Glass Quarterly

Draga Susanj: Hive Culture, Captivated by the Honeybee

In the winter of 2006 beekeepers began documenting declines serious declines in the number of workers bees in their colonies.  The rash of disappearing bees and subsequent colony failure became known as Colony Collapse Disorder. Beekeepers have lost as many as 100 percent of their colonies and many have been with colonies so weakened by the loss of worker bees that they cannot sustain. The honey pot is drying up and with it so could our plants and farms. Bees not only supply the world with delicious honey, they also pollinate all of our fields and farms. This phenomenon informs glass artist Draga Susanj’s work, “Honeycomb”, a massive red glass honeycomb comprised of intricately fired hand-sized hexagonal cells.

SEEN: Chinese artist’s broken bottle installation transfixes at gallery in New York City landmark

Chinese artist Hu Bing makes her mark on the Manhattan landmark Flatiron building this month. “Shattered Glass Sheer Transformation,” her colorful installation of broken glass bottles molded into sculpture with resin and hung from the ceiling in stockings, occupies the Prow Art Space in the Flat Iron building from now until June 2nd.The gallery is a recent addition to Manhattan’s Flatiron district. Last May the mobile telephone network, Sprint, made the unlikely decision to turn their retail show room in Manhattan’s Flatiron building into an art space. The Prow Art Space now occupies the north most corner of the historic  building, a triangular fishbowl of an artspace that overlooks  Madison Square Park. Cheryl McGinnis,who owns the gallery of the same name, curates the space.

Craft advocate and magazine publisher Wendy Rosen running for Congress

Wendy Rosen has spent the last thirty years advocating for craft artists and publishing both trade and consumer magazines devoted to covering the field, including her flagship publication American Style, which celebrates collectors as well as artists. Now the Maryland-based business owner is making a bid for a seat in the United States House of Representatives. The GLASS Quarterly Hot Sheet caught up with Rosen by phone this weekend, where she was in Philadelphia running one of her Buyers Markets, a national trade show and wholesale market for handcrafted luxury products. “Actually it’s pretty good. Aisles are crowded today and people are more optimistic this year than they were last by far,” she said about the turnout. 


Executive director Michelle Bufano departs Pratt for Chihuly Center, hopes to find links between nonprofit and for-profit worlds 

The executive director for the nonprofit Pratt Fine Arts Center in Seattle, Washington, Michelle Bufano is taking up a new position as the executive director at the for-profit Chihuly Garden and Glass. (Her last day at Pratt will be February 3rd.) The new tourist-friendly arts center project is a collaboration between the Wright Family, owners of the Seattle Space Needle, and glass artist Dale Chihuly.

A contentious approval-process was resolved in December 2010, when Seattle’s mayor negotiated a compromise between Chihuly and the local independent radio station that has also been vying to use the same public space. Bufano, who’s been in arts management for the last 20 years, says she got involved with the Chihuly project early. Concerned with how the center would affect local artists and Pratt, Bufano started conversations with the Wright Family. Seeing an opportunity for artists to show their work and a potential collaborator for Pratt,  she became an early advocate for the Chihuly Center. It wasn’t until later in the center’s development that Bufano was asked to come on as executive director.

OPENING: Hungarian artists hope to change perceptions with major exhibition 

Despite sharing a border with Austria, and practically being neighbors to the Czech Republic and Poland, Hungary has never been known as a force in the glass arts. It wasn’t even until the 1950s that Hungary had any kind of glass art education.  Porcelain designer  turned glass artist Julia de Bathory developed the first glass art classes at the Secondary School of Fine and Applied Arts in 1953. Since then, the country has made major strides to train and educate students in the material. The Moholy-Nagy University of Art and Design hosts a glass program at the undergraduate and graduate level, and the Hungarian Glass Art Society, formed in 1996 , has helped promote glass artists countrywide. This week, the society will show work by 45 local artists at it’s “HuGlass” exhibition.

