Modern Living

MODERN LIVING is a performance installation that takes place in modernist homes, including Philip Johnson’s Glass House in New Canaan, CT; the Schindler House in Los Angeles; the Breuer House in Tarrytown, NY; and the Menil House in Houston. These houses sheltered different manifestations of intimacy, and ideas of family and relationships that were as modern as their design. Working with members of LA Dance Project and an interdisciplinary group of architects, designers, historians, psychologists, and sociologists chosen for their relationships to the site, we create a choreographic score that occupies and opens up the homes to a broad public and focuses on the lived relations of these iconic sites of modernism.

Visitors to the project meet an experimental, performance-based installation that runs for an entire day, and when possible, overnight. Wandering throughout a home normally closed or with limited access, the audience for MODERN LIVING encounters a hybrid event—a performance, exhibition, happening, conference, old homes tour, séance, storytelling, workshop—but not one of these entirely; a form we are working through this project to discover.

The installation we create is performance-driven, but may also include projected image and sound pieces and sculptural works that together transform these iconic sites of modernist architecture from places to be looked at to places, once again, to be lived in. What would a home have to look and feel like to protect and produce intimacies and relations that don’t fit within dominant narratives of family, marriage, or domesticity?

The first presentation of the project will take place at the Schindler House, Los Angeles, on January 9-10, 2016. The second presentation of the project will take place at the Glass House, New Canaan, in early May 2016 (date TBC). The Breuer House and Menil House presentations are slated for the 2016-17 season. A solo exhibition of related works by Gerard & Kelly will take place at Diverse Works in Houston, on the occasion of the Menil House presentation.

Early stage development of the work is supported by grants from the Graham Foundation, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, and the New England Foundation for the Arts.