Exhibitions

At the Luss House

Object & Thing teams up with galleries Blum & Poe and Mendes Wood DM to mount a contextual showcase of art and design in a Modernist architect's home.

Blum & Poe, Mendes Wood DM and Object & Thing
The Gerald Luss House, Ossining, NY
7th May – 24th July 2021

By Adrian Madlener / 18th May 2021
The Gerald Luss House COURTESY: Blum & Poe, Mendes Wood DM, and Object & Thing / PHOTOGRAPH: Michael Biondo

The Gerald Luss House
COURTESY: Blum & Poe, Mendes Wood DM, and Object & Thing / PHOTOGRAPH: Michael Biondo

LEADING UP TO and during the pandemic, New York State’s Hudson Valley became a bustling hub of creative activity. The population of towns such as Kingston and Hudson grew rapidly as urbanites escaped the city in favour of more space and connection with nature. This culturally rich region, anchored by established institutions like Dia Beacon and the Storm King art park, fully revealed its importance during the unprecedented period. Historic sites re-emerged as new art galleries, museums, resorts and food destinations began to pop up in every corner of this hilly landscape. Several overlooked or forgotten architectural gems were also re-discovered. One such masterpiece is the original home of Modernist architect Gerald Luss.

Green River Project LLC, 'Aluminum Round Table and Aluminum Chair', 2021; Johnny Ortiz, 'Micaceous clay vessels', 2021; Ritsue Mishima, 'Glass vessels', 2007-2012 COURTESY: Blum & Poe, Mendes Wood DM, and Object & Thing / PHOTOGRAPH: Michael Biondo

Green River Project LLC, ‘Aluminum Round Table and Aluminum Chair’, 2021; Johnny Ortiz, ‘Micaceous clay vessels’, 2021; Ritsue Mishima, ‘Glass vessels’, 2007-2012
COURTESY: Blum & Poe, Mendes Wood DM, and Object & Thing / PHOTOGRAPH: Michael Biondo

Renowned for having designed the interiors of the iconic Time-Life Building, the architect, sculptor and furniture designer built this home in the mid-1950s for his growing family – and as a calling card for his Design for Business company.

Gerald Luss COURTESY: Blum & Poe, Mendes Wood DM, and Object & Thing / PHOTOGRAPH: Michael Biondo

Gerald Luss
COURTESY: Blum & Poe, Mendes Wood DM, and Object & Thing / PHOTOGRAPH: Michael Biondo

Cantilevered on a wooded slope in the Westchester County village of Ossining, the house embodies many fundamental mid-century modernist principles such as incorporating industrial materials and creating a seamless connection with nature using wrap-around curtain walls.

(Kitchen island left to right): Ritsue Mishima, 'Bozzolo Di Seta', 2012 and 'Anima', 2012; Frances Palmer, 'Black stoneware vase' and 'Porcelain vase', 2021; Gerald Luss, 'Infinity Timepiece', 2020 COURTESY: Blum & Poe, Mendes Wood DM, and Object & Thing / PHOTOGRAPH: Michael Biondo

(Kitchen island left to right): Ritsue Mishima, ‘Bozzolo Di Seta’, 2012 and ‘Anima’, 2012; Frances Palmer, ‘Black stoneware vase’ and ‘Porcelain vase’, 2021; Gerald Luss, ‘Infinity Timepiece’, 2020
COURTESY: Blum & Poe, Mendes Wood DM, and Object & Thing / PHOTOGRAPH: Michael Biondo

The Luss House is a luxurious and liveable reinterpretation of the postwar corporate‐design style. The sizeable four-bedroom home, available as a weekend rental, retains many period details such as a multi-coloured kitchen, wood-panelled built-ins and prototypical furnishings of the era. Luss’s own ‘Time-Life’ twelve-foot couch, coffee table and poker table are still central elements of the house.

(Foreground left to right): Gerald Luss, 'Sofa for The Gerald Luss House', circa 1950s; Alma Allen, two 'Not Yet Titled' works, 2020 and 2017; Gerald Luss, 'Coffee Table for The Gerald Luss House', circa 1950s; Green River Project LLC, 'Aluminum and Leather Lounge Chair', 2021 COURTESY: Blum & Poe, Mendes Wood DM, and Object & Thing / PHOTOGRAPH: Michael Biondo

(Foreground left to right): Gerald Luss, ‘Sofa for The Gerald Luss House’, circa 1950s; Alma Allen, two ‘Not Yet Titled’ works, 2020 and 2017; Gerald Luss, ‘Coffee Table for The Gerald Luss House’, circa 1950s; Green River Project LLC, ‘Aluminum and Leather Lounge Chair’, 2021
COURTESY: Blum & Poe, Mendes Wood DM, and Object & Thing / PHOTOGRAPH: Michael Biondo

After a successful showcase at the Eliot Noyes house in nearby New Canaan, Connecticut, this past fall, young collectible design platform Object & Thing decided to mount a second iteration of its successful modernist house stagings within this epochal property. ‘At The Luss House: Blum & Poe, Mendes Wood DM and Object & Thing’ brings together an eclectic array of new and site-specific works by Alma Allen, Lucas Arruda, Cecily Brown, Matt Connors, Green River Project, Tony Lewis, Ritsu Mishima, Johnny Ortiz and Paulo Monteiro, among others. The contextual showcase, developed in partnership with galleries Blum & Poe and Mendes Wood DM, makes full use of the house’s open-plan living areas, bedrooms and gardens.

