LongHouse Reserve is an extraordinary home, and something of a cultural masterpiece in itself. Inspired by the 7th century Shinto shrine at Ise, Japan, Larsen worked with architect Charles Forbergon to design the house, in which Larsen would display his gift for blending art and design that he collected on his travels around the world with simpler objects like shells in an African basket. This show also marks the first time the guest-level of the house has been opened, thanks to LongHouse Director Carrie Rebora Barratt.
In this new column, the editors of Art & Object tap people in the art, design, and other cultural industries to select an object of interest from an exhibition, art or design fair, archaeological dig or other venue of choice and tell us why we should care about it.
This summer, while you can see art and design at galleries that have popped up all around the Hamptons, one exhibition incorporates art and design more personally into a home, accentuating the inspired way of living of its creator, the renowned textile designer and collector Jack Lenor Larsen (1927-2020).
A Summer Arrangement: Object & Thing at LongHouse Reserve is an exhibition of new and site-specific contemporary art and design installed within Larsen's East Hampton home and sculpture garden and featuring works by artists and designers including Alma Allen, Megumi Shauna Arai, Julia Kunin, Simone Bodmer-Turner, Sarah Crowner, Sonia Gomes, Rashid Johnson, Wyatt Kahn, and Jennifer Lee. The show is co-curated by LongHouse Curator-at-Large Glenn Adamson, and Object & Thing founder Abby Bangser with features installation design by interiors stylist Colin King.
In light of this special show, which features so many artworks and design objects in exquisite dialogue, we asked Adamson to select an object from the exhibition and tell us something about it.
Glenn Adamson on Julia Kunin's Ceramics:
Julia Kunin’s trio of ceramics, gleaming gloriously in the window at LongHouse, are the result of a rather amazing cross-cultural journey. She calls them scholars’ rocks, alluding to the tradition among Chinese literati of selecting natural stones which can be appreciated for their inherent sculptural qualities. It’s an intriguing aesthetic model, which implies that entirely accidental features can be appreciated in a similar way to how we look at art—and especially appropriate in the context of ceramics, where chance has such an important part to play, thanks to the nature of the firing process."
More explicit than this Asian reference, is the materiality of Kunin’s pieces, which were made during one of her summers in Hungary. She sought out this opportunity mainly because of the amazing luster glazes used there, most famously at the Zsolnay Factory, which rose to international prominence as one of the great producers of Art Nouveau ceramics. The three pieces at LongHouse are cast from actual rocks, and feature different glazes in tones of yellow, green, and purple—though these words don’t come close to capturing the spectacular depth and iridescence of the surfaces, which are that much more visually dynamic because of their irregularity. In a sense they are very simple—found stones, duplicated and then glazed and fired—yet they have the quality of religious relics or personal icons.