The Agnes Varis Art Center gallery and store will be closed on Tuesday, August 20th, 2019 for our regularly scheduled inventory count. 

The 2019 Robert M. Minkoff Foundation Academic Symposium at UrbanGlass

October 24th – October 26th, 2019

New York gallery tour | presentations | moderated discussions | breakout sessions | networking opportunities | workshops

For its fourth biennial academic symposium, UrbanGlass is again partnering with the Robert M. Minkoff Foundation to present an international gathering of department heads, professors, and educators to discuss issues and best practices in the lecture hall, shop, and studio. The upcoming symposium, titled "Issues in Glass Pedagogy: Criticism, Critique, and Critical Thinking," will take place from October 24th to 26th, 2019 in New York City, and will examine the importance of constructive critical dialogue in the success of individual artists and the overall field.

THE SYMPOSIUM: The 2019 event will kick off with a gallery tour on the evening of Thursday, October 24th at 6 PM. The exact time and places will be released as galleries announce their fall exhibitions. At each stop, gallery directors will discuss their current exhibitions wit the assembled symposium-goers, and the evening will culminate in a networking function where food and drinks will be served.Events on Friday, October 25th, the symposium will begin bright and early, with breakfast at the day's venue, St. Francis College, in Brooklyn Heights. Doors open at 8 AM for bagels and coffee, and the program of presentations and panel discussions will begin at 9 AM.On Saturday, October 26th, the symposium will continue at the studios of UrbanGlass, where the more fluid environment will allow for workshops and breakout sessions. Breakfast and lunch will be served on Friday and Saturday.


The 2019 symposium keynote presentation will be delivered by New York Times art critic Martha Schwendener. A Visiting Associate Professor at New York University's Steinhardt School of Art, Schwendener's criticism and essays have been published in Artforum, Bookforum, Afterimage, October, Art in America, The New Yorker, The Village Voice, The Brooklyn Rail, Art Papers, New Art Examiner, Paper Monument, Flusser Studies, and other publications. She edited Flusser/Essays (São Paulo: Metaflux, 2017), and is working on a manuscript on Vilém Flusser’s philosophy and its relationship to art.


Highlights of the symposium will include a panel discussion of Blown Away, the Netflix series that Esquire called the "must-watch" reality show of summer. On hand to discuss the series, and whether television can be a forum for serious art making, will be series consultant Koen Vanderstukken, on-air host and judge Katherine Gray, and the show's winner, Deborah Czeresko.

Former Corning Museum of Glass chief scientist Jane Cook (center), now at Penn State, will lead a conversation about inter-departmental explorations in glass in academia, with University of Toledo assistant professor Brian Carpenter and Angus Powers, head of glass at Alfred. In her introductory remarks, Cook will compare and contrast systems of scientific peer review and art criticism in academia.


Head of the glass department at the Gerrit Rietveld Academie in Amsterdam, artist Jens Pfeifer has led four Glass Virus think tank events. For the October symposium in New York, Pfeifer will employ a workshop approach to the themes of "Critique, Criticism, and Critical Thinking" in which the symposium attendees will experience critical thinking rather than talk about it, removing the cognitive distance to the subject.


"Reevaluating Reflection in Architecture and Contemporary Art"

Reflection, allows us to become aware of our surroundings in different ways, either by connecting us in unexpected forms, formulating not only visual phenomena but new atmospheres generated in the interplay of transparency and reflection. Glass still holds the potentiality of emergent “experiences” that could transform the built environment as physical, multisensorial manifestations. If glass is treated accordingly to its bio constructivist origins, not only as a membrane that allow us to communicate and relate to our environments, it can transform our current experience of cities into bodily encounters that reconnect us to our status as space producers instead that of passive users.

Gabriel Peña is an artist, architect and lecturer, currently pursuing a PhD in Humanities at the Center for Interdisciplinary Studies in Society and Culture, at Concordia University. His research ‘After Transparency / The sensorial, and spatial affects of glass atmospheres’, is a re-evaluation of glass properties such as reflection and its interplay with transparency as a medium to construct atmospheres that modify the perception of the built environment.


The full program of the conference was determined by a jury that included (L to R) artist and University of the Arts glass department head Daniel Clayman; artist and head of the glass program at Bowling Green State University Alli Hoag; artist and head of the glass program at the University of Wisconsin–Madison Helen Lee; artist and executive director of UrbanGlass, Devin Mathis; and Glass magazine editor and symposium organizer Andrew Page.


The goal of every biennial academic symposium is to provide educators and students with an opportunity for professional development, networking opportunities, and experiences of New York galleries.

COST: Registration for the 2019 event is $175, with a special student rate of $125 (valid I.D. required). Attendees are responsible for their own lodgings, and a special negotiated hotel room price will be provided to those looking for accommodations once registration is completed.


Event Images
Event Schedule
October 24th – October 26th, 2019
UrbanGlass Studio
647 Fulton St
Brooklyn, NY 11217