Frank Gehry and company are seeing dollar signs, according to this piece in the NY Times, “For Architects, the Archives as Gold Mine.” In the past, says the article, it was something of a grateful honor for famous architects (and anyone else in creative fields for that matter) to donate their entire body of notes and scribbles to a university or museum. But now there’s big money to be made in handing them off and that’s exactly what those in the know (and those whose work is deemed important enough to purchase, of course) are doing. Here’s some:
The architect Peter Eisenman, 74, says he could not afford not to sell his archives, which he did for an undisclosed amount to the Canadian Center for Architecture in Montreal; the sale was made in pieces over the last 10 years. The goal was to provide for his children, he said.
“I’m not in a position to give it away,” said the architect, whose projects have included the Wexner Center for the Arts in Columbus, Ohio, and the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe in Berlin. Currently he is negotiating with the Beinecke Library at Yale University over some of his collected books and magazines, which could go there partly as a donation.
The bargaining power of these architects is buttressed by the spike in popular appreciation for architecture as an art form. “Architecture is one of the many expressions of the culture of the time,” said Wim de Wit, the Getty Research Institute‘s curator of architectural collections. “It is as important as a literary archive or the archives of artists.”