Photo by Michael Biondo

Object & Thing joins international contemporary art galleries, Blum & Poe and Mendes Wood DM, in presenting a collaborative exhibition of works of contemporary art and design in the domestic setting of Eliot Noyes’s (1910-1977) family home in New Canaan, Connecticut. The exhibition is a unique opportunity for visitors to engage with the historic Modernist home of the industrial designer and Harvard Five architect. Taking the house and Noyes’s spirit as inspiration, At The Noyes House presents works by artists including Alma Allen, Lucas Arruda, Lynda Benglis, Sonia Gomes, Green River Project LLC, Mark Grotjahn, Kazunori Hamana, Jim McDowell, Antonio Obá and Faye Toogood among others. In addition to the organizing galleries, Object & Thing is presenting works contributed by art and design galleries: Ago Projects, Demisch Danant, Friedman Benda, Nonaka-Hill, Pace Gallery, Patrick Parrish Gallery, Salon 94 Design and Tiwa Select.



Installation Views

Photo by Michael Biondo
Photo by Michael Biondo
Photo by Michael Biondo
Photo by Michael Biondo
Photo by Michael Biondo
Photo by Michael Biondo
Photo by Michael Biondo
Photo by Michael Biondo
Photo by Michael Biondo
Photo by Michael Biondo
Photo by Michael Biondo
Photo by Michael Biondo
Photo by Michael Biondo
Photo by Michael Biondo
Photo by Michael Biondo
Photo by Michael Biondo
Photo by Michael Biondo
Photo by Michael Biondo
Photo by Michael Biondo

Video Tour


A House in the Woods

Once upon a time, a black beast lived in a little house in the woods. It kept its back arched against the sky, all the better for children to crawl on it – for the beast was friendly, and stood very still. In the wintertime, snow would settle on its limbs, and it would look just right, with the walls gathered around it, walls of stone and walls of glass.

It sounds like something from a fairy tale, but it’s all true. The Black Beast II in question was a sculpture by Alexander Calder – a very early permanent “stabile,” executed in thick plates of steel. And the little house in the woods was, and is, a Modernist masterpiece by Eliot Noyes. Designed in 1954, completed in 1955, and beautifully preserved today, this was the second home that he built for himself and his family in New Canaan, Connecticut.

Noyes’s somewhat happenstance decision to move here paved the way for an influx of other architects in his circle – the so-called “Harvard Five,” among them Marcel Breuer and Philip Johnson, whose Glass House is only three and a half miles south. New Canaan became one of the main proving grounds for American Modernism, though not without local controversy. A poem that ran in the local paper took aim at Noyes and his allies, expressing the wish that they be confined in padded cells - “windowless, doorless, charmless, and escapeproof” - rather than unleash their frightening architecture on the innocent town.

It’s hard to imagine this sort of reaction nowadays. The shock of the new has worn away, leaving a deeper, abiding sense of wonder. The Noyes house is eminently livable, warm and intimate, entirely in harmony with its natural surroundings. Yet it is also a brilliant study in formal juxtaposition. In one direction, the walls are glass and steel, allowing for views right through the building and out to the landscape. In the other direction, the walls are made of local fieldstone. This axial contrast of transparency and opacity, of “International Style” and vernacular, infuses the house with remarkable energy, making it an extraordinary setting for art.

It’s in this spirit that an enterprising trio of organizations – the new-model fair Object & Thing, and the galleries Blum & Poe and Mendes Wood DM – are staging a gentle takeover of the house this fall. The building is 65 years old this year: retirement age. But as I write, it is taking on a new lease of life, as works of art and design once again fill the space. Eliot Noyes and his wife Molly were not collectors, exactly, but they sure knew how to orchestrate objects. Like their close friends Charles and Ray Eames out in California, they surrounded themselves with a creative mixture of fine art, folk craft, tapestries, African sculpture and Americana (notably including several carousel animals). As part of this collecting activity – described by Noyes as “a small, intermittent, economical operation but done with tremendous excitement by the whole family” – treated their living room table as a sort of exhibition-in-miniature, setting upon it small scale works by Calder, Joan Miró, Pablo Picasso and others. For anyone that associates Modernist display with white-walled galleries and strict disciplinary hierarchies, their characterful, ecumenical approach will come as a surprise.

