Douglas Newby
Architecturally Significant Homes
Horse & Trolly

Classical Architecture Compels a Look

What a surprise to see what looks like a series of pen and ink drawings of classical and historical residential buildings at the Whitney Biennial. And yet, my most powerful and profound insight from the exhibition came from this series by artist Milano Chow. I realized that I loved looking at modern residences with planes of intersecting glass that allows the home to merge with nature as I look through it or around it. These modern glass fa├žade homes are visually appealing architectural poetry. However, while I can look through these homes, I am seldom tempted to peer inside as I am so enamored with the sculptural shape and even the reflection of nature and the environment in the glass. On the other hand, impressions of historic buildings like these pen and ink drawings with double-hung windows immediately draw my attention to what might be inside. Maybe it is my inner Jimmy Stewart thinking Grace Kelly is looking over my shoulder in Rear Window, or maybe it is sexier and more provocative to show just a little bit of glass. The viewer of these drawings is rewarded when every window is reviewed and then a figure emerges in one window of each building. The person seen through the window in each drawing conveys a different personality and emotion. Art is about discovery, and this art allows me to discover and think in a new way about windows and glass.
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