Now through October 12, New York-based artist Alex Schweder will participate in the cultural life of the Glass House campus while occupying a mobile living unit 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.
Connected to the Brick House by a power cord, Schweder’s van contains an inflatable room that can be raised twenty-two feet in the air by a hydraulic system. An interior control panel allows the artist to toggle the furniture between a sofa and a bed. The entrance, which is also a private shower and bathroom, serves as an air hatch that balances the interior air pressure. While in residence, Schweder will live in the inflatable room and work on a manuscript about “performance architecture” in Philip Johnson’s library.
The Brick House and the Glass House, designed by Johnson and completed in 1949, form a two-part composition that challenged ideas about domesticity in midcentury America. Connected by a gravel path across a landscaped courtyard, the Glass House and Brick House counterpose transparency and opacity. Although the Glass House and its grounds opened to the public in 2007, the Brick House was closed shortly thereafter because of water infiltration.
The National Trust for Historic Preservation continues to raise funds to restore the structure. It is anticipated that successful preservation efforts can reactivate the Brick House as a guest house for artists, writers, and other creative individuals engaged in short-term residencies at the Glass House.
Schweder’ project was originally commissioned as the hotel rehearsal © by the 2013 Biennial of the Americas in Denver for the exhibition “Draft Urbanism,” curated by Paul Anderson, Carson Chan, Gaspar Libidinsky, and Abaseh Mivali. This will be the project’s first presentation outside of Denver.
Also on view through November 30 is SNAP, a site-specific installation by E.V. Day Conceived for the building known as Da Monsta – designed by Philip Johnson in 1995 as a visitor center and now a gallery – SNAP! interprets the pavilion’s peculiar geometry and atmosphere both inside and out. Day has roped the exterior of Da Monsta with massive climbing webs and populated the interior with an ensemble of recent sculpture that tease out the noir qualities of Johnson’s late work.
About the artist
Alex Schweder works with architecture and performance art to question the separation of occupying subjects and occupied objects. His projects have been exhibited at Tate Britain; the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art;,Sculpture Center, New York; Magnus Müller, Berlin; the deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum; the Biennial of the Americas; the Lisbon Architectural Triennial; the Moscow Biennial; and the Marrakech Biennial. He has been artist-in-residence at the Kohler Company, the Chinati Foundation, and the American Academy in Rome, and has taught at SCI-ARC, the Architectural Association, and the Institute for Art and Architecture, Vienna. Schweder is a doctoral candidate in architecture at the University of Cambridge, England, and teaches at the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn. For more information, visit http://www.alexschweder.com.
The Glass House, built between 1949 and 1995 by architect Philip Johnson, is a National Trust Historic Site located in New Canaan, CT. The pastoral 49-acre landscape comprises fourteen structures, including the Glass House (1949), and features a permanent collection of 20th-century painting and sculpture, along with temporary exhibitions. The tour season runs from May to November and advance reservations are required. For more information, and to purchase tickets, visit www.theglasshouse.org.
The National Trust for Historic Preservation is a privately funded nonprofit organization that works to save America’s historic places to enrich our future. For more information, visit www.PreservationNation.org.
For area information www.visitfairfieldcountyct.com