An exhibition showcasing recent works in glass, Contemporary Directions: Glass from the Maxine and William Block Collection. The exhibition of 62 works, created by 49 artists from the United States, Europe, and Australia between 1988 and 2001, chronicles an exciting period of innovation in studio glass. William Morris: Man Adorned is a complementary exhibition.
Carnegie Museum of Art Presents
Glass from the Maxine and William Block Collection
Exhibition spotlights studio glass movement's recent period of experimentation and growth
The exhibition of 62 works, created by 49 artists from the United States, Europe, and Australia between 1988 and 2001, chronicles an exciting period of innovation in studio glass. A complementary exhibition, William Morris: Man Adorned, an installation by Morris, a contemporary studio glass artist renowned for his technical skill and innovative subject matter, will also be on view throughout the run of Contemporary Directions.
Studio glass refers to objects created in artists' studios rather than manufactured in large workshops or factories, and the contemporary studio glass movement traces its origins to a series of seminal workshops held at the Toledo Museum of Art in 1962. The workshops led to a new approach the medium. Schools and other institutions launched programs to train those who wanted to work in glass, and artists introduced small furnaces for firing glass into their studios. Subsequently, improved varieties of glass and new techniques possible with better materials and equipment have made the recent decades a period of burgeoning creativity in studio glass.
Like artists who work in other media, contemporary artists working in glass are now free to explore a broad range of ideas, styles, and subjects. The Block collection, which includes works by Dale Chihuly, William Morris, Cappy Thompson, Colin Reid, Maria Lugossy, Klaus Moje, and other important artists, exemplifies a number of trends-the exploration of theoretical ideas; the appropriation of shapes, concepts, and techniques associated with other times, places, or media; the willingness to produce larger-scale artwork; the creation of installations; the inclusion of humor, and narrative, landscape, and figural representation-that characterize contemporary art in other media.
Painters, sculptors, and architects sometimes appropriate form, design, and technique from other eras and other media, and artists working in glass now do likewise. Dante Marioni, for example, adapts classical shapes, but elongates them and uses a much wider color palette. His blown glass Chartreuse and Black Pair (1992), a pitcher and footed vessel that evokes the ancient Greek kylix, or two-handled drinking bowl, has proportions, scale, and bright colors that are purely modern.
Artists working in glass also explore the representational possibilities of the medium. Giles Bettison's Vista #40 (2000) is a representation of the landscape of the mountains and plains of the northern United States as they appear from above. Other representational works include the large-scale, blown glass Zanfirico Pear (1994) by Flora Mace and Joey Kirkpatrick, which was inspired by still life painting, and the blown and painted Madonna (1992) by Liubov Savelyeva.
Several pieces in the Block's collection prove that contemporary studio glass has become a medium capable of exploring formal ideas. Frantisek Vizner's minimalistic Bowl (1998), for example, has a dense, muted color, and because of its scale and classical shape, the work can be appreciated as a formal study of proportion.
One of the more striking changes seen in studio glass works, as well as in the visual arts in general, is an increase in size and scale. Works such as Therman Statom's Midwestern Autumn (1996), in the shape of a ladder over six feet tall, assembled from cut sheet glass with paint and mixed media, exemplify the willingness of artists to express themselves in larger works. Likewise, Kathleen Mulcahy's Persuasion Series: Ravishing (1996) defies the accepted rules governing the size of a perfume bottle.
"The Block's collection is a wonderful foray into the themes and trends of contemporary studio glass. In studio glass there are obvious parallels with what's going on in other media, and this is hardly surprising since no artist works in a cultural vacuum." explains Sarah Nichols, curator of decorative art at Carnegie Museum of Art, who co-organized the exhibition along with Davira Taragin, director of the Center for Glass and curator of modern and contemporary glass at Toledo Museum of Art, where it will be shown in 2003. The exhibition design is by Paul Rosenblatt AIA of Springboard: Architecture/Communication/Design.
