The Glass House Blog

The “Dog Days” of Summer – Glass House Message from the Director

Alice and James, Johnson's dogs

July 15, 2011

A recent article reminded me that these hot and sultry days are called the “dog days” of summer. Our minds slow and generally urge us to take a break. We hope, naturally, you will want to take that break with us, as a walk on the Glass House property does indeed seem like a beautiful vacation in only a few hours.

But it is dogs I want to talk about. David Whitney had two dogs, James and Alice. Johnson built them a “dog house” (which was really a model for an unbuilt project) that is now called the Ossuary because once the puppies grew they repurposed it for bone storage. One of the fourteen structures on our property, this is the only one with a “window” that gazes towards the Glass House. Look for it on your visit!

David would always take the dogs in his car when he went to garden stores or into town. Alice was, unfortunately, killed by a car many years ago. James, though injured at the same time, is still with us and still enjoys riding in cars and pick-ups.

That’s right! He lives on the property and is very well cared for. He is sweet dog although a bit of a heavy breather. He is quite old now, about 14, so he moves slowly even in cool weather. As a Keeshond, James has a thick coat, so to him these “dog days” must seem like they belong to some other creature –possibly cats. He still likes to ride around in cars and feel the wind in his face.


James is not the only animal on the property by a long shot, but he is the only official one. Besides the wandering turkeys and deer, we have resident chipmunks, squirrels, and groundhogs, plus raptors, songbirds and crows without number, the occasional cat, and when the mood suits, coyotes. (On your visit here you might see all but the coyotes, as they generally avoid anything that looks like a lecture.) James pretty much ignores them all.

Summer doesn’t really mean slowing down to the Glass House team. Aside from a full sleight of interesting tours, we are just finishing scraping and painting the Glass House itself.

Painting the Glass House

Unfortunately, the Glass House work upset some patrons. We do try to keep the property as pristine as possible so everyone can truly enjoy the sublime beauty of the place, but preservation is our business and sometimes it is dirty work. Since our season extends from spring until winter, we often invite the public to watch. We always hope it will be more interesting than intrusive.

Next up is the restoration of Donald Judd’s Untitled, 1971. Testing for materials begins July 18. We’ll be featuring the work on our website throughout the project.

Rena Zurofsky
Interim Director, Philip Johnson Glass House

View this and past messages from the director at:

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