A One-Off Art Exhibition Provides a Glimpse Inside an Unsung Midcentury in New York

The 1955 residence by architect Gerald Luss, who designed the interiors of the Time & Life Building, is hosting in-person visits for a curated display of contemporary art and design.

While designing the interiors of one of New York City’s most iconic midcentury skyscrapers—a building thrust into popular culture via AMC’s hit series Mad Men—architect Gerald Luss was living at his family home in the village of Ossining along the Hudson River. The glass-and-steel dwelling, Luss’s first stand-alone design, hosted planning meetings for the Time & Life Building, and the two structures even share a few design elements: an indoor/outdoor connection, a material palette of glass and steel, and colored panels that, in the office, could be rearranged to create flexible partitions; in the home, hallway cabinetry recalls that moment of innovation. 

Gerald Luss’s 1955 family residence in Ossining, New York, is the site of At the Luss House, a collaborative exhibit of contemporary art. 

Starting May 7, visitors can get an in-person glimpse of the architect’s unsung home, which will be the backdrop of At the Luss House, an exhibition of art and design hosted in collaboration by galleries Blum & Poe, Mendes Wood DM, and Object & Thing. Following an exhibition held by the galleries last fall at the Eliot Noyes house in New Canaan, Connecticut, the Luss House exhibit similarly uses an architect’s home to pair "today’s artistic ideas with those of past eras," say the galleries. 

At 94 years old, Luss remains a champion of new design. "In my own life," he says, "I find it is essential not only to create new work, but to also live among the objects and work of other artists, expanding my vision of the world."

Built from prefabricated components, the home sits lightly within its sylvan surroundings. Luss is said to have lived for nearly a year in a tree house on the property to better understand the site before building the house.

Self-taught artist Alma Allen’s "Not Yet Titled" (2019) is complemented by the clean midcentury lines of Luss’s residence.

"Systemic Grid 124 (Window)" (2019) by Daniel Steegman Mangrané almost blends into the corner of the home. 

To develop commissions for the exhibit, contributing artists kept in mind Luss’s repetitions between the skyscraper and his Upstate home. Furniture and interior designers Aaron Aujla and Ben Blooomstein of Green River Project LLC, who met with Luss in person to conceive their collection, created aluminum furniture with an industrial slant. Kiva Motnyk, a designer and artist, created a framed fabric piece for the main bedroom’s  window, extending the room’s feeling of warmth from the wood paneled walls to meet the outdoors. Aside from providing the greater framework for the exhibition, Luss has contributed objects of his own, which include a poker table he designed for his studio in New York City. 

In total, At the Luss House features works from 18 international artists, all of which can be viewed in-person each Friday and Saturday from May 7 through July 24, 2021.

To see the virtual experience, or to book a reservation, head to any of the galleries’ websites: Blum & Poe, Mendes Wood DM, and Object & Thing

Rich wood paneling, a skylight, and expansive glass walls create a strong indoor/outdoor connection, and a handsome backdrop for the new works. Artwork on view. From left to right on the wall: "Untitled" by Lucas Arruda (from the Deserto - Modelo series, 2020);  "Short Tom" by Matt Connors (Tuned, 2012). In the foreground: Aluminum Round Table and Aluminum Chair by Green River Project LLC (2021); micaceous clay vessels by Johnny Ortiz (2021); glass vessels by Ritsue Mishima (2007–2012). In the background: "Lemuria" by Ritsue Mishima (2018); "Systemic Grid 124" by Daniel Steegmann Mangrané (Window, 2019); Aluminum and Leather Lounge Chair by Green River Project LLC (2021).

Atop the aluminum table and chair by Green River Project LLC are clay vessels by Johnny Ortiz and glass vessels by Ritsue Mishima. 

The kitchen also benefits from expansive glazing and overlooks the forested exterior. Artwork on view: "Bozzolo Di Seta" by Ritsue Mishima (2012).

The home includes handcrafted details such as built-in cabinetry and shelving. The open-plan living space is anchored by a floor-to-ceiling stone inlay fireplace and framed by a warm, wood paneled post-and-beam ceiling. Artwork on view in the foreground from left to right: Sofa for The Gerald Luss House by Gerald Luss (c. 1950s); terracotta planter by Frances Palmer; two untitled works by Alma Allen (2020, 2017); Coffee Table for The Gerald Luss House by Gerald Luss (c. 1950s); porcelain vases by Frances Palmer (2021); micaceous clay vessels by Johnny Ortiz
(2021); bronze dish by Alma Allen (2019); Aluminum and Leather Lounge Chair by Green River Project LLC (2021). Background left to right: "Seed Crystal," "Font," and "Arca" by Ritsue Mishima (2017, 2020, and 2012); "Untitled" by Gerald Luss (2020); two untitled works by Yoichi Shiraishi (2021); "Reasons to be Cheerful" by Cecily Brown (2020–2021).

Built-ins are the backdrop to an aluminum and leather lounge chair by Green River Project LLC. 

The right side of the wood-paneled hallway features colored panels built into the home’s cabinetry. Their design recalls the "Plenum system" installed in the Time & Life Building, a innovation by Luss that uses moveable partitions to create a flexible office space. Hanging on the left wall are Brushed Aluminum & Bamboo Sconces by Green River Project LLC (2021).

The bedroom features an original Gerald Luss chaise for Lehigh Furniture Company from the 1950s. Hanging on the wall is a work by Eddie Martinez, "Ideal Location" (2021). The bedspread, titled "Botanic Study - Indigo," is by Kiva Motnyk (2021).

More artwork is on view in a wood-paneled corner of the home. From left to right: not yet titled by Alma Allen (2020); "Untitled" by Marina Perez Simão (2021); "Afternoon Light - Multi" by Kiva Motnyk (2021).

The bathroom, too, has been elegantly transformed into exhibition space. 

Artwork on view atop the vanity, from left to right: glass vessels by
Ritsue Mishima (2007); bronze and silver objects by Alma Allen (2018); a porcelain vase by
Frances Palmer (2020); an Alma Allen stool (2017). Hanging on the wall is "Untitled" by Paulo Monteiro (2019).

Another wood-paneled bedroom features hanging works. From left to right: "Scene of Elapsing Connections" by Kishio Suga (2009); "Wooden Spaces in Alignment" (2001); "Continuous Earth Under Rain" (2009); "Point of Centrality" (2000); "Potential Detachment" (2007); "Cluster of Rising Sceneries" (1997); "Internal Boundary in Formation" (2010). The bedspread by Kiva Motnyk is titled "Line Tapestry - Neutral" (2021).

 A painting from Tony Lewis, titled "Precious" (2021), hangs in the foreground.

Marina Perez Simão's work "Untitled" (2021) adorns a wood-paneled wall.

A poker table designed by Gerald Luss for his New York City apartment is paired with
Gunlocke Bank of England Guest Chairs.

Kishio Suga's work, "Dispersed Spaces" (2015–2021) covers the yard.

On the roof are three sculptures by Paula Monteiro.

At night, the home glows from within.

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