Marge Simpson Nixes Gehry at MOCA

MOCA’s “A New Sculpturalism: Contemporary Architecture from Southern California” is in jeopardy, reports Christopher Hawthorne in the L.A. Times. The much-anticipated survey of digital-LA’s swoopy architecture is/was to open June 2 as a linchpin of the Getty’s “PST Presents: Modern Architecture in Los Angeles.”

Explains Hawthorne, Frank Gehry “withdrew from the exhibition last month, despite what he described as entreaties from [guest curator Christopher] Mount, MOCA Director Jeffrey Deitch and top officials from the Getty. ‘I didn’t feel comfortable in it,’ Gehry said. ‘It didn’t seem to be a scholarly, well-organized show… I’m subject to misunderstanding about the seriousness of my work. People assume I am just crumpling paper, and so forth. This was feeling a bit that way, a trivialization.”

“Crumpling paper” merits a sidebar. In 2011, CNN’s Fahreed Zakaria asked Gehry about “the famous story that you took a piece of paper and crumpled it and looked at it, and that was the Disney Hall in L.A.”

“But that’s a famous story because The Simpsons had me do that,” Gehry replied. “It has haunted me. People who’ve seen The Simpsons believe it.”

Rewind to 2005. Gehry was the first starchitect to do an animated guest shot on The Simpsons. Blue-haired homemaker Marge Simpson writes Gehry a letter, asking him to design a concert hall for Springfield. Gehry crumples up the letter. When he sees the tossed letter’s shape, he recognizes a work of genius.

The Simpsons gag has grown into an urban legend believed by otherwise well-informed journalists and clients. Gehry complained to CNN, “Clients come to me and say, ‘Crumple a piece of paper, we’ll give you $100 and then we’ll build it.’”

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