Modern Views + Points on a Line Film

Modern Views: A Project to Benefit Farnsworth House and the Glass House invited top creative minds to continue one of the twentieth century’s great cultural dialogues: the historic exchange reflected in the Ludwig Mies van der Rohe Farnsworth House (1945–51) and the Philip Johnson Glass House (1949).

One hundred contemporary artists, architects, and designers created and donated works of art and written statements, capturing their inspiration about these iconic buildings and the architects who created them. The contemporary works are presented alongside original construction drawings of both houses, an introduction by New Yorker Architecture critic Paul Goldberger, a candid interview with Phyllis Lambert, and an essay by Sylvia Lavin in Modern Views, the illustrated book available online in the Glass House Store


“No one knows what it is like to live in a glass house," Edith Farnsworth famously said.

In this book, one hundred artists, architects, and designers reflect on the idea and reality of glass houses, and respond to two of modernism’s greatest masterpieces: the Ludwig Mies van der Rohe Farnsworth House and the Philip Johnson Glass House. From David Adjaye to Zaha Hadid, Iñigo Manglano-Ovalle to Ed Ruscha, and Constantin Boym to Paula Scher, these contemporary visionaries examine the glass houses in all their dimensions. Through works of art and written statements, the artists express their thoughts and inspirations about either or both of these iconic buildings and the architects who created them—a dynamic exchange that continues to fire one of the greatest cultural dialogues of our time. For the first time, construction drawings and sketches of both houses by Mies van der Rohe and Philip Johnson are published in this book.

John Bryan, Mark Fletcher + Tobias Meyer, Richard Gray, Phyllis Lambert, Adam Lindemann + Amalia Dayan

POINTS ON A LINE, a film by Sarah Morris
Points on a Line
, a new film by artist Sarah Morris, is the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s first contemporary art commission and first collaboration between the Mies van der Rohe Farnsworth House and the Philip Johnson Glass House, both sites of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.  Points on a Line is currently on view at the Glass House Visitor Center.  The film was also on view at Art 42 Basel | Art Unlimited June 13-19, 2011 and the opening of the Architecture + Design Film Festival | Chicago May 5-9, 2011.

Sarah Morris


Film-4K Redcode/HD, 2010 Color. Stero Sound. 36 minutes.

Commissioned by the Philip Johnson Glass House- a site of the National Trust for Historic Preservation 2010.

Filming Points on a Line at the Philip Johnson Glass House / Photo: Sarah Morris Points on a Line 2010 35:44 min © Parallax

This project highlights the Glass House’s commitment to active preservation and to exploring new ideas in the documentation and preservation of significant modern architectural heritage. Points on a Line will be shown with parallel  programming in various arts and cultural venues, continuing the legacy of Philip Johnson and David Whitney by cultivating new talent and finding new methods to connect with and educate new audiences about the importance of modern architectural heritage.

The film first premiered as part of Modern Views, a collaboration engaging the two sites with the voices of 100 contemporary artist and architects. In May 2010, the film was screened at a celebration to kick-off the first annual Architecture & Design Film Festival in Chicago, where 40 films about architecture and design were on view, accompanied by a series of panel discussions.

Points on a Line documents the Farnsworth House, Plano, Illinois and the Glass House, New Canaan, Connecticut; Philip Johnson and Mies van der Rohe; Curator and architect; Architect and architect. Directed by artist Sarah Morris, Points on a Line documents a shared desire to build structures that might change the way we think about a house, a form and a context.

Sarah Morris Points on a Line 2010 35:44 min © Parallax

The Glass House and the Farnsworth House were the result of shared ideas and collective desire. But they also complicate ideas of the copy and the original and the chronologies of Modernism. The two buildings demonstrate a legacy of focus upon details and surface - inside and outside. Capturing the tension of ego and authorship in precisely deferring architectural statements. By carefully documenting the daily maintenance of these two buildings and lingering over the precise placement of the structures in space and of objects within each structure, Points on a Line presents a clear view of places that have gone beyond their initial use and become the intersection of a dialogue that was both personal and professional.

Sarah Morris Points on a Line 2010 35:44 min © Parallax

Morris's deployment of cinematic codes in relation to architectural precision produces images that go beyond a record of functionality or the streamlining of needs. These are places that remain elusive despite their openness - structures that are open vessels where we search for markers of the corporate aesthetic to come and the legal wrangles that marked the struggle to complete and maintain them. Buildings that require constant representation and new documentation in order to recode and understand what came before and what came next. Obtaining complete unrestricted access for each location of the film, Morris has woven together art, architecture and corporate image production with flowers, the behavior of bees and the patterns of butterflies - window washing, cooking, power-broking and collecting.

Morris filmed at both sites over the course of several months, among other locations including The Four Seasons Restaurants, the Seagram Building, Mies van der Rohe's infamous Lake Shore Drive, and Chicago's Newberry Library. Morris utilizes The Four Seasons, a place that Philip Johnson practically used as his personal office, as the meeting point between the two architects.
Ultimately, Points on a Line is a record of preservation of two structures and a document of power plays that left a mark in the pragmatic idealism of the late modern period.

An edition of the film was donated to the National Trust as part of the 2010 Modern Views project. The film will become part of the artist's series of films including: Midtown (1998), AM/PM (1999), Capital (2000), Miami (2002), Los Angeles (2004), Robert Towne (2006), 1972 (2008) and Beijing (2008).

Sarah Morris Points on a Line 2010 35:44 min © Parallax 

About the Artist
Sarah Morris is an internationally recognized artist, known for her complex abstractions, which play with architecture and the psychology of urban environments.  Morris views her paintings and films as parallel - both trace the urban, social and bureaucratic topologies.  In each medium she explores the psychology of the contemporary city and its architecturally encoded politics. Morris lives and works in New York and London. She received the Joan Mitchell Foundation Painting Award in 2001, and in 1999-2000 was an American Academy Award, Berlin Prize Fellow. She has widely exhibited internationally, with solo exhibitions including the Museum für Moderne Kunst, Frankfurt (2009), Museo d'Arte Moderna, Bologna (2009), Fondation Beyeler, Riehen, Basel (2008), the Museum Boijmans van Beuningen, Rotterdam (2006), Moderna Museet, Stockholm (2005), Palais de Tokyo, Paris (2005), Kestner Gesellschaft, Hannover (2005), Kunstforeningen, Copenhagen (2004), Miami MOCA (2002), Hirshhorn Museum, Washington D.C. (2002), and National Galerie im Hamburger Bahnhof, Berlin (2001). She will be realized two permanent site-specific artworks in 2010 at the Gateway School of Science in Queens with the architectural firm Pei Cobb Freed and Partners and "Hornet" at K20 Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen Museum in Düsseldorf, Germany, which opened on July 9th, 2010.

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