Frank Gehry's Genius = Gefilte Fish

When Vanity Fair released the results of its poll for the best piece of architecture built in the last 30 years, Frank Gehry's Guggenheim Bilbao Museum had the most votes by far. Twenty-eight of the 52 people surveyed--most of them leading architects, academics and critics--voted for the Bilbao museum, compared with the next best thing, Renzo Piano's Menil Collection museum in Houston, which got nine.

Gehry's lopsided victory inspired a lenghty piece in the magazine by Matt Tyrnauer, a Vanity Fair editor who oversaw the survey. The piece does an excellent job explaining Gehry's artistic evolution, from his first inspired moment seeing the Chartes Cathedral, to his later influences like seeing the combines of Rauschenberg and Jasper Johns.  But perhaps most interesting, Tyrnauer notes the importance of fish. Gehry's fascination with the species lend his mature work their nautical, silvery and often bulbous shape.  Often, you see their shiny curves, and think, salmon! Or if you're Jewish, lox!

Gehry is of course Jewish (ne Goldberg). So you can't help but wonder whether his fascination with fish actually has something to do with lox. That's what I was thinking when I read Tyrnauer's essay, but I was wrong.  Lox has nothing to do it.

It's actually gefilte fish.

Sondheim, Unrevealed

The great composer who held up a mirror
to us remains elusive himself in new production.

Special To The Jewish Week

If Andrew Lloyd Webber supersized the Broadway musical, inflating it with an operatic grandeur that distanced it from everyday life, Stephen Sondheim made it about us — our relationships, our struggles for self-esteem, our wrestlings with our yearnings and fears.

The cast of “Sondheim on Sondheim,” including Vanessa Williams, left, and Barbara Cook, seated at center.

Augie March, In The Flesh

Norman Mailer could throw a punch, but as a writer he bobbed and weaved around his Jewishness.

Special To The Jewish Week

One virtue of the novel is that fictional characters often outlive the novelist who created them. Actually, that’s one of the reasons why some people give up their day jobs to tell stories instead. Aside from having children, fiction writing is one of the best ways to leave evidence of oneself. And, in some cases — think Atticus Finch, Ebenezer Scrooge, and Tom Sawyer — it can even lead to immortality.

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