JONAH BOKAER AT THE GLASS HOUSE

The Glass House, built between 1949 and 1995 by architect Philip Johnson,designed by Philip Johnson as his own residence, and “universally viewed as having been derived from” the Farnsworth House design, according to Alice T. Friedman. Johnson curated an exhibit of Mies van der Rohe work at the Museum of Modern Art in 1947, featuring a model of the glass Farnsworth House. The Glass House is a National Trust Historic Site located in New Canaan, Connecticut. The pastoral 49-acre landscape comprises fourteen structures, including the Glass House (1949), and features a permanent collection of 20th-century painting and sculpture, along with temporary exhibitions.

The house is an example of early use of industrial materials such as glass and steel in home design. Johnson lived at the weekend retreat for 58 years, and since 1960 with his longtime companion, David Whitney, an art critic and curator who helped design the landscaping and largely collected the art displayed there.

DANCE INSPIRATION

The Metamorphoses (Latin: Metamorphōseōn librī: “Books of Transformations”) is a Latin narrative poem by the Roman poet Ovid, considered his magnum opus. Comprising fifteen books and over 250myths, the poem chronicles the history of the world from its creation to the deification of Julius Caesarwithin a loose mythico-historical framework.

Although meeting the criteria for an epic, the poem defies simple genre classification by its use of varying themes and tones. Ovid took inspiration from the genre of metamorphosis poetry, and some of theMetamorphoses derives from earlier treatment of the same myths; however, he diverged significantly from all of his models.

One of the most influential works in Western culture, the Metamorphoses has inspired such authors asDante Alighieri, Giovanni Boccaccio, Geoffrey Chaucer, and William Shakespeare. Numerous episodes from the poem have been depicted in acclaimed works of sculpture, painting, and music. Although interest in Ovid faded after the Renaissance, there was a resurgence of attention to his work towards the end of the 20th century; today, the Metamorphoses continues to inspire and be retold through various media. The work has been the subject of numerous translations into English, the first by William Caxton in 1480.

ARCHITECT

Philip Cortelyou Johnson (July 8, 1906 – January 25, 2005) was an American architect, best known for his works of Modern architecture, including the Glass House in New Canaan, Connecticut, and his works of postmodern architecture, particularly 550 Madison Avenue (Formerly the AT&T Building and then theSony Building), designed with John Burgee. In 1978 he was awarded an American Institute of ArchitectsGold Medal and in 1979 the first Pritzker Architecture Prize.

Johnson was born in Cleveland, Ohio on July 8, 1906, the son of a prosperous Cleveland lawyer, Homer H. Johnson. He was descended from the Jansen family of New Amsterdam, and included among his ancestors the Huguenot Jacques Cortelyou, who laid out the first town plan of New Amsterdam for Peter Stuyvesant. He attended the Hackley School, in Tarrytown, New York, and then studied as an undergraduate at Harvard University where he focused on learning Greek, philology, history and philosophy, particularly the work of the Pre-Socratic philosophers. Upon completing his studies in 1927, he made a series of trips to Europe, visiting the landmarks of classical and Gothic architecture, and joined Henry Russell Hitchcock, a prominent architectural historian, who was introducing Americans to the work of Le Corbusier, Walter Gropius, and other modernists. In 1928 he met Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, who was at the time designing the German Pavilion for the 1929 Barcelona International Exposition. The meeting formed the basis for a lifelong relationship of both collaboration and competition.

In 1930, Johnson joined the architecture department of the Museum of Modern Art in New York. There he arranged for American visits by Gropius and Le Corbusier, and negotiated the first American commission for Mies van der Rohe. In 1932, working with Hitchcock and Alfred H. Barr, Jr. and Henry-Russell Hitchcock, he organized the first exhibition on Modern architecture at the Museum of Modern Art in 1932. The show and their simultaneously published book “International Style: Modern Architecture Since 1922” played an important part in introducing modern architecture to the American public. When the rise of the Nazis in Germany forced the modernists Marcel Breuer and Mies van der Rohe to leave Germany, Johnson helped arrange for them to come to work in the United States.

In 1936, in the depths of the Great Depression, he left the Museum of Modern Art for a brief venture into journalism and politics. For a time he supported the extreme populist Governor of Louisiana Huey Long and Father Charles Coughlin, and traveled to Berlin as a correspondent for Coughlin’s radically populist and often anti-Semitic newspaper Social Justice. In the newspaper, Johnson expressed, as the New York Times later reported, “more than passing admiration for Hitler”. Johnson observed the Nuremberg Rallies in Germany and, sponsored by the German government, covered the invasion of Poland in 1939. Many years later he told his biographer, Franz Shultze, “You simply could not fail to be caught up in the excitement of it, by the marching songs, by the crescendo and climax of the whole thing, as Hitler came on at last to harangue the crowd,” and told of being thrilled at the sight of “all those blond boys in black leather” marching past the Führer. In his 1994 biography of Johnson, Schultze wrote: ” In politics he proved to be a model of futility. He was never much of a political threat to anyone, still less an effective doer of either political good or political evil.”

