"Frank Stella's Scarlatti Kirkpatrick" features the artist's latest series and activating the Da Monsta gallery as an exhibition space. "Night (1947 to 2015), A Sculpture-in-Residence Program" highlights "Doola," a never-before-seen work by artist Ken Price and opens a rotating contemporary sculpture series that initiates a dialogue with Johnson's lost Alberto Giacometti sculpture.
The exhibitions are part of an initiative introduced by the new director of the Glass House, Henry Urbach, who is leading efforts to rededicate the site as a creative cultural center consistent with the spirit and values of architect Johnson and curator 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 said.
"Prior to Philip and David's deaths in 2005, the Glass House at 199 Elm St., New Canaan, 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."
"Scarlatti Kirkpatrick" (2006-present) is a series of recent works by the Stella, an abstract artist. 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," said 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. Johnson was an early admirer of Stella, and he collected the artist's work throughout his life. When Johnson donated the Glass House property, 199 Elm St., to the National Trust for Historic Preservation, he outlined his wish to feature Stella's artwork.
The exhibit, which will be on display Saturday, Sept. 22, to Nov. 30, will be presented in the building known as Da Monsta, which has a theater as well as a gallery space.
"Night" (1947), by Giacometti, was one of a handful of artworks 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 Mies van der Rohe designed.
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, its absence from the Glass House still lingers like a ghost of Modernism past.
In homage, the Glass House presents "Night," an innovative sculpture-in-residence exhibition that is 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" (1947-2015) will focus 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 Price, the recently deceased artist (1935-2012) who was known for transforming traditional ceramics into extraordinary, polychromatic forms.
"Doola" will debut at the Glass House. Johnson's partner, David Whitney, was an avid collector and patron of Price; Whitney mounted Price's first solo New York exhibition at his gallery in 1971. "Doola" also is on view from Sept. 22 to Nov. 30.
Hours: Thursday-Monday, 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Tickets start at $30, including tour of the site. For information, visit philipjohnsonglasshouse.org or call 203-594-9884.