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Issue 159 | Summer

Editor's Letter

by Andrew Page

It literally happened overnight. As a handful of Covid-19 cases turned into an explosion, as the virus went from “over there” to right outside our front doors, official reassurances gave way to urgent stay-at-home orders. As if a switch were flipped, New York City subways packed with people began to run empty, once-bustling restaurants barred their doors, schoolyards fell silent, and buzzing art openings turned into “virtual” slideshows and video presentations viewed in isolation in the cool light of a computer screen.

Amid the waves of anxiety and fear that swept through in the first weeks of the shutdown, we decided to scrap our plans for the upcoming Summer 2020 issue. Knowing the months ahead would test our abilities to weather unprecedented economic and psychological pressures, we set about providing something more immediate and practical: stories of survival.

We spoke with glass artists who had successfully overcome life- and career-threatening disasters in the past, from raging fires to horrific car accidents to once-in-a-lifetime hurricanes and floods. They shared not only the secrets of how they persevered and recovered—tales rich with instructive lessons for our present moment—but also insights into how their past experiences have shaped their perspectives and responses to the  current pandemic.

The rapid spread of this still-mysterious virus may have been quelled for now, and—fingers crossed—let’s hope the  worst is behind us. How the next chapter unfolds, however, is far from certain.  What we can say for sure is that reopening in the coming months will be a test of  our ability to act collectively and to adjust to a new reality, one that will reshape business as usual at every level. Plenty of challenges await us, and, as you will learn in the stories in this issue, so do  new opportunities for those who will  take them.

As we adapt and change our habits and rhythms, art will be an even more important space to connect, reflect, mourn our losses, and heal through shared human experience. Glass artists are the tightrope walkers of the art world. Seeking  expression through a fragile material that can be cripplingly expensive to access and is uniquely prone to failure selects for a special resilience among its practitioners and patrons.

For those who have dedicated themselves to making, supporting, and collecting glass art, we offer this issue as a testament to  the power of the glass community to pull together in a crisis and to overcome adversity by relying on one of our strongest resources—ourselves.

Hourglass

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A taboo subject comes to the fore in Canadian group show that takes on mental illness; how dealers are revamping their business and gearing up to support artists in a time of crisis

Reviews

Preston Singletary at Traver Gallery, Seattle; Anne Peabody at Moremen Gallery, Louisville, Kentucky; Selinda Davidson and Nyanu Watson at Short Street Gallery in Broome, West Australia; Sibylle Peretti at Heller Gallery, New York

UrbanGlass News

by By Devin Mathis

Letter from the executive director

Reflection

by Katya Heller

In Memoriam: Jaroslava Brychtová (1924–2020)

Features


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This spring, the world faced down a pandemic by taking bold action, effectively shutting down much of the economy to stave off a potentially catastrophic spread of a highly virulent new  virus that scientists are still struggling to fully understand. As the focus shifts from isolation to returning safely to the worlds  of art and commerce, there is no shortage of uncertainty, not only about how to track a potential new upsurge in cases, but also  about how to make it through. Looking to the past for inspiration for the present, Glass asked glass artists who have endured life- and career-threatening setbacks about the keys to their recovery  and healing. We also asked whether that experience helped  prepare them in some way for what were experiencing now,  and what words of wisdom they could offer us in our current  moment. What follows are 10 stories of overcoming the odds  and getting back on track, something we could all learn from at this pivotal moment.

Five Feet, Four Inches

by Lindsay Woodruff

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How The Corning Museum of Glass, submerged by a massive flood in 1972, reopened in just six weeks

In Her Own Words

by As Told to Farah Rose Smith

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Ginny Ruffner on what survival means

Force of Nature

by As Told to Pamela Koss

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 Fabiano Amadi on the Murano acqua alta, followed soon after by Covid-19

An Unquenchable Desire to Heal

by As Told to Andrew Page

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Pearl Dick on her journey to create Project FIRE

Glass Breaks

by As Told to Andrew Page

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Oben Abright on what he learned from a 2008 motorcycle accident in a conflict area of remote Burma

 

When the Future Washed Away

by As Told to Andrew Page

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Eddie Bernard on Hurricane Katrina in 2005

The Secret: Keep Going

by As Told to Samantha De Tillio

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Liza Lou, who endured rejection and dismissal for her monumental glass-beaded work Kitchen,  launches an online collaborative project to foster community in a time of isolation.

Persist Take Risks

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Dale Chihuly on how a near-fatal car accident in 1976 impaired his eyesight but expanded his vision

Let It Burn

by As Told to Andrew Page

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Christina Bothwell, whose studio and archives went up in flames in 2018, on letting go

When You're Down

by As Told to Andrew Page

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Clifford Rainey on his 2017 studio fire … and 2018 cancer diagnosis

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.