Walt Disney Hall

Subject: Art
Type: Profile Essay
Pages: 4
Word count: 1137
Topics: Architecture, Art History, Walt Disney

The concept of contemporary approaches in art has become dominant in numerous artistic pieces that are presented in modern artwork and different utility works that are present. It is important to note that the artworld has observed numerous resonances that translate to different meanings of art. The Walt Disney Hall which was designed by the famous architect known as Frank Gehry was opened in 2003 in Los Angeles after its’ construction had been slowed down for a couple of years due to an increase in the budget (“Walt Disney Concert Hall.”, 2017). Frank Gehry who is an American- Canadian architect drew his inspiration for this building from clipper ships. He created the building so that it would look like a windblown sailboat. Although his work on the Guggenheim Museum was realized first, he had already come up with the Walt Disney Hall prior to designing the Guggenheim Museum.

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The building history dates all the back to 1987 when the widow of a businessman, Lillian Walt Disney donated a sum of 50 million dollars so that a philharmonic hall would be built the sum needed for the hall later rose to over 200 million dollars thus causing the delay in the building of the hall. The reason for this was that Los Angeles could have a reference point for art, music, and architecture which would boost its cultural level. There was a competition for the position of the architecture of the building and over 70 people applied (“Walt Disney Concert Hall.”, 2017). Gehry won and was chosen to design the building, Gehry put in its characteristics and style just like has been seen in his previous works. The Walt Disney Hall which is located on the downtown side of Los Angeles on the Hill Bunker Hill is currently the headquarters of the Philharmonic of Los Angeles.

According to Nancy, the concept of “contemporary art” translates to experiencing art. Consequently, contemporary art can only be classified as a state (Smith, 2012). Therefore, the standard definition of contemporary architecture is the classification of the architectural forms as an experience that is aimed at creating a condition. Nancy also notes that contemporary art offers a historical approach comprising a historical approach since it may be changed in unanticipated directions. Therefore, Nancy seems to imply that contemporariness should trigger constant evolution and change to embrace the exclusion of art that is made in the contemporary world and encompass future art (Smith, 2012). Therefore, the building itself can be considered a great work of art. The design and style used by the creator, Gehry is unique and classical. The form taken by the building is extravagant and is seen as one that goes against any rules of symmetry and harmony used by architects. The design of the exterior side of the building is inspired by drenched sails on a boat. The building can easily be defined as a shell made up of joined volumes, a type of stone coated in orthogonal and other organics. Some parts of the building are also covered with ridged metal skins and steel. Glazed surfaces are also used as bridges connecting the different volumes of the building. The interiors centerpiece was designed to look like the hull of a boat.

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Contemporariness presents a singular association that is present between the artwork and the environment, however, Nietzsche noted that contemporary art should have the capacity to differentiate itself from the environment (Smith, 2012). The total reference to the present trends present a blind approach. Thus, distance is classified as an integral characteristic of contemporary artistic culture. From the example explored, it is evident that Walt Disney Concert Hall violates the present architectural approach, as proposed by Nancy. Thus, the characteristic of violating the traditional, current and possible future approaches to architecture is bound to result in the classification of Walt Disney Concert Hall as art. According to Agamben, the contemporary is also classified as the artwork where the artwork is observed to firmly enhance its gaze based on the darkness of the art rather than the light of the work. Therefore, the rare observe is bound to notice the artistic approach that is employed in the presentation of the building (Smith, 2012). Gehry’s idea while creating the design was to create a room was to come up with a design that portrayed the sculptural form of music so as to achieve a relationship and connection between the audience and the orchestra. 12,500 pieces of steel were used to coat the outer surface of the building using single parts of steel because every piece was bound to take its own unique form on the surface they were placed (“Walt Disney Concert Hall.”, 2017). In areas that did not take any regular shapes, stone was used instead. Glass surfaces are also used as liaisons inside the building. For the interior side of the auditorium and the other rooms, fir wood was used as lining. The identical wood was also used on ceilings and walls across the building.

Walter Benjamin classified contemporariness as a natural approach to predicting the evolution of a certain aspect in the environment. Hence, the contemporary is classified as a prediction to what is bound to happen in the future in contrast to the contemporary experience that is observed in the present time (Smith, 2012). Every aspect of the public culture should play a role in inviting the contemporary obvious sense. In addition, Agamben noted that the essence of contemporariness was a state of the creation of metaphors based on the state of experience of the individuals and users, consequently, the approach represented a theoretical and poetic approach to defining contemporariness. Agamben proposed that the space and whatever appears should offer the individual that is viewing or experiencing the state of contemporariness a time experience that ensures there is a modern and classical experience (Smith, 2012). For instance, after viewing the Walt Disney Concert Hall, the viewer is able to observe a sense of contiguousness that is bound to trigger current and past thoughts in the viewer. The approach to time and space has always been integral to every artist, thus, it should emerge from the architectural piece. The feature that facilitates the presentation of the past and numerous specific pasts presents inevitable and imaginable futures that are illustrated in the artwork. This concept is evident in the Walt Disney Concert Hall, which seems to combine shapes that were previously unimagined in the architectural world.

The Walt Disney Hall has since then moved from being just an obsolete project to becoming a great cultural icon. It is mostly admired for its architectural highlights as well as the pure sound that is created in the halls.  The enormous building fits in perfectly with the Los Angeles urban structure and has become a great attraction for tourists.

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  1. Smith, T. (2012). Agamben and Nancy on Contemporaneity and Art. Haa.pitt.edu. Retrieved 6 December 2017, from https://www.haa.pitt.edu/sites/default/files/Smith-AgambenandNancyOnContemporaneityAndArt.pdf
  2. Walt Disney Concert Hall. (2017). WTTW Chicago Public Media – Television and Interactive. Retrieved 6 December 2017, from http://interactive.wttw.com/tenbuildings/walt-disney-concert-hall
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