Many of the artworks that the Noyes family brought here are now in other homes, or in museums; but this has led to the happy opportunity to repopulate it, in an equally ecumenical spirit. Where Black Beast II used to stand (Noyes bequeathed the sculpture to the collection at The Museum of Modern Art, where he had himself been a curator in the 1940s), a commanding work by Alma Allen now takes pride of place. Also in the courtyard, where there was once a set of slatted outdoor furniture, one can sit in a newly-made suite by Green River Project LLC; the corners of the enclosure are punctuated with large-scale pots by Kazunori Hamana. The living room table is again activated by a range of objects, including a not-so-miniature ceramic by Lynda Benglis and two face jugs by Jim McDowell, made in the southern African American tradition, and charged with contemporary relevance. Where another Calder – this one a mobile – used to hang, a fiber sculpture by Sonia Gomes clambers down from the ceiling in mid-air.

Several of the participating artists have created works especially for the exhibition, including Mark Grotjahn - who broke with his usual format, creating a horizontal painting to hang right above the hearth – and Daniel Steegmann Mangrané, whose aluminum ‘curtain’ reframes the view of the forest, rearticulating the porous boundary between outdoors and in. Sometimes you have to stop yourself and wonder. How long has that Sheila Hicks been hanging inside the door? What about that gorgeous boro textile on the bed, by Megumi Arai, or the subtle wood-fired ceramics of Frances Palmer? They’ve all only been here for a few days, as it turns out, but they feel right at home.

Curiously, something a little bit like this actually happened once before, when the house was brand new. In 1956 the Wadsworth Atheneum, in nearby Hartford, lent a houseful of American antiques to Noyes for the purposes of a Look magazine shoot. Eames chairs yielded their spots to ladderbacks. The family was photographed playing cards on a big hooked rug. The moral of the story, as far as Look was concerned, was that the “the battle between ‘traditional’ and ‘modern’ is over.”

Whether that was quite true at the time is questionable. But all these decades later, we do seem to be liberated from that either-or mentality. And that owes at least something to Noyes. He was a path-breaking figure in many ways: as a curator in the 1940s, he established the design program at MoMA, shaping it into an outpost for progressive and democratic thinking; as an architect in the 1950s, he played pied piper, turning New Canaan into a Modernist mecca; as a consultant to industry in the 1960s, he popularized the notion of universal design, preaching to his clients (among them IBM and Mobil) the virtue of consistency in all things – architecture, graphics and products.

As visitors flock to his house this fall, taking photos on their iPhones, they might well reflect that companies like Apple are essentially following the Noyes playbook. And to the extent that we’re all able to appreciate a Modernist chair, an abstract painting and a carousel giraffe all at once, we are also following in Eliot Noyes’s footsteps. As an innovator, his influence was both wide and deep. We can see it everywhere. But it is here, at his home, that we can experience his vision in its purest, holistic and accommodating form. In 1958, Noyes commented that aesthetic objects can “best be enjoyed in a house designed to bring art and their daily lives into as close daily contact possible.” He created just such a place, and that sense of contact is still alive and well: a modern story, with a fairytale ending.

By Glenn Adamson, an independent writer and curator based in New York

Artists

Alma Allen

Megumi Arai

Lucas Arruda

Lynda Benglis

Sergio Camargo

Miho Dohi

Hugo França

Aaron Garber-Maikovska

Tomoo Gokita

Sonia Gomes

Green River Project LLC

Mark Grotjahn

Kazunori Hamana

Sheila Hicks

Yukiko Kuroda

Mimi Lauter

Patricia Leite

Pablo Limón

Philippe Malouin

Daniel Steegmann Mangrané

Tony Marsh

Jim McDowell

Yoshitomo Nara

Paulo Nazareth

Antonio Obá

Johnny Ortiz

Frances Palmer

Gaetano Pesce

Celso Renato

Arlene Shechet

Faye Toogood

Rubem Valentim

Daniel Valero

Masaomi Yasunaga

 

For more information about the artists included in the exhibition, please read here.

