The Glass House Blog

Photography Students at the Glass House

View of the lower landscape from the Glass House promontory.  Photo: C. Muller, New Canaan High School.

View of the lower landscape from the Glass House promontory. Photo: C. Muller, New Canaan High School.

The Glass House site with its 49-acre landscape, endless vistas, and geometric-shaped buildings can be a photographer’s paradise.  Julius Shulman, Pedro Guerrero, James Welling, Todd Eberle, Hiroshi Sugimoto and other luminaries have made the place their own.

Photography students at the high school and college levels have also roamed the paths and hillsides with their cameras, and the results—gorgeous, textured, eccentric—always surprise us.  New Canaan High School Digital Media teacher Jeanne McDonagh teaches her students to pay attention to composition and to explore line, color, texture, space, and form.  “Since many of the buildings resemble abstract sculptures,” she says, “our students approach the structures with an inquisitive eye, finding interesting and thoughtful angles that challenge the viewer to think when they view the photos.”

McDonagh also emphasizes that “the Glass House compound is a history lesson for my students.  Because it is located in their town and represents the best of 20th-century design, for us not to embrace it as an outstanding art recourse would be a crime.”

 Autumn branch.  Photo:   C. Burch, New Canaan High School


Autumn branch. Photo: C. Burch, New Canaan High School

“I have visited this site with students a dozen times,” McDonagh adds, “and it always surprises me that the students manage to find new and fresh points of view. This year the assignment was a color shoot and I was surprised to see how full of life the images were. Our timing was perfect, the last week in October when the landscape was alive with color. The students were taught how to enhance their shots in post-production to create more visually interesting compositions.”

In past years, McDonagh’s students have contributed to our media wall (three of our introductory videos involved student filmmakers and photographers) and the students themselves have won highest honors from the Scholastic Art Awards and the AP Breath Portfolios for bodies of work that included photographs from their trips to the Glass House.  Works submitted to the College Board in the form of the AP Studio Art 2D Design Course have also earned the accolades from judges who look for mastery of art elements in photographic composition.

“Most students,” says McDonagh, “are really surprised at the size and shapes of the structures. They do not have any problems exploring their creative spirit as they enter this environment. They are always happy when they are there, moving from structure to structure experiencing them with a childlike curiosity. When we return to school, I often hear them saying, “That was really cool, Mrs. McDonagh.”

–Gwen North Reiss

The Glass House welcomes student groups, and teachers interested in a group tour can go to theglasshouse.org  or contact Program Manager Kate Lichota any time during the year.

Filed under: Educational Partnership, , ,

One of the most important homes in America needs you

Dear Friends of the Glass House,

The Glass HouseThe Glass House is approaching the end of an exciting season with the introduction of many new programs, part of a strategic initiative I like to refer to as Glass House 2.0. The Glass House of Philip Johnson and David Whitney was known as “the most sustained cultural salon the United States has ever seen.” Glass House 1.0 represented the first five years of the house’s public life as a National Trust Historic Site and house museum. Glass House 2.0 aims to recapture the site’s earlier legacy as a unique cultural center, a laboratory for the presentation of new works and ideas.

This year we launched an exhibitions program with two shows: Frank Stella: Scarlatti Kirkpatrick and Night (1947-2015) and welcomed over 13,000 visitors to the site. We also inaugurated a fresh flowers program, bringing new life to the interior of the Glass House. In the coming seasons, we will develop more ambitious projects, and are currently exploring new programs and activities that will strengthen the liveliness and relevance of our special site. Educational programs continue to take center stage, as we host monthly Conversations in Context, Glass House Conversations, and think tanks both on site and in the field, including our first participation in this year’s Venice Architecture Biennale. In time, we hope to add site-specific initiatives including residency programs, performances, and scholarly and community gatherings.

The Brick HouseIn addition to urgent needs, we are still working to raise funds to restore the Brick House, which has remained closed for the last five years, as well as make necessary repairs to the Sculpture Gallery roof. The Glass House is a preservation-based organization, and its 14 buildings, world-class art collection and 49-acre landscape demand ongoing maintenance.

