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June 2007


FEATURES

Artful Combination

(Page 3 of 4)

[Image]

Featuring sweeping views of the estate from its front entrance, Da Monsta was intended to be a visitor center, and inside a small work by Stella is on display—one of six on the estate comprising an exhibition of the artist's work. (The estate actually owns 14 Stellas, but the remainder are either on loan or are being conserved.)

Following the driveway into the estate, you pass by a waste-high circular sculpture, 12 feet in diameter, that is believed to be the first outdoor concrete artwork by Donald Judd. Like the Poussin, it functions as both art and architecture—at once a pure geometric form and a pivot point for the driveway. It also complements the Glass House and its solid twin, the Brick House (used as guest quarters), just beyond. A path above leads to the subterranean Painting Gallery (1965), whose wedge-shaped sandstone entrance cuts into a grass-covered berm. From this point, if you look back toward the Glass House, you see the circular swimming pool, mint blue against the emerald green grass—like some primitive arrangement of pristine geometric shapes and color. Further on is the Sculpture Gallery, a multi-level steel-and-glass structure inspired by a village in the Greek islands, where "every street is a staircase to somewhere," Johnson once said.

While the buildings are treasures in their own right, the numerous modern and contemporary artworks peppered throughout the estate are an unexpected delight. Johnson, still regarded as one of the largest donors to MoMA (having given the museum some 2,000 artworks), collected throughout his life. Whitney—who worked for the Leo Castelli Gallery, curated several exhibitions at the Whitney Museum and briefly ran his own art space—counted among his friends Jasper Johns, Claes Oldenburg, Cy Twombly and Andy Warhol.

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