Robert Motherwell, Pierre Chareau and The Quonset House of 1947
The exhibition is focused on an experimental, Quonset-style house that Pierre Chareau designed in collaboration with the artist Robert Motherwell in East Hampton, NY in 1947. For 64-year-old Chareau (architect of the famous Maison de Verre in Paris), the house was a final improvisation before his death in 1950. For 32-year-old Motherwell, it marked the beginning of his career as a leading member of the Abstract Expressionists. (Motherwell painted some of his most important works at the house, including the first of his Spanish Elegy series.) But it wasn’t just the architecture and art that made this house such a significant cultural landmark. It was also a collaborative petrie dish of sorts where new ideas were cross-pollinated and many seminal figures passed through, leaving their mark including: Jackson Pollock, Mies Van der Rohe, Mark Rothko, Frederick Kiesler, Samuel Beckett, Harold Rosenberg, John Cage, and many others. In 1985, despite protests, the Quonset house was demolished to make way for an “Adirondack-style” MacMansion. The art and design world is still reeling from the loss.
Accidental Architect features photographs by the noted architectural photographer Judith Turner. There are also photographs by Curator Alastair Gordon; archival drawings and a scale model by Harry & Eliot Fishman; vintage documentary footage by Michael Blckwood; ephemeral material from the Motherwell family collection; and a series of 3-d sectional studies by Prof. Henry Rueda and FIU design students.