Glass House Presents

Modernism Illuminated

Glass House Presents is an ongoing series of public programs — including conversations, performances, and gatherings — that sustain the site’s historic role as a meeting place for artists, architects, and other creative minds. At each program, visitors have the opportunity to explore the Glass House campus, view current exhibitions, and enjoy a festive reception.

This symposium will explore the evolution of lighting design on the Glass House campus, particularly the role played by the influential lighting designer Richard Kelly. Speakers include Alice Friedman, Professor of Art and Architecture, Wellesley College; Sandy Isenstadt, Professor of Art History, University of Delaware; and Margaret Maile Petty, Head of the School of Design, Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand.

Alice Friedman is the Grace Slack McNeil Professor of American Art at Wellesley College, where she has taught since 1979.  Professor Friedman is the author of numerous books and articles on gender, sexuality, and the social history of architecture,  including House and Household in Elizabethan England: Wollaton Hall and the Willoughby Family (University of Chicago Press, 1989), Women and the Making of the Modern House: A Social and Architectural History (Abrams, 1998; Yale paperback 2007)  and American Glamour and the Evolution of Modern Architecture (Yale, 2010). Current projects include a study of Richard Lippold’s sculpture and installations, and a special issue of Interiors: Design, Architecture, Culture on “Spaces of Faith,” which she is co-editing with Professor Anne Massey of Middlesex University.

Sandy Isenstadt teaches the history of modern architecture at the University of Delaware.  His writings range from postwar reformulations of modern architecture by émigré architects to topics such as picture windows, refrigerators, automobile headlights, landscape views, and real estate appraisal.  Spatial perception in the built environment is the subject of The Modern American House: Spaciousness and Middle Class Identity, published by Cambridge University Press and recipient of the 2009 Spiro Kostof Book Award from the Society of Architectural Historians. He has co-edited two volumes: Modernism and the Middle East: Politics of the Built Environment, published in Fall, 2008, the first book-length treatment of modern architecture in the Middle East, and Cities of Light: Two Centuries of Urban Illumination, the first global history of urban lighting, published in January 2015.  His current book project, “The Architecture of Artificial Light,” examines the novel luminous spaces introduced by electric lighting.  His work has been recognized with fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts, the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts, and the Institute for Advanced Study, in Princeton, N.J.

Margaret Maile Petty is Head of the School of Design, Victoria University of Wellington. She lectures in design history and her research broadly investigates the discourse, production, and representation of modern architecture and interiors, with a particular focus on architectural lighting design. She has published broadly on the historical significance and development of lighting design in academic journals such as the JSAH, Home Cultures, Interiors, W86th and PLAT and has contributed chapters to a number of edited volumes including Anxious Dwelling / Postwar Spaces (Taylor & Francis, 2011), The Structure of Light: Richard Kelly and the Illumination of Modern Architecture (Yale University Press, 2010), and Leuchtende Bauten: Architektur der Nacht (Verlag, 2006). Most recently she co-edited Cities of Light: Two Centuries of Urban Illumination (Routledge, 2015) with Sandy Isenstadt and Dietrich Neumann and is currently co-editing Architectures of Display: Department Stores and Modern Retail (Ashgate, 2016) with Anca Lasc and Patricia Lara-Betancourt.