The Glass House Blog

1967 Glass House Country Happening with Merce Cunningham, John Cage & the Velvet Underground


In honor of John Cage and the John Cage Centennial, which serve as the inspiration for our current Glass House Conversation, we’re sharing one of the many films from the Glass House Visitor Center Media Wall, now available online for the first time.

The film is archival footage of an event held at the Glass House in 1967 to benefit the Merce Cunningham Dance Company. Described as a “Country Happening” in Vogue Magazine, August 1967, Merce Cunningham dancers performed to music by John Cage, and later the Velvet Underground took the stage. The original soundtrack to the footage included guests clinking glasses, neighbors complaining, and police arriving to break up the party!

Join the Glass House Conversation; discuss John Cage, the Glass House, Design, Ego and Humility with host Paul Soulellis at glasshouseconversations.org!

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Is ego a critical component of success in today’s design world? Is design humility possible?

John Cage at Bank Street, New York, 1977. Photo by Rhoda Nathans. Courtesy of the John Cage Trust.

2012 marks the centennial of the birth of John Cage, one of the most influential artists of the 20th century and a headliner in the first Glass House Country Happening (1967) with The Velvet Underground and Merce Cunningham.

Add your thoughts to this week’s online Glass House Conversation, hosted by Paul Soulellis + going on now!

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Remembering Merce Cunningham

Merce Cunningham at the Glass House’s official public opening, the Inaugural Gala Picnic, 2007.

Merce Cunningham (1919-2009) at the Glass House’s official public opening, the Inaugural Gala Picnic, 2007. (Photograph courtesy of Steve Brosnahan/RBH Multimedia, 2007)

The Philip Johnson Glass House bids farewell to the Merce Cunningham Dance Company, following the close of The Legacy Tour at the Park Avenue Armory in New York City on December 31, 2011.

Philip Johnson and his partner David Whitney were long time supporters of the company.

On June 3, 1967, Johnson hosted a benefit for the Cunningham Dance Foundation.  Museum Event #5 was performed at the Glass House, with music by John Cage and costumes by Robert Rauschenburg.  The evening concluded with a performance by the Velvet Underground.

Image courtesy of the Philip Johnson Glass House Archives, Press Clippings.

Image courtesy of the Philip Johnson Glass House Archives. Press Clipping from the 1967 benefit for the Cunningham Dance Foundation held at the Glass House.

Event Program, Image courtesey of the Philip Johnson Glass House Archives.

Event Program, Image courtesey of the Philip Johnson Glass House Archives.

On June 23, 2007, the Merce Cunningham Dance Company restaged this 1967 performance for the Glass House’s official public opening, the Inaugural Gala Picnic.  A custom designed stage was designed and erected, as per Cunningham’s specifications.  Cunningham returned to the site to oversee rehearsal and event.

Merce Cunningham and members of the Merce Cunningham Dance Company at the Glass House’s official public opening, the Inaugural Gala Picnic, 2007.

Merce Cunningham and members of the Merce Cunningham Dance Company at the Glass House’s official public opening, the Inaugural Gala Picnic, 2007. (Photograph courtesy of Steve Brosnahan/RBH Multimedia, 2007)

The Merce Cunningham Dance Company at the Glass House’s official public opening, the Inaugural Gala Picnic, 2007.

The Merce Cunningham Dance Company at the Glass House’s official public opening, the Inaugural Gala Picnic, 2007. (Photograph courtesy of Steve Brosnahan/RBH Multimedia, 2007)

The Merce Cunningham Dance Company at the Glass House’s official public opening, the Inaugural Gala Picnic, 2007.

The Merce Cunningham Dance Company at the Glass House’s official public opening, the Inaugural Gala Picnic, 2007. (Photograph courtesy of Steve Brosnahan/RBH Multimedia, 2007)

The Glass House expresses its support of Cunningham Dance Foundation as it transfers to the Merce Cunningham Trust.  Established in 2000 by the Artist, the Merce Cunningham Trust will continue his incredible dance legacy.

Visit our Flickr pages for more historic images from the 1967 and 2007 events.

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