Frank gehry`s fish and crocodile lamp sculptures illuminate gagosian new york`s exhibition

Designboom_In Gagosian New York, Frank Gehry’s Fish Lamp sculptures and works on paper light up, float in the air, and adorn the walls of the gallery, forming his recent exhibition titled Ruminations. Large-scale objects lit up through LED lights and small colored sketches all gather inside Gagosian New York to celebrate some of the revered sculptures and works of the American architect and designer, from his Fish Lamps and Crocodile Lamp sculptures to several works on paper that have not previously been seen in New York. Frank Gehry’s fish design also appeared in his handbag collection with Louis Vuitton during Art Basel Miami 2023. The exhibition runs from February 8th to April 6th, 2024.

In the Ruminations exhibition, Frank Gehry’s Fish Lamp sculptures are made of copper and Formica, a laminated composite material, with lights inserted inside the artworks. One of the copper fish hangs from the ceiling of Gagosian New York, floating adjacent to Untitled (Black Crocodile New York) (2023) crawling upwards on the walls of the gallery, luminous through the lights inside its black-colored body. The leaf-like scales on the copper fish are drawn from what Frank Gehry saw during a hike with his granddaughter. He shaped what he remembered into scaly, copper fish that swim downward, seemingly enjoying the flow of invisible water.

The fish lamp sculptures are rooted in a 1983 commission that Frank Gehry received from the Formica Corporation before they graced the exhibition. The company wanted the architect and designer to use their ColorCore plastic laminate. Its stark shade, malleable form, and scale-like appearance encouraged Frank Gehry to shape it into fish affixed to molded wire armatures and illuminated using LED lights inside their bodies. In Gagosian New York, his attention to detail is noticeable as the fish lamp sculptures embody layered and thoroughly formed spiky scales.

In Crocodile Lamp, Frank Gehry reiterates his fascination with animals and transforms metal wire, Colorcore formica, and silicone into an immobile sculpture that emulates its freshwater living counterpart. This interest in animals was also conveyed in Bear with Us (2014), a life-size stainless-steel sculpture that can now be found in the sculpture garden of the New Orleans Museum of Art. An equine sculpture of it was also produced for Cheval Blanc in Paris. For the exhibition, the amicable sculpture lays still on the walls of Gagosian New York as it halts from crawling, complementing Frank Gehry’s freestanding fish lamp sculptures on a heavy, handmade wooden base.

Gagosian New York’s Ruminations exhibition also features Frank Gehry’s several small works in ink, watercolor, and acrylic on paper. In these joyful drawings, the architect and designer draws spiraling black lines, a signature style of his other works on paper, which can signal his vigorous motion in art. Patches of liquid color top the spiral lines, completing his works and resonating with his architectural sketches and studies. Through the forms of the lamp sculptures and works on paper, the exhibition recalls forms and elements that reappear throughout Frank Gehry’s architectural oeuvre, such as in 2003’s Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles; Guggenheim Bilbao (1997); and Guggenheim Abu Dhabi (opening 2025).