2012 marks the 50th anniversary of the American studio glass movement. To celebrate this occasion, over 165 museums, universities and arts organizations throughout the U.S. are presenting exhibitions or programs relating to contemporary glass. The movement began at the Toledo Museum of Art:
In 1962, the Studio Glass Movement was born in a garage on the Museum grounds. Harvey Littleton, a pottery instructor, received the support of then-director Otto Wittmann to conduct a workshop to explore ways artists might create works from molten glass in their own studios, rather than in factories. A prototype “studio” furnace was built in the TMA garage, but for the first three days of the workshop all attempts to fuse molten glass failed. Finally, Dominick Labino, then vice president and director of research at Johns Manville Fiber Glass, showed up with advice on furnace construction, and with glass marbles that melted. Harvey Leafgreen, a retired glassblower from Libbey Glass, was then able to demonstrate his craft. Later that summer, many participants returned for a second workshop.
As an appraiser specializing in art glass, I am always looking for opportunities to view art glass and gain education. Last Fall I attended the Sculpture Objects and Functional Art (SOFA) Show in Chicago. I enjoyed the opportunity to view contemporary art glass and meet many artists, including Lino Tagliapietra.
The Art Alliance for Contemporary Glass (of which I am a member) has a calendar of events and celebrations for 2012 at http://contempglass.org/2012-celebration/events. While you’re at the website, check out “A Visual History of Glass” and “Featured Glass Art Videos”.
The Glass Art Society is having their annual conference from June 13-16, 2012 in Toledo, Ohio, the birthplace of studio glass.
The Corning Museum of Glass is having their annual seminar on glass October 18-20 titled “Celebrating 50 Years of American Studio Glass” in conjunction with exhibits featuring Harvey Littleton and Dominick Labino, founders of the studio glass movement.
If you have a chance, I encourage you to attend some of the programs and special exhibits celebrating the studio glass movement this year. It is a rare opportunity to view such a large amount and wide variety of contemporary art glass.
Images used with permission, courtesy of the Art Alliance for Contemporary Glass.