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  or contact Program Manager Kate Lichota any time during the year.

Filed under: Educational Partnership, , ,

The Glass House in the Snow

The Glass House. Photo by Michael Hall.

The Glass House. Photo by Michael Hall.

Few visitors ever have the opportunity to see the Glass House in the snow as the site is closed to the public from the end of November to the beginning of May every year. Glass House staff member, Michael Hall, took these lovely photos of the Glass House during and after a recent snowfall. We hope you enjoy them!

Reserve your tickets for the 2014 tour season, May 1 – November 30, online at:

The Glass House. Photo by Michael Hall.

The Glass House. Photo by Michael Hall.

The Glass House. Photo by Michael Hall.

The Glass House. Photo by Michael Hall.

Filed under: Tours + Programs, , , ,

2014 Glass House tour tickets available now! New this season: self-guided tours

2014 Glass House Tour Tickets Now Available

The Glass House, Photo by Robin Hill

Photo by Robin Hill

Tours of the Glass House will run between May 1 – November 30, 2014
2014 program and exhibition announcements coming soon.

New this season: self-guided tours

Self-guided tours at the Glass House will be available on select dates and offer visitors a unique opportunity to experience the Glass House campus and its pastoral landscape at their own pace. In addition to the permanent art collection and temporary exhibitions, visitors enjoy access to seven structures designed by Philip Johnson, including the Glass House, the Painting Gallery, the Sculpture Gallery, Da Monsta, and the Library, as well as the lower landscape’s Pond Pavilion and Lincoln Kirstein Tower. Glass House guides will be available to provide historical background and answer questions.

Buy Tickets

Filed under: Tours + Programs, , , , ,

Night Sounds #3, featuring a performance by Liz Harris + Jefre Cantu-Ledesma alongside Jason Dodge’s sculpture A tourmaline and a ruby inside of an owl, The Glass House, Oct 4th 2013

Liz Harris and Jefre Cantu-Ledesma first performed together at 2012′s Transmediale Festival in Berlin, where they debuted Harris’ Circular Veil — an 8-hour composition designed for performance-goers to sleep to. Their first collaborative release under the moniker Raum, Event of Your Leaving, will be released by Glass, house on Friday, November 15th 2013.

Liz Harris has been recording, performing, and releasing solo material under the name Grouper since 2005 on various imprints including Kranky, Type, and her own YELLOWELECTRIC. She lives and works on the Oregon Coast.

Jefre Cantu-Ledesma is a Brooklyn-based musician who has performed in bands and under his own name since 1996. He is a founding member of the groups Tarentel, The Alps, Portraits, and Moholy-Nagy as well as the Root Strata record label. His solo work is often generated from the electric guitar and orbits the gravity of memory, melancholia, excess, and restraint.

About Night Sounds at the Glass House:

The Glass House presents Night Sounds, a new performance series that parallels the Night (1947 – 2015) on-site sculpture-in-residence program. Guests will join the performer, Night guest-curator Jordan Stein, and Glass House Director Henry Urbach for a live on-site performance and reception. A new artist whose work engages with the current sculpture will be selected to perform with each of the seven iterations of the Night (1947–2015) exhibition, a series of works by contemporary artists that contend with the legacy of Alberto Giacometti’s absent sculpture Night and Johnson’s architectural opus. Night (1947 – 2015) and Night Sounds contribute to the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s larger goal of re-imaging historic sites for the 21st century by bringing catalytic change to its sites around the country.  The guiding principles of this initiative are that historic sites must be dynamic, relevant, and evolving and that they must foster an understanding and appreciation of history and culture that is critical, layered, and sensory. Night Sounds is coordinated by Jordan Stein. Each performance is documented by Derrick Belcham, who will produce a short film that will be made available online free of charge.

Filed under: Exhibitions, Glass House Films, Night Sounds, , , , , , ,

Glass House Readings with Phyllis Lambert + Mark Lamster, Sunday, October 27, 3:30-5:30 p.m. at the Glass House


Philip Johnson, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, and Phyllis Lambert in front of an image of the model for the Seagram building, New York, 1955. Gelatin silver print, 7 1/2 × 9 3/8 in. Photographer unknown. Fonds Phyllis Lambert, Canadian Centre for Architecture, Montréal. © United Press International.


Co-hosted by The New Canaan Library at The Glass House

Phyllis Lambert will read from her new book, Building Seagram

Sunday, October 27, 3:30-5:30 p.m.

Glass House Readings brings notable authors and intellectuals to the Glass House to read from a new work. The guest author and audience will also walk the site and enjoy refreshments. Visitors begin and end at the Glass House Visitor Center, located at 199 Elm Street directly across from the New Canaan train station. Space is limited; reservations are required. Tickets $75.00, price includes admission and a signed copy of Building Seagram.

Architect, photographer, lecturer, historian and critic of architecture and urbanism, Phyllis Lambert is Founding Director and Chair of the Board of Trustees of the Canadian Centre for Architecture (CCA) in Montreal. Lambert first made architectural history as the Director of Planning of the Seagram Building in New York (1954-58). She is recognized internationally for her contribution in advancing contemporary architecture, together with for her concern for the social issues of urban conservation and the role of architecture in the public realm. Lambert has pioneered and contributed to publications on photography and architecture, architecture and landscape, conservation, and the urban history of Montreal. Recently published, Building Seagram is a cultural history of architecture, art, urban regulations and real estate, as well as conservation and stewardship in New York City, 1950-2000.

