Object & Thing, Blum & Poe, and Mendes Wood DM Collaborate on a Contemporary Art and Design Exhibit on Show at the Gerald Luss House
“In the fall of 2020, at a time when visiting art galleries in New York proved to be challenging due to the pandemic, Blum & Poe, Mendes Wood DM and Object & Thing conceived of and collaborated on an exhibition of art and design objects at the Eliot Noyes House in New Canaan, Connecticut,” remembers Matt Bangser, partner at Blum & Poe.
“The show was extremely well-received and we collectively decided a second exhibition would be a natural follow-up, which led us to organizing ‘At the Luss House.'”
On view through July 24, 2021, this exhibition showcases new and site-specific contemporary art and design works by 18 international artists including Alma Allen, Lucas Arruda, Cecily Brown, Matt Connors, Green River Project LLC, Tony Lewis, Eddie Martinez, Ritsue Mishima, Paulo Monteiro, Johnny Ortiz, Frances Palmer, and Marina Perez Simão, among others.
One specificity of the show is its location, as it takes place in the former residence of Gerald Luss (born in 1926). The architect and designer designed the mid-century home in 1955 in Ossining, New York.
“It is unique to find a home in largely original condition that was made by and for the architect himself,” Matt Bangser says.
“The Luss House is sited in a quiet residential area, approximately 45 minutes north of New York City up the Hudson River. It is built on a sloped piece of land supported by steel pillars, which give the feeling of the house floating in nature, with trees and grass on all sides. The rectilinear modernist structure with wraparound glass sits beautifully in its surrounding natural environment. The works we have chosen respond to these forms found within the architecture of the home and the landscape.”
The story of Gerald Luss’s first freestanding architectural project dates back to 1952 when the architect bought the land and first constructed a treehouse to live on-site, with the objective of experiencing the lot before designing the current house, which was built from prefabricated industrial components. Handcrafted interior details, built-in shelving and cabinetry, and exposed planks (including cedar, macassar ebony and teak woods) characterize the spaces.
Gerald Luss and his family lived here during the three years the architect spent working on the 350,000-square-foot Time-Life office building (1959), a 48-story skyscraper located on Avenue of the Americas in midtown.
During this period, the Luss House became a place for meetings with the Time-Life staff. The designs of both buildings were influenced by each other, resulting in the same type of connection between interior and exterior, and a similar material and color palette.
“It is satisfying to have this exhibition infuse new life in the home I designed for my family at the onset of my career, and to see new generations of artists and designers bring their contemporary perspective into the space,” says Gerald Luss, who, at 94 years old, is a collaborative partner in the show.
“In my own life and work, I find it essential not only to create work daily but to also live among the objects and work of other artists, expanding my vision of the world. I look forward to experiencing how this exhibition casts a light on my former home and sharing in the inspirations for us all.”
“Each of the three entities Blum & Poe, Mendes Wood DM and Object & Thing made an effort to represent their programs in a complementary way, by showcasing a diverse and multidisciplinary group of artists,” explains Matt Bangser.
“For example, Blum & Poe highlights a new painting by Cecily Brown, which commands a prominent wall in the living room, hung above a large stone fireplace and surrounded by ceramic vessels and floor sculpture.”
Another outstanding piece, “Conjoined Bodies,” is by Kishio Suga. “It is an installation of a freestanding aluminum loop weighted down by blocks of stone that was conceived in 1985 and later installed outdoors at the Biennale of Middelheim in 1989,” describes Matt Bangser.
“Adapting the constituent parts to fit the space between two trees, it became an icon of his uniquely site-specific and adaptive approach to art-making. This work is recreated outdoors for the first time since then, between two trees on the land of the Luss House.”
Connecting different eras and disciplines, this show creates bridges in a seamless way. “We want people to step away from a visit to this exhibition with an appreciation for the ways in which art and design objects can heighten an experience with architecture and nature,” Matt Bangser explains.
“If one leaves feeling more connected to an individual artwork they have seen, the home itself, or the story of Gerald Luss, then we have done something additive.”
The Luss House | geraldlusshouse.com
Photograph: Courtesy of Michael Biondo