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November 16, 2011

The Four Seasons’ James Welling Exhibition

By Jordan Kisner | Art

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James Welling’s 0865, 2009. © James Welling.

Art at the Four Seasons restaurant in New York has finally come full circle. Built in 1959 by famed architect Philip Johnson, the restaurant doubles as a hub of art and design, one that has displayed works by Picasso, Pollack and Miró. No exhibition has hit quite so close to home, however, as the current installation of ten limited-edition photographs by James Welling. The series (on display and on sale through January 2) depicts another of Johnson’s creations: the Glass House, a 47-acre compound scattered with 14 modernist buildings and structures designed by Johnson, anchored by the crystalline home where the architect lived for more than 50 years. Welling photographed the site in all seasons over the course of three years, using reflections and color filters on his lens to play with the structure’s natural translucence. “In his photos, the Glass House is converted from a transparent box into a lustrous crystal,” says Meri Erickson, the curator of the Four Seasons exhibit, “and from a minimalist articulation of materials and construction to a maximalist expression of colored light.”

The photographs have been shown at galleries worldwide, and the entire series was compiled into a book, James Welling: Glass House (Damiani Editore), published last spring. As for the installation in the Four Seasons? “It’s the perfect backdrop,” says Erickson. “He loved the restaurant, ate lunch there almost every day, and to have photographs of his iconic home there on display—it captures history.” fourseasonsrestaurant.com; philipjohnsonglasshouse.org.

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