Selected Works Presented by Object & Thing

Megumi Arai
Large Bedspread, 2020
Boro textile with hand-dyed details in pink and green, found floral fabric and indigo tilling
72 x 72 inches
Contributed by Tiwa Select


Megumi Arai
Small Sofa Throw, 2020
Boro textile with hand-dyed details in pink and green, found floral fabric and indigo tilling
24 x 24 inches
Contributed by Tiwa Select


Courtesy of Nonaka-Hill, Los Angeles

Miho Dohi
buttai 46, 2018
Wood, brass, paper, cloth and plaster
14 x 17 x 15 3/4 inches
Contributed by Nonaka-Hill


Photo by Sherry Griffin

Hugo França
Rings, 2007
Pequi wood
Small: Up to 23 5/8 inches in diameter
Medium: Between 24 and 33 1/2 inches in diameter
Large: Over 33 7/8 inches in diameter


Photo by André Godoy

Hugo França
Guasca V Stool, 2017
Pequi wood
24 x 18 1/8 x 15 inches


Green River Project LLC
Pair of Pine-Board Deck Chairs, 2020
Clear pine and marine paint
27 x 30 1/2 x 36 inches each


Green River Project LLC
Pine Outdoor Coffee Table, 2020
Reclaimed pine and marine paint
39 1/4 (diameter) x 16 1/2 inches


Green River Project LLC
Ebony Ashtray, 2020
Ebony and boiled linseed oil
1 x 4 1/4 x 4 1/2 inches


Green River Project LLC
Stone Vessel, 2020
Limestone
3 x 12 x 10 inches


Green River Project LLC
Airline Pendant, 2020
Found airline parts and electrical components
11 x 28 x 10 inches; Length of cord is 64 inches


© Kazunori Hamana, Courtesy of the artist, Blum & Poe, Los Angeles/New York/Tokyo, and Object & Thing Photo: Makenzie Goodman

Kazunori Hamana
Untitled, 2019
Ceramic
35 1/2 x 41 x 38 3/4 inches
Contributed by Blum & Poe


© Kazunori Hamana, Courtesy of the artist, Blum & Poe, Los Angeles/New York/Tokyo, and Object & Thing Photo: Makenzie Goodman

Kazunori Hamana
Untitled, 2019
Ceramic
37 5/8 x 40 3/4 x 38 inches
Contributed by Blum & Poe


© Kazunori Hamana and © Yukiko Kuroda, Courtesy of the artists, Blum & Poe, Los Angeles/New York/Tokyo, and Object & Thing

Kazunori Hamana and Yukiko Kuroda
Untitled, 2019
Ceramic
25 1/2 x 28 3/4 x 25 inches
Contributed by Blum & Poe


Courtesy of Demisch Danant

Sheila Hicks
Prayer Rug, 1978
Wool
56 3/8 x 20 1/2 inches
Contributed by Demisch Danant


Pablo Limón
Silver Nitrates - Prototype #2, 2019
Foam, silver nitrate
18 x 17 x 17 inches
Contributed by Patrick Parrish Gallery


Pablo Limón
Silver Nitrates - Prototype #3, 2019
Foam, silver nitrate
18 x 17 x 17 inches
Contributed by Patrick Parrish Gallery


Philippe Malouin
Telephone, 2019
Nylon
7 x 10 1/4 x 6 1/2 inches
Contributed by Salon 94 Design


Tony Marsh
Ice Cauldron, 2020
Glazed ceramic
14 1/2 x 9 x 8 1/2 inches
Contributed by Ago Projects


Jim McDowell
Madison Washington, 2017
Ceramic fired in a gas kiln with salt and soda, amber celadon glaze and glass runs
8 x 5 inches
Contributed by Tiwa Select


Jim McDowell
Two-Face, 2018
Ceramic fired in a gas kiln, rutile blue glaze
8 x 9 inches
Contributed by Tiwa Select


Jim McDowell
Warrior Queen, 2020
Ceramic fired in a gas kiln with salt and soda, sea foam glaze
8 x 9 inches
Contributed by Tiwa Select


