by Andrew Page
As the aging generation who championed glass as a sculptural material continue to donate their collections to museums, or put them on the secondary market, there’s ever-more hand-wringing over the future of glass art. While a handful of younger collectors bargain shop for glass art treasures, there has been, as yet, no critical mass with the same advocacy or singular passion. Dealers continue to play a vital role, and their gallery and art-fair displays bring select younger artists’ work to the wider public. But the number of commercial galleries has thinned substantially, leaving precious few venues.
One of the issues is that, unlike the object-based work of a previous era, a lot of new glass artwork is multimedia, and the video, site-specific installations, or room-sized projects can be difficult to show in galleries, much less fit within a private residence. Though different in sensibility, ambition, and approach to the work that preceded it, the use of glass in art shows no signs of slowing down—quite the opposite. In this issue, we take a closer look at recent initiatives of artists turned curators, and examine how they are finding ways to present their artwork to the wider world.
German-born, Seattle-based Anna Mlasowsky has emerged as an innovator and rule breaker in the glass-art field. Anyone who has attended her lectures or been to her exhibitions knows she has never been one to accept the status quo, and when the pandemic arrived in 2020, she took the opportunity to realize her idea to create alternate channels for this new type of work in glass to be viewed. Glass regular contributor Alexander Castro looks at two of Mlasowsky’s curatorial initiatives: an online digital exhibition space that mines the correspondences between the transparency of glass and the online digital space, and another, more traditional physical gallery space, where she programs a window gallery perfect for an era of social distancing (and cost-effective in terms of staffing).
In a related article, we take a look at a major exhibition at the Delaware Contemporary Center for Art in Wilmington, Delaware, where 33 contemporary artists were given a venue. Their often large-scale multimedia works are rarely afforded a museum-level installation in a high-ceiling, white-walled museum space, much less the opportunity to be seen in relation to colleagues working with similar ambition, and in related thematic directions. The curators—Kristin Deady, Jenna Lucente, and Alexander Rosenberg—are all artists themselves, and brought a sensitivity and understanding to their endeavor to elevate this work, provide a quality presentation, and to survey new directions in the medium.
Elsewhere in this issue, Glass managing editor Sadia Tasnim examines the imminent expansion of the Chrysler Museum of Art Glass Studio in Norfolk, Virginia. And, in our cover article, contributing editor Emma Park looks at couples who have merged their practices, joining forces in a joint artistic journey. This celebration of partnership and unity is our toast to the spring