Donald Albrecht

Gay Gatherings: Philip Johnson, David Whitney and the Modern Arts

The Glass House, New Canaan, Connecticut 

2019

Co-curated with Thomas Mellins

Gay Gatherings: Philip Johnson, David Whitney and the Modern Arts explored interactions at the Johnson-designed Glass House, among eight gay men who profoundly shaped 20th-century artistic culture: Johnson and his longtime partner, curator/collector David Whitney; composer John Cage; choreographer Merce Cunningham; ballet impresario Lincoln Kirstein; and artists Jasper Johns, Robert Rauschenberg, and Andy Warhol.

Coincident with the 50th anniversary of New York’s Stonewall Uprising in 1969, a watershed in the contemporary gay rights movement, Gay Gatherings underscored an essential element of the site’s history that has not been fully presented as part of its public interpretation. The exhibition highlighted the Glass House, completed 70 years ago in 1949, as a gathering place where these men’s work was collected, exhibited, and performed.

Gay Gatherings was presented in two buildings on the Glass House site. Da Monsta featured a specially created digital animation that visually showcased the relationships among the exhibition’s key figures, while the Painting Gallery displayed postcards, works of art, and photographs by David McCabe of Warhol’s visit to the Glass House in the mid-1960s.

Mr. Albrecht and Mr. Mellins conceived the idea of the show, selected all artifacts, co-authored exhibition text and the script of the digital animation, and worked with the design team.


Press

“Much changed in the political and cultural landscape in the 20 years separating Mr. Johnson’s protected stone-walled enclave from the grass-roots events of Stonewall, Mr. Albrecht noted. The artistic contributions of gay men ‘were increasingly acknowledged within mainstream culture, particularly through the generation-bridging work of Andy Warhol,’ he said. Gay Gatherings is an intimate look at a handful of men who drove some of the more rarefied aspects of that transformation.” Alan Bruton, New York Times, May 9, 2019


Credits

Exhibition and graphic designer, including animation: Pure+Applied
Photographer: Robin Hill