Issue 171 | Summer
by Andrew Page
Situated between the Ivory Coast and Togo along the west coast of Africa, Ghana is seeing strong economic growth thanks to oil and gas discoveries, cocoa exports, and mining, with investment in manufacturing and local industry starting to grow. However, many Ghanaians continue to travel to other countries for work, often carrying their things in brightly colored textile travel bags, the type interpreted in glass on the cover of this issue by artist Anthony Amoako-Attah. Based in England since he began his graduate studies in glass at the University of Sunderland in 2015, Amoako-Attah has devoted himself to translating the complex textile patterns of the traditional kente cloth of his native country into the medium of glass.
As contributing editor Emma Park discovered, many Ghanaians who had migrated to Nigeria for work were forced to leave after an economic downturn in the 1980s, and many of the deported workers left with their belongings in kente cloth bags, which became known as the “Ghana Must Go Bag.” For the artist, the object remains a potent symbol of dislocation and cultural history. Park spent time discussing Amoako-Attah’s journey and the things he brings with him from the past, and how he embraces the future in the form of new technologies and opportunities as he is embraced by the wider glass world.
Speaking of location, this issue features an excerpt from a new book on Lino Tagliapietra, in which critic Glenn Adamson connects the maestro to the 1970s Pattern & Decoration art movement that embraces and elevates decorative patterning, linking it to abstraction in painting and other media. While many critics have described Tagliapietra’s work as sublime expressions of beauty, Adamson explores where to situate the work in the context of Abstract Expressionism and other contemporary art frames.
This issue also features the second installment of a three-part series by Glass contributing editor Samantha De Tillio, who examines the past, present, and future of performances featuring glass. In this issue, De Tillio turns her attention to the rise of glass performance collectives, groups of artists who were enthralled by the theatrical potential of glass and who created troupes to present choreographed happenings in the hot shop, mostly.
The final feature is a meditation by contributing editor John Drury on artists who have chosen a different path than the Venetian style of glassmaking. Referencing Art Brut, and Brutalist architecture, Drury identifies a countervailing movement that celebrates texture, weight, and mottled surfaces, the imperfect as the ideal expression for certain subject matter, exploring a very different vocabulary more suitable for weightier topics.
All this plus five reviews, a powerful essay on the importance of artist residencies in times of natural disaster, and the latest news from the world of glass.
Gerhard Richter’s 3 Panes of Glass is a vision of purity and contemplation; an interview with Matthew Szösz on blowing up; nearly two decades old, Collect, London’s fair for contemporary craft and design, has become one of the leading events of its kind in the international calendar; Michael Endo will be Pilchuck’s next artistic director.
Jonas Noël Niedermann at Chesterfield Gallery, New York; group exhibition at Jane Lombard Gallery, New York; Deborah Czeresko at Hannah Traore Gallery, New York; Rob Wynne and Gene Koss at Arthur Roger Gallery, New Orleans; group exhibition at the Museum of Glass, Tacoma, Washington.
The highly anticipated UrbanGlass Academic Symposium is back for Fall 2023.
Jacek J. Kolasiński and Edouard Duval-Carrié at the Robert Lehman Gallery in the Agnes Varis Art Center at UrbanGlass
by BY Gulfidan Özmen
Artist-in-residence programs, already so important to developing artists, become even more critical when artists are victims of disasters.
"Look at the Glass. See My Culture."
by Emma Park
Colorful kente patterns on glass are Ghanaian glass artist Anthony Amoako-Attah’s fusion of tradition and technologies as he probes the cultural significance of this special fabric.
In his essay “Higher Than Heaven” for the recently published monograph Lino Tagliapietra: Sculptor in Glass (2023, Monacelli, $60), Glenn Adamson positions the maestro in relation to critical theories that bridge decorative and contemporary art.
Live Glass at the Turn of the Millennium: The Performance Troupe
by Samantha De Tillio
(second in a three-part series)
by John Drury
The watershed moment when Venetian technique met American glassblowing was not universally embraced, as many glass artists rejected the rigidity and tight control of glass to pursue a weightier style.