The Glass House Blog

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, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

CLOG Hosts a Glass House Conversation on Brutalist Architecture + Preservation

Image courtesy of CLOG

Image courtesy of CLOG

There are just a few days left to join our online Glass House Conversation on Brutalist architecture and preservation hosted by CLOG!

Brutalism, also referred to as New Brutalism, is a highly controversial topic in modern preservation. A defining architectural style of the postwar era—characterized by severe, abstract geometries and the use of cast concrete, block and brick—Brutalism arguably produced some of the world’s least popular public buildings.

In the latter half of the 20th century critics Alison and Peter Smithson and Reyner Banham defined Brutalism as an ethic rather than an aesthetic. Today the ethical issue of preserving Brutalist buildings, versus contemporary aesthetic preferences, must be considered as many Brutalist structures —Bertrand Goldberg’s Prentice Women’s Hospital, Marcel Breuer’s Ameritrust Tower, Paul Rudolph’s Orange County Government Center, Alison and Peter Smithson’s Robin Hood Gardens, and Gillespie, Kidd and Coia’s St. Peter’s Seminary, to name a few—are now threatened with demolition.

Should we consider Brutalism as an ethic or an aesthetic?

The conversation is inspired by the latest issue of CLOG, a publication that explores, from multiple viewpoints and through a variety of means, a single subject particularly relevant to architecture now. CLOG is currently accepting submissions for their sixth issue, CLOG : BRUTALISM which will be guest edited by Michael Abrahamson. The deadline for submissions is November 5.

Share your thoughts–join the discussion, going on now at glasshouseconversations.org!

Prentice Women's Hospital (center) by architect Bertrand Goldberg, Chicago, IL, August 2012. Photo © Jason Smith, courtesy of The National Trust for Historic Preservation.

Prentice Women’s Hospital (center) by architect Bertrand Goldberg, Chicago, IL, August 2012. Photo © Jason Smith, courtesy of The National Trust for Historic Preservation.

Filed under: Glass House Conversations, , , , ,

Charles A. Birnbaum, Founder and President of The Cultural Landscape Foundation, Hosts a Glass House Conversation on Landscape Preservation

Peavey Plaza
Charles A. Birnbaum  FASLA, FAAR

Charles A. Birnbaum
FASLA, FAAR

Join our online Glass House Conversation hosted by Charles A. Birnbaum, Founder and President of The Cultural Landscape Foundation.

What can and should be done to nurture an informed public debate about the legacy of modernist landscapes and reverse the trend of demolition?

There are dozens of modern buildings listed in the National Register of Historic Places and as National Historic Landmarks – In fact, to date, there are more than 1,000 structures that have been designated that are less than 50 years old and only a small number of works of landscape architecture. Although properties such as the Glass House, the Gropius House and Russell Wright’s Manitoga have been designated as National Historic Landmarks including significance in landscape architecture, there are countless others from the Eames House (which is very much about landscape, and yet possesses no landscape significance) to significant projects by Lawrence Halprin, Dan Kiley, and M. Paul Friedberg that have not been recognized. Even worse, Friedberg’s seminal masterwork, Peavey Plaza (Minneapolis, MN) is now facing the wrecking ball, while a road expansion threatens Kiley’s landscape at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception (Burlington, VT) and Halprin’s Riverbank Park has been the target of an generic and uninspired new design (Flint, MI).

What role can architects, landscape architects, historians, historic preservation professionals, journalists and bloggers do to instill value for the legacy of landscapes?

Filed under: Glass House Conversations, , , , ,

Join the Discussion! Hannia Gómez Hosts a Glass House Conversation

Villa Planchart in 1963. Image from Archivo Gio Ponti Caracas.

Hannia Gómez - Plaza de los Museos, CaracasJoin us for this week’s online Glass House Conversation hosted by Hannia Gómez, President of Fundacion de la Memoria Urbana, founder and vice president of Docomomo Venezuela, and former curator of Gio Ponti’s Villa Planchart, a modern home in Caracas, Venezuela:

The recently restored Tugendhat House by Mies van der Rohe has just reopened to the public. In the words of Jean-Louis Cohen in The Wall Street Journal, the House’s restoration “has benefited from a new approach to preserving Modernist buildings”, and now “a new generation of experts takes an “archaeological” view, yielding superb results.” The Tugendhat House recovered “its grand atmosphere from the 1930s”.

Having worked for many years as curator of Gio Ponti’s Villa Planchart in Caracas (1957), I witnessed a totally different – much slower, less scientific, but very successful – preservation process. Similarly perfect results were achieved through years of intuition and passion for architecture.

How will the latest trend in preservation process and interest in Modernist buildings impact the threatened/saved Modern heritage of the world?

Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Glass House Conversations, , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Glass House Focus Tours: Architecture + History

Glass House Focus Tours: Architecture + History

2-hour guided tour | $45 per person | Select Wednesdays at 2:30pm

BUY TICKETS

Focus tours delve into specifics of the tour topic, including special access and alternate paths. Focus Tours are intended for guests interested in learning more about a key element of the site or for those looking to see the Glass House through a new perspective.

