Ruth Reader

OPENING: Hungarian artists hope to change perceptions with major exhibition

Hu Glass
Hu Glass


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 theSecondary 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. Continue reading →

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’sMysterious 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.Continue reading →

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.

The ecologically friendly modern complex was designed to fill a the void of available glass working studios in Berlin. Idriss hopes to offer a space where artists can work, learn, and exchange creative ideas about glass working at an affordable rate.

While the studio has opened, Idriss is still running a fundraising campaign for the studio. So far the studio has raised $7,925 with a goal of $15,000. The campaign will run for another 45 days. In the meantime volunteers and private funding are getting Berlin Glas on its feet.

The studio’s founding members is a collaboration of Americans, Germans, Canadians, Australians, and Lebanese; and by some of the biggest, up and coming names in contemporary glass. This year, in November, Tim Belliveau and Phillip Bandura of the Bee Kingdom collective in Canada moved to Berlin to help founder and director Nadania Idriss make this project come into fruition. This is a team with years of combined experience in management, programming, technical ability and art practice.

—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

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

[caption id="" align="alignleft" width="290"]
Giles Bettison, Vista #83, 2001. Fused, blown and wheelcut murrine glass. H 8 7/8, W 6 1/2 in. Estimate: 2,500 - 3,000 Euro (US$ 3,400 - 4,000)[/caption] This Monday in Paris, art dealer Barry Friedman will auction off 158 works of glass, many by artists he personally championed such as Michael GlancyGiles 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.

Looking through the lavish auction catalog (available online here), a distinct aesthetic becomes apparent, a taste for refinement of form that is in tune with Friedman’s established authority as a purveyor of beautiful things. His New York gallery first uptown and now in Chelsea, has exhibited work in various media from metal to photography to ceramic to glass, but always with a sharp eye on changing tastes. He has been at the forefront of various art and design trends and helped to make some of them, such as in the 1970s when he zeroed in on Art Nouveau furnishings. Friedman’s interest in glass artwork was spurred by his discovery of Michael Glancy’s work in 1996 at an exhibition in Switzerland. Though he became involved in glass in the mid-1990s, after the movement was already well underway, Friedman set himself apart from other dealers in his unapologetic approach to work in the media as something he has called “contemporary decorative art.”

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="377"] Frantisek Vizner, Aqua Base with Two Hollows, 2005. Optical glass, cut, sandblasted, and polished. D 10 1/2 in. Estimate: 8,500 - 10,000 Euros. (US $11,340 - 13,400)[/caption]

The Camard catalog documents this in the rich diversity of visually pleasing artwork ranging from Giles Bettison’s “Vista” series, created using the Venetian murrini technique to layer colored glass into a complex mosaics, to the more austere aesthetic of the late Czech artist Frantisek Vizner, whose stark columns and deep bowls that rise to a sharp point in their center provide a minimalistic approach to elegance of form. Also in the Paris sale is work from all three artists from the Barry Friedman Gallery’s touring exhibition ““Venice: 3 Visions in Glass: Cristiano Bianchin, Yoichi Ohira, Laura de Santillana”, which recently completed its stint at the Musee Des Arts Decoratif in Paris and will conclude its run at the  Glasmuseet Ebeltoft in Denmark on March 18, 2012.

[caption id="" align="alignleft" width="213"] Tessa Clegg, Prism 1, 2002. Pate de verre. H 9 1/2 in. Estimate: 1,500 - 2,000 Euros (US$ 2,000 - 2,700)[/caption]

Camard & Associates will host the auction as well as a series of seminars leading up to the sale. The exhibition “Collection Barry Friedman” will be on display at the Drouot-Montaigne today and tomorrow. A catalog of all the items for sale is available at the venue as well as online. Interested parties can bid live during the auction via the Internet or over the telephone. The more traditional way of participating afar by filling out an absentee bid form is also an option. Over the telephone and absentee bidders will have to register with Camard, while online bidders will register withDrouot. IMPORTANT NOTE: All artworks purchased at this event will incur a 22.5-percent buyers charge over and above the gavel price.

—Ruth Reader


“Collection Barry Friedman”
Monday, October 3, 2011, 2:30 PM Paris (8:30 AM EST)
Camard & Associés
Drouot Montaigne
15 Avenue Montaigne
75008 Paris
Tel : 01 42 46 35 74
Email :

Crocheting New York

BY RUTH READER AUGUST 18, 2011 New York City artist Agata Oleksiak, better known as Olek, met with GALO at her studio in the Lower Eastside late the night before the opening of her exhibition at the Jonathan Levine Gallery entitled The Bad Artists Imitate, the Great Artists Steal. The studio was sparsely lit. Yarn cascaded off of stools, workbenches, desks, and pooled in haphazard mounds. Olek was working furiously.