Jim McDowell
Spike, 2015
Ceramic fired in a wood burning kiln, green mottled glaze
10 x 9 inches
Contributed by Tiwa Select


Jim McDowell
Love Trumps Hate, 2019
Ceramic fired in a gas kiln with salt and soda, Albany slip glaze, amber celadon glaze and glass runs
9 1/2 x 8 inches
Contributed by Tiwa Select


Jim McDowell
Tribal Chieftain, 2020
Ceramic fired in a gas kiln with salt and soda, amber celadon glaze and glass runs
10 1/2 x 8 inches
Contributed by Tiwa Select


Jim McDowell
Your Chains Can’t Hold Me, 2020
Ceramic fired in a gas kiln with salt and soda, glazed with amber celadon
10 1/2 x 11 inches
Contributed by Tiwa Select


Johnny Ortiz
Set of works: 1 platter, 1 large bowl, 1 medium bowl, 2020
Micaceous earth from Northern New Mexico, sanded with local sandstone,
burnished with a river stone, pit fired with red cedar, and cured with elk marrow and beeswax
Platter: 14 3/4 x 14 3/4 x 1 inches; Large bowl: 11 1/4 x 11 1/4 x 3 inches; Medium bowl: 7 1/4 x 7 1/4 x 2 1/2 inches


Frances Palmer
Wood fired porcelain vase with two different ash glazes, 2020
Porcelain
10 x 7 x 6 1/2 inches


Frances Palmer
Wood fired black stoneware moon vase with tenmoku, kaki and nuka glaze, 2020
Stoneware
8 x 7 x 7 inches


Frances Palmer
Wood fired black stoneware moon vase with ash and oxblood glaze, 2020
Stoneware
9 x 7 x 7 inches


Frances Palmer
Wood fired black stoneware narrow neck vase with oribe and oxblood glazes, 2020
Stoneware
9 x 4 x 4 inches


Frances Palmer
Wood fired black stoneware triangular vase with faceted sides in an ash glaze, 2020
Stoneware
9 x 4 x 4 inches


Frances Palmer
Wood fired black stoneware triangular vase with faceted sides and tenmoku, kaki and nuka glazes, 2020
Stoneware
8 x 3 1/4 x 3 1/4 inches


Frances Palmer
Wood fired black stoneware faceted vase with Shino glaze, 2020
Stoneware
8 1/4 x 3 x 3 inches


Frances Palmer
Wood fired black stoneware faceted vase with straight sides and nuka, kaki and tenmoku glazes, 2020
Stoneware
6 1/2 x 3 1/2 x 3 1/2 inches


Frances Palmer
Wood fired black stoneware oval vase with oribe glaze, 2020
Stoneware
4 1/2 x 3 1/4 x 2 1/2 inches


Frances Palmer
Wood fired porcelain vase with Tenmoku and nuka glaze, 2020
Stoneware
4 1/2 x 3 1/2 inches


Frances Palmer
Wood fired porcelain fluted vase with two ash glazes, 2020
Stoneware
4 1/2 x 3 1/2 x 3 1/2 inches


Gaetano Pesce
Table Top Vase, 2020
Polyurethane resin, pigment
7 7/8 x 6 inches
Contributed by Salon 94 Design


Gaetano Pesce
Tube Vase, 2020
Polyurethane resin, pigment
7 1/2 x 10 inches
Contributed by Salon 94 Design


Gaetano Pesce
Drip Vase, 2020
Polyurethane resin, pigment
8 1/2 x 6 inches
Contributed by Salon 94 Design


Gaetano Pesce
Drip Vase, 2020
Polyurethane resin, pigment
9 x 10 inches
Contributed by Salon 94 Design


Gaetano Pesce
Drip Vase, 2020
Polyurethane resin, pigment
9 x 6 1/4 inches
Contributed by Salon 94 Design


Gaetano Pesce
Black Drip Vase, 2019
Polyurethane resin, pigment
27 5/8 x 15 3/4 x 15 3/4 inches
Contributed by Salon 94 Design


