Sunday, October 31, 2010

Pilchuck Auction 2010

Photo Credit: ABJ Seattle Glass Online 2010

I went to preview the annual Pilchuck auction at the Westin a few weeks ago.  The lighting was really dim, and I took poorly framed pictures with my phone.  But I like the retro way Paul Marioni's clear piece turned out against the background of the pea soup sateen hotel curtains.

                                       Patti Payne October 2010:

"...I was emcee and could feel this certain can-do spirit in the room. It felt like a World Series atmosphere when honorary chairs Eve and Chap Alvord asked people to bid high, and cheers went up for them and co-chairs Linda Bonica and Dante Marioni. No peanuts or Cracker Jacks, but the sound of enthusiasm was there all night, as artists around the room cheered and rattled noisemakers to urge bidders on.
One sculpted, blown-glass piece entitled Tinder, by artist Shelley Muzylowski-Allen, was the subject of a bidding war between two very determined parties. Valued at $6,500, it went, amidst wild cheers, for $22,000 to Sue Hauberg. A white seaform Dale Chihuly set went for $35,000 to high bidders Pamela Merriman and Sonya Ross...Then skilled auctioneer Kip Toner, who has auctioned for almost four decades and has been at the helm of this Pilchuck auction forever, called 10-year-old, San Francisco glass artist Theoren Hanks to the stage. Hanks, holding a crimson bowl he created, was picked up by Toner and placed on an art pedestal in the middle of the stage, a symbol of Pilchuck’s future, while Toner brought in a record amount of more than $250,000 from the paddle-raise. The auctioneer, who says Pilchuck “feels like family” to him, said a heartfelt "thank you" after reading each of hundreds of numbers held high in the air, from levels of $100 all the way up to $50,000, a gift from Jack and Becky Benaroya. By evening’s end, more than $1.2 million had been raised."
Pilchuck Glass School auction shines" Puget Sound Business Journal.  October 19, 2010. Accessed October 31, 2010.

Ginny Ruffner

Seattle will soon have a new public sculpture by Ginny Ruffner outside of the Sheraton Hotel in downtown.  The Seattle Times profiles the artist's recent accomplishments.

                      Gayle Clemans October 2010:

"...Ruffner is clearly on a high right now. A big public sculpture for the corner of Seventh Avenue and Union Street in downtown Seattle is in the final stages of production. An award-winning documentary, "Ginny Ruffner: A Not So Still Life," is currently being screened at film festivals and arts venues. And a big exhibition of recent work has just opened at the Bellevue Arts Museum...Although friends and supporters say the attention she is receiving is well-deserved, Ruffner is not sure why the sudden flurry.

...The technical complexity of her work is obvious in the exhibition at BAM, where five new works of art have been added to the exhibition originally organized by the Museum of Northwest Art in La Conner. There's also a huge sculpture newly installed in BAM's lobby, a graceful aluminum double helix that extends from the ceiling of the grand lobby all the way down to the floor, where it meets a bed of glass flowers.
A self-described "closet geek" who reads science journals for pleasure, Ruffner has been inspired for the last four years by "the recent extraordinary bloom in genetic engineering, particularly plant and animal engineering. That's extremely evocative in terms of what other things could happen, with inter-kingdom, interspecies implications. Does that mean we could share genes with birds?"

The sculptures she has created in this series are hybrids of glass and metal, two and three-dimensions, animal and plant forms, visual and musical references. She considers them "thought experiments," but they are rooted in visual, formal techniques.

...While delighting in the events unfolding at BAM, Ruffner is also overseeing the final production of her public sculpture, "Urban Garden," to be unveiled in early 2011. The Sheraton hotel, sponsor of the project, wanted a water feature. Ruffner wanted to give downtown a garden. The result? A large steel flowerpot with giant flowers that will open and close after being watered by a giant watering can."

Clemans, G. "Ginny Ruffner's art blooms at Bellevue Arts Museum and on film."  The Seattle Times.  October 22, 2010. Accessed October 31, 2010.

The "Clear Benefits" of Glass Recycling

The Verallia plant in South Seattle makes 1 million wine bottles a day.  An $18 million renovation to mechanize the plant included changes to make it more energry efficient.  They installed new air compressors with grants from Seattle City Light.  Also, the company eCullet, which crushes and sorts glass from Seattle and Canada, moved in next door to the plant making it easier for the bottle maker to use recycled glass.

