Landscape architect James Rose’s legacy explored in show at his midcentury New Jersey home

Green River Project and Object & Thing inspect 20th-century landscape architect James Rose’s legacy in a display of art, furniture and objects, both historic and contemporary

A wall with a painting containing a batch of fish on top of each other.
Matt Kenny, Goya's Still Life with Golden Bream, 2022 in Green River Project LLC walnut frame. Green River Project LLC, Mask, 2022. ’At The Rose House’: Green River Project LLC and Object & Thing at The James Rose Center. Photo courtesy of Green River Project LLC
(Image credit: TBC)

The legacy of the 20th-century American landscape architect James Rose (1913 – 1991) is thrust into the spotlight, thanks to a new exhibition of contemporary art and design installed in his preserved, idiosyncratic midcentury home and garden in the suburbs of Ridgewood, New Jersey (9 September – 2 October 2022). Handbuilt by Rose, known for his use of readymade materials and pioneering approach of fusing the indoors and outdoors, the home, which now functions as the non-profit James Rose Center for Landscape Architectural Research and Design, is an inspiring and tactile example of the architect’s philosophy, in design, spirituality and beyond.

Titled ‘At the Rose House’, the exhibition is organised by New York-based design firm Green River Project and art and design platform Object & Thing – known for its collaborative, site-specific shows within 20th-century artists’ and architects’ homes – and celebrates Rose’s design accomplishments by highlighting the extent of his influence, both then and now.

Four steps leading up to a wood building.

The James Rose Center, New Jersey, former home of landscape architect James Rose (1913 – 1991) that was both designed and built by him in 1953.

(Image credit: Michael Biondo)

By bringing in objects, art and furniture by both Rose’s contemporaries, such as Charles and Ray Eames, Nancy Holt and Anne Truitt, and today’s rising talents, such as new furniture by Green River Project, chairs from the artist Hugh Hayden, ceramics by Johnny Ortiz-Concha, as well as garments by the fashion label Bode that are inspired by Rose’s personal style and eccentricity, the exhibition emphasises the ingenuity and value of the handmade by capturing how fleeting and rare these unique aspects can be.

For Green River Project, bringing this exhibition to life had an especially poignant significance. ‘The ease in which Rose expanded the home using ready-made materials was an early reference for our practice,’ says Aaron Aujla, who co-founded the company with Ben Bloomstein. ‘In particular, there is a kitchen with mahogany shelves and pegboard that we must have spent over one hundred hours dissecting and referring back to over the last five years. Ben and I also started Green River Project as a gallery, in the barn of his family’s farm in upstate New York, so organising this exhibition with [Object & Thing’s] Abby [Bangser] was a great exercise that brought us back to one of our original goals.’

Inside the Rose House, a desk with a three by tow central cutting, with a white box on top. Background wall is white with a red painting in a white border (off centre to the right).

Anne Truitt, Rice-Paper Drawing 14, 1965, courtesy of Matthew Marks Gallery. Green River Project LLC, Rose Coffee Table, 2022. ‘At The Rose House': Green River Project LLC and Object & Thing at The James Rose Center. Photo courtesy of Green River Project LLC

(Image credit: TBC)

To honour the milestone, Green River Project has created new work with Rose’s spirit in mind. Imagined as if he were making work today, the studio also unveiled pieces made with longtime collaborators and members of their team, such as a cast metal side chair by Bloomstein Industrial,  a wooden chair in Rose's mother;s room Luck Carpentry and rice paper lamps from Preziosi Lighting that can be seen in the dining room, as well as elsewhere.

To accompany several of the artworks that are being displayed, such as paintings by Louis Eisner and Matt Kenny, Green River Project also created new frames that nod to Rose's existing interventions in the house. The firm also created a rosewood  pedestal to accompany an edition of Charles and Ray Eames’ Plywood Sculpture, 1941, which is being released by Eames Office for the first time.

Foreground is four chairs, two opposite each other of two differing styles (one box style and one airport chair style) in wood. A rectangular low middle table with square holes in its design. A closed fireplace in the back with painting and artwork above.

Works pictured on fireplace, left to right: Matt Kenny, Goya's Still Life with Golden Bream, 2022, with Green River Project LLC walnut frame. Green River Project LLC, Mask, 2022, and Rose Armchair, 2022. 'At The Rose House' Green River Project LLC and Object & Thing at The James Rose Center. Photo courtesy of Green River Project LLC

(Image credit: TBC)

At one time the home of Rose, his sister and his mother, the James Rose Center eventually became a place where research, design and rebellion against the norm is celebrated. Its unique, two-storey structure, which features an open-air upper floor, as well as self-made pools, ponds and fountains that can be seen through the house's windows, would be rare to find today. 

‘Rose was an impossible maverick, called by one author “the James Dean of Landscape Architecture”, but I think he would be very happy with the vision Green River Project LLC and Object & Thing have brought to his house,’ says Dean Cardasis, director of the James Rose Center. ‘We look forward to welcoming new audiences throughout the exhibition.’

Forefront is a white chair with a prism shape back. A painting on the wall with various eyes.

Lonnie Holley, Without Skin, 2020, © Lonnie Holley / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Courtesy of the artist and Blum & Poe, Los Angeles/New York/Tokyo. Glass vessels by Paul Arnhold, 2022. Hugh Hayden, Upholstered Adirondack Chair, 2022, courtesy Lisson Gallery. 'At The Rose House' Green River Project LLC and Object & Thing at The James Rose Center. Photo courtesy of Green River Project LLC

(Image credit: TBC)

INFORMATION

The James Rose Center is open for public visits Tuesday to Sunday, 10am – 4pm during the exhibition. There is a $10 admission fee that benefits The James Rose Center and is charged upon entry.

‘At the Rose House’ runs from 9 September to 2 October 2022

object-thing.com
jamesrosecenter.org

ADDRESS

James Rose Center
506 E Ridgewood Avenue
Ridgewood, New Jersey
T: 1 201 466 6017

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Pei-Ru Keh is the US Editor at Wallpaper*. Born and raised in Singapore, she has been a New Yorker since 2013. Pei-Ru has held various titles at Wallpaper* since she joined in 2007. She currently reports on design, art, architecture, fashion, beauty and lifestyle happenings in the United States, both in print and digitally. Pei-Ru has taken a key role in championing diversity and representation within Wallpaper's content pillars and actively seeks out stories that reflect a wide range of perspectives. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and two children, and is currently learning how to drive.