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David Hartt: A Colored Garden is the first artist-designed garden to activate the historic site’s 49-acre landscape. Hartt is a visual artist whose research-based practice investigates the interplay between culture, the built environment, and the communities that shape and are shaped by these concepts.
Located in the southern meadow just below the Glass House, Hartt’s circular garden will span forty feet and comprise an array of flowers — including peonies, chrysanthemums, zinnias, and phlox — that bloom sequentially, creating a variation of height, texture, and color. The selection of flowers correspond to the plant varieties found in the paintings of Charles Ethan Porter (1847 – 1923), an African-American artist whose poetic still lifes, landscapes, and portraits were celebrated by well-known contemporaries such as Frederic Church, Edmonia Lewis, Henry Ossawa Tanner, and Mark Twain. Although Porter studied in New York and worked for a time in Paris, his work is firmly rooted in and inspired by Connecticut where he spent most of his life.
For the duration of the project, a bronze mask designed by Hartt will hold cuttings from the garden and sit on top of the dining table in the Glass House. Additionally, an online exhibition will feature works by Porter and Hartt alongside evolving project documentation.
When designing the garden, Hartt took inspiration from David Whitney’s under-recognized contributions to the Glass House site. As a well-known curator and Philip Johnson’s partner for over forty years, Whitney exerted considerable influence on the evolution of the landscape, including the creation of flowering gardens, many of which are no longer extant. The circular shape of the garden also echoes Johnson-designed elements within the site as well as Donald Judd’s site-specific concrete sculpture. Hartt’s work revives embedded narratives lying dormant in the landscape, a playful, exuberant, and vibrant counterpoint to the surrounding grounds.
As part of a year-long residency, Hartt will begin work on a related film that reflects on the Arcadian ideals represented in the site’s landscape as well as The Burial of Phocion, a painting attributed to Nicolas Poussin that stands inside the Glass House. The film will follow a group of chamber musicians as they perform new music by composer Tomeka Reid. The roving camera will capture the performance, the structure of the building, and the pastoral context.
David Hartt: A Colored Garden is organized by Cole Akers, curator and special projects manager, The Glass House. The project is supported in part by the Canada Council for the Arts.
Contact Name: The Glass House
Contact Email: email@example.com
Contact Phone: 203 5949884
This event is free of charge.
Included with a visit to the site.
The Glass House
199 Elm Street
New Canaan, CT 06840
Municipal parking is available.
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