On Saturday, May 11, 2019, the landmark museum survey exhibition "New Glass Now" will kick off at The Corning Museum of Glass with a museum-members' premier, artist talks, and an evening party to celebrate the long awaited launch. Featuring work made over the last three years, the exhibition includes work by 100 artists of 32 nationalities, hailing from more than 25 countries. The show is being framed as the third in a series of era-defining glass-art exhibitions at Corning that began with "Glass 1959," followed 20 years later by "New Glass: A Worldwide Survey" in 1979. The effort to reconnect with these important predecessor exhibitions after a 40-year break is explicit in the introduction by curator of modern glass Susie J. Silbert, who cites both in detail in her introductory essay titled "New Glass is not New," which seeks to place this forward-facing exhibition in historic context.
Though this is the first museum survey since the 1979 exhibition, Corning has been producing New Glass Review, every year since, and the publication has been presented as an annual survey exhibition-in-print. (Since 2011, Corning's annual New Glass Review publication has been distributed to Glass subscribers with the Summer edition.) The redesigned New Glass Review 40 will also serve as the exhibition catalog for the "New Glass Now" exhibition, and offers fresh and modern graphic revamp that reflects the innovation and new perspective that Silbert has brought to Corning since she took the reins as curator of modern and contemporary glass at the museum in 2016.
Some changes were already evident in New Glass Review 39 last year, when a new "Curator's Perspectives" section added critical blurbs for each piece, the cover image ran edge-to-edge, and the logo sported unusually intense colors. The 2019 Corning publication features Rakow Commision-winner Rui Sasaki's Liquid Sunshine/ I am a Pluviophile on its cover, is cut to more book than magazine dimensions, and weights in at nearly 300 pages.
In anticipation of the exhibition's opening, Glass spoke with curator, Susie Silbert to discuss recent developments in the publication and exhibition.
The Glass Quarterly Hot Sheet: In the recent build-up to the exhibition, what surprises have come up for you as curator?
Susie J. Silbert: There have been a lot of new discoveries. One that is particularly astonishing is the way the works transform when installed beside the other pieces. The design of the exhibition space beautifully strings together each piece through the use of picture windows on the dividing walls between rooms. It is exciting to see how successful this is--we didn't want the viewer to see all 100 works one after the other, but rather for the entirety of the exhibition to have some kind of unity.
Glass: The artists were chosen by an international panel. You strongly emphasize the importance of this method of curation and the more democratic perspective it affords. Can you say more about that and do you feel this approach has been implemented successfully?
Silbert: I could easily simply curate a show but I feel it is much better to incorporate other people's voices. On each plaque we have used quotations from whoever was involved in selecting the work it accompanies and by extension the viewer has a stronger hand in his or her own personal interpretation. We wanted to avoid the effect of a monolithic voice and move towards a layered perspective deriving from a variety of people.
Glass: The 1959 exhibition featured a large proportion of factory-made glass pieces in comparison to the works created by individuals. This ratio drastically shifted with the following 1979 exhibition due to developments in the studio glass movement. Have you seen any evidence of shifts like these with this exhibition that perhaps illustrate new dynamics in the glass world?
Silbert: The glass presented in this exhibition demonstrates how incredibly diverse the field has become. We've incorporated design pieces into the show and they are some of the most amazing. Some of these include works for Littala Inc. in Finland, Kosta Boda in Sweden, and Lobmeyr in Austria. They demonstrate that you can have a strong legacy in the glass tradition but still continue to push forward into the contemporary world.
As a special bonus, print subscribers to Glass: The UrbanGlass Art Quarterly will receive a copy of New Glass Now/New Glass Review 40 bundled with the Summer edition of Glass (#155), which will arrive in mailboxes around June 1, 2019. Subscribe today to be sure to receive your copy.
IF YOU GO:
Saturday, May 11, 2019
Members Premiere of "New Glass Now"
(Exhibition opens to the public May 12)
Corning Museum of Glass
One Museum Way
Corning, New York