The Glass House Blog

Modern Views: Launch Press Release


A Project to Benefit the Farnsworth House and the Glass House

NEW CANAAN, Conn. (June 2, 2010) – On January 1, 2010, Mies van der Rohe’s Farnsworth House came under the management of the National Trust for Historic Preservation (NTHP). Within its portfolio of twenty-nine historic sites, the NTHP now owns and manages two of America’s greatest Modernist residences – the Farnsworth House in Plano, Illinois and Philip Johnson’s Glass House in New Canaan, Connecticut. This transition allows an even closer collaboration between the two properties resulting in the launch of Modern Views: A Project to Benefit the Farnsworth House and the Glass House.

Spearheaded by the Glass House leadership, as the National Trust’s Center for Modernism, the project represents a yearlong initiative to raise funds for critical site preservation efforts at both homes. The venture is set to raise $1M to preserve our country’s most inspirational Modernist icons.

Modern Views asks contemporary artists, architects and designers to continue one of the 20th century’s great cultural dialogues – the historic exchange reflected in Mies van der Rohe’s Farnsworth House and Philip Johnson’s Glass House. It is a dialogue about vision and precedent, influence and inspiration, theory and practice, intellect and passion.

“The National Trust for Historic Preservation is extremely proud to be the owner of these two icons of Modernism,” said David Brown, Executive Vice President of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. “Modern Views ensures that both the Glass House and Farnsworth House will continue to inspire other artists and spur an ongoing dialogue about the role both houses occupy in the broader Modernist movement. While raising needed funding for the preservation of the Glass House and Farnsworth House, Modern Views ensures that both of these masterpieces remain catalysts for creativity, debate and inspiration.”

Modern Views project leadership invited a global slate of participants to create and donate a drawing, sculpture, or other work of art, accompanied by a short statement that captures how these two iconic buildings inspire their work. One hundred architects, artists and designers have contributed work representing some of the greatest thinkers in their respective fields. The donated work will be published in the fall in an illustrated book produced with Assouline. This volume will open with historic photographs and construction drawings of both houses, never published together before, and an introduction by New Yorker architectural critic Paul Goldberger. Continuing the dialogue, the book will include reflections on Mies van der Rohe and Philip Johnson by Phyllis Lambert, Founding Director and Chair of the Board of Trustees of the Canadian Centre for Architecture, captured in a recent interview. Following this interview, an essay by architectural historian Sylvia Lavin will illustrate how social references to both homes created and have perpetuated their place in our collective memory and history. From this historical overview, the book will unfold to illustrate the Modern Views of the 100 participating contemporary artists, architects, and designers engaged in this critical reflection. This publication will reach and engage diverse international audiences for years to come.

The project was officially launched on June 2, 2010 at the Four Seasons Restaurant in New York during a preview reception for the media, project leaders, donors and participants. Contributed works will be exhibited in Chicago and New York, culminating in an event and auction in each city. Select work will be on exhibition in Chicago with a ticketed event September 16th featuring a live auction of highlighted pieces. All work will be on exhibition in New York with a ticketed event October 6th culminating in a live and silent auction of all pieces. A new film by artist Sarah Morris will be premiered at both Chicago and New York, inspired by both Farnsworth House and the Glass House. Additional programming will occur during the exhibitions to capture the artistic views and inspirations from both iconic homes as well as to discuss broader Modern preservation topics and challenges.

“A partnership between these two iconic Modern homes owned by the National Trust for Historic Preservation was natural and essential. Daily we hear people talking about which was first, which is more profound, and what is the definition of power – social or experiential. This project captures those dialogues and shares them in print, film, on-line and through an auction which will go back to support our two critical preservation projects,” says Glass House Executive Director, Christy MacLear.

“Glass House is earthbound, composed of darker materials and divided panes, framing views of a landscape dotted with samples of a life’s work. Farnsworth House floats above a solitary landscape, a landscape untended so that one observes, but does not participate in the nature that surrounds it, a house intentionally designed to disappear around you. The two, together, a composition of earth and heaven.” says Farnsworth House Executive Director, Whitney French.

This project is generously underwritten by Sotheby’s, and prior to both fall events, all works will be available in an online exhibition beginning in early August. Please check for breaking information on the online auction and events. Funds generated by Modern Views: A Project to Benefit Farnsworth House and the Glass House are specifically earmarked for the preservation and restoration of the Brick House at the Philip Johnson Glass House and are targeted for necessary restoration, maintenance and operations of the Farnsworth House.


Center for Modernism Board of Advisors
Johan Eveland
Paul Goldberger
Ted Hathaway
Robert Rubin
Bill Ruprecht
Robert A.M. Stern

Modern Views Project Leadership
John Bryan
Amalia Dayan + Adam Lindemann
Paul Goldberger
Richard Gray
Phyllis Lambert
Tobias Meyer + Mark Fletcher
Cindy Pritzker

Christy MacLear, Executive Director, Philip Johnson Glass House
Whitney French, Executive Director, Farnsworth House
Susan Sayre Batton, Modern Views Project Director

Filed under: Modern Views

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