Established in 1904, the American Academy of Arts and Letters is an honor society comprised of architects, artists, composers, and writers. Headquartered in three Beaux Arts buildings in upper Manhattan, the Academy was recently renovated, connecting its exhibition galleries to the administration building.
Coinciding with the renovation, a permanent exhibition showcasing the work and personal items of the Pulitzer Prize-winning composer and longtime Academy member Charles Ives was developed by Poulin + Morris (New York). Entitled Charles Ives: Redding, Connecticut 1914 – 1954, the exhibition focuses on Ives’ time living and working in the bucolic New England town.
At the center of the exhibition is a recreation of Ives’ Redding studio, filled with over 3,000 furnishings and objects (an upright piano, cot, desk, books, and mementos) taken from the actual workspace where many of his major works were created. To highlight Ives’ accomplishments, the exhibition space was intentionally left white and minimal, with color appearing only in the artifacts and ephemera on display and in the exhibition text which appears in a shade of blue found on the exterior trim of the Redding house. Photographs featuring Ives, his wife Harmony, daughter Edith, friends and colleagues, along with personal letters, poems, manuscripts, song books, sheet music, concert programs, posters, album covers, and more are hung on the walls in simple, white frames, or displayed in floating glass casework.