Gerard & Kelly at Pocantico

Year: 2015-2016
Artists: Gerrard & Kelly
Community Partner: Pocantico Center
County: Westchester

DanceForce and the Rockefeller Brothers Fund supported an artistic residency by Gerard & Kelly, winners of the 2014 Juried Bessie Award, at the Pocantico Center in Tarrytown, NY. The residency, held over two weeks in October-November 2015, provided the artists space and time to begin work on a new project MODERN LIVING. The experience of living and working at the historic Marcel Breuer House at Pocantico informed the artists’ investigation of how modern domestic architecture shaped and was shaped by experiments in social relations and family structures. During the residency, the artists focused on research, writing, and developing performance scores and choreographic material for the eventual site-specific performances.

Gerard & Kelly’s MODERN LIVING is a single project, built in multiple phases, which takes place across two sites of modernist architecture: Schindler House in West Hollywood, CA; and The Philip Johnson Glass House in New Canaan, CT. The houses sheltered different manifestations of intimacy, ideas of family, and relationships that were as modern as their design. These lived relations produced, in some measure, the philosophies that drove the thinking of architects Rudolf Schindler and Philip Johnson; the architectures, in turn, produced modes of living. The Schindler House, built in 1921 housed two families who shared a kitchen, garden, and other common spaces—an early example of communal living. The Glass House famously sheltered Johnson and his life-long partner, David Whitney, in a non-normative relationship that preceded the Stonewall rebellion by more than a decade. The project focuses on these relations, often overlooked, and how they manifest in the interstices of both architecture and history. While the narrative of modernism continues to be written across the two sites, what remains hidden are the everyday stories of relationships struggling to modernize within these homes.