Architecture + History | Explore the history and theory, materials and technologies, influential architects, and preservation challenges of Modern architecture through the lens of the Glass House campus. Visit interiors of the Glass House (1949), Painting Gallery (1965), Sculpture Gallery (1970), da Monsta (1995), and access (through a field of tall grass) the Library/Study (1980), housing Johnson’s architectural library spanning Schinkel to Hadid and overlooking the Ghost House (1984).

For more information on this and other Glass House tours visit
http://philipjohnsonglasshouse.org/visit/

The 2012 Glass House public tour season runs from May 2 – November 30, 2012 (closed Tuesdays). Tickets are available now!  Advance reservations are highly recommended.  Tickets by phone, please call 866.811.4111.


Filed under: Tours + Programs, , , , , , , , ,

Hannia Gómez Hosts a New Glass House Conversation

Villa Planchart in 1963. Image from Archivo Gio Ponti Caracas.
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Join in a new Glass House Conversation on modern architecture + preservation hosted by Hannia Gómez, president of Fundacion de la Memoria Urbana, and founder and Vice President of Docomomo Venezuela:


Share your thoughts, join the Conversation going on now at glasshouseconversations.org
.

Filed under: Glass House Conversations, , , , , , ,

Glass House Focus Tours: Art + Influence

Glass House Focus Tours: Art + Influence

2-hour guided tour | $45 per person | Select Wednesdays at 2:30pm

BUY TICKETS

Focus tours delve into specifics of the tour topic, including special access and alternate paths. Focus Tours are intended for guests interested in learning more about a key element of the site or for those looking to see the Glass House through a new perspective.

Art + Influence | Philip Johnson and David Whitney played a significant
role in cultivating and commissioning the work of world-renowned creative talent that defined an era: enjoy deeper discussion and close observation
of the art works of the Glass House campus, including one of the world’s foremost collections of pieces by Frank Stella. Artists include Andy Warhol, Donald Judd, Cindy Sherman, David Salle, Lynn Davis, Julian Schnabel, Michael Heizer, Robert Morris, Bruce Nauman, Andrew Lord and John Chamberlin. Explore the personal relationships between the Glass House, these artists, and the founding and development of The Museum of Modern Art.

For more information on this and other Glass House tours visit
http://philipjohnsonglasshouse.org/visit/

The 2012 Glass House public tour season runs from May 2 – November 30, 2012 (closed Tuesdays). Tickets are available now!  Advance reservations are highly recommended.  Tickets by phone, please call 866.811.4111.


Filed under: Tours + Programs, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Henry Urbach named next Director of the Philip Johnson Glass House

Henry UrbachThe Glass House and The National Trust for Historic Preservation are pleased to announce that Henry Urbach has been named Director of The Glass House in New Canaan, Connecticut. Mr. Urbach will assume this role on April 2, 2012. Museum consultant, Rena Zurofsky, interim director since September 2011, will continue in that role through the end of March.

Previously, Mr. Urbach served as Curator of Architecture and Design at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA). His exhibitions – known for their provocative and timely ideas, breathtaking installations, and broad appeal -were widely lauded. Mr. Urbach left SFMOMA in May 2011 to pursue independent writing and curatorial work, including research toward a project about the Glass House compound as a laboratory for curatorial experimentation.

“I can hardly imagine a place more full of potential than the Glass House. It has long contributed to culture by bringing together art, architecture, landscape, and people in significant and inventive ways. That is exactly what I hope to foster,” said Urbach.

Henry Urbach holds a degree in History and Theory of Architecture from Princeton University, a Masters degree from Columbia University’s School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation and a Master of Arts in History and Theory of Architecture from Princeton University. He will reside in New Canaan, Connecticut.

The Glass House is owned and operated by the National Trust for Historic Preservation and a part of the Sites Department led by Dr. Estevan Rael-Gálvez, Vice President of Historic Sites. “I am delighted that Henry will become a part of our team. His passion, intellect and skill make him the ideal director for the Glass House at this moment in time,” said Rael-Gálvez. “I am confident Henry will work to develop and sustain an environment where creativity, consciousness and community ensure the site’s success and future contribution to American culture.”

To learn more about the Philip Johnson Glass House visit philipjohnsonglasshouse.org

Filed under: Uncategorized, , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Why are contemporary artists interested in engaging in the design world?

Da Monsta

There are just a few days left to join in the
online Glass House Conversation with
host Christian Bjone!

Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Glass House Conversations, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The Conservation of Bruce Nauman’s Sculpture Neon Templates of the Left Half of My Body at Ten Inch Intervals (1966)

Bruce Nauman's Sculpture Neon Templates of the Left Half of My Body at Ten Inch Intervals (1966)

On view in the Sculpture Gallery, Bruce Nauman’s Neon Templates of the Left Half of My Body at Ten Inch Intervals is integral to the permanent collection of the Glass House. Nauman, recognized as one of America’s most innovative and provocative artists emerged in the mid-1960s as a leading figure in Performance and Body Art and has since created an open-ended body of work that includes sculptures, photographs, films, videos, holograms, interactive environments, performances, and neon wall reliefs.

Learn more about the conservation of Nauman’s Neon Templates at the Glass House.

Filed under: From the Collection, Preservation in Action, , , , , , , , , , ,

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