On view during “Art After Dark” evening events will be a rare opportunity to view the Glasstress exhibition coming directly from Venice Biennale 2015. This exhibition curated by the Boca Raton Museum’s Curator of Contemporary Art says “Glasstress challenges our notion of glass as a ‘beautiful’ material and encourages us to explore the bold, political, and sometimes less than pristine aspects of the medium”.
“We are undertaking a new curatorial initiative to examine areas traditionally considered ‘craft,’ but which present alternative mediums of increasing interest to contemporary artists,” Executive Director Irvin Lippman says. “Glasstress has excelled in encouraging innovation in both concept and technique, and we are proud to bring this work to the United States on this scale.”
Glasstress is an collaboration between Berengo Studio, Venice Projects and Fondazione Berengo,. The project’s founder, Adriano Berengo sought to challenge the notion that glass could be elevated beyond craft or the decorative arts. He invited artists who were the stature of the Venice Biennale from around the world who do not typically work in glass to create new works working alongside the historic furnace’s master glassmakers. Mr Berengo founded his studio in 1989. He got the idea of working with artists by following the example of Peggy Guggenheim who reportedly said, “Glass is too important a material to be left in the hands of glass masters. Peggy Guggenheim encouraged modernist artists like Kokoschka, Picasso, Braque, Chagall, and Max Ernest, to experiment with Venetian glass, that it should not be regulated to purely decorative.
And what was probably one of the first glass furnaces on a Venetian island – dating from the 8th century, so archaelogists think – was discovered in the 1960s. Through the centuries Murano emerged into concentrated glassmaking industry which was strictly regulated those who left the island were forbidden to every return. The popularity of Venetian glass in the 15th and 16th centuries was fuelled by its expertise in producing clear glass – cristallo – or the white glass mimicking porcelain – lattimo. The practice of enamelling glass, which had originally spread from the Middle East, was also highly popular at the time. Venetain mirrors, too, were in great demand.
Glasstress first debut to the Venice Biennale was in 2009, 2011 and 2015. In addition it has become a traveling event hosted by such major international museums as the Millesgården Museum in Stockholm, the Latvian National Museum of Art – Rīgas Birža, Latvia, and at New York’s Museum of Arts and Design (MAD).
Glasstress in Lebanon at the Beirut Exhibition Center; London College of Fashion and the Wallace Collection (London), and Hermitage Museum St. Petersburg.
The Boca Museum’s exhibition will present to present 46 works by 32 artists living or working in 23 counties in Glasstress Boca Raton, on view January 31 through July 2, 2017. Many of the works are experimental collaborations between the artists and the historic furnace’s glassmakers.
In addition, the Boca Raton Museum of Art has commissioned a new work by South Florida artist Carol Prusa that was created on Murano and is being premiered in Glasstress Boca Raton. Her glass sculpture is titled Spooky Action, and it exemplifies the goals of this innovative contemporary art project by using a centuries-old extraordinary and noble material in a modern illusionistic manner that only glass can deliver.