Scarlatti Kirkpatrick (2006-present) is a series of recent works by the renowned American abstract artist Frank Stella. The series represents Stella’s current and latest body of work. 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.
The series’ spiraling, polychrome works form a bold new chapter in Stella’s decades-long career exploring artistic reinvention and technical innovation, and are unlike any work he has created before.
Philip Johnson was an early admirer of Stella, and he avidly collected the artist’s work throughout his life. When Johnson donated the Glass House property to the National Trust for Historic Preservation, he specifically outlined his wish to feature Stella’s artwork at the Glass House. Visitors to the Scarlatti Kirkpatrick exhibit will find a rich context in which they can see the trajectory of the artist’s career, as earlier Stella works from Johnson’s personal collection now hang in the Glass House’s Painting Gallery.
Sometime in the mid-1960’s, a rail-thin white plaster sculpture called Night (1947), by Alberto Giacometti, walked away from the Glass House and never came back. One of very few artworks ever displayed in the Glass House, Night’s rawboned figure was granted pride of place atop the Mies van der Rohe glass coffee table. Over time, the sculpture began to shed its outer layer and was eventually sent to the artist’s studio for repairs. But Giacometti died before the work was restored and the sculpture never returned. Neither repaired nor replaced, its absence still lingers; a Modern ghost.
Night (1947–2015) is primarily comprised of never-before-seen works by a number of mid-career and established artists. Special attention will be paid to artists who grapple with themes raised by Giacometti’s vanished Night – themes that largely work in contrast to those of Johnson’s transparent temple. Works will explore unreliability, looping, curving, transparency, reflectivity, and doubt. Additionally, works will have a significant relationship to architecture and design. Artists will be selected and announced each year through the completion of the exhibition in 2015.
In place of a traditional artist-in-residence program, Night (1947–2015) is instead a sculpture-in-residence program; an unfolding sculptural exhibition held in the same spot where Giacometti’s Night once stood. A series of contemporary artists will contribute works that contend with the legacy of Giacometti’s sculpture and Johnson’s architectural opus. On display for three to six months at a time, the sculptures in Night (1947–2015) will “disappear” after their run, making room for new work and new absences.
Ken Price’s kaleidoscopic sculptures are all lump and curve, the antithesis of the clean lines and spare aesthetic of Philip Johnson’s Glass House. But Price and Johnson both shared a preoccupation with the architecture of transparency. Last February, at age 77, Ken Price passed away at his home in Taos, New Mexico. Doola is among the last works he created and has never before been shown. Between Johnson’s reflective walls, it works like a perfectly constructed echo; simultaneously a debut, a reunion, and a replacement.
A retrospective of Ken Price’s work is on view at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art through January 2013 and will later travel to the Nasher Sculpture Center in Dallas and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.
Planning Your Visit
The Philip Johnson Glass House located in New Canaan, Connecticut. The 47-acre site contains 14 structures including the architect’s personal residence – the Glass House. Tours of the Glass House site run annually from May 1 to November 30 (closed Tuesday and Wednesday). Tickets are required for admission and advance reservations are highly recommended. All ticket sales are final. Refunds or date exchanges will not be issued. Members of the National Trust for Historic Preservation will receive a $15 discount on Pure Glass House and Site Tour tickets. Please present your NTHP membership card upon check-in at the Visitor Center to receive your discount.
All tours begin at the Visitor Center located at 199 Elm Street in downtown New Canaan, CT. The Visitor Center is located directly across from the train station. Walk towards the brick building, bear right, and walk to the rear of the parking lot. Enter the Visitor Center down the ramp to the left. Please check-in 20 minutes prior to the start of your tour.
Important Notice: Public parking is NOT available at the Visitor Center. Parking is located one block from the Visitor Center in three municipal metered lots. We urge you to purchase a daily parking pass ($2.50 each) if you are visiting the Glass House on a weekday. If you do not purchase a pass, you will need quarters for metered parking, at a rate of $.50/hour. Parking passes are available at the time of ticket purchase, when you buy your Glass House tickets https://web.ovationtix.com/trs/cal/419 or by telephone (866-811-4111). Passes allow all-day parking and the ability to enjoy downtown New Canaan restaurants and shops at your leisure. Parking passes are not necessary for weekend or evening tours. Guests with special needs guests should contact Glass House in advance to arrange for use of our extremely limited parking spaces.