Kandinsky and Mondrian are two Western painters credited with pioneering the form of geometric abstraction. But artwork that focuses on patterns of color and shape rather than figuration goes back to ancient art forms, especially in Islamic Art, where depiction of religious figures has been carefully avoided in respect for the faith's ban on idolatry. The mirror sculptures of Monir Farmanfarmaian, an Iranian artist, bring together influences of Western avant-garde painting and centuries-old Islamic art in works of refraction and geometric abstraction. An opening reception this evening at The Chrysler Museum of Art in Norfolk, Virginia, will kick off an exhibition of Farmanfarmaian's work that will continue through July 30, 2017.
Towering, taut, and ornate, 130 exquisitely blown glass works are currently on view at the Museum of Glass in Tacoma, Washington, where they will remain through October 15, 2017. These are the fruits of a four-year collaboration between master glassblower James Mongrain and patron and prominent collector George R. Stroemple. Organized into four groupings entitled the Adriatico, Atlantis, Poseidon, and Arcobaleno series, the works result from Mongrain's extremely disciplined approach to traditional Venetian glassblowing techniques, and represent his response to the more than one hundred 19th-century Venetian glass objects in Stroemple's collection, which are also displayed in the exhibition. This show is an homage to the traditions that inspired Mongrain to devote his career to mastery of the techniques and aesthetic rules of this historic high-water mark for glassblowing skill.
On June 10, 2017, the Glasmuseet Ebeltoft in Denmark will open an exhibit of work by the finalists in its fourth Young Glass competition. Since it was initiated by this museum of glass art in 1987, the juried once-a-decade competition has strived to promote and reward emerging talent in the medium. Four cash prizes totaling €42,000 (approx. $45,000 US) and two artist residencies will be awarded to the winners.
On February 22, 2017, the Newark Museum will open a provocative exhibition titled "When Objects Became Art," which presents early twentieth-century glass and ceramic works from its private collection to foster a new understanding of the dividing line between decorative and fine art.
St. Petersburg, Florida, may seem an unlikely hub for glass art, but the city that holds the world's record for the most consecutive days of sunshine is also soon to be home to a new museum devoted entirely to the material as a medium of sculpture. The brand-new Imagine Museum is currently being installed in a repurposed building just nine blocks away from the Morean Arts Center, which boasts a now-permanent collection of Dale Chihuly’s work. The Imagine Museum expects to have a grand opening before the end of 2017, but it is already hosting events even as it undergoes a major renovation of its building, which has in previous incarnations been a bank, nightclub, and, most recently, a charter school. The museum is in the process of installing signage and building out its museum store. The first floor is on schedule to be complete by the end of February, where it will host occasional activities and events before the museum officially opens.
Adriano Berengo is back with another Glasstress exhibition, this time in partnership with an art museum in Boca Raton, Florida. Known for bringing artists who don't usually utilize glass as a medium together with his team of glass maestros in Murano, Berengo has built Glasstress into an art-world brand since it debuted as a collateral exhibition at the 2009 Venice Bienalle. In addition to his Glasstress exhibits at the international exhibition, Berengo has also been developing "Glasstress World" in which Berengo Project artists display their work in partnership with major museums around the globe.
On Monday evening, when the Bakalar & Paine Galleries at Massachusetts College of Art and Design unveiled its new exhibition, "VITREOUS BODIES: Assembled Visions in Glass," it marked the first time glass art was displayed at this prime visual arts venue in the Fenway-Kenmore area of Boston, a cultural destination. Bringing together works by 13 multidisciplinary artists including Dan Clayman, who had spent the Fall semester at MassArt as a visiting professor, the show also includes work by an international group made up of Kanik Chung, Petah Coyne, Mona Hatoum, Timothy Horn, Michael Joo, Dafna Kaffeman, Jacob Kassay, Maya Lin, Lucy and Jorge Orta, Arlene Shechet, Thaddeus Wolfe, and Rob Wynne. Also debuting on Monday, but at a different location on the MassArt campus was a second work by Clayman, his largest installation to date. (Disclosure: Clayman serves as an advisor for the Robert M. Minkoff Academic Symposium at UrbanGlass, which is organized by GLASS magazine.)
Jutta-Annette Page, the senior curator of glass and decorative arts at the Toledo Museum of Art in Ohio since 2003, will be leaving her position of 13 years for a new job as director of the Barry Art Museum, a brand-new institution to be built at Old Dominion University in Hampton Roads, Virginia. Page will be moving to Virginia in March 2017 to begin the hard work of getting a new art museum off the ground. The building itself is yet-to-be-completed but there is no shortage of tasks, including hiring a full- and part-time staff, developing the museum's systems and protocols, and planning its inaugural exhibition of its namesake's collection. Last summer, Richard and Carolyn Barry announced a $35-million gift to Old Dominion, where they both have professional and personal connections (his father was a professor and he himself served as rector, while she taught there for a time as an adjunct). When it opens in 2018, the Barry Art Museum permanent collection will include more than 200 works of art, with over 100 works from the Studio Glass era. In an extended telephone interview, the GLASS Quarterly Hot Sheet discussed Page's tenure in Toledo, what interested her about the new opportunity, and some of her early plans.
With an unusual curved corner that echoes the rounded-glass-wall architecture of its subject, a new hardcover book entitled simply The Glass Pavilion ($44.95) is a 144-page love letter to the The Toledo Museum of Art's eye-catching annex designed by the Prizker Prize-winning Japanese architecture firm SANAA. Featured on the cover of GLASS magazine when it opened in 2006, the Glass Pavilion added 76,000 square feet of ethereal exhibition space and a state-of-the-art working glass studio to the 100-year-old museum. The museum wanted to make sure the new building devoted to art would be architecturally significant as would befit a facility dedicated to the same material on which museum founder Edward Drummond Libbey built his industrial empire. It was also at the Toledo Museum that Harvey Littleton held his famous 1962 workshop that many consider the birth of Studio Glass.
There's something magnetic about neon. An object emitting light attracts the eye, no doubt the main reason neon has been so popular for so long as a medium for commercial signs. Executive director of Bergstrom-Mahler Museum of Glass Jan Smith thinks this provides a special opportunity for neon art. "A sense of familiarity with its history in signage gives people an entry point," she told the GLASS Quarterly Hot Sheet, "and the journey into the sculptural realm takes them into a surprisingly new dimension." The museum hopes to guide visitors on that journey with "Bending Brilliance," a neon and plasma group exhibition currently on display through February 19th, 2017.