Artifacts are the containers of culture.
Especially so when they are‚ designed‚ when the creative process is imbued
with the creators‚ consciousness: of the society, of their approach to the
medium, and their place in artistic history. Like any great artwork, the
closer you look at them, the more they reveal.
Very few collections of artifacts embody this cultural legacy so well as the
blown glass creations from the Italian island of Murano, where centuries‚
tradition and craft of glass-blowing comes together with the talent and
vision of the best designers in the world. That will be the focus of this
months session ‚ which will be a different one in many respects. Instead of
looking at images, we will be looking at the actual objects. And instead of
sitting around in a room, we will be doing a tour of the Murano exhibition
at the Uptown Mint!
This month’s session will begin with a private tour of the MURANO exhibition, led by museum educator, Mary Beth Ausman. MURANO is a traveling exhibition that focuses on 20th century glass blown on the island of Murano, just off the coast of Venice, Italy.
Known for hundreds of years for their well-kept secrets in the glassblowing field, the factories of Murano have become leaders of contemporary glass design in the past century. Not only does the exhibition trace the chronology of 20th century hot glass on the island. It also hints at the influence of various painting movements, as well as the impact of several design periods on the glassblowing process, including modernism and the Memphis group. Perhaps the most unique aspect of the exhibition, designed by internationally recognized designer Massimo Vignelli, is the role between the designer and the gaffer, or lead glassblower. As the century (and exhibition) progresses, you’ll see how international artists were welcomed into the formerly secretive hot shops to work alongside the Italian glass maestros, pushing the medium further than it had ever gone before, and signaling a new collaborative spirit among glass artists all over the world.
After the tour, there will be a group discussion in the museum’s mezzanine classroom.