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Glass House launches fall season with exhibition of works by Frank Stella
K.171b, inventory #: FS 2011.015, 2011. Stainless steel, protogen and lacquer paint, 98 x 51 x 26in, 248.9 x 129.5 x 66 cm. Credit: Art: Frank Stella, K.171.b, 2011 © 2012 Frank Stella / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Andrew Romer, 2012.

NEW CANAAN, CONN.- Two inaugural shows launch the Glass House exhibition program in the fall of 2012: Frank Stella: Scarlatti Kirkpatrick and Night (1947–2015). The exhibitions program are part of a strategic initiative introduced by the new director of the Glass House, Henry Urbach, who is leading efforts to rededicate the site as a lively, creative cultural center consistent with the spirit and values of its former occupants, renowned architect Philip Johnson and independent curator and editor David Whitney.

“Historic preservation is not just the physical conservation of buildings and collections, but also the preservation of intangible qualities or the spirit of a place. My hope is to reanimate the Glass House as a curatorial laboratory to complement Johnson’s and Whitney’s work. Exhibitions and other programs will allow the public to experience the site in new ways so that the Glass House continues to exist as a site of cultural production, a place of innovation and discovery,” Urbach says.

“Prior to Philip’s and David’s deaths in 2005, the Glass House served, for nearly 50 years, as a gathering point without equal; as a laboratory for experimenting with the collection and display of art, architecture, landscape, and people; as a seat of power and a decisive stage for culture that played no small part in determining what mattered to the late 20th century. To become director of the Glass House, then, is to engage the legacy of this extraordinary site and to bring it forward into a future that is multifaceted and alive,” Urbach adds.

Frank Stella: Scarlatti Kirkpatrick
Scarlatti Kirkpatrick (2006–present) is a series of recent works by the renowned American abstract artist Frank Stella. The series represents Stella’s current and latest body of work.

The series title refers both to the Italian composer Domenico Scarlatti (1685–1757), known for his many harpsichord sonatas, and to the Yale musicologist and harpsichordist Ralph Kirkpatrick (1911–84), who popularized Scarlatti’s work and produced the definitive catalogue of the sonatas in 1953. Stella’s constructions, like the sonatas, are each assigned “K” numbers (for example, K.179) but their relationship to Scarlatti’s music is one of visual rhythm and abstraction more than literal correspondence. “If you follow an edge of a given work visually,” says Stella, “and follow it through quickly, you find the sense of rhythm and movement that you get in music.”

The series’ spiraling, polychrome works form a bold new chapter in Stella's decades-long career exploring artistic reinvention and technical innovation, and are unlike any work he has created before.

Philip Johnson was an early admirer of Stella, and he avidly collected the artist’s work throughout his life. When Johnson donated the Glass House property to the National Trust for Historic Preservation, he specifically outlined his wish to feature Stella’s artwork at the Glass House. Visitors to the Scarlatti Kirkpatrick exhibit will find a rich context in which they can see the trajectory of the artist’s career, as earlier Stella works from Johnson’s personal collection now hang in the Glass House’s Painting Gallery.

Frank Stella: Scarlatti Kirkpatrick (2006–present) is presented in the building known as Da Monsta on the Glass House property. Da Monsta features a theater as well as a gallery space, where the exhibition will be viewed. Johnson intended for the building to serve as an on-site visitor center where guests would gather to view small exhibitions and film before touring the grounds. Initially designed by Stella and completed by Johnson in 1995, Da Monsta was the last structure built on the New Canaan site. The building concluded what Johnson called his “50-year diary,” documenting the history of 20th-century architectural currents across the 49-acre campus.

Night (1947- 2015)
Night, (1947) by sculptor Alberto Giacometti, was one of a handful of artworks that Philip Johnson displayed in the Glass House while he lived there. The plaster sculpture was granted a place of honor atop the central glass coffee table that Mies van der Rohe designed for Johnson. In the 1960s, Night began to shed its outer layer and was eventually sent to the artist’s studio for repair. Giacometti died before the work was conserved, and the sculpture was never returned. Neither repaired nor replaced, Night’s absence from the Glass House still lingers like a ghost of Modernism past.

In homage, the Glass House presents Night (1947–2015), an innovative sculpture-in-residence exhibition guest curated by Jordan Stein. The ongoing exhibition will feature contemporary artists whose works contend with the legacy of Night. On display for three to six months at a time over the next three years, the sculptures in Night will be regularly rotated making room for new work and ongoing dialogue.

Night focuses on mid-career and established sculptors who work with themes raised by Giacometti’s vanished artwork — themes such as unreliability, looping, curving, reflectivity, and doubt, all of which provide a counterpoint to Johnson’s transparent temple. Artists will be announced each year until the completion of the exhibition in 2015.

The first artwork is Doola (2011), a sculpture by the recently deceased artist Ken Price (1935–2012), who was known for transforming traditional ceramics into extraordinary, polychromatic forms. Doola will debut for the first time at the Glass House. Johnson’s partner, David Whitney, was an avid collector and patron of Ken Price; Whitney mounted Price’s first solo New York exhibition at his gallery in 1971. In 1992, he organized a retrospective of Price’s work at the Menil Collection in Houston.

Jordan Stein is the founder of Glass, house, a project-based curatorial initiative that explores notions of transparency and reflectivity in contemporary art practice and presentation; co-founder/director of Will Brown, an exhibition and program space in San Francisco’s Mission District; and an Arts Project Developer at the Exploratorium, a museum of science, art, and human perception in San Francisco. In 2010, Stein participated in the Curatorial Intensive training program organized by the Independent Curators International, New York. He is a graduate of the San Francisco Art Institute (MFA, 2005) and the University of Michigan (BA, 2002). He currently lives and works in San Francisco.

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September 24, 2012

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