                       Jose Chavez October 2010:

"eCullet has hired 26 employees since the facility opened, said plant manager John Davenport. Those new jobs helped offset the job losses at Verallia, which since last year has let go 36 hourly workers, or 9 percent of its employees, as a result of its plant upgrades.  Currently, 48 percent of the bottles produced at the plant are made from cullet; the goal is 50 percent by the end of the year.  Glass recycling has clear benefits, said Joseph Grewe, CEO of Verallia North America.

"For every bottle that we recycle, the energy saved could light a 60-watt light bulb for four hours ... and for every 6 tons we use, we reduce CO2 emissions by a ton," Grewe said.

The project also improved energy efficiency by installing new air compressors with the help of grants from Seattle City Light. That's expected to save 2.4 million kilowatt hours per year."

Chavez, J. "Seattle maker of wine bottles modernizes, increases use of recycled glass."  Seattle Times Newspaper. October 27, 2010.  Accessed October 31, 2010.

Chrysler Museum of Art will open Studio in 2011

The Chrysler Museum of Art
Photo Credit: Flickr user Ohdearbarb
CC licensed

Virginia has been added to the glassblower's circuit which now includes the Toledo Art Musuem, the Corning Museum of Glass, and The Museum of Glass in Tacoma.  I think glass art is officially revived here, let's hope something very good comes of all the resources being allocated to it.

                            Chrysler Museum of Art Press Release:

"NORFOLK, Va. – (October 22, 2010) – The Chrysler Museum of Art announced today it will open the Chrysler Museum Glass Studio in 2011 to complement the world-class glass collection in the Museum. The addition of the Glass Studio enhances the Museum’s stature as one of the top three museums in the United States with an art glass focus.

Construction has started on creating the Chrysler Museum Glass Studio in the 7,000-square-foot building that sits across the street from the Museum on the corner of Duke and Grace Streets in Norfolk. The project budget is $7.5 million, which includes an endowment for operating expenses, two new full-time jobs and several part-time jobs.

The reality of the Chrysler Museum Glass Studio was sparked from the interest and support base demonstrated during Art of Glass 2. The region’s blockbuster glass exhibition in 2009 featured the Chrysler Museum, Virginia Arts Festival and the Contemporary Art Center of Virginia as major partners, with 21 regional affiliates throughout Hampton Roads.

“We had high hopes for Art of Glass and Art of Glass 2 to position Hampton Roads as the East Coast glass center,” says Andrew Fine, Art of Glass 2 chairman and Chrysler Museum trustee. “The Art of Glass exhibitions exceeded all expectations in terms of visitors who came to see the world-class spectacle. Now, the vision to transform Hampton Roads into a major glass center is becoming a reality with this studio that will complement the Chrysler’s brilliant glass collection.”

“The Glass Studio will allow our visitors to experience glassmaking and be involved in every step of the process,” says Bill Hennessey, the Museum’s director. “We anticipate this will draw people to the region to learn about glass, meet visiting glass artists and tour our collection. We expect this to be a significant educational component for the region—one that will allow us to further strengthen our partnerships with groups such as Tidewater Community College and the Governor’s School for the Arts. With more than a third of our 35,000-object collection devoted to glass, this is clearly a strong suit for the Chrysler. This Glass Studio will bring these works of art to life.”

“The Glass Studio will help our visitors gain a better understanding and appreciation for the wonderful objects in our collection,” says Kelly Conway, curator of glass. “We devote a lot of time explaining the technical processes used to make these artworks. The studio will provide far more capable and lively answers for these technique-based questions from our visitors, and tours will connect the live studio experience with the contextual history explained in the glass galleries.”

“We are using the nation’s foremost designer and fabricator of glass studio equipment,” says Scott Howe, education director and project manager for the studio. “The state-of-the-art facility will be able to accommodate both aspiring and master glass artists with furnaces, annealing ovens and a flameworking table. We will also have an artist-in-residency program that will attract some of the leading artists in contemporary glass. From an educational perspective, this will greatly enhance our programs to engage people with art. During Art of Glass 2, mobile hot-shops gave guests a small glimpse of what glassblowing entails. This Glass Studio will be on a level that is unmatched.”

Construction will continue through 2011, and it is anticipated the Chrysler Museum Glass Studio will open to the public next fall. Visitors will be able to enjoy free glassmaking demonstrations, and the Museum will offer a series of classes and workshops for students and adults. These will include a range of educational programs from beginners to master classes for accomplished professional artists."

Chrysler Museum of Art. Press Release. "Chrysler Museum to open $7.5-million glass studio." October 22, 2010.  Accessed October 31, 2010.

