Frank Gehry’s Fish Lamps on View at New York’s Jewish Museum
by Nicholas Tamarin | Monday, August 30, 2010 | 2 Comments
There’s something fishy going on at the Jewish Museum in New York. That’s because “Fish Forms: Lamps by Frank Gehry” is now open and on view through October 31. Exploring the significance of fish imagery in the legendary, Los Angeles-based architect’s work, the exhibit features eight of his interior-lit fish lamps displayed in near darkness, creating a gallery of glowing orbs.
Gehry came up with the idea for the lamps when he was asked by the Formica Corporation to make something with their then new laminate product ColorCore, which, when he broke a piece, created shards that resembled fish scales. Gehry turned to his Venice, California neighbors, the fabrication studio New City Editions, to produce the lamps he designed and approved and the team created approximately 30 between 1984 and 1986.
“The lamps are beautiful, whimsical works from a mind of great ingenuity and creativity,” says Ruth Beesch, the Jewish Museum’s deputy director for program and the organizer of the exhibit. “They are a fantastic blending of idea and material with the translucent shards perfectly fulfilling Gehry’s artistic vision.”
In addition to the lamps, an accompanying slide show highlights how the fish form has morphed from an iconic symbol to a transformative object throughout Gehry’s fabled career. As Gehry says, “If you really want to go back into the past, why not do fish?”