hey, look, the Grammys are still cool, remember?" Imagine Picasso shilling for the Oscars. You get the idea.

On a cursory glance, the poster seems to be a Michel Gondry model for a retrofuturistic stop animation film. A kitchy, DIY experiment. But on further inspection, a much deeper, closer look, Gehry's city is really pretty rad.

It's a vision of an entire cityscape designed by Gehry, where buildings are warped like a piece of old vinyl. It could be a snapshot of downtown during an earthquake, where buildings twist and turn, and rubble mingles with still standing structures. Gehry is deft at creating buildings in motion, with lines that curve and lean into one another.

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The more I look at it, the more I can imagine living there among these towers, walking on the streets underneath that crystal tornado tower or wavy slice of bacon skyscraper. Maybe I'd work as file clerk on the ground floor of the balsa wood building with the blown-up top, and ride my bike to visit my friends working the desk at the steel ice cube modern art museum next door. We'd head to the mixed use artist lofts that seem to sway in the wind, have happy hour at the rooftop bar and toss pennies off the roof.

This city seems like a great place to live. I can imagine spending a lifetime there, finding new parts of town, hiding in the shadows of the salt block building. The one thing I'd erase from this whimsical city?

Oh yeah, that monstrous golden Grammy.

Everything else seems quite nice.

Follow @LAWeeklyArts on Twitter.

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