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NYT - Behind the Glass Wall

 
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RJH



Joined: 29 Mar 2006
Posts: 682
Location: Fort Wayne, Indiana

PostPosted: Fri Jun 08, 2007 9:58 pm    Post subject: NYT - Behind the Glass Wall Reply with quote

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/06/07/garden/07glass.html?_r=1&oref=slogin


WHEN Philip Johnson’s Glass House in New Canaan, Conn., officially opens to the public on June 21, paying visitors will have a chance to explore one of the world’s most celebrated works of Modernism for the first time since its completion in 1949. The diminutive glass-and-steel building and its uncluttered interior, which have barely changed in 58 years, are so spare that it is hard to imagine that anyone ever lived there. But for nearly all that time, it was the constantly used country retreat of its round-spectacled creator, who shared it after 1960 with David Whitney.
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Roderick Grant



Joined: 29 Mar 2006
Posts: 9619

PostPosted: Sat Jun 09, 2007 1:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

What many people don't know is that Johnson considered his own house unlivable, and spent most of his time in a 19th century gothic revival gate house on the property. When he had parties, he would open the house, but on a day to day basis, he did not use it. It is about as real as that fantasmagorical house in "North By Northwest."
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SDR



Joined: 17 Jun 2006
Posts: 18309
Location: San Francisco

PostPosted: Sat Jun 09, 2007 3:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think you would get a different impression after reading all of the NYT piece(s). I did, anyway. Johnson seemed to truly love the house -- and the later habit of using it as the property's "living room" doesn't negate that, to me.

It was David Whitney who eventually lived in one of the older houses. . .

I knew David casually at RISD (we did a little theater work together) but didn't learn until after graduation (he in '63, I in '64) that he had befriended Johnson.

Wright would certainly consider the house "unlivable." He enjoyed telling the story of surprising the occupants in bed upon an early arrival.

SDR
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Deke



Joined: 27 Jul 2006
Posts: 692
Location: Los Angeles

PostPosted: Sat Jun 09, 2007 7:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Didn't FLW attend a party at the glass house, and upon entering ask Johnson "Philip, do I keep my coat on or take it off?" Or is this story just a myth?

Deke
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SDR



Joined: 17 Jun 2006
Posts: 18309
Location: San Francisco

PostPosted: Sat Jun 09, 2007 9:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ha ! I hadn't heard that, but it's certainly believable. That could have been accompanied by a wink. . .

My favorite FLlW-to-Johnson is quoted (again) in Franz Schulze's 1994 biography (p 224):

Wright's pique sometimes coupled with pique, begetting fury. One evening in 1955, having been invited to lecture at Yale, he arrived in New Haven, to find no one waiting for him at the railroad station. Interpreting as an affront what had been a student oversight, he worked up a full head of rage that had dissipated only a little by the time he was finally picked up and spirited to the Taft Hotel. It was the ill luck of Philip to encounter him a little later in the middle of a knot of students and faculty. Wright made the most of the moment. "Why, little Phil," he roared, his voice equal parts unguent and acid, "I thought you were dead! Are you still putting up all those little houses and leaving them out in the rain?"


The Old Man and the wunderkind, c 1953


Schulze's cover photo -- the silly Old Man himself ! And what is that in the background -- cracked glass ?
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