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Issue 160 | Fall

Editor's Letter

by Andrew Page

Last summer’s massive protests sparked a national dialogue about race that has reverberated across society and challenged the art world to reflect on how inclusive keepers of culture have truly been. In the glass art field, where representation of people of color remains limited at best, it sparked a necessary and overdue conversation about why racial disparity has persisted in this medium for expression, and what actions can be taken to change that. One focus of this issue of Glass is to illustrate the extent of the problem and to highlight potential paths toward progress.  

In June, the Glass Art Society issued a Glass Pledge “to provide opportunities and tear down barriers,” asserting itself as one of the leading institutions advocating for widespread change. Over 120 galleries, studios, artists, and organizations have signed on. Executive director Brandi Clark, who had been working on the initiative even before protestors took to the streets, sees it as a moral imperative. “For us, the board and staff, we really felt this was not a political issue, but a human issue, and it was about our community and making our community better,” she told me.

Meanwhile, a young nonprofit dedicated to changing the field from within is showing how to take direct action. This issue’s cover article features artist Corey Pemberton, who is cofounder of Crafting the Future, which supports students of color with scholarship and advocacy programs. Pemberton has also started Better Together, an initiative to celebrate the achievements of successful black artists working with glass through gatherings that foster mentorship and community. In an extensive interview with cofounder Annie Evelyn, Pemberton shares insights and hopes for a more diverse future for the field.

Why does glass continue to struggle with representation? Some of the answers can be found in the first concrete estimates of diversity—or lack of it—in the glass field, courtesy of original research by artist and author Matthew Day Perez. In examining statistics on the progress white women have made in the previously white-male-dominated field of glass, Perez suggests people of color may find an instructive example of how a single curatorial appointment can foster rapid changes that reverberate across the field. He also discovered that people of color are a growing presence in college art programs, yet few find their way to this particular medium.

In an extensive interview, artist, educator, and Public Glass executive director Nate Watson discusses the anger and frustration that swirls around this issue for people of color, even as it is being acknowledged and promises are made. “I’m calling for those organizations, institutions, businesses, and everyone in our glass community to translate those thousands of social media posts and statements about diversity, privilege, and implicit bias into concrete action,” he says.

Not only do we all share an obligation in our field to work toward a glass art world that more closely resembles the diversity of our nation, so, too, do we need to achieve greater inclusivity so glass art and design remains accessible and relevant as a vehicle of expression for all voices.

Hourglass

Nate Watson expands on his open letter to the glass community about lack of representation; Andrew Erdos unveils monumental
commission at Brooklyn gallery; as pandemic persists, art and craft shows continue shift to virtual alternatives in 2020; Glass-based performance artist and innovator Anna Mlasowsky on starting a new gallery for emerging artists

Reviews

John Kiley & Dante Marioni at Schantz Galleries, Stockbridge, Massachusetts; “Glass, Meet the Future” Film Festival at North Lands Creative, Lybster, Scotland; Nancy Callan at Heller Gallery, New York City; "Invitational Glass Show" at Blue Rain Gallery, Santa Fe.

UrbanGlass News

Reflection

by Clifford Rainey

In Memoriam: Howard Ben Tré (1949-2020)

Features

Dedicated to Diversity

As Black Lives Matter protests broke out in cities and towns across the United States in June 2020, Glass editor Andrew Page interviewed Corey Pemberton and Annie Evelyn, the founders of Crafting the Future, about their collective effort to address the art, craft, and design world’s lack of representation.

"Counted"

by Matthew Day Perez

The glass art field does not reflect the increasing diversity of the U.S., which is actively engaged in addressing a long-standing lack of racial justice and social equality. With some of the first-ever estimates of racial representation in the American glass art field, Matthew Day Perez discusses possible ways to change the complexion of glass and strengthen our resolve to expand the glass art
universe and foster multiple voices and perspectives.

The Allure of the Luciferous

by William V. Ganis

Before his landmark earthworks projects, Robert Smithson repeatedly explored the complex, light-mediating qualities of glass in groundbreaking works.

Sketches in Silica

by Farah Rose Smith

Dan Dailey excels at spontaneous yet precise line drawings, which are the basis for his sculptural character studies in glass,
three-dimensional renderings that reveal universal truths.

Glass: The UrbanGlass Quarterly, a glossy art magazine published four times a year by UrbanGlass has provided a critical context to the most important artwork being done in the medium of glass for more than 40 years.