Museum of Arts and Design celebrates 50th anniversary of Studio Glass with contemporary art exhibition from Venice 

The year 2012 marks the 50th anniversary of Studio Glass in America, and the Museum of Arts and Design has made an unusual choice to observe this occasion through its upcoming exhibition “Glasstress New York: New Glass from the Venice Biennales.” The decision for an American museum that helped put Studio Glass on the cultural map with major exhibitions of Chihuly and others (in the days it was known as the American Craft Museum) is quite provocative. After all, one could easily point to the under-representation of Studio Glass artists at both GLASSTRESS shows in 2009 and 2011 and wonder how such an exhibition relates to the institution’s own historical role in the advancement of sculpture made from glass. GLASSTRESS creator Adriano Berengo is an outspoken critic of some aspects of Studio Glass, which he feels suffers from too much focus on the material. In an interview published in the Fall 2011 issue of GLASS Quarterly magazine, Berengo said, “If the Studio Glass movement made a mistake, it was to make  a world apart, to engage in an insularity that created, if I may, a kind of material masturbation, more interested in how things are made than about what is made.”

 OPENING: Bullseye Gallery turn its focus to the glass canvas

With an opening reception this evening, Bullseye Gallery kicks off a month-long celebration of two-dimensional painting on glass in their exhibit, “Facture: Artists at the Forefront of Painterly Glass.” The group exhibition will showcase kilnformed glass paintings (mostly frit on sheet glass) from the artists Kari Minnick, Martha Pfanschmidt, Ted Sawyer, Abi Spring, Jeff Wallin, and Michael Janis. In an telephone interview, Janis, told the GLASS Quarterly Hot Sheet that glass as a canvas adds texture to a painting’s storyline in a way opaque fabric cannot: “It’s shiny, it’s matte, the finish is so malleable it adds to the story.” Beyond the finish, Janis talks about the role of light and opacity in glass paintings versus their canvas counterparts. He says, “some of [the image] is obscured, some of it’s transparent. My glass panels are 3/4ths of an inch thick. Shadow and depth are something I couldn’t achieve as a painter or collage artist. Even the temperature of the material adds to the narrative. Glass has something that translates, that’s tactile.”

SEEN: Icy organic glass lighting and design take over Prague shopping center 

Czech glass artist and designer Jitka Kamencova Skuhrava is currently exhibiting her work at the DBK, a major shopping center in Prague. The center’s fifth floor is a gallery space devoted to showcasing up and coming work by young Czech designers. Included in her works on display will be lighting fixtures she created for Lasvit, a leading lighting design and fixture manufacturer. Her chandelier“Icefalls,” which first premiered at this year’s International Design Exhibition in Dubai as part of Lasvit’s Mysterious Forrest exhibit, will be prominently featured in the super store’s atrium. Icefalls is a cascade of glass and light emulating the way icicles are formed and inspired by time the artist/designer spent in Finland.

 Glass installation by emerging artist Andrew Erdos gets notice at Art Miami

Art from glass is increasingly present at Art Miami (December 1st-4th) with Schantz Galleries, Heller Gallery, and Barry Friedman among those 2011 exhibitors spotlighting silica sculpture. But it was New York-based Claire Oliver Gallery that may have generated the most attention for the material with her art and video installation of the work of up-and-coming glassblower Andrew Erdos, who brandishes a 2007 BFA in glass from Alfred. According to Whitehot and Huffington Post contributor, Noah Becker, Erdos’s video projections of Arizona sunrises onto suspended mirrorized blown-glass objects (as well as the paintings of fellow artist Andy Denzler) helped elevate Claire Oliver’s display as “the best booth in Art Miami.”

Artist Beth Lipman awarded prestigious $50,000 fellowship

Beth Lipman, a glass artist known for her austere three-dimensional still life sculptures largely devoted to examining extravagance, is one of 50 artists to be awarded theUnited States Artist Fellowship. Founded in 2006, the organization provides each fellow with a $50,000 grant to continue progress work in their given field. While many Americans see the struggling nature of being an artist as part of the territory, United States Artists believe artists should be duly compensated for their work. Actor and director Tim Robbins hosted the awards ceremony Monday night at the Broad Stage in Santa Monica, California.

