William Warmus Visits Washington Glass School


William Warmus is introduced to the audience in the Renwick’s Grand Salon
The Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian American Art Museum held a lecture Grand Salon as part of its celebration of 50th anniversary of the Studio Glass Movement. 

L-R Toots Zynsky, William Warmus, Matthew Szösz
Author, independent curator and glass expert William Warmus moderated a conversation about the past, present, and future of studio glass between veteran glass artist Toots Zynsky and artist Matthew Szösz.  Matt’s work is part of the“40 under 40:Craft Futures” exhibit currently on view at the Renwick Gallery.
Matt Szösz at the opening of 40 Under 40. Photo by Smithsonian American Art Museum

William is the author of a dozen books including biographies of Tiffany, Lalique, and Chihuly. He was also a curator at the Corning Museum of Glass and was the editor of Glass magazine, faculty member and visiting artist at the Pilchuck Glass School, and executive secretary of the Glass Art Society. William is a member of the Collections Committee of the Museum of Glass (Tacoma) and a board member of the Art Alliance for Contemporary Glass. The New York Times has described him as a “Stylemaker”. The WGS blog has quoted often from William’s writings on the subject of Studio Art Glass, including his seminal essay on the end of the glass movement “The End?“.

After the lecture at the Smithsonian, William visited the Washington Glass School and chatted with the artists in the studio.

William Warmus takes photos of Erwin Timmers’ artwork.

William said this about the Washington Glass School: “It’s better than I thought it’d be…it’s not as bad as it could’ve been”. High praise indeed.
It was great to be able to meet and chat and have William share his unique perspective on the art scene with us, and he has promised to return!

Craft Will Save The World: Renwick Gallery’s 40 Under 40


Stephanie Liner, Momentos of a Doomed Construct (installation detail), 2012, plywood, foam, Dacron, cotton, adhesive, live model

The Smithsonian Renwick Gallery’s Craft Futures: 40 Under 40 exhibit has just opened this week (on exhibit now thru February 3, 2013), and it is a must-see show! Nicholas Bell, the Curator of American Craft organized the exhibition which features forty artists born since 1972 – the year the Smithsonian established the Renwick Gallery. Evolving notions of craft within traditional media such as ceramics and glass, as well as in fields such as industrial design, installation art, fashion design, and mathematics are explored.

General view of gallery space - Artwork in foreground: Marc Maiorana, Renwick Gate, 2011, iron

Artwork in the exhibition was created since Sept. 11, 2001 and this new work reflects the changed world that exists today, one which poses new challenges and considerations for artists. Nicholas Bell talked about the work and the selection process at a noon lecture on Friday, July 20, outlining some concepts that included  underlying themes that could be seen within the works – including postmodernism, environmental and economic issues, and how the explosion in craft is based on a desire by artisans to try and fix the world via the process of creation. There was also mention of a topic at Nicolas’ talk that I want to investigate more: the ‘sloppy craft movement’ (!) – but that is for a later blog posting.

Some of the standout works seen at the opening nite include:

Stephanie Liner, Momentos of a Doomed Construct (installation detail), 2012, plywood, foam, Dacron, cotton, adhesive, live model.

Stephanie combines clothing and furniture forms into Fabergé egg-like armatures that are as fascinating as they are unnerving. It’s a rare opportunity to see them as they’re intended, with living, breathing (beautiful) woman inside of the bubble, gazing back at you.

Andy Paiko, Spinning Wheel, 2007, blown glass, cocobolo, steel, brass, leather

Great to see Matt Szösz and his inflated fused glass. Matt was recently awarded the Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation Grant. 

Korean born Bohyun Yoondescribes his work titled “Glass Tube”.

Opening nights are about networking. Above left image in center: Chris Rifkin, Fuller Craft Museum’s board chairman and Right rear image: Perry Price, Director of Education at American Craft Council.

Cristina Córdova, Dulce, 2011, ceramic, paper

Mia Pearlman’s paper works dominate one of the gallery spaces with massive installations and a video.

