by Andrew Page
The cover of this edition features an abstract work by the late Michael Glancy that seems especially apt for our moment, though it was made in 2014. Shimmer is festooned with crisply rendered plus signs, a bold pattern that wraps the blown vessel in a type of metallic armor, but shot through with irregular patches where the pattern is not there, leaving translucent visual puddles that disturb the precision of the surface. Through these apertures one can make out the underside of the pattern on the opposite side, giving the work corporeal form, hinting at a complex interior dimension that can only be glimpsed but never fully known. Like the best art, it is multilayered and offers a sense of vulnerability and complexity that gains special power in the current climate.
The repeated plus sign comes with many immediate associations, be it a positive Covid-19 test or a checkmark noting a preference for a certain candidate for public office in our fraught political times. As tribute to this important artist, who died in August, we present a meditative feature article by Glass regular contributor Alexander Castro, who visited the artist and studied his work not realizing he would ultimately be writing a piece that memorialized the 70-year-old innovator and alchemist who passed away on August 29th from complications of lung cancer..
Our European contributor Emma Park looks at the spark that traveled between Murano and America, the subject of a major exhibition at Le Stanze del Vetro in Venice, Italy. “Studio Glass in Venice” explores the cultural encounter between pioneering American glass artists seeking to peek behind the closed doors of the centuries-old glasshouses to understand their closely guarded technical secrets, and those that allowed them access. The fact that the exhibit is taking place in Venice is a significant advance and, in showing Italian and American work side by side, an acknowledgement of the importance of that exchange for both sides of the equation.
Beth Lipman, who is enjoying not only a midcareer retrospective at the Museum of Arts and Design but also a contemporaneous Chelsea gallery exhibition at Nohra Haime, is the subject of a feature by Glass contributing editor John Drury, who tracks the recurring themes of mortality and impermanence at the MAD show.
And finally, we present our fully updated and comprehensive guide to glass educational programs and suppliers to the field. The exhaustive listings, the product of months of research, are introduced by an article assessing the educational world’s efforts to adapt to the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic. By looking at the improvised solutions to the abrupt lockdown in the spring of 2020, and how the Fall semester offered a chance to hone new technologies and methods over the summer months, the article investigates the ways glass pedagogy is being reconsidered and the multiple implications for the future.