Maxine and William Block, members of the Block family, which owns Block Communications, the parent company of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and The Blade newspaper in Toledo, have been collectors of contemporary art since the late 1940s. They acquired their first pieces of glass in 1988 to decorate their apartment in Toledo. Throughout the 1990s, they have built a collection that contains works by some of the most respected studio glass artists from the United States and abroad.
William Morris: Man Adorned
The complementary exhibition, William Morris: Man Adorned, is on view April 6-July 7, 2002. Morris, recognized internationally for his masterful technique and adventurous subject matter, probes the subjects of myth, nature, and human origins in his art. The eleven recent works from Man Adorned are large, opaque depictions of artifacts and human forms, with complex and rich surfaces that take on characteristics of other materials rather than glass. Man Adorned evokes and blends elements of the aboriginal cultures of Africa, Asia, Oceania, and the Americas, and explores the ancient and fundamental urge to beautify the human body.
William Morris: Man Adorned, an installation that explores the ancient origins of the human urge to decorate the body, will be on view at Carnegie Museum of Art April 6-July 7, 2002. Morris, a contemporary artist who works in glass, is renowned for his technical skill and innovative subject matter.
The eleven pieces in the installation, selections from a larger body of work by Morris called Man Adorned, depict human forms and artifacts inspired by the aboriginal cultures of Africa, Asia, Oceania, and the Americas. The works are large, opaque objects with complex and rich surfaces that take on the characteristics of materials other than glass and dramatically embody the ancient and persistent human urge to beautify the body. Though clearly representational, Man Adorned does not aim at recreating the human archeological record, but rather explores the essence of ethnicity and the origins of craftsmanship and adornment.
On June 2 at 1:00 p.m. in the Carnegie Museum of Art Theater, William Morris, along with James Yood will discuss Man Adorned and Morris's art and methods. Yood, who teaches art theory and criticism at Northwestern University and has written for a variety of publications, including Artforum, Glass, and tema celeste, will conduct a dialogue with the artist. The discussion will be followed by questions from the audience. This event is free with museum admission.
Man Adorned complements Contemporary Directions: Glass from the Maxine and William Block Collection, an exhibition of recent studio glass also on view April 6-July 7, 2002.
A variety of public programs complements Contemporary Directions and Man Adorned. Except where noted, the programs are free with museum admission.
For complete descriptions, call the Communications Office at 412.688.8690.
In a slide illustrated Artists' Lecture on Sun., April 7, at 1:00 p.m., JosÃ© Chardiet and Marvin Lipofsky, whose works appear in Contemporary Directions, will explore the processes, techniques, and influences on their art Carnegie Museum of Art and the Pittsburgh Glass Center will present Looking into Glass, a series of artist's slide talks and glass working demonstrations followed by wine and cheese receptions. Looking into Glass runs from April 11 through June 13 and the events require a fee and preregistration. Call 412.622.3288 for information.
The Pittsburgh Glass Center will host a series of free Hot Jams, which are open-house glass working demonstrations, on Fridays, 6:00-9:00 p.m. Hot Jams take place April 12, May 10, and June 7.
A Meet the Artists Weekend will be held with Toots Zynsky, along with other artists in Contemporary Directions, on May 11, 12:30-3:30 p.m.
At the Pittsburgh Glass Center, Robin Stanaway will be on hand at the artist's Exhibition Opening on Friday, May 17, 6:00-8:00 p.m.
Stanaway will also present a Lecture at the Pittsburgh Glass Center on Saturday, May 18, at 1:00 p.m. Call 412.365.2145 for information.
Issues in Glass, a panel discussion focusing on glass as a medium for contemporary artists will take place Saturday, June 15 at 1:00 p.m. at Carnegie Museum of Art.
The panel includes local artist Kathleen Mulcahy, whose work appears in the exhibition, Curator of Modern glass at The Corning Museum of Glass Tina Oldknow, and co-curator of Contemporary Directions Sarah Nichols, who will serve as moderator.
Man Adorned, a dialogue between artist William Morris, creator of Man Adorned, an installation that complements Contemporary Directions, and art critic James Yood, will take place on Sunday, June 2, 1:00 p.m.
