Gehry in Ireland

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    • #708462

      Coming home last night I was very much amazed to read in Cara – the Aer Lingus magazine

      – firstly, that Portadown N.I. had a “Millenium Court Arts Centre”

      – and even more extraordinary that this institution would host a Frank Gehry Exhibition from 30 March to 27 May 2006.

      Called “Frank Gehry – Architect, designs for museums”
      This is said to be the only European venue for this world touring exposition.

    • #775528
      Paul Clerkin

      There is a possibility that Gehry will be in Portadown at the Millennium Court Gallery for the opening of an exhibition of his work on March 30.

      To many Gehry and Portadown may seem like a surprising pairing, but not in the organiser’s book.

      She is Megan Johnston, an American married to a Belfast man. She believes in going for the best at all levels.

      She has managed to secure the ‘Frank Gehry Architect: Designs For Museums’ show from the Frederick R Weisman Art Museum at the University of Minnesota.

      The exhibition was organised in the US to mark the 10th anniversary of the Weisman Museum – one of Gehry’s clients.

      Gehry’s designs for museums have made him one of the best-known architects in the world.

      The rocketing success of his Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, which opened in 1997, assured Gehry of megastardom and made him a must-have architect for any town with a failing economy.

      Post-industrial Bilbao’s tourism figures rose by 20% within a few years of the museum opening. Few people really knew where Bilbao was before Gehry made his mark.

      The Portadown exhibition will take place in what was originally the Market House for Portadown; it was redesigned by architect Harry Porter who is also on the board of the Millennium Court Gallery.

      It is a marvellous space and prides itself on being one of the few neutral venues in the town hosting a range of exhibitions which reflect local cultural issues and the wide visual culture of Ireland.

      Megan has been centre manager for two years and she clearly has a vision for ‘her’ gallery – and without her the Gehry show would not be happening.

      It is her baby and she wants to see it take its bow with as much pizzazz as possible – not least because she wants to make sure that Gehry is there for the opening. He is currently working in Brighton; a short hop away and much wood is being touched and fingers crossed that he will visit Co Armagh.

      The exhibition presents four Gehry designed museums and six museum projects that are at various stages of design or construction.

      “I want buildings that have passion in them, that have feeling in them, that make people feel something, even if they get mad at them.” That was Frank Gehry quoted in ‘The Essential Frank O Gehry’ by Laurence B Cholet.

      The people of Portadown and Northern Ireland will have a chance to sample that passion from March to May. This will be the first major exhibition of Gehry’s work in Ireland and the UK.

      Both of these exhibitions have been funded by the Arts Council of NI’s special architecture fund.

      The Gehry exhibition will be a high profile event for Portadown, attracting interest from a very wide field.

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