My cousin Sandra dragged me to an opening at Longue Vue House and Gardens one Thursday night recently. All the way out to Bamboo Road I asked, “Now who are we going to see?” She said that former curator Joe Baker had brought in a show by two brothers who designed things.
So, OK, two brothers, a party, an open bar.
Many mucky-mucks were there, but I wasn’t prepared for a show that sprung my eyeballs wide open and made my heart beat a little too fast. The Meyer brothers’ sense of color, graphics, and style are applied to everything from bow ties, scarves, writing pens, wristwatches and pillows to wall coverings, fashion design, furniture, and interiors.
If textiles, men and women’s fashion, and product design interest you, catch this show before it ends March 31 at Longue Vue House and Gardens. Martha Stewart did, exiting her Super Bowl luncheon to take a tour, and she even got a cutting of sweet olive in bloom from the magnificent gardens. Turns out the Meyer brothers had been featured in the New York Times Home & Garden Section, because these two boys from Louisville, Kentucky aren’t just fabulously talented … they’re connected.
Gene worked 11 years for Geoffrey Beene and Doug’s interiors have been on the cover of every home magazine you can name. They know everybody and my feeling is everybody should know them … or at least know their work.
It will make you happy to see color unchained; neckties with a mouse gray ground color topped with giant dots and teardrop shapes in cobalt, black, and fern green. Joe Baker told me that in the ’80s, whether you went to a gallery opening in L.A. or NYC, you’d see someone wearing a Gene Meyer tie.
Their rugs recall Kandinsky in soft greens, blues, and neutrals. The hot little side tables somehow look just right nestled in with Edith and Edgar Stern’s gorgeous antiques and historic interiors, designed by Ellen Biddle Shipman.
Don’t miss Shipman’s to-scale 3-D miniature rooms. She used these maquettes to present her concepts to the Sterns; think very, very upscale dollhouses.
Mannequins model geometric caftans from Gene’s textile designs. I love the mannequin sitting on the floor of the living room playing solitaire with Braniff Airlines playing cards. Anyone remember Braniff? This is the kind of attention to detail the brothers and the Longue Vue staff paid to this magical show.
There sits an ornately gilded room in the newly opened Whim House. It would be easy to envision this room in a Venetian palace but for the huge modernist mirrored Plexiglas cube complete, on opening night, with cubeboys in Gene Meyer-designed boxer shorts tossing a red ball back and forth. It’s not called the Whim House for nothing!
You can clearly see the show directive given by Baker and visiting curator Jeff McKay to use the house and garden as inspiration, frame, and palette, keeping past, present, and future in mind.
On entering the Whim House the signage reads,
One hundred years after Longue Vue has been completed.
And Edith Stern is restless.
So she does the only thing a lady of fine taste can possibly do.
She calls Doug & Gene Meyer.”
Edith called from the great beyond; the Meyer brothers answered in the here and now. This show is a gem and not to be missed. Longue Vue House & Gardens is also the best kept secret in the city if you’re looking for a quick hit of tranquility without driving to the country.
•link to NYTimes article: http://nyti.ms/Y0R88Q
•link to Longue Vue House & Gardens: https://www.longuevue.com/
Artist and writer Carol Pulitzer covers New Orleans for NolaVie.