In her 16-year-tenure at the Museum of Glass in Tacoma, Washington, Susan Warner has served as executive director, artistic director, and director of public programs. Last week, she announced she'll be leaving her current position as the institution's artistic director and major gifts officer next month to once again assume the title of "executive director" but at a very different arts organization. The Vashon Center for the Arts is located on the largest island in the Puget Sound, which sits almost midway between Tacoma and Seattle. Unlike the glass museum, the Vashon is primarily focused on performing arts, and grew out of an arts league established in 1949. It currently has a staff of eight full-time employees, offers 120 classes a year, and puts on over 40 events per year, both exhibitions in its galleries and performances in its newly built theater. The GLASS Quarterly Hot Sheet recently spoke with Susan by phone about her impressive tenure at the Museum of Glass, her reflections on how the institution has changed over the years, and the accomplishments she's most proud of.
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With glass a relatively new art material (Harvey Littleton's seminal Toledo Workshop took place only in 1962), it's perhaps no surprise that the secondary market for work in glass is only now experiencing a maturation as resales pick up in volume. The value of works in glass, once mostly set in private transactions brokered by glass dealers or by appraisers documenting museum gifts, is being hammered out at public auction as an increasing supply of works at all price levels comes up for sale. As the generation that championed Studio Glass as it was ascendant in the 1980s and 1990s has reached an age where many are looking to sell or donate works, the supply of secondary works is growing, and sales are increasingly taking place in the open air of an auction with both established and new players. New York City auction houses such as Sotheby's and Bonham's organized Studio Glass sales throughout the 1990s and early-2000s, but in recent years, much of the activity has coalesced around Lambertville, New Jersey-based Rago Auctions, which studiously publishes sales prices of its glass-art auctions and provides exhaustive condition reports at all price levels.
As a special bonus, current subscribers to GLASS: The UrbanGlass Art Quarterly will once again receive the latest version of The Corning Museum of Glass's annual exhibition in print of notable new work for no extra charge. Overseen for the first time by Corning's new curator of modern glass, Susie Silbert, New Glass Review 38 will identify the 100 most important new works in glass from over 1,000 submissions from around the world. Subscriber copies will arrive in mailboxes on June 1st, 2017, poly-bagged with the extra bonus of the beautifully printed 2017 edition of New Glass Review. Newsstand copies will also include the extra bonus issue, but the retail cover price will be higher than the typical $11/copy. Subscribers, who already enjoy a discount off the cover price, pay nothing extra to receive this definitive publication that has successfully picked some of the most important new artists to emerge in its nearly two-decade run.
Artist Rachel Berwick, the head of the Rhode Island School of Design's glass department, will deliver the keynote lecture at the 2017 Robert M. Minkoff Foundation Academic Symposium at UrbanGlass this fall. Berwick's presentation, entitled "Alchemy: Innovation and Experimentation in Studio Practice," will lead off the third iteration of this biennial academic symposium set to take place from October 12 -14, 2017 in New York City. With the theme of "Issues in Glass Pedagogy: Curriculum and Career," the international gathering of glass educators will examine the factors that determine students' post-graduate success through a program of lectures, panel discussions, and demonstrations. Note: through May 1st, the symposium organizers are accepting proposals for presentations that address how academic curricula and programs affect career outcomes, with a special focus on best practices, statistical analyses, and case studies.
Rachel Owens, whose previous solo exhibit at Zieher Smith Gallery in New York's Chelsea neighborhood was a pointed critique of consumer culture, turns her sharp eye (and shards of broken glass) to the pre-European American landscape, global glass production, and New York City history in a new body of shattered glass and cast resin sculptures. The exhibition, titled "Mother," is the product of taking molds of a 400-year-old tree in the Queens borough of New York City. Owens uses these molds to render sides of the trunk of the oldest-living being in the city in a wide palette chosen from shattered glass from surplus supplies of cheaply made bottles from China. Her work is an homage to the longevity of the tree, which likely predates the arrival of the first Europeans, and brings an environmental component in its reference to American colonization being driven partly by the overuse of natural resources such as wood in Europe. Owens' glass and resin creations soar skyward in a defiant majesty, limited only by the reach of the artist's arms in making the molds of her arboreal subject.
