"Well, I want it to be perceived that an architect from outer space came here and respected the community and didn't do what the Beau Rivage did, give you the finger."
That's what Frank Gehry said at a speech Thursday morning to museum supporters. And when he made that comment, Craig Webb said he grimaced a little bit. Webb is one of Gehry's associates.
"I don't think he intended it to be inflammatory, but there is definitely an issue that he's addressing there," Webb said.
He said the issue Gehry's trying to address deals with the size of buildings. Gehry wants the new Ohr O'Keefe Museum to have several small buildings set up in a campus setting, protected by oak trees. In his news conference, the renowned architect said tall buildings like Beau Rivage don't belong in Biloxi.
"They sort of disgraced the community by putting that thing up there," Gehry said.
"He is his own person who loves this community, and just as all of us have opinions about various things, so does he," museum director Marjie Gowdy said.
Just so you know, Beau Rivage is a big contributor to the Ohr O'Keefe museum. It helped sponsor the unveiling of the museum model, and it has some of George Ohr's art on display inside its lobby. Beau Rivage Executive Director Bruce Nourse didn't seem to take offense to the remarks.
"Viva la difference. I think diversity in the city of Biloxi with a facility like the Beau Rivage as well as his Ohr O'Keefe museum we think in the long term will be very beneficial for the city of Biloxi," Nourse said.