Gaetano Pesce
Green Drip Vase, 2019
Polyurethane resin, pigment
25 5/8 x 19 3/8 x 19 3/8 inches
Contributed by Salon 94 Design


Gaetano Pesce
Large Red Pebble Vase, 2016
Polyurethane resin, pigment
27 5/8 x 10 5/8 inches
Contributed by Salon 94 Design


Gaetano Pesce
Self Portrait Shelf, Miniature, 2020
Polyurethane resin, pigment
9 1/2 x 7 1/8 x 2 inches
Contributed by Salon 94 Design


Photo by Meredith Heuer

Arlene Shechet
Relative, 2020
Glazed ceramic, wood, paint and steel
23 x 13 x 30 inches
Contributed by Pace Gallery


Courtesy of Friedman Benda

Faye Toogood
Maquette 061 / Clay Seat Tapestry, 2020
Wool, cotton
28 1/4 x 42 1/4 inches
Contributed by Friedman Benda


Courtesy of Friedman Benda

Faye Toogood
Cup / Moon, 2016
Sand-cast bronze, silver nitrate
12 x 19 3/4 x 19 3/4 inches
Edition of 20
Contributed by Friedman Benda


Courtesy of Friedman Benda

Faye Toogood
Cup High / Water, 2016
Lithium-barium crystal
20 x 12 x 12 inches
Edition of 8
Contributed by Friedman Benda


Toogood
Moon Vase / Rubber, 2019/2020
Stoneware, rubber
12 1/4 x 12 1/4 x 12 1/4 inches


Daniel Valero / Mestiz
Patél chair, pair, 2015/2019
Cushion: unique vintage Guatelmalan huipil, velvet and cotton
34 1/4 x 15 3/4 x 20 7/8 inches
Contributed by Ago Projects


Courtesy of Nonaka-Hill, Los Angeles

Masaomi Yasunaga
Tokeru Utsuwa / Melting Vessel, 2019
Glaze, porcelain and clay
9 7/8 x 7 7/8 x 5 7/8 inches
Contributed by Nonaka-Hill


Courtesy of Nonaka-Hill, Los Angeles

Masaomi Yasunaga
Utsuwa no Kokkaku / Skeleton of a Vessel, 2019
Glaze, porcelain and clay
9 1/8 x 13 x 5 1/2 inches
Contributed by Nonaka-Hill


Courtesy of Nonaka-Hill, Los Angeles

Masaomi Yasunaga
Tokeru Utsuwa / Melting Vessel, 2019
Glaze, clay
9 1/8 x 9 1/8 x 9 1/2 inches
Contributed by Nonaka-Hill


Courtesy of Nonaka-Hill, Los Angeles

Masaomi Yasunaga
Tokeru Utsuwa / Melting Vessel, 2019
Glaze, clay
11 7/8 x 6 3/4 x 6 3/8 inches
Contributed by Nonaka-Hill


Visitor Information

 

Visitor Information:

In-person visits are available on Fridays and Saturdays from 10 am-6 pm throughout the exhibition, with advance reservations open to one household group (maximum of ten guests) at a time. There is no fee to visit. Children are welcome when accompanied by an adult. We are unable to welcome pets, with the exception of service animals. The house is a private residence within a residential neighborhood in New Canaan, Connecticut about forty miles from New York City. The exact address for the house will be provided to visitors upon confirmation of their reservation. Transportation by train is easily accessible from New York City and the eastern seaboard along the Metro-North New Haven line to New Canaan. The house is approximately two miles from the downtown New Canaan train station. Taxis and Uber are regularly available at the train station.

Due to a high level of interest, we are fully booked through the duration of the exhibition. We are no longer accepting inquiries for the waitlist. Please sign-up for our mailing list in order to keep informed about future projects.

Safety Measures When Visiting:

With the health and safety of our visitors and staff in mind, visits are limited to 45 minutes. We follow all federal and local safety regulations, maintaining adequate social distancing measures and providing a touch-free experience. All visitors are required to provide and wear masks when at the site. Should you be feeling sick, or have had exposure to someone diagnosed with COVID-19, we ask that you cancel your appointment and we will be glad to reschedule your visit for another time.