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Mies van der Rohe’s Farnsworth House Inspires International Art Project

MASTER PIECES: An art project for architecture’s sake

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Wanting to raise money to maintain two modernist landmarks—Ludwig Mies van der Rohe’s Farnsworth House in Plano, Illinois, and Philip Johnson’s Glass House in New Canaan, Connecticut—nearly 100 artists, architects, and designers donated works of art to a project and book called Modern Views (Assouline; $70). Some of those works will be auctioned at Chicago’s Arts Club on September 16th, accompanied by the screening of a new Sarah Morris film inspired by the two glass houses—more distant cousins than twins. Here we pick eight artworks and examine their creators’ sources of inspiration.

'Blaze a Trail' by Adrian Smith

Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture

Smith’s painting Blaze a Trail takes its cue from a quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson: “Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.” Mies, writes Smith in his accompanying statement, “exemplified this spirit. . . . Not so with Philip Johnson, who explored many paths, most of which were well worn and few of which left a trail.” As for the two houses, they share a “fundamental flaw,” in that “each fails to observe nature’s forces of flooding and heat.”


All artwork courtesy of architects and designers
Photograph: Courtesy of Sotheby’s


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