11/13/08

Philip Johnson: Diary of an Eccentric Architect


Last night OVATION TV showed a documentary of architect Philip Johnson. Once again someone I had never heard of, but WOW what a talented human. He died a few years ago at the ripe old age of 98. He lived in CT. and from the looks of it, he owned a bucketload of land whereby he put up different little buildings. Some housed his incredible art collections, one was a study, one a church, a glasshouse etc etc.

He seemed to have this fascination with natural lighting. The work on his estate all had portholes in the ceiling and walls, allowing just the perfect of angle light to come in to allow for that perfect bathroom shave, the perfect view of his art collection or casting the perfect atmosphere for working without having light glaring on his hands or paper. There was one outdoor sculpture he made, it was built with the sole intention of having you climb to the top and read some ancient script. That was the 'reward' for going to the top. One of his art dwellings was INCREDIBLE! He had it so the works were on large panels that could be turned almost like a book, there were things built in the ceiling that allowed you to move the panels to the other side and then it would display the next 'page'. He had a name for this but I can't remember what it was. He seemed incredibly playful when approaching how his structures and dwellings were to be experienced. He was crusty and alive with humor and seemed ungodly adaptable.

He was eccentric for sure and I couldn't help but to feel completely overwhelmed by all he had accomplished. To be so free and certain of what you are doing and want to do, to be so bold as to venture deeper into what is possible. I can only hope to have of sliver of that much space, time and talent.

8 comments:

Tod said...

Loved how irreverent this guy was. Killer sculpture collection and display house. Good stuff.

Karen said...

Oh I will have to keep on eye out for this show. sounds incredible!

schnoobie said...

Sounds fascinating!!There you go another role model for inspiration!!I just started reading "Art and Fear"(Bayles&Orland) after winning it on ebay for a bargain..I can't believe I've waited so long to purchase .This book was written specifically for me.Oh happy weekend!!!!(finally)

Kim Hambric said...

How do you find all of these incredible shows? Do you plan ahead, or do you stumble across them as they are aired? Perhaps you should post your television guide for the week & let us know what is coming on. I tend to treat my T.V. like a cheap little plaything. I should use it more as a tool for fascinating information.

self taught artist said...

schnoobie, Ive read that book its a good one! good for you!
(ps i've put that 'book' on interlibrary loan since i dont do well with listening to taped books)

kim,no big secret,I just obsessively scroll to the channels that show the good stuff a few times a day and hit info. if you have dish or cable you get OVATION (channel 157) it has lots of design, art, music stuff. Then I like 197, 333, and 332. there ya go, secrets revealed!

info said...

Well, I like this architect! Money may be important but they don't mean a thing without talent. And this may be the case. Glad he lived for so long, giambattista

a4d028b2-73bd-11e1-bca7-000bcdcb5194 said...

hey is the very top picture of that odd building one of philip johnsons? if so do you know the name of it?

paula said...

sorry i dont know the name of it