Gerald Luss, 'Chaise for Lehigh Furniture Company', circa 1950s; Eddie Martinez, 'Ideal Location', painting, 2021; Kiva Motnyk, 'Botanic Study - Indigo' quilt, 2021 COURTESY: Blum & Poe, Mendes Wood DM, and Object & Thing / PHOTOGRAPH: Michael Biondo

Gerald Luss, ‘Chaise for Lehigh Furniture Company’, circa 1950s; Eddie Martinez, ‘Ideal Location’, painting, 2021; Kiva Motnyk, ‘Botanic Study – Indigo’ quilt, 2021
COURTESY: Blum & Poe, Mendes Wood DM, and Object & Thing / PHOTOGRAPH: Michael Biondo

“I think there’s a great advantage to presenting contemporary artworks within historic homes, as they take on new meanings when in dialogue with surroundings that have been thoughtfully considered and have stood the test of time,” Object & Thing founder Abby Bangser reflects. “There’s also the perspective that introducing contemporary artworks into these spaces brings out a new relevancy which allows us to share stories from the past with today’s audience.”

Green River Project LLC, 'Brushed Aluminum & Bamboo Sconces', 2021 COURTESY: Blum & Poe, Mendes Wood DM, and Object & Thing / PHOTOGRAPH: Michael Biondo

Green River Project LLC, ‘Brushed Aluminum & Bamboo Sconces’, 2021
COURTESY: Blum & Poe, Mendes Wood DM, and Object & Thing / PHOTOGRAPH: Michael Biondo

Bangser and her team were able to collaborate directly with Luss, who is now in his nineties. Because of this contact, the showcase is as much a celebration of the architect’s life and work as it is a presentation of contemporary art and design.

Gerald Luss, 'Untitled', 2020 COURTESY: Blum & Poe, Mendes Wood DM, and Object & Thing / PHOTOGRAPH: Michael Biondo

Gerald Luss, ‘Untitled’, 2020
COURTESY: Blum & Poe, Mendes Wood DM, and Object & Thing / PHOTOGRAPH: Michael Biondo

Several of the pieces on view were conceived as direct responses to the architecture and natural setting of the house. Green River Project’s ‘Aluminum’ chairs and tables series draws inspiration from Luss’s seminal design of the Time-Life Building’s interior. “Fibre artist Kiva Motnyk created her five works specifically for the house, including a hand-pieced fabric panel, stretched within a wooden frame that fills the main bedroom window, tapestries placed over each of the beds and a tea towel,” Bangser adds. “While not a new work, Daniel Steegman Mangrané’s ‘Systemic Grid 124’ sculpture that includes a large glass panel re-frames one’s perception of both the house’s glass walls and the surrounding trees, visible in the distance.”

Daniel Steegmann Mangrané, ‘Systemic Grid 124 (Window)’, 2019
COURTESY: Blum & Poe, Mendes Wood DM, and Object & Thing / PHOTOGRAPH: Michael Biondo

“There’s a great advantage to presenting contemporary artworks within historic homes …”

Abby Bangser

Green River Project LLC, ‘TimeLife Building’, 2021; Ritsue Mishima, ‘Ouvo di Neve’, 2012
COURTESY: Blum & Poe, Mendes Wood DM, and Object & Thing / PHOTOGRAPH: Michael Biondo

” … They take on new meanings when in dialogue with surroundings that have been thoughtfully considered and have stood the test of time”

Abby Bangser

Accompanying the show is a comprehensive essay written by design historian Glenn Adamson. As part of his research he asked Luss what he thought about these contemporary works being placed into his seventy-year-old house: “he just smiled and said, ‘It’s never looked this good.’”

Works pictured [wall, left to right]: Kishio Suga, 'Scene of Elapsing Connections', 2009; 'Wooden Spaces in Alignment', 2001; 'Continuous Earth Under Rain', 2009; 'Point of Centrality', 2000; 'Potential Detachment', 2007; 'Cluster of Rising Sceneries', 1997; 'Internal Boundary in Formation', 2010; Kiva Motnyk, 'Line Tapestry - Neutral' quilt, 2021 COURTESY: Blum & Poe, Mendes Wood DM, and Object & Thing / PHOTOGRAPH: Michael Biondo

Works pictured [wall, left to right]: Kishio Suga, ‘Scene of Elapsing Connections’, 2009; ‘Wooden Spaces in Alignment’, 2001; ‘Continuous Earth Under Rain’, 2009; ‘Point of Centrality’, 2000; ‘Potential Detachment’, 2007; ‘Cluster of Rising Sceneries’, 1997; ‘Internal Boundary in Formation’, 2010; Kiva Motnyk, ‘Line Tapestry – Neutral’ quilt, 2021
COURTESY: Blum & Poe, Mendes Wood DM, and Object & Thing / PHOTOGRAPH: Michael Biondo

At The Luss House: Blum & Poe, Mendes Wood DM and Object & Thing can be visited on Fridays and Saturdays from 10 am to 6 pm, until 24th July, by appointment.

Article By

Adrian Madlener
Adrian Madlener is a Brussels-born, New York-based writer covering a wide range of design-related topics.