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BY THE BOOK: Frank Gehry revealed his sensitive side — and some sharp edges — during a talk in Venice on Friday at the opening of the 12th International Architecture Biennale. The architect, who is working on a museum in Paris for the Fondation Louis Vuitton, talked about the first time he saw the building site, in the Bois de Boulogne. “I thought to myself that — absolutely — Marcel Proust had been here, and that brought tears to my eyes. So I knew I wanted the building to have an ephemeral quality; I wanted it to exist with the trees and in relation to the children’s park nearby. I wanted there to be a progression of art and landscape into the building,” he said during a Q&A on another of his ongoing projects in France, LUMA/Parc des Ateliers in Arles.
The Vuitton building, which is currently under construction, “has a lot of glass, which is counter-productive for a museum — so there will be an inside shell,” Gehry said. He added that Bernard Arnault, who is the president of the foundation, was a “very hands-on client” — but nonetheless an easy one to work with. The museum will open at the end of 2012 and house 20th-century art. Gehry wasn’t as effusive, however, about the state of America. “The messiness of the modern city represents the messiness of our politics today. I recently took refuge from the political idiocy in the United States by rereading ‘Don Quixote’ — and it made me feel better.”