The Glass House, once the home of architect Philip Johnson was built between 1949 and 1955 and is a National Trust Historic Site located in New Canaan, Connecticut. 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. Tours of the site are available in May through November and advance reservations are recommended.
A special exhibition running through November 30 called Night (1947-2015) has been guest curated by Jordan Stein. The exhibition is predicated on a statue that was never returned to The Glass House. Sometime in the mid-1960’s, a rail-thin white plaster sculpture called Night (1947), by Alberto Giacometti, walked away from the Glass House and never came back.
One of very few artworks ever displayed in the Glass House, Night’s rawboned figure was granted pride of place atop the Mies van der Rohe glass coffee table. Over time, the sculpture began to shed its outer layer and was eventually sent to the artist’s studio for repairs. But Giacometti died before the work was restored and the sculpture never returned. Neither repaired nor replaced, its absence still lingers; a Modern ghost.
In place of a traditional artist-in-residence program, Night (1947 – 2015) is instead a sculpture-in-residence program; an unfolding sculptural exhibition held in the same spot where Giacometti’s Night once stood. A series of contemporary artists will contribute works that contend with the legacy of Giacometti’s sculpture and Johnson’s architectural opus. On display for three to six months at a time, the sculptures in Night (1947 – 2015) will “disappear” after their run, making room for new work and new absences.
Although world-class painting and sculpture populate Johnson’s property, Night (1947 – 2015) is the first formal art exhibition to be held on-site. The slowly unfolding exhibition places Johnson’s collection in dialogue with contemporary sculptural practice while positioning the architecture itself – long a site of critical discourse – as both backdrop and collaborator.
Night (1947 – 2015) is primarily comprised of never-before-seen works by a number of mid-career and established artists. Special attention will be paid to artists who grapple with themes raised by Giacometti’s vanished Night — themes that largely work in contrast to those of Johnson’s transparent temple. Works will explore unreliability, looping, curving, transparency, reflectivity, and doubt. Additionally, works will have a significant relationship to architecture and design.
For more information http://theglasshouse.org.
For area information www.visitfairfieldcountyct.com
photo by Robin Hill (c)