Whitehot Magazine

The Summer Party at The Glass House

  Yayoi Kusama's 2015 sculpture "Pumpkin" with Philip Johnson's  The Glass House and the Summer Party guests. © TGH/Sandra Hamburg



Celebrating the 110th anniversary of Philip Johnson’s birth and the 10th anniversary of the opening of the Glass House site to the public, supporters gathered last weekend for the annual summer party, a benefit to fund the Glass House programs and preservation projects.

Built between 1949 and 1995 by the venerable architect Philip Johnson, the Glass House is a National Trust Historic Site located in New Canaan, CT. The 49-acre landscape comprises 14 structures, including the Glass House, and features a permanent collection of 20th century painting and sculpture, along with short-term shows. The 2016 season features two temporary exhibitions: “Yayoi Kusama: Narcissus Garden,” organized by Glass House curator and collections manager Irene Shum, and “Robert Rauschenberg: Spreads and Related Works," curated by David White from the Rauschenberg Foundation.

Comprised of 1,300 floating steel spheres, each approximately 12 inches in diameter, “Narcissus Garden” is installed in the pond of the lower meadow and forest. The reflective balls surround the “Pavilion in the Pond,” an architectural folly that Johnson designed in 1962 to explore ideas related to his commission for the New York State Theater in Lincoln Center, which was realized two years later. 

Kusama’s spheres hover around the concrete structure, dynamically reflecting the sky and surrounding landscape as they continuously drift, while on the hillside meadow—within view of the Glass House—one of the artist’s recent “Pumpkin” sculptures, which is also mirrored, invites viewers to consider the history of New Canaan’s former forests and farmlands.

The Rauschenberg show is centered on the 1980 painting “Recital (Spread),” which Johnson purchased that same year. Part of the “Spread” series (works composed of acrylic, solvent transferred imagery, collaged fabric and paper, colored and mirrored plastic and everyday objects on wood), the painting features a montage of colors, patterns and found photos, along with a working electric fan that’s mounted on its surface.

The succinct selection of works on view reference several of the Pop Art artist’s most important bodies of work, including the “Combines,” “Cardboards,” “Hoarfrost” and “Jammers” series. Two works from the 1979 “Slider” series, which mixes fabric collage with solvent transferred images on paper, complete the sublime exhibition. 

As the afternoon rain ceased and the sun broke through the clouds, guests lunched on a picnic meal prepared by The Schoolhouse at Cannondale and made celebratory toasts with Taittinger champagne before exploring the adventurous estate and playing lawn games, while simultaneously being entertained by impromptu performances Chez Conversations and a lively DJ mix by Mia Moretti, one of the female art collective’s members WM

 David Zwirner press officer Kim Donica and The Glass House curator and special projects manager Cole Akers © TGH/Sandra Hamburg

Interior view of the Glass House with guests © Carl Timpone/BFA.com 

Former Architectural Digest editor-in-chief Margaret Russell in The Glass House © Carl Timpone/BFA.com

 Artist Kadar Brock at The Glass House © Carl Timpone/BFA.com

Architect Enrique Norton and fashion editor and stylist  Sarah Gore Reeves with the Brick House,
The Glass house and Yayoi Kusama's Pumpkin sculpture © Carl Timpone/BFA.com

Artist and Chez Conversations co-founder Kate Greer in The Glass House © Carl Timpone/BFA.com

Lightbox NYC CEO Manish Vora playing ping-pong with Maryellis Bunn © Carl Timpone/BFA.com

Artist Wendy White © Carl Timpone/BFA.com

 DJ and Chez Conversations co-founder Mia Moretti spinning music © Carl Timpone/BFA.com

Model and collector Polina Proshkina © TGH/Sandra Hamburg

 Artist Carlos Betancourt and architect Alberto Latorre with artworks from the benefit auction © TGH/Sandra Hamburg

Film producer Wendy Finerman and The Glass House deputy director Scott Drevnig © Carl Timpone/BFA.com

Publicist Alexandra Polier and architect Koray Duman © Carl Timpone/BFA.com

Alice + Olivia CEO and creative director Stacey Bendet, journalist Kim Taylor Bennett and comedian Molly
Austin  leading  a procession to the Painting Gallery © Carl Timpone/BFA.com

The Summer Party guests viewing "Robert Rauschenberg: Spreads and Related Works in the Painting Gallery © Carl Timpone/BFA.com

 Lewis Pizano and Allison Sakerak © Carl Timpone/BFA.com

Musician and Chez Conversations co-founder Margot performing with Yayoi Kusama's "Narcissus Garden"
installation surrounding the Pavilion on the Pond © TGH/Lane Coder

Moss Bureau partners Franklin Getchell and Murray Moss  with Yayoi Kusama's "Narcissus Garden"
installation surrounding the Pavilion on the Pond © TGH/Sandra Hamburg

Irene Glasgow crossing the creek © Carl Timpone/BFA.com

Yayoi Kusama's "Narcissus Garden" installation surrounding the Pavilion on the Pond © Carl Timpone/BFA.com



Paul Laster

Paul Laster is a writer, editor, curator, artist and lecturer. He’s a contributing editor at ArtAsiaPacific and Whitehot Magazine of Contemporary Art and writer for Time Out New York, Harper’s Bazaar Arabia, Galerie Magazine, Sculpture, Art & Object, Cultured, Architectural Digest, Garage, Surface, Ocula, Observer, ArtPulse, Conceptual Fine Arts and Glasstire. He was the founding editor of Artkrush, started The Daily Beast’s art section, and was art editor of Russell Simmons’ OneWorld Magazine, as well as a curator at P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center, now MoMA PS1.



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