LongHouse Reserve’s Larsen Salon Series

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LongHouse Reserve’s Larsen Salon Series honors its founder, Jack Lenor Larsen (1927-2020), and carries on his tradition of conversations with designers, architects, and artists working at the intersection of art, architecture, design, and craft. LongHouse Director Dr. Carrie Rebora Barratt explained, “We offer these talks in Manhattan and East Hampton, at various spaces; important dialogues of meaning for our complex world.”

Recently, they convened at the Park Avenue offices of Robert A.M. Stern Architects with architect Michael Arad in conversation with critic Paul Goldberger, exploring Arad’s latest project, the memorial for the 2015 shooting at the Mother Emanuel AME Church in South Carolina.

Said Dr. Barratt, “Memorials are to honor those who have passed, but, like LongHouse, they are for the living to experience.” The evening was made possible by Donna and Ben Rosen, and Stern architect Michael Jones, a member of the LongHouse Reserve board of directors.

“It was important to us,” opened Arad, “to create a space where the community would feel included. For me, someone who’s completely from the outside – I’m not Christian, not Black, not local, not from Charleston – to presume what would be the correct design direction without engaging in conversation would have been fruitless… We approached this project by considering the nature of forgiveness.”

Goldberg interjected, “The act of forgiveness transcends those identity markers… Certain things about human experience transcend culture. Even though we don’t normally think of it this way, feeling is itself a function. Gothic cathedrals inspire feeling and emotion. There is a long history of form following feeling.”

In closing the thought-provoking evening, Arad offered, “Public spaces are important in our society — for many reasons — but primarily, I think, because it gives us a shared sense of identity. As an architect, when you can contribute to that, it’s very gratifying.”

Guests included LongHouse President Nina Gillman, Board Members Dianne Benson (President Emerita), Emma Clurman, Gael Towey and Stephen Doyle, Elizabeth and Mark Levine, Deborah Nevins, Peter H. Olsen, Suzanne Slesin, and Dr. Yung Yang Chung, Ronne Fisher, Edgar Gonzaga, Fitzhugh Karol, Eileen O’Kane Kornreich, Rita Meusburger, Lee Skolnick, Jade Netanya Ullmann, and Paul Whelan.

The next Larsen Salon on March 20 features architect Calvin Tsao of Tsao & McKown Architects in conversation with Sherri Donghia at the New York Academy of Art. To reserve tickets, visit longhouse.org.

The LongHouse Reserve season in East Hampton opens on March 30. Jonathan Adler, Liz Collins, and Machine Dazzle continue the Larsen Salon series out-East.

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