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.