A graduate of the Tyler School of Art, Lipman has been showing her work in solo and selected group exhibitions since 2000. In ancient times, still life paintings were included in tombs as offerings that were believed to become real in the afterlife. But Lipman’s work dashes that notion, forcing her audience instead to carefully examine the timeless scenes. It’s this juxtaposition of luxury and chaos, a gluttonous bowl of fruit or a 10 foot tall dessert stand filled with a jumble of wine glasses and tableware, that makes Lipman’s work so engaging.

Berlin Glas, the first open access facility in this European art center, debuts

Berlin Glas, the first open-access glass studio in this international art mecca, will officially open its doors with a special evening of demos and performances a week from today on December 9th. Featured in the Fall 2011 issue of GLASS, the new studio is the culmination of a multi-year project initiated by American-born Nadania Idriss, who also runs the New Glass Art and Photography Gallery that she has recently moved to the same Parkhaus building as the glass facility. The glass studio space is about 750 square feet and equipped with bleacher seating for visitors keen on watching glassblowers at work. The studio includes a full hot glass facility and some cold-working elements.

OPENING: “BodyWork” features wearable glass jewelry at Bullseye Gallery 

Tonight Bullseye Gallery presents a series of wearable artworks by nine female artists from around the world. Titled “BodyWork” the exhibit  focuses on the performative nature of adornment and explores the relationship between the work and the wearer.

Glass Art Society announces award winners for 2012

The votes are in. Glass Art Society has announced its 2012 Lifetime Achievement Award will go to Joel Philip Myers and Bertil Vallien. The wnners will accept their awards at the 42nd annual conferenc , which will be held at the Toledo Museum of Art on June 14, 2012. GAS has been giving the Lifetime Achievement Awardsince 1993 to acknowledge individuals who have made outstanding contributions to the development of the glass arts worldwide.

A ceramicist by training, Joel Philip Myers was the design director at Blenko Glass. In 1970, after seven years of working at Blenko and educating himself on glass working, he began the glass program at Illinois State University in Normal, which offers both undergraduate and graduate degrees, Students have the opportunity to work with ISU’s 5,000 square foot glass studio called the “Vitro House.“After 30 years of teaching Myers has retired and now works exclusively on his glass vessels, showing them in solo as well as group shows.

OPENING: Shanghai Museum of Glass celebrates Venini’s 90th anniversary

From now until February 8th, 2012, the Shanghai Museum of Glasswill host a series of events surrounding the 90th anniversary of the Venetian glass design house Venini. The second-floor exhibit will pay homage to the various artists who have made their mark through their iconic designs for Venini. The exhibition will feature work from each decade of Venini’s 90 years with a look at a single artist and their work, starting with Zecchin and Paolo Venini’sVeronese vase and ending with a series of angular vases designed by Japanese architect Tadao Ando in 2011. Tapio Wirkkala, famous for the Bolle Bottles will represent the years between 1961 and 1970.

Open access glass studio merges with New Orleans arts organization

Next Friday, the glass studio known as the New Orleans Creative Glass Institute studio will celebrate its grand re-opening under new leadership as a part of Young Aspirations Young Artists, an organization devoted to bringing arts education to inner city youth. The “Creative Glass at YAYA” inaugural party will run from 7 PM to 9 PM on November 18th, when it will host a series of demonstrations and presentations by local glass artists. 

Formed in 2006, NOCGI offered an open access glass studio with the hope of creating a community for artists who had lost their work and equipment during Hurricane Katrina. The organization took over the former site of Conti Glass, an open-access studio established by studio equipment fabricator Wet Dog Glass, which left New Orleans after the devastation of the hurricane. The pay by the hour studio features a full hot shop, kilns, lampworking area, and a cold working shop.

OPENING: Jeff Zimmer’s political indictment at the Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft Show

 Glass artist Jeff Zimmer calls his work “politically charged,” but not necessarily polemic. In his most recent series “Whitewash,” on display at the Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft Show from November 10th through the 13th, he explores the American tendency to gloss over past failures through his out-of-focus snowy landscapes. The solo show, his first in the U.S., is a part of the Craft Scotland delegation at the museum’s 35th annual Craft Show.

