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This time last week, we were in New Canaan, Connecticut at The Glass House. Built in 1949 by architect Philip Johnson, the 49-acre property hosted its annual summer party this year to toast to its 70th anniversary. The event was complemented by a silent art auction by Paddle8, a performance by the Harlem-based drumline and dance crew, The Marching Cobras, and a striking high wire walk by the French artist Philippe Petit (who, this August, also celebrates his seventieth birthday). “The Glass House, since its opening 70 years ago (we are the same age), has had many, many visitors—but all used the door to come in,” said Petit. “I wish to change that. I will enter through the sky and offer as a birthday celebration to this iconic building, an aerial surprise.”
Upon arrival, we explored the benefit auction, complete with luxury trips and renowned art pieces by artists like Studio Drift, Carlos Rolón, Josef Albers, Lynn Davis, Mary Heilmann, Maira Kalman, Alex Katz, Claes Oldenburg, Katie Stout, Richard Prince, Herb Ritts, Cindy Sherman, and Lawrence Weiner. Special for the auction, as well, was Adam McEwen’s limited-edition Hubcap—a machined graphite version of a hubcap that replicated the type of car that Johnson drove, a 1950s Mercedes Benz Gullwing coupe. In addition to furniture pieces, photographs, and paintings, there were a variety of luxury trips and experiences—all racking up bids as the hours and hors d’oeuvres passed.
From there, we grabbed a picnic basket full of farm-to-table treats by South End and a glass of Whispering Angel rosé, and made our way to the grounds to watch Petit walk from the front end of the property to the top of the house. To the sound of the surrounding rustling leaves, the wire walking legend walked forward and backward, even laying down once between stretches of steps. On his second walk, he grabbed a small wand, and when arriving back to the middle point, conducted a “Happy Birthday” singalong to the sound of the iconic tune.
After, we enjoyed a special performance by The Marching Cobras before making our way to the new exhibits—”Gay Gatherings: Philip Johnson, David Whitney and the modern arts” in the gallery space, and McEwen’s Chocked Rim in the house. And although the Brick House is still closed for renovation, the event provided guests with a special experience to tour the space through virtual reality.
This year’s event was generously supported by Chelsfield, Hunter Douglas, and SRI Fine Art Services, as well as 2×4, Aesop, Design Within Reach, Diageo, Earth Garden, Green & Tonic, LAFCO New York, Leuchtturm1917, LOQI, Madewell, The Monacelli Press, NEAT Coffee, Rockwell Art & Framing, Sugarfina, Tossware, VOSS, and Want Les Essentiels.