In a Lunch & Learn on Thursday, June 13, 10:30 a.m.-2:00 p.m., co-curator of Contemporary Directions Sarah Nichols will conduct a gallery talk followed by lunch in the Carnegie CafÃ©.
Lunch & Learn events require a fee and preregistration. Call 412.622.3288 for information.
Through the Looking Glass, a summer camp for kids will explore the unique qualities of glass in projects related to Contemporary Directions. The camp runs June 24-28, 9:00-11:00 a.m. Fee and preregistration are required. Call 412.622.3288 for information.
A variety of public programs complements Contemporary Directions: Glass from the Maxine and William Block Collection, an exhibition of recent studio glass on view at Carnegie Museum of Art, April 6 through July 7, 2002.
The programs take place at Carnegie Museum of Art with glassworking demonstrations at the Pittsburgh Glass Center.
For more information about these and other programs at Carnegie Museum of Art, call 412.622.3288.
Drop-in tours of the exhibition are free with museum admission. Tours are conducted Tuesday-Sunday at 1:30 p.m. and Thursdays at 7:00 p.m.
Guided tours for adult groups may be scheduled by calling 412.622.3289. Three-weeks advance registration and prepayment required. Per person rates are $4.50/seniors and $7.50/adults.
Artists' Lecture: JosÃ© Chardiet and Marvin Lipofsky
Chardiet and Lipofsky, whose individual works are exhibited in Contemporary Directions, exemplify the creativity of studio glass artists. In this engaging slide-illustrated talk, the artists will explore the processes, techniques, and influences that inspire their designs. Cosponsored by Amy Morgan.
Sun., April 7, 1:00 p.m., Museum of Art Theater. Free with museum admission.
Looking into Glass
This series introduces a variety of techniques and processes used by artists from around the world. Each program begins with a slide-illustrated talk by the artist, followed by an artist-led gallery discussion. A wine and cheese reception with the artist completes the program. Call 412.622.3288 to register. Individual sessions: $12 members/$15 nonmembers. Series: $54 members/$68 nonmembers.
* Frantisek Janak, Czech Republic
Thurs., April 11, 7:00 p.m.
* Milon Townsend, New York
Sun., April 21, 1:00 p.m.
Sun., April 21, 3:00 p.m., demonstration at the Pittsburgh Glass Center, transportation not provided
* Robin Stanaway, Lebanon, Pennsylvania
Thurs., May 2, 7:00 p.m.
* Kathleen Mulcahy and Ron Desmett, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Thurs., June 6, 7:00 p.m.
* Cesare Toffolo and Davide Salvadore, Venice, Italy
Thurs., June 13, 7:00 p.m.
This series is cosponsored by the Pittsburgh Glass Center, where many of these artists are conducting workshops. Call 412.365.2145 to register for the workshops.
Hot Jams at the Pittsburgh Glass Center
Hot Jams are entertaining and informative demonstrations of glassblowing and flameworking held during open-house evenings at the Pittsburgh Glass Center. Fridays, April 12, May 10, and June 7, 6:00-9:00 p.m.
Meet the Artists Weekends
Distinguished artist Toots Zynsky, and other artists represented in Contemporary Directions will provide firsthand insights into their unique working methods and the dramatic visual forms they create.
Sat., May 11, 12:30-2:30 p.m., Carnegie Museum of Art Theater; 2:30-3:30 p.m., chat with artists in the exhibition galleries
The Pittsburgh Glass Center will present two special opportunities to meet visiting artist Robin Stanaway-an exhibition opening and an artist's lecture. Both events will be held at the Pittsburgh Glass Center.
For information contact the Pittsburgh Glass Center at 412.365.2145
* Opening: Fri., May 17, 6:00-8:00 p.m.
* Lecture: Sat., May 18, 1:00 p.m.
Issues in Glass
This panel will focus on glass as a medium for contemporary artists. Tina Oldknow, Curator of Modern Glass at The Corning Museum of Glass, and Pittsburgh-area artist Kathleen Mulcahy will discuss glass and its emerging position in contemporary art. Co-curator of Contemporary Directions Sarah Nichols will moderate a discussion about the growing interest in glass among museums and collectors of contemporary art. Sat., June 15, 1:00-3:00 p.m., Carnegie Museum of Art Theater, free with museum admission.