Mark Lamster

Mark Lamster

Mark Lamster is the architecture critic of the Dallas Morning News and associate professor in the architecture school at the University of Texas at Arlington. He is currently at work on a biography of Philip Johnson, to be published by Little Brown. A contributing editor to Architectural Review and Design Observer, his work has appeared in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, the Wall Street Journal, and many national magazines.

For more than a decade, Lamster served as an editor at Princeton Architectural Press, in New York. Prior to that, he was an editor at George Braziller, the distinguished publisher of illustrated books. He is the author of numerous books, including Master of Shadows (2009), a political biography of the painter Peter Paul Rubens, and Spalding’s World Tour(2006), the story of a group of all-star baseball players who circled the globe in the 19th century. His research papers from that book are available at the National Baseball Hall of Fame, in Cooperstown. He holds degrees from Johns Hopkins and Tufts universities.

For tickets please visit or call the Glass House

199 Elm Street, New Canaan, CT  06840 | Phone: 203.594.9884


Filed under: Glass House Readings, Tours + Programs, , , , , , , ,

Night (1947 – 2015): Jason Dodge, A tourmaline and a ruby inside of an owl, on view through November 30, 2013


Night (1947 – 2015): Jason Dodge, A tourmaline and a ruby inside of an owl. Photo by Amanda Kirkpatrick, courtesy of the Glass House.

Night (1947 – 2015) is a sculpture-in-residence program, an unfolding sculptural exhibition inspired by the historical presence of the sculpture Night by Giacometti in the Glass House. Night (1947 – 2015) is composed of a series of works by contemporary artists that contend with the legacy of Giacometti’s sculpture and Johnson’s architectural opus. On display for three to six months at a time, each sculpture in Night (1947 – 2015) eventually “disappears,” making room for new work and new absences.


Night (1947 – 2015): Jason Dodge, A tourmaline and a ruby inside of an owl. Photo by Amanda Kirkpatrick, courtesy of the Glass House.

Filed under: Exhibitions, Tours + Programs, , ,

Alex Schweder: Rehearsal Space


Alex Schweder: Rehearsal Space
Photo by Amanda Kirkpatrick, courtesy of the Glass House

Alex Schweder: Rehearsal Space
On view October 2 – 12, 2013 at the Glass House

Over the course of ten days, New York-based artist Alex Schweder will participate in the cultural life of the Glass House campus while occupying a mobile livingunit temporarily situated alongside the Brick House. Speculating that architecture is enacted as well as built, Rehearsal Space comprises a portable accommodation (combining a van, a scissor lift, and an inflatable room) that anticipates the Glass House’s potential artist residency program.


Alex Schweder: Rehearsal Space
Photo by Amanda Kirkpatrick, courtesy of the Glass House



Filed under: Exhibitions, , ,

Launch of the new Glass House Design Store, in collaboration with Moss Bureau

Photo: Andy Romer Photography


The Glass House, in collaboration with Moss Bureau, is pleased to announce a new design store. The Glass House Design Store offers an edited selection of books, furniture, objects, and artist editions that represent the sensibility and ideas that inform the Glass House, both the iconic 1949 structure and the unique synthesis of art, architecture, and landscape that developed over half a century. The store will offer a mix of rare and iconic objects, including Paul Cocksedge’s Roll/Rule Set, Deborah Ehrlich’s Simple Glass Ware, Lobmeyr’s Drinking Service No. 257, Alessi’s 9090 Richard Sapper Espresso maker, the Arne Jacobsen Martini Mixer from Stelton, and more. All items are also available through a new online store.

Inspired by “Machine Art,” a legendary exhibition organized by Philip Johnson for the Museum of Modern Art in 1934, the Glass House Design Store celebrates Johnson’s curatorial vision through its articulate offering. As Alfred H. Barr, Jr., the Museum of Modern Art’s first director, wrote in his foreword to the ‘Machine Art’ catalogue:

“The role of the artist in machine art is to choose, from a variety of possible forms each of which may be functionally adequate, that one form which is aesthetically most satisfactory. He does not embellish or elaborate, but refines, simplifies and perfects.”

This is the course that the Glass House and Moss Bureau have pursued in selecting objects for the Glass House Design Store. In addition to whatever function they perform, these objects are intended as keepsakes for visitors to remember their time at the Glass House.

In this way, the ideas — and ideals — articulated by Philip Johnson over many years can be enjoyed long after a visit to the Glass House, in the course of daily life.

To learn more please visit


Photos by Andy Romer Photography

Filed under: Glass House Design Store, , , , , , ,

Celebrate the launch of the new Glass House Design Store

Photo: Andy Romer Photography

Join us for a festive evening and meet our
collaborator Murray Moss and his team,
along with the editors at Moffly Media.
Prosecco and hors d’oeuvres will be served.

Thursday, September 26
6 – 8 p.m.

The Glass House Design Store
199 Elm Street, New Canaan

with atHomeLogo_70k with

Photo: Andy Romer Photography

Filed under: Glass House Design Store, , , , ,

Conversations in Context

James Welling, Artist and Area Head of Photography, UCLA

James Welling, Artist and Area Head of Photography, UCLA

Conversations in Context invites leaders from creative fields to reflect on the site’s history and to contribute their perspectives on the Glass House and its significance to contemporary debates. Conversations in Context take place from 5:30 – 8:00 p.m. and include a reception and site tour. Tickets are $150.

October 10: James Welling, Artist and Area Head of Photography, UCLA.

November 7: Annabelle Selldorf, Founder, Selldorf Architects.

November 21: Peter Brant, Collector, Founder and President, The Brant Foundation, Inc.

Filed under: Conversations in Context, Tours + Programs, , , , ,


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