To maintain our role as an important cultural asset and site of international significance, we need your support. Please help with a generous year-end donation. We welcome your support at every level.

Donate Now

If you would like to speak to a Glass House representative about your donation, please contact Scott Drevnig, Director of Development, at 203-594-9884 x33335, or sdrevnig@savingplaces.org.

James WellingAs a thank you for a donation of $2,500 or more, we are pleased to send you a signed copy of the James Welling: Glass House hardcover book. This book features mesmerizing images by one of the world’s eminent photographers.

We have an exciting new year in the works, filled with a vibrant and diverse range of exhibitions and programming. Thank you in advance for your care and support of the Glass House. We have a special place and an incredible team serving as its stewards.

Warm regards,

Henry

Henry Urbach
Director

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Filed under: Conversations in Context, Educational Partnership, Exhibitions, Glass House Conversations, Message from the Director, Preservation in Action, Tours + Programs, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

John Johansen, In Memoriam — June 29, 1916 to October 26, 2012


Architecture and Metaphor: An Interview with John Johansen
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Until his death on October 26, John Johansen was the last living member of the Harvard 5, the group of architects who settled in New Canaan, Connecticut after World War II.  Eliot Noyes was the first to buy land in New Canaan and he encouraged his colleagues—Marcel Breuer, Philip Johnson, Landis Gores, and John Johansen to follow. They designed houses for their own families as well as clients and created a laboratory of modern residential architecture among the clapboard Colonials of this small Connecticut town.

In the spring of 2010, a colleague and I traveled to Cape Cod to interview Johansen for the Glass House Oral History Project. He was 93 at the time, and with his wife Ati, had recently moved to Cape Cod, Massachusetts from his Plastic Tent House in Stanfordville, New York. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Educational Partnership, Glass House Films, ,

The Glass House Congratulates New Canaan High School Photography Teacher Jeanne McDonagh + Student Dylan Neuhaus for 2012 Scholastic Gold Key Award

Image of Glass House by New Canaan High School student Dylan Neuhaus

Photograph of the Philip Johnson Glass House by New Canaan High School student Dylan Neuhaus

The Philip Johnson Glass House congratulates New Canaan High School photography teacher Jeanne McDonagh, and her student Dylan Neuhaus, who won a 2012 Scholastic Gold Key award for a portfolio of photography including a photograph (above) of the Glass House.

Glass House Partnership with New Canaan High School Students + Faculty

The cultivation of young talent is central to the mission of The Philip Johnson Glass House.

The collaboration between the Glass House and New Canaan High School (NCHS) began shortly after the Glass House opened to the public. Photography, documentary film and journalism students, with the support of their teachers, began recording oral histories of the architects, craftsmen and homeowners who created New Canaan’s remarkable heritage of modernist residential architecture.

Additionally numerous photography projects using the Glass House site as inspiration have been woven into the art curriculum at New Canaan High School. Several of these images (including the work of Dylan Neuhaus) have become commissioned products for the Glass House Design Store, sharing this work with thousands of visitors each year.  Fifty percent of the proceeds from the sale of items using images from the students’ work will be directed to fund this ongoing partnership.

Filed under: Educational Partnership, , , , , , ,

Support The Glass House

Dear Friends,

Architecture, Art and Audience are our three motivations. The Philip Johnson Glass House is simply one of the most significant modernist sites in America, the private home that inspired a revolution in mid-20th century living that extends to the present day. The site’s remaining art collection provides a fascinating insight to the curatorial talents of Johnson’s partner, David Whitney. Between them, Johnson and Whitney significantly shaped the exhibitions and collections of the Museum of Modern Art’s formative decades. In opening the site for tours and in creating deeper and richer web content, our goal is to educate and inspire you, our local, national, and international audience.To accomplish our goals of preserving, restoring and performing original research, we count on the generosity of our supporters. We count on you!This year, more than ever, we need your help to balance our budget: Our endowment covers only 40% of our operations, preservation and programs.

