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UrbanGlass Office, Studio, and Store are closed this Saturday, June 19 in observance of Juneteenth

Issue 163 | Summer

Editor's Letter

by Andrew Page

Commuters rushing to the subways from Grand Central Terminal leave behind celestial constellations rendered in gold leaf against the aqua-colored heavens soaring overhead. When artist Jim Hodges was invited to create a public artwork for the stairwell leading down from the Beaux Arts terminal to the utilitarian 4/5/6 subway platform, he set out to mediate the architectural whiplash from the soul-stirring grandeur above to the gritty cacophonous underground below—and he turned to glass mirror to do it.

Step onto the down escalator, and you embark on a journey through a zone of inky indigo darkness to emerge into a dazzling and immersive landscape “painting” in glass, which references the natural world through color fields and camouflage patterning, faceted with stolen reflections of oneself as part of a momentary assemblage of fellow New York travelers. The opposite of a descent, the ride becomes a celebration of shared experience with multiple access points.

In this issue’s cover article, Hodges shares some of his thinking about his monumental Grand Central project in an expansive interview in which he discusses the evolution of his own unique art practice, in which glass plays a role for its unique potency as a metaphor and dynamic material.

With the pandemic receding, we look forward to a freer summer ahead, and all the feature articles in our summer celebrate movement in ways both obvious (see the showers of sparks that define Alex Bernstein’s unique glass-and-steel process) to the more measured (learn about the new directions Charlotte Potter Kasic is taking the new Barry Art Museum in Norfolk, Virginia, where she recently took over from founding director Jutta-Annette Page).

Our European correspondent Emma Park spends time with Elliot Walker, fresh off his win of the second season of Netflix’s Blown Away, who is moving British glassblowing forward as he is determined to employ his prodigious skills in service of ideas rather than make functional forms.

Our last feature is excerpt from a new Abrams book in which art critic Eleanor Heartney assesses Dale Chihuly’s installation artworks that alter architectural environments and provide new ways of defining interior and exterior spaces.  

In addition to five reviews and the latest news, we present an essay in which curator Tina Oldknow remembers the late philanthropist Dan Greenberg who, along with his wife, Susan, championed glass art both as a collector and a patron, supporting numerous institutions including UrbanGlass, which publishes this magazine.

Hourglass

Dante Marioni discusses his newest work, in which he shatters traditional Venetian cane patterns and reassembles them into intricate intersecting grids; the film Lino Tagliapietra: The Making of a Maestro presents this icon of glass art in his own words and on his own terms; The Glass Impact coalition’s online fund raiser celebrates diverse voices in glass and seeks support to sustain outreach; In Memoriam: remembering research scientist Robert Brill (1929 – 2021), who led The Corning Museum back from the devastation of the 1972 flood.

Reviews

Norwood Viviano at Heller Gallery, New York; Jeanne Reynal at Eric Firestone Gallery, New York; Gene Koss at Arthur Roger Gallery, New Orleans; neon group exhibition at Pittsburgh Glass Center, Pittsburgh; and a book review of Objects: 2020  by R.& Company, New York

UrbanGlass News

An Educational Partnership Grows in Brooklyn

Reflection

by Tina Oldknow

Remembering collector, philanthropist, and tireless glass-art advocate Dan Greenberg (1942–2021)

Features

"Love” Has a Lot to Do with It

by Andrew Page

Contemporary artist Jim Hodges, who seeks “liveness” in his emotionally-charged works, is drawn to glass for its active nature. For a recently unveiled public artwork in a multiplanar transitory space at Grand Central, Hodges created a cut-glass tapestry that shimmers with potential to spark contemplation as commuters descend via escalator from the grandeur of New York’s most elegant train terminal to the subway station below. Glass spoke to Hodges about art as performance, the power of mirror, and what it means to have a permanent installation in the city that nurtured his career.

Sparks Fly

by Alexander Castro

An accidental discovery that hot slivers of steel will embed themselves in glass gave iconoclastic artist Alex Gabriel Bernstein his defining technique and crystalized his unorthodox approach to glass sculpture.

The New Museum (in Norfolk)

by Benjamin Wright

Less than three years since opening, the Barry Art Museum brings a new perspective to its expanding collections as Charlotte Potter Kasic takes the director’s reins from Jutta-Annette Page.

A Sculptor with Consummate Skill

by Emma Park

With his triumph in the second season of Blown Away, Elliot Walker proved his technical mastery, yet the British glassblower refuses to make functional glass.

The Interventionist

by Eleanor Heartney

In an excerpt from “Democratizing Beauty,” critic Eleanor Heartney’s essay in the newly published book Chihuly and Architecture (Abrams, 2021), we learn how Dale Chihuly’s monumental installations changed the way people experience vital public spaces.

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.