Following a similar intervention at The Schindler House in West Hollywood in January, performance art duo Gerard & Kelly will explore The Glass House in New Canaan, Connecticut – an iconic modernist structure created by Philip Johnson, completed in 1949 – and the life of the architect who built and lived in it. Titled Modern Living, and co-produced by Art Production Fund, the performance will include dancers commissioned from the famed French maestro Benjamin Millepied’s company, performing throughout the interior and exterior of the site.
'Modern Living brings into dialogue two iconic modernist homes,' explains Gerard & Kelly. Both of these homes are what the artists call 'auto-architectures', or homes lived in by the architects who built by them. Each sheltered a different kind of alternative family or domestic relationship – something the duo are exploring through this work.
'RM Schindler built the Kings Road house in 1922 to shelter two young couples in an early example of cooperative living. The pinwheel structure of the house is built around four studios assigned specifically to each of the four residents, men and women alike. In Schindler’s design, bedrooms moved from being a focal point of a house to "sleeping baskets" lofted above the studios. A communal kitchen provided, in the architect’s words, “respite from the incessant household rhythm”,' they explain.
The Glass House, on the other hand, famously sheltered its architect, Philip Johnson, and his partner, David Whitney, for several decades in something of an 'open secret'. 'Such interventions into traditional codes of domestic architecture produced ways of living that were radical for their times, and may be a template for queer lives today, nearly a century later,' Gerard & Kelly explain.
Working with the nine dancers of LA Dance Project, they have re-imagined the Schindler and Glass houses as 'experiments in living, positing architecture as choreography for relationships'.