Olek, Knitting is for Pussies,2005-2011, mixed media, 100% acrylic yarn, live models

Detail from Olek’s ‘Knitting is For Pussies’ installation and of ‘yarn-bombed’ tricycle parked in front of Renwick Museum on Opening Nite.
The opening night gala was a spectacular event – very much with a retro art-happening vibe.

The fun, audacity, interesting & provoking attitudes of the show make it a winner and it should be added to one’s list of gallery/museum to-do lists for Washington, DC this year. Click HERE to jump to the Smithsonian Renwick Gallery website.

Craft Futures 40 Under 40 at Smithsonian Renwick


40 under 40:Craft Futures features forty artists born since 1972, the year the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s contemporary craft and decorative arts program was established at its branch museum, the Renwick Gallery. 

Opening July 20, 2012, the exhibition investigates evolving notions of craft within traditional media such as ceramics and metalwork, as well as in fields as varied as sculpture, industrial design, installation art, fashion design, sustainable manufacturing, and mathematics. The range of disciplines represented illustrates new avenues for the handmade in contemporary culture.

Matthew Szösz, b. 1974

All of the artworks selected for display in the exhibition were created since Sept. 11, 2001. This new work reflects the changed world that exists today, which poses new challenges and considerations for artists. These 40 artists are united by philosophies for living differently in modern society with an emphasis on sustainability, a return to valuing the hand-made and what it means to live in a state of persistent conflict and unease.

Nicholas R. Bell, The Fleur and Charles Bresler Curator of American Craft and Decorative Art at the Renwick Gallery, organized the exhibition. The museum hopes to acquire works by every artist featured in the exhibition to commemorate the fortieth anniversary of the Renwick Gallery. 

Matthew Szosz Untitled (Inflatable no.46p)
Matthew demo’d his technique at the Washington Glass School – click HERE to jump to description and video.

Click HERE to jump to the list of the youngsters in the show.

40 under 40: Craft Futures July 20, 2012 – February 3, 2013
1st floor, Renwick Gallery (Pennsylvania Avenue at 17th Street N.W.) Washington, DC

Matt Szosz Demonstration on how to inflate fused glass

>Glass artist Matt Szosz gave a series of lectures and demonstrations here at the Washington Glass School as part of Craft Week DC. Novie Trump filmed one of his explosive demos, where he would take sheets of fused float glass and inject compressed air inside, causing it to erupt in fanstastic shapes and patterns. We will post more of the vids and photos as we get them!

Spring Craft Weekend is in the air!


National Building Museum

The melting mountains of snow are revealing jolly jonquils; the birds are returning and the days are getting longer – it can mean only one thing: Spring Craft Weekend is soon!

This April, there are many events planned that even the most jaded art lover, craft fancier, and media-specific aficionado can participate in.

The 28th Smithsonian Craft Show (Thursday April 22- Sunday April 25, 2010 www.smithsoniancraftshow.org ) is one of the country’s most prestigious juried exhibition and sale of fine American craft. The show features 120 top craft artists, each one reflecting the story of contemporary American craft in one of 12 categories: basketry, ceramics, decorative fiber, furniture, glass, jewelry, leather, metal, mixed media, paper, wearable art and wood, and takes place in the historic National Building Museum in Washington, DC. There are also many lectures, demonstrations and tours sponsored by the Craft Show.

Want more? the The James Renwick Alliance has many activities and events planned, including dinners catered by major chefs, live and silent craft auctions, visits to galleries, a craft symposium, visits to private craft collections and artist studios. A special free event is the annual Saturday morning symposium sponsored by the Smithsonian American Art Museum and the James Renwick Alliance. Special guests will be Mark Sfirri, Randy Johnston and Yoshiko Wada, who will receive the JRA’s Distinguished Educator award, and the topic is How Craft Makes its Way into the World. Stay tuned for news on events and participating artists. All events are open to the public with ticket and offer fun, excitement and interest for those new to studio crafts as well as experienced collectors.

Want even more? Well, Washington, DC Mayor Adrian Fenty has proclaimed the week to be “Craft Week DC” and there will be tours, special exhibitions and events at the Washington Glass School and the surrounding craft studios that weekend. Some celebrity guests will give awesome demos – like Matthew Szosz inflating float glass!

Save the dates! – More info to be posted soon!