There are dandelions on Philip Johnson’s lawn. It is thick and green, mown on a diagonal following the gravel paths between the Glass House and the Brick House in New Canaan, Conn. But still, dandelions! Interlopers into this realm of single-material planes. I can’t help but imagine Johnson pointing a bony finger at the yellow flowers, leading to their immediate beheading.
I’m here to see a different kind of interloper: the first site-specific artwork to engage Johnson’s iconic 1949 house. Unlike the dandelions, it’s the perfect modernist houseguest. No muss, no fuss, no smell. Fujiko Nakaya’s “Veil” manages the difficult trick of creating a new frame for a familiar architectural monument (think of James Turrell at the Guggenheim Museum, on a much larger scale), while leaving only a spatter of raindrops on the landmark. “It alters it greatly but only momentarily,” says Glass House Director Henry Urbach.