Ruth Reader

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



From now until February 8th, 2012, the Shanghai Museum of Glass will 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.

The Shanghai Museum of Glass opened in May of this year and is the latest addition to China’s growing glass art field. Just five years ago, China didn’t even have an operational hot shop for artistic use of the material. Now the country boasts a a couple of university-level glass art programs, and, as of this year, a whole museum devoted to the pursuit. The Shanghai Museum, a gorgeous sprawling reuse of the former Shanghai Glass Company factory transformed by German architecture firm Logon, is a modern venue for glass artwork. The Shanghai Glass Company, a major industrial glass maker, sponsors the Museum in hopes of educating Chinese on the history of glass and provide a forum for artistic inspiration. The museum not only showcases international glass artwork, but also houses a public glass hot shop. Despite the fact that the country produces 80 percent of the world’s processed glass, there are limited venues for creative glass making. Having a hot shop was a top priority for the museum.

Bolle Bottles for Venini by Tapio Wirkkala, 1968.

In addition to celebrating Venini’s 90th anniversary, the Shanghai Museum of Glass is running their series “Transmission of Imagination — Infinite Possibilities No.4″ which features contemporary glass art from the China Academy of Art. Another contemporary exhibit that just finished its run in October, featured the work of American artist Steven Weinberg. The retrospective focused on the optical, transparent, and reflective qualities of glass in his solid, kiln-cast sculptures.

The Shanghai Museum of Glass hopes to expand the museum to include a whole campus dedicated to exploring the world of glass. The campus, titled G+ Theme Park, is planned to include a sculpture park, science park, studio, and business park.

—Ruth Reader