Effective February 2018, James Baker, who has served as the executive director of the Pilchuck Glass School for seven years, will step down from the top staff position at this influential Washington State arts center with locations in Stanwood and Seattle. Baker's appointment in the summer of 2010 ushered in a period of stability and growth at Pilchuck, after the brief tenure of his immediate successor, Arthur Jacobus, who resigned in December 2009 after taking over just a year earlier from the long-serving Patricia Watkinson. Under Baker's watch, Pilchuck added a Pioneer Square exhibition gallery in Seattle's arts district, while also upgrading and making its studios and shops in the main location in Stanwood more energy efficient. Pilchuck, and by extension Baker, was recognized with a 2016 Art Alliance for Contemporary Glass Organization Award, which specifically credited the leadership of its executive director.
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"Glass frog" is a term given to a group of South and Central American arboreal frogs distinguished by a uniquely translucent skin, with some having a practically transparent underside of the abdomen which allows a clear view of working internal organs. A newly discovered species of glass frog, Hyalinobatrachium yaku, has been identified in Ecuador, according to an article recently published in the journal ZooKeys. One of the special features of this newly discovered variant is an almost completely see-through belly, where the heart, stomach, and blood vessels are on vivid display, albeit covered in some kind of white coating.
The Summer 2017 edition of GLASS: The UrbanGlass Art Quarterly (#147) is hitting newsstands and subscriber mailboxes next week. Once again, GLASS is partnering with The Corning Museum of Glass to distribute the latest edition of its annual exhibition-in-print, New Glass Review (#38), which is bundled with the summer issue of GLASS magazine at no extra charge to subscribers (newsstand copies carry an increased cover price for the special bonus issue). On the front of the new edition of GLASS is a striking work in neon and paint by celebrated American artist Glenn Ligon investigates issues of racial identity, American history, as well as the nature of language itself. The 2012 work Double America, features the word "America" shown twice, in white neon and inverted and painted black, creating a powerful graphic that challenges the nation's ideals and aspirations at a time when the country is so profoundly divided.
With a rainy VIP opening on Friday, May 5th, and the sun breaking through for a Saturday "Meet the Artist" afternoon event on May 6th, Dan Clayman unveiled Radiant Landscape, a monumental new project installed at the Grounds for Sculpture's Museum Building in Hamilton, New Jersey. This large-scale work that rises two stories is made up of thousands of 22-by-32-inch glass sheets rigged together in an intricate but elegant engineering solution which presents three fields of glass suspended vertically, at a steep pitch, and horizontally. The individual components are in shades of sunset gold, clear, and oceanic blue glass. The gold and clear are adjacent to one another and interact as they diffuse light that filters into the building's large windows, altering its hue and connecting to the landscape outside, and revealing several of Clayman's mapped-boulder sculptures (named for the geolocation where the natural boulder was found). The blue color field is suspended horizontally, and, bathed in its aquatic hues, one cannot escape the feeling of being under the surface of a large body of water.
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.
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.