It is fitting, given his subject matter, that Zimmer is originally from Washington, D.C.. After studying at the Washington Glass School, he left the U.S. to study glass painting at the Edinburgh College of Art. It was there that he began layering his hand-painted and kiln-fired glass sheets in a light box to achieve a 3-D effect. Zimmer’s paintings are often eerie and look like holographic vintage photographs.

The Smithsonian’s “Craft 2 Wear” debuts in Washington D.C. this weekend

This weekend, the Building Museum in Washington D.C. will be the site of a special fashion show called “Craft 2 Wear”, a sale and exhibition of 40 craft artists’ work that can be termed “wearable art.” The pieces on display range from fabric to metal, ceramics to glass; and they are drawn from previously juried Smithsonian Craft Fairs. It all kicks off tonight with an “Advance Chance Party” hosted by ABC World News weekend anchor, David Muir. The Smithsonian promises an evening full of wine, food, a fashion show, and first pick at the crafts that will be sold on Saturday and Sunday.

Glass collectors in attendance are sure to be dazzled by Melissa Schmidt‘s bubbly glass jewelry. Her non-traditional glass beads are hand-blown globes, strung together in clumps on sterling or gold-filled neck wires. The beads are stunning on their own, but Schmidt is known to fill these globules with origami and slide film. The string of glass encased slides, illuminated by light passing through, form an interesting narrative. The one she most prominently showcases on her website was a gift to her mother on her sixtieth birthday.

RIT design students get a crash course in glass with input from The Corning Museum

Last year Josh Owen, associate professor of industrial design at the Rochester Institute of Technology, had the radical idea to team up his students with the design team at a major manufacturer and see what they could produce. The result? Industrial materials molded into beautifully designed products. Titled “Metaproject,” the program offers students the opportunity to pick the brains of design professionals, come up with cutting-edge designs of their own, in the hopes of displaying their work at New York’s International Contemporary Furniture Fair.

OPENING: Kate Baker’s new exhibition “Cipher” debuts at Bullseye Gallery 

 This evening at Portland’s Bullseye Gallery, Australian artist Kate Baker opens her new show “Cipher,” a series of glass artworks that combine color with ghostly photographic portraits and textured engravings. This is Baker’s first solo exhibition at Bullseye. Concerned with the way culture and technology occupy both internal and external space, Baker imprints thick blocks of glass with texture and language, ranging from binary code to alphabetic, and uses vibrant colors to challenge the brilliance or opacity.

Upcoming Paris auction documents Barry Friedman’s refined glass art aesthetic

This Monday in Paris, art dealer Barry Friedman will auction off 158 works of glass, many by artists he personally championed such as Michael Glancy, Giles Bettison (pictured at left), Yoichi Ohira, and Laura de Santillana. Organized by Camard & Associates, a Paris-based specialist in 20th-century decorative art, design, photography and jewelry, the October 3rd auction will take place at 2:30 PM in Paris (8:30 AM EST) at Drouot-Montaigne. Work in glass by more than 20 artists will be represented in the auction, including such giants of the glass art field as Dale Chihuly, Lino Tagliapietra, Joel Philip Myers, and William Morris.

Hurricane Irene leaves Christopher Ries’s home and studio underwater

“I’m still standing in the midst of a raging stream that is deafening,” says artist and glass sculptor Christopher Ries, whose home and studio were inundated with water in the wake of Hurricane Irene, and continues to be threatened by high water. The GLASS Quarterly Hot Sheet reached Ries on his cellphone today, and the sound of the rushing water was audible. Weeks after the hurricane, he is facing further potential water damage. In the last 48-hours, two flash floods have menaced his studio and home, both of which have already been so severely damaged that total refurbishment is planned. Inside his studio, glass models litter the floor and a heavy antique engraving machine is overturned, everything covered in a thick muddy sludge. “It’s hard to even describe the kind of setback that this is because of the mud and the total destruction of all the utilities in my home and in my studio.”