The upcoming international flameworking conference, which will run from March 24th through 26th at Salem Community College in Carney's Point, New Jersey, will be the 17th gathering of artists specializing in borosilicate glass. It will also mark a notable shift as many of the featured speakers and demonstrators are graduates of fine-art-degree programs, including the featured artist Amber Cowan. Throughout the programming of the three-day event which has recently featured highly skilled flameworkers such as Eusheen Goines (2016), Vittorio Costantini (2013), Loren Stump (2007), Cesare Toffolo (2004), a decidedly more academic tone is notable, starting with the opening-night lecture on the history of flameworking courtesy of The Corning Museum of Glass's reference librarian Beth Hylen joined by the museum's properties of glass programs supervisor Eric Goldschmidt. Featured artist Amber Cowan not only holds an MFA in glass and ceramics from Tyler School of Art of Temple University, but is also on faculty. Other presenters include Beccy Feather, Jacob Moskowitz, Zach Puchowitz, Ryan Tanner, and Kim Thomas, all of whom studied art at the university level. The GLASS Quarterly Hot Sheet checked in with conference co-chair Amy LeMaire to learn more about the lineup for the 2017 event.
When Jane Sauer Gallery, a Santa Fe outpost for ambitious art from craft materials including glass, was acquired by Jennifer and Michael Tansey in 2013, the Denver-based couple renamed it Tansey Contemporary but maintained relationships with most of its artists. Today, the Tanseys have opened the doors of a second, larger gallery space at 1743 Wazee Street in Denver, Colorado, which they are referring to as their "flagship" and headquarters where the owners will direct an "international expansion." Although this might sound overly ambitious given the challenging economy for work in glass, keep in mind that the gallery's co-owner Michael Tansey is also the chairman and owner of Art Miami, LLC, which runs not only the biggest Art Basel Miami Beach satellite fair each December but several other important art fairs in the New York and Palm Beach markets. The Santa Fe location will remain open on Canyon Road.
The back-page "Reflection" essay in the newly published issue of GLASS: The UrbanGlass Art Quarterly (Spring 2017, #146) is dedicated to an in-depth book review of a new scholarly work by Koen Vanderstukken, an artist and head of the glass program at Sheridan College in Ontario, Canada. The GLASS Quarterly Hot Sheet talked with the reviewer — the magazine's contributing editor William Ganis, who is also the chair of art and design at Indiana State University — about his assessment of this major new work.
GLASS: In your review, you describe Koen's books as "one of the few serious attempts to theorize contemporary glass art." What do you see as the state of contemporary glass art theory and criticism? What are the venues and the level of discourse?
William Ganis: It’s telling that Vanderstukken had to resort to crowdfunding for his project—that no publisher would assume the full risk of underwriting a “theoretical” text. In order to realize his vision, he had to create (albeit in conjunction with Black Dog Press) his own space. A preponderance of the glass literature is tied to commerce. Monographs are subsidized by dealers and artists’ studios and the articles and reviews in the likes of American Craft and GLASS Quarterly are made possible by ads for galleries and creative-materials suppliers. It would be unfair to say that these patrons are censorious, but they do shape discourse.
Apple employees will be moving their desks to the much-anticipated new headquarters, Apple Park, sometime in April, according to a company press release, even though the construction process on the Santa Clara Valley, California, facility won't be complete until fall 2017. Billed as one of the world's most energy-efficient buildings thanks to its massive rooftop solar array and a natural ventilation system that is projected to need no heat or air conditioning 9 months of the year, the massive ring-shaped central building designed by Foster + Partners also claims to have the world's largest curved glass panels, which clad the space-ship like structure in seamless sheets of silica. Over 12,000 people will eventually occupy the new complex when it's fully occupied. The main building alone will provide 2.8 million square feet of space.
The Spring 2017 edition of GLASS: The UrbanGlass Art Quarterly (#146), on its way to newsstands and subscriber mailboxes, sports a new look. Completely redesigned in honor of the 40th anniversary of its parent, UrbanGlass, the new issue features an updated graphic style with fresh type treatments, more abundant white space, and an increase in photographs of individual artists as well as their work. It's the first major update to the magazine's design since 2003 and reflects the keen insights of the magazine’s longtime art directors, Stephanie and John Stislow, who for more than a decade have been honing the visual presentation of articles by some of the top arts writers to illuminate their critical insights.