Long Island Modern - From a Secret Garden: Costantino Nivola in Springs (May 19)

Moderated by Alastair Gordon with guest speaker Roger Broome


$25.00 – $35.00 per person



Please join us on Sunday, May 19, 3:00-5:00 PM, for the second talk in the Long Island Modern at LongHouse series, moderated by Alastair Gordon, author, critic, curator, and artist, with guest speaker Roger Broome, architect & co-curator of Nivola in New York: Figure in Field.

From A Secret Garden: Costantino Nivola in Springs, East Hampton, 1948-1988, will look at the experimental sculpture, house, and garden of noted artist Costantino Nivola (1911-1988), who with his wife Ruth and their family lived on what came to be a 35-acre property in Springs, East Hampton.

Between 1948 and 1988, Costantino Nivola’s house and garden in Springs became a cultural and social nexus for the postwar period of avant-garde art on eastern Long Island. In an illustrated presentation, Alastair Gordon will trace the collaborations between Nivola and other artists, friends and designers including Le Corbusier (who painted two murals) and Bernard Rudofsky, who took his concept of theWohngarten––or “outdoor room”––and translated it into a series of garden enclosures, terraces, and a solarium, dividing up the backyard with freestanding walls, murals, sculptures, an outdoor studio, a barbecue pit, a “musical” fountain, seating areas, slatted fencing, and vine-entangled pergolas—all built by Nivola with his own hands. The garden was, in a sense, a total work of art that evolved over a forty-year period, at once a laboratory for experimentation, a family sanctuary, a constantly changing source of inspiration, and a place to try out new ideas in painting, sculpture, landscape design, and architecture.

Through playing on the beach with his children, Nivola invented a new kind of free-form sand-casting that would lead, in turn, to a series of a major sculptural commissions for prominent architects including Eero Saarinen, Marcel Breuer, Josep Lluís Sert, and Studio BBPR (Milan). Gordon and Roger Broome will discuss how some of the ideas generated on the beach and garden expanded beyond the Hamptons to a series of 22 large-scale public projects in and around the New York area. 

Upcoming LI Modern Talks:

The Vanishing: 1993
Sunday, July 28, 3:00–5:00 PM

A deep dive into the work and mysterious disappearance of Norman Jaffe, architect.

Moderated by Alastair Gordon with an introduction by Lee Skolnick. Speakers TBA.

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The House that Jack Built
Sunday, September 15, 3:00–5:00 PM

A survey of the built environment at LongHouse Reserve, including a look at Round House, Jack Lenor Larsen's first building designed with architect Robert Rosenberg in an African fashion; LongHouse, designed with Charles Forberg in a Japanese fashion; and the Fly's Eye Dome, after a design by Buckminster Fuller

Moderated by Alastair Gordon with an introduction by Lee Skolnick. Speakers TBA.

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Saving Modern
Sunday, October 6, 3:00–5:00 PM

The final LI Modern event of the year will be a presentation and panel discussion concerning the preservation of modernist structures on Eastern Long Island.

Moderated by Alastair Gordon with an introduction by Lee Skolnick. Speakers TBA.

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LongHouse Reserve encourages living with art in all its forms. Founded by Jack Lenor Larsen (1927-2020), its collections, gardens, sculpture, and programs reflect world cultures to inspire a creative life.