Since mounting its first group show during Frieze Week in 2019, collectible art and design showcase Object & Thing has staged contextualized exhibitions at such illustrious locales as the Eliot Noyes house in New Canaan, Connecticut, and Robert Dash’s Madoo Conservancy in Sagaponack, New York. Contemporary paintings, furnishings, textiles, and objects—many of which are commissioned based on site-specific qualities—are displayed in dialogue with the storied locations.
In a bid to inspire new conversations about domesticity, craft, materiality, experimentation, and self-expression, founder Abby Bangser and her team have carefully selected historical properties that demonstrate how these guiding principles remain as relevant today as they were in the past. Choosing LongHouse Reserve for this latest showcase is no different.
The East Hampton estate and foundation of the late textile designer and entrepreneur Jack Lenor Larsen sits on 16 acres of meticulous gardens and artworks that, together, form an incredibly impressive sculpture park. Outdoor works by Yoko Ono, Buckminster Fuller, Dale Chihuly, and more renowned artists can be found through the tranquil premises. Larsen—best known for his era-defining modern and postmodern fabrics—first purchased the property in 1975. He spent decades painstakingly transforming what was once farmland into a majestic setting that would become his lasting legacy. A proponent of craft traditions from around the world long before it was popular, the multifaceted master always valued interdisciplinary and inclusionary principles.
Perhaps nowhere is that more evident than in the 7th-century Shinto shrine-inspired house he constructed at the center of the site. Characterized by the fusion of different architectural references, the home incorporates a vast array of collected items Larsen amassed throughout his lifetime—everything from seashells to ancient tapestries and studio furniture pieces created by contemporaries. Dismantling outdated ideas of high and low art, he often lived with and used these wares on a daily basis. “They might have been design or art objects; they might have been functional or not,” Bangser describes. “It’s this exact blurred line that has driven our vision. On top of that, we’ve always included a diverse range of voices, and so did Jack.”
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