Reflecting History. Breaking Tradition.

Open House, an installation created by Los Angeles-based, Boston-born artist Liz Glynn, is organized for the Commonwealth Avenue Mall by Now + There. Originally commissioned by the Public Art Fund in cooperation with the artist and Paula Cooper GalleryOpen House was first presented at Doris C. Freedman Plaza in Central Park, New York. This new installment of Open House transforms the Commonwealth Avenue Mall, Kenmore Square into an open air ruin of a ballroom. In this contemporary re-imagining of a historically exclusive space, Glynn addresses the evolving face of a city: who has access to space in a society that is increasingly divided along socio-economic lines? And how can we use history to shape a different future?

Glynn’s lavish Louis XIV sofas, chairs, and footstools evoke these extravagant late nineteenth century interiors, but with a twist — these objects feature sculpted additions and are cast in concrete, a utilitarian material more commonly seen in modern architecture. With this revision, the artist invites the public to enjoy a previously exclusive interior space that is now open and accessible to all.


Open House was on view on the Commonwealth Avenue Mall, Kenmore square from july 26 through november 4, 2019.


At the turn of the 20th century, New England’s wealthy elite gathered in opulent private salons and ballrooms in Boston to define their social status. These gathering spaces were the seat of power, privilege, and politics in the city. In contrast was a growing movement to create more democratic gathering spaces through the development of public parks. The founding and incorporation of parks like Boston Common (established 1660; park status 1850), and the Commonwealth Avenue Mall (dedicated in 1888 as a promenade for public enjoyment), were milestones in American urban planning, representing an early effort — still on-going today — to grant democratic access to public space.

The work highlights historic class distinctions and references the architecture and interior design of New York’s William C. Whitney ballroom, a magnificent, now demolished, interior designed by Gilded Age architect Stanford White, the architect of the Boston Hotel Buckminster and numerous Commonwealth Avenue mansions. 

This fully-functioning furniture will offer residents and visitors alike a place of respite and reflection while also evoking the history of leisure in Kenmore Square and the often-manipulated wetlands of Charlesgate.

At a moment when many historic monuments have become a site of controversy, contemporary public sculpture can offer new forms to incite conversation around issues that matter today.
— Liz Glynn


Liz Glynn creates sculpture, large-scale installations, and participatory performances using epic historical narratives to explore the potential for change in the present tense. Her work seeks to explore the individual agency within complex superstructures in the face of an increasingly abstract economy. Her practice seeks to embody dynamic cycles of growth and decay by evidencing process, encouraging participation, and inciting future action.

Recent projects include Open House, a project of the Public Art Fund in NYC, The Myth of Singularity at LACMA, Los Angeles, RANSOM ROOM, a solo exhibition and durational performance at SculptureCenter, New York; [de-] lusions of Grandeur (Monumentality and Other Myths), a 5-part series of performances exploring monumentality and human ambition at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

Her work has also been presented at The New Museum, NY; the Barbican Centre, London; MoCA, Los Angeles; the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; deCordova Sculpture Park, MA; the Petit Palais, Paris; and Künstlerhaus Halle für Kunst & Medien, Graz, Austria. Her work has been featured in The New York Times, New York Magazine, Artforum, Vanity Fair, Vogue, The Los Angeles Times, The New Yorker, W, Interview, Domus, Archaeology Magazine, and frieze.

The Archaeology of Another Possible Future is on view in Building 5 at MASS MOCA, North Adams, MA through September 2018.  The exhibition explores the question of what happens to objects, and the people who make objects, in an age of an technological acceleration, ephemeralization, and increasingly abstract economy.


Installation for Open House took place from July 9th through July 26, 2018 on Commonwealth Avenue Mall, Kenmore Square in Boston. The complete installation will be in place through November 4. Photos below from Now + There and Ryan McMahon.


Thank you to our Generous Donors

N+T extends deep gratitude to Fotene Demoulas and Tom Coté for their leadership support in making Open House possible for Boston. Others who gave generously to support this and other projects like it include:

Marion Burke | Steve Corkin and Dan Maddalena | Esta and Bob Epstein | George and Lynne Fifield | Nancy Friedman | Maggy Gilbert | Geoff Hargadon and Patricia LaValley | Charla Jones | Barbara Krakow and Andrew Witkin | Peri and Jim Kutchin | The Lewis Family Foundation | Tristin Mannion | Hank and Melinda Miller | Lucy Moon-Lim | Georgia Murray and Mark Maloney | The Leslie & Sandra Nanberg Charitable Foundation Fund | Nan Niland and Ralph Helmick | Robert Rovenolt | Patricia Stavaridis | Barbara Tellalian | Beth Terrana | Tzedakah Fund | Larry Yu | Anonymous

Gifts received as of 8.15.18.


Jeryl and Steve Oristaglio | Boston University | Caffe Nero | Cornwall's | 
Eastern Standard  | Hotel Commonwealth | Island Creek Oyster Bar

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