Teresita Fernández, Double Glass River, 2015. Image courtesy of the artist and Lehmann Maupin, New York and Hong Kong
NEW CANAAN, CT— Artworks by leading contemporary artists will feature prominently when Grace Farms opens on October 9, 2015. The artists, Thomas Demand, Olafur Eliasson, Teresita Fernandez and Susan Philipsz were commissioned to create site-specific projects that will engage visitors to the Grace Farms, an ultimate cultural and architectural destination.
The new artworks that will be unveiled at the opening of the Grace Farms include a textile work by Olafur Eliasson; an outdoor sound installation by Susan Philipsz; photographs of iterations of SANAA’s models for Grace Farms by Thomas Demand; and a mural by Teresita Fernandez. The artworks will complement and enhance the architecture, landscape and multifaceted mission at Grace Farms. An additional site-specific commission by Eliasson and a new work by Beatriz Milhazes will be unveiled in spring 2016.
To commission the site specific projects, Grace Farms Foundation worked closely with Yuko Hasegawa, Grace Farms Consultant for Art Installations and Chief Curator of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Tokyo. The commissioned artworks tallies with Grace Farms core mission areas of nature, arts, justice, community and faith. Speaking on the collaboration, Hasegawa explains that working with Grace Farms Foundation and SANAA on the projects has been highly rewarding. “The concept of Grace Farms is unique. I believe it will serve as a great example of how art, architecture, nature and meaningful programs can all come together to inspire people,” he said.
Weeks before opening day, the artworks of the artists are already generating a lot of excitement. Sharon Prince, President of the Grace Farms Foundation is not only excited by the partnerships with these renowned contemporary artists drawn from across the globe, but also their artworks that respond “so positively to the aspirations of Grace Farms.”
For Olafur Eliasson, the opportunity to be part of the Grace Farms project is humbling. “I was moved by Grace Farms’ vision of an inclusive, non-commercial space to create a work of art that resonates with the architecture, the surrounding parkland and the people who breathe life into it. My work will offer visitors an ephemeral experience dedicated to embodied spirituality.”
Grace Farms is an 80-acre gift of open space that will enhance the outdoor experience of the people as well as serve as a platform for initiatives in the non-profit organization’s program areas. Designed with the people of New Canaan, Connecticut in mind, Grace Farms is the project of Grace Farms Foundation, a private operating foundation in New Canaan with the objective of supporting initiatives in the areas of nature, the arts, justice, community and faith. According to Grace Farms Foundation, Grace Farms is an “environment where people may experience nature, encounter the arts, pursue justice, foster community and explore faith.”
At the core of the projects is Grace Farms purpose-built, 86,000 SF multi-use building. Designed by the Pritzker Prize-winning firm SANAA, the building is creatively integrated into surrounding woodlands, wetlands and meadows. Enhanced by landscape design by SANAA in collaboration with OLIN, the structure blends almost transparently with its environment.
Known as the River because of the way it meanders through the rolling terrain, the Grace Farms structure is a sculpture with a lot of purpose. SANAA describes the building thus:
The SANAA building at Grace Farms begins on a knoll and then flows down the long, gentle slope in a series of bends, forming pond-like spaces on its journey. Structurally, the building of glass, concrete, steel and wood is in essence a single long roof, which seems to float some 10 to 14 feet above the surface of the ground as it twists and turns across the landscape. The walkways, courtyards and glass-wrapped volumes that form beneath the roof are remarkably transparent and invite people to engage with the expansive natural surroundings.
As October opening day draws near, all efforts are geared towards ensuring guests step into a conducive environment where nature, art and architecture are one. When Grace Farms opens, visitors will enjoy year-round public recreational areas as well as art. The River will also provided incentives including a 3,300 SF staffed library, 7,500 SF gymnasium and a 6,900sf dining room and living room.