Filed under: Educational Partnership, From the Collection, Glass House Conversations, Glass House Design Store, Glass House Films, Message from the Director, Preservation in Action, Tours + Programs, , , ,

Living in the Glass House

Support The Glass House

Dear Friends,

It has been an incredibly fast-paced year for the Philip Johnson Glass House. We celebrated our Fifth Season by developing new ways of welcoming the public to our site in person, online, through educational programs and events, and at art and design fairs around the world.

We’ve collaborated with significant architects (Charles Renfro, Tod Williams + Billie Tsien, Gregg Pasquarelli), artists (James Welling, Todd Eberle, David Salle) and writers (Paul Goldberger, Karen Stein, Philip Nobel), great chefs (Michele Richard, Brian Lewis, Bill Taibe, Lee Chizmar, Derek Wagner), as well as talented local high school students and their inspired teachers.

This year, more than ever, we need your support to help balance our budget. Our endowment covers only 40% of our operations, preservation and programs but we count on the generosity of our supporters to complete the picture.

Here’s why we hope you will  Donate Now!


New Tours

Focus: Concentrate on art, landscape and /or architecture -you decide!

Plein Air Afternoons: Unguided access for creative inspiration.
Pure Glass: Short, sweet and the lucid heart of the property

Cultural Experiences in Person
and Online

Private made Public: Salons hosted by cultural leaders are now available to all, either through an evening on site or connecting through an online film of each program.

Preservation and Conservation: The first site-specific work of Donald Judd, Untitled, 1971 was cleaned and conserved this season. Explore documentation of the it’s history, from archival images of the initial installation, to video of the conservation team at work and an online dialogue led by Flavin Judd.

Important Research: A seminal biography of David Whitney, Philip Johnson’s private but influential partner, is essential reading for understanding of the legacy of Johnson, Whitney and the Glass House.

Community

Generations Together: This fall marks our fourth year working with the New Canaan High School students and their teachers. This year’s projects included landscape photography and oral history films featuring local notable architects John Black Lee, John Johansen, and Fred Noyes speaking about his father, Eliot Noyes. These projects bring generations together to explore the essential history of New Canaan and Modernism. All of the student-produced oral histories and many of their photographs 
can now be enjoyed on our website.

47 Acres and 14 Structures

Storms: Besides the investments we choose to make, because we believe in them and their importance, there are the investments we need to make. Hurricane Irene, seasonal flooding and heavy unexpected snowstorms hammered the Glass House just as it did our neighbors. Repairs and canceled tours due to power outages and clean-ups resulted in significant lost revenues that severely affected our bottom line.

To maintain our role as an important community asset and site of international significance, we need your support. Please help us balance the Glass House budget with a generous year-end donation.

We welcome your support at every level.  Donate Now!

We hope to see you at the Glass House soon and often, on a tour through November, or early next season.

Sincerely,

Rena Zurofsky
Interim Executive Director
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The Library of Philip JohnsonAs an additional thank you for your donation of $1,000 or more, we will send you a copy of the just published, limited edition Library of Philip Johnson. Written by Birch Cooper and Jordan Hruska, this beautifully illustrated book examines 100 titles from the architect’s Library/Study located at the Glass House site and features an introduction by Architect Robert A. M. Stern, textual analyses and 350 photographs.

Donors of $5,000 or more will also receive invitations to an exclusive event at The Glass House during the 2012 season.

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Filed under: Conversations in Context, Dine with Design, Educational Partnership, From the Collection, Glass House Conversations, Glass House Design Store, Glass House Films, Message from the Director, Preservation in Action, Tours + Programs, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Educational Partnership with New Canaan High School


Educational Partnership
An exciting collaboration between the Glass House and New Canaan High School began shortly after the Glass House opened to the public. Photography, documentary film and journalism students, with the support of their teachers, record oral history films of the architects, craftsmen and homeowners who created New Canaan’s remarkable heritage of modernist residential architecture.

Watch new student films featuring designer Jens Risom, photographer Pedro Guerrero, builder Port Draper, and Pamela Gores, wife of Harvard Five architect Landis Gores.  

Filed under: Educational Partnership, Tours + Programs, , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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