In 1941, at the age of 35, Johnson abandoned politics and journalism and enrolled in the Harvard Graduate School of Design, where he studied with Marcel Breuer and Walter Gropius. In 1941, Johnson designed and actually built his first building, a house still existing at 9 Ash Street in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The house, strongly influenced by Mies van der Rohe, has a wall around the lot which merges with the structure. After the United States entered World War II in December 1941, Johnson enlisted in the Army. He was investigated by the FBI for his contacts with the German government and his support for Coughlin, who opposed American intervention in the war, but he was cleared for service and entered the army. He spent his army service during the war in the United States.

 

 

 

 

 

 

ALL PHOTOS WERE TAKEN ON SITE BY HOST/PRODUCER SAVONA BAILEY-MCCLAIN

 

The Metamorphoses – 2017
After Ovid

“Choreography occurs, is transmitted, and disappears, to become dance,” says choreographer and exhibiting artist Jonah Bokaer, in the Yale Journal of the Humanities. Inspired by the Ovid’s eponymous poem in 15 books, “The Metamorphoses”, a newly choreographed visual performance work, was staged specifically for the unique architecture of The Glass House on Saturday June 10. Visitors and guests were invited to engage with a mobile program, including dances and visual installations developed across the ravishing landscape, and the diverse edifices of The Glass House. This was not be the first time Jonah Bokaer dived into the exploration of ancient myths: he is known for his Mediterranean reclamation of the mythic cannon, and very frequently, with museum productions, and multi-ethnic casting.

The result of revisiting Ovid’s 15-book epic work, was a modular piece revisited and performed by Bokaer’s Company. Woven into the filigree was a desire to reassert the themes of disappearance, Mediterranean migration, the presence of water (on view at The Glass House) forgotten peoples, and how these ancient stories still resonate our days.

Jonah Bokaer explored the theme of water, a central element recurring in the 15 books of Ovid’s Metamorphoses. Each movement took place around a symbolic site: the pond, the pool, the lake, the library, the paining gallery, and pastoral spaces as well. Eight Solo Performers, carefully staged, encouraged the ambulation of the public from one site to another.

Choreographer and Artist Jonah Bokaer explains that “the different genres and divisions in the narrative allow The Metamorphoses to display a wide range of themes. Scholar Stephen M. Wheeler notes that “Metamorphosis, mutability, love, violence, artistry, and power manifested in physical space, are just some of the unifying themes that critics have proposed over the years.”

The musical composition by Greek composer Stavros Gasparatos, an ongoing collaborator, was licensed specifically for this one-time only performance. Recurring ideas of fragmentary traces, interiors made transparent, and more demonstrative performance also stired through choreographic vocabulary by Jonah Bokaer. The work was performed by Tal Adler-Arieli (Israel/Germany), Laura Gutierrez (USA/Mexico), James Koroni (USA/Iran), Callie Lyons (USA), James McGinn (USA/Belgium) Szabi Pataki (Hungary), Sara Procopio (USA), Betti Rollo (Italy)

About Jonah Bokaer 
Jonah Bokaer has been active as a choreographer and exhibiting artist since 2002. The creator of 57 works in a wide variety of media (dances, videos, drawings, motion capture works, interactive installations, mobile applications, and film. In 2015 he received the United States Artists Fellowship in Choreography (Ford Foundation), and was named a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Fellow in Choreography. In 2016 he won Italy’s Civitella Ranieri Foundation Fellowship, in the Visual Arts category, and was awarded one of the Mellon Foundation Fellowships at the NYU Center for Ballet and the Arts, for his choreography with the Royal Ballet of Flanders.

Joshua Katcher / Brave GentleMan
Joshua Katcher teaches fashion at Parsons The New School. Katcher started the first men’s ethical lifestyle website, The Discerning Brute in 2008, then launched the label Brave GentleMan in 2010, spearheading the first vegan, ethically-made menswear fashion brand. Katcher has also lectured internationally on sustainable and ethical fashion, was awarded most influential designer of 2015 by PETA. He is a contributor to Huffington Post style and Laika magazine, has appeared on the cover of Vegan Good Life Magazine, and has been interviewed on major networks, such as Al Jazeera America as a fashion expert.

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