Capturing the zeitgeist of contemporary glass practice, the New Glass Now exhibition at the Corning Museum of Glass brings together work from 100 emerging and established talents across 32 nationalities. Exhibited pieces, ranging from large scale installations to delicate miniatures, were democratically selected based on an open call submissions process by a curatorial committee comprised of leading culture-makers and experts Aric Chen (Design Miami Curatorial Director), Susanne Jøker Johnsen (artist and head of exhibitions at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, Schools of Architecture, Design and Conservation, Denmark), and Beth Lipman (American artist). Susie J. Silbert (Corning Museum of Glass Curator of Modern and Contemporary Glass) headed up the jury and exhibition curation.
Addressing relevant themes such as gender inequity and environmental degradation, the highly-curated exhibition reveals what glass can achieve through various expressive and conceptual interpretations, as well as new translations of age-old techniques like flameworking, glassblowing, and casting. Exhibition sections :in situ, :(infra)structures, :body politics, :embodied knowledge, :011001111 01101100 01110011, and :phenomena incorporate works that transcend disciplinary conventions.
On view are sculptures, functional objects, photographs, videos, technological speculations, scientific experiments, architectural maquettes, and full-scale mockups. Through various strategic stagings, Silbert sought to establish sharp dialogues between different, seemingly unrelated, works. Fredrik Nielsen’s “macho” I was here installation sits in the direct vicinity of Deborah Czeresko’s emphatically feminist Meat Chandelier sculpture, a piece very similar to the final work she created during the Corning Museum of Glass-supported Netflix competition series Blown Away.
Pieces such as Liquid Sunshine / I am a Pluviophile by Japanese artist Rui Sasaki reveals how glass can be implemented in expressing conceptual meaning, while Smokey Comet Installation I by Toots Zynsky challenges the perception of what the medium can physically achieve. The Bahá’í Temple of South America project by Jeff Goodman, and Crystal Houses (Chanel Flagship Store) by MVRDV showcase glass’s potential in an architectural application. Reservoir by C. Matthew Szösz and Promise by Nadège Desgenétez demonstrate how far the material properties of glass can be pushed.
Other notable artists, designers, and outright creatives represented in this comprehensive survey include Miya Ando, Atelier NL, Ans Bakker, the Bouroullec Brothers, Monica Bonvicini, Mathew Day Perez, Martino Gamper, Katherine Gray, Jochen Holz, Helen Le, Erwin Wurm, Dustin Yellin, Dafna Kaffeman, Bohyun Yoon, and Mark Zirpel.
The main show is joined by New Glass Now | Context, an annex exhibit that explores the changing nature of glass-specific curation through the history of two past iterations of the New Glass exhibition series, in 1959 and 1979. Historic documentation, period-specific works, and related ephemera are displayed in the Corning Museum of Glass’s Rakow Research Library and collectively reveal some clear differences in terms of method and focus but also socio-political and cultural influences.