“ART HO– — USE”— Artists and Architecture

art house


Artists and Architecture

Amos Lassen

Photographer Don Freeman explores homes designed and lived in by notable American artists and reveals the inventiveness derived from the dialogue between each artist’s practice and the construction of their e homes. The homes we see range “from the romantic (Hudson River School painter Frederic Church’s Olana, framing views of the Catskills to echo his paintings), to the futuristic (Paolo Soleri’s silt-casted structure Cosanti growing out of his bell-making experiments in the Arizona desert), to the sublime (George Nakashima’s mid-century modern ode to the beauty and versatility of wood), what they all have in common is a fierce spirit of individual expression that deserves deeper examination in this age of architectural standardization”.


Some artists don’t just create masterpieces, they also live in them. The film gives a unique architectural typology characterized by an aesthetic and a fierce spirit of individual expression.


“Art House” traces the trajectory of the American artist-designed home from its 19th-century roots as it looks at houses created by 12 artists from diverse disciplines. We see the inventiveness derived from the dialogue between each artist’s practice and the construction of their handmade homes. Commentary from cultural critic Alastair Gordon and a haunting score aid in providing the spiritual dimension of the locations and argue the case that intuitive vision of artists can create great architecture.


Each of the private domains featured is “imbued with the unique vision of its creator, and a physical embodiment of what it means to be an artist, to live an integrated life dedicated to art”. By and large, the artists were not architects. The fate of many of the houses in the film remains in the balance regarding conservation efforts that is tremendously expensive. Freeman notes, “It’s my hope that the dissemination of this film will bring awareness to these houses so that the public will support and experience them in person.”


Art House is an artist’s attempt at historic preservation for a neglected architectural typology. As some of the photographs and video represent the last record of the house as created by the artist, the film is both a love song and a call for preservation.


With limited narration about each artist from scholars, friends, and family, we can see how their artistic style and personal views are reflected in the homes that they built. The film is beautifully photographed and we see the artists as real people.

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