Man Adorned: A discussion with William Morris and James Yood
William Morris's newest glass sculpture, the Man Adorned series, continues the themes of origin and myth that are central to all of Morris's work. Morris and Professor James Yood of Northwestern University will discuss Morris's art and methods and the relationship between humankind, nature, and history. Yood is an active contemporary art critic and essayist who teaches contemporary art theory in Northwestern's department of Art Theory and Practice. He has also written extensively about the artwork of William Morris.
Sun., June 2, 1:00 p.m., Carnegie Museum of Art Theater, free with museum admission.
Lunch & Learn
Exhibition co-curator Sarah Nichols will talk about the contemporary glass collection of Maxine and William Block, followed by lunch in the Carnegie CafÃ© and a docent-led tour of Contemporary Directions and Man Adorned.
Thursday, June 13, 10:30 a.m. -2:00 p.m. $22 members/$27 nonmembers.
Summer Camp for Kids: Through the Looking Glass
Kids ages 6-7 and 8-10 explore the unique qualities of glass in projects inspired by the spectacular glass sculptures in the galleries.
June 24-28: 9:00-11:30 a.m., ages 8-10; 12:30-3:00 p.m., ages 6-7. $85 members/$95 nonmembers.
A free introductory slide talk for your next club or community group meeting can be scheduled by calling Deborah Starling-Pollard, 412.622.5590.
The Pittsburgh Glass Center
Pittsburgh Glass Center, located at 5472 Penn Avenue, is an open and comprehensive studio dedicated to teaching, creating, and promoting glass art. The PGC's 16,000-square-foot facility houses state-of-the-art studios for hot glass, flameworking, coldworking, casting and kiln working, in addition to a gallery and artist resource rooms. The PGC opened for classes in December 2001. For more information, please call 412.365.2145 or visit http://www.pittsburghglasscenter.org
Publication accompanies Contemporary Directions: Glass from the Maxine and William Block Collection
A richly illustrated publication accompanies Contemporary Directions: Glass from the Maxine and William Block Collection, an exhibition of recent studio glass on view at Carnegie Museum of Art April 6-July 7, 2003.
Along with 63 dramatic color plates of works in the show, the 96-page publication, also titled Contemporary Directions: Glass from the Maxine and William Block Collection, contains an essay about the scope and importance of the collection by Sarah Nichols, curator of decorative art at Carnegie Museum of Art, and Davira Taragin, director of the Center for Glass and curator of modern and contemporary glass at Toledo Museum of Art. Nichols and Taragin are co-curators of Contemporary Directions, which will be shown at Toledo Museum of Art in 2003.
Published by Carnegie Museum of Art, The soft cover, perfect bound book, is available in the Carnegie Museum of Art Store for $29.95. Copies may be ordered by calling 412.622.3216.
Generous support for Contemporary Directions: Glass from the Maxine and William Block Collection and William Morris: Man Adorned has been provided by Mr. and Mrs. Stanley R. Gumberg, Sheila and Milt Fine, Alan G. Lehman through The Bessie F. Anathan Fund of The Pittsburgh Foundation, The Henry L. Hillman Foundation, the Henry L. Hillman, Jr. Foundation, the Adrienne and Milton Porter Charitable Foundation, PPG Industries Foundation, The Associates of Carnegie Museum of Art, and the Carnegie Museum of Art Women's Committee.
Carnegie Museum of Art
Located at 4400 Forbes Avenue in the Oakland section of Pittsburgh and founded by industrialist and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie in 1895, Carnegie Museum of Art is nationally and internationally recognized for its distinguished collection of American and European works from the sixteenth century to the present. The Heinz Architectural Center, part of Carnegie Museum of Art, is dedicated to the collection, study, and exhibition of architectural drawings and models. For more information about Carnegie Museum of Art, call 412.622.3131 or visit our web site.
Carnegie Museum of Art
4400 Forbes Avenue, PA 15213-4080