Louisville: Not a Boring Backwater

Glass Sculpture
Photo Credit: Flickr user Chad Orlikowski
Creative Commons license

In the Louisville Courier-Journal today, Elizabeth Kramer sums up the recent arts conference activity in the city.  Actively recruiting and advertising the Louisville as the place to hold your arts convention has paid off with many groups choosing the city, including the Glass Art Society conference this year.  Falling short of the $1 million formerly cited as the money GAS brought to Louisville, it is nonetheless significant, and Seattle should be so lucky in 2011.

                     Elizabeth Kramer, October 2010:

"This year, the Glass Art Society held its 40th annual conference in Louisville, after the city beat out Santa Fe, N.M. That came about through the efforts of local collector Merrily Orsini and University of Louisville art professor Ché Rhodes, who had served on the group's board of directors. That event brought $807,000 to the city.  Moreover, these three conventions involved galleries across the region. They participated by having exhibits, gallery talks and other events, and these brought new people through their doors.  Swanson-Reed Gallery co-owner Chuck Swanson recalled some of the first comments he heard from the NCECA conference attendees.

“They were telling me that they almost didn't come to the conference,” he said, “because they thought it would be a boring backwater city. And then they found out it was exactly the opposite: good places to eat, great galleries and fun bars. They were just amazed.”

Swanson says the gallery was packed every day with people who were knowledgeable and enthusiastic about art. And they loved Louisville." "

Kramer, E. "Stregnthen the arts and you get a richer, more vibrant city." Louisville Courier-Journal.  October 31, 2010.  accessed October 31, 2010.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Collateral Matters @ MOCC

Photo Credit: ABJ Seattle Glass Online 2010

                                ABJ Seattle Glass Online October 2010:

The Museum of Contemporary Craft is holding the show by Ai Weiwei called "Dropping the Urn."  In it he uses very old Chinese ceramic vessels in different ways: One he pulverizes, another he paints with the Coca Cola logo, another series of photos shows him dropping one and it shattering on the floor.  There are also tromp l'oeil watermelons and sunflower seeds among other ceremic and found objects.

Adjacent to Ai Weiwei and disturbing the quiet of the museum with it's clacking type writer is Collateral Matters, an exhibit of records, photos, and other paper items relating to the crafts movement in Portland, by graphic designer and educator Kate Bingaman-Burt and designer Clifton Burt.
Orange clipboards hung on the wall, one per artist, hold stacks of informal documents, some are typed, some are handwritten.  I think the Burts may have had a lot of fun going through the MOCC archives and picking out what to show the public.  Clifton Burt confirms the adventure on the blog BangBack, "But most exiting has been witnessing how organizations’ logos and visual identities evolved through the decades; notable in these archives were MoMA, Cranbrook, local Portland businesses, and of course the Museum of Contemporary Craft’s own identity shifts —including its name." But due to the show's extreme (orange) organization, the fun of the dig was lost on me.  The show is best enjoyed with some foreknowledge of the Portland craft scene and a peerless curiosity about the minutiae of that world. 

Photo Credit: ABJ Seattle Glass Online 2010

For some reason fame and fortune transform simple set lists and shopping receipts into covetable objects soaked in the artist's life (see Ebay).  Without fame and fortune driving the show here, the papers remind me of what I have lying around my own house with the eccentric hope that I may really need the information one day...

I am the last person who should complain about the esoteric nature of a paper collection.  I have several "vaults" of information (including ABJ Seattle Glass Online), okay, slight hoards they are, surrounding themes of glass art and found in the street humor.  Collateral Matters proved to me that dusty newspaper clippings and flyers for art shows can have a greater meaning and can be enjoyed by a wide range of people, but not on their own.  For example, next door at Dropping the Urn the ancient Chinese pottery was updated.  In one case by being "forged" and counterfeited.  In another by being re-colored.  Or smashed to bits.   (It's the same reason Margaret Killagen's work appeals to me.  If I can't experience the neighborhoods she painted first hand then second best is not to look at their register recipts and cashbooks but to see her murals.)  What is documented is not just presented, but altered and updated.  Understandably that couldn't be done to the MOCC archives, but I would have been impressed if it had.

Collateral Matters and Dropping the Urn
Museum of Contemporary Craft
Portland, Oregon

August 26, 2010 – January 08, 2011

Tuesday through Saturday 11 am to 6 pm

724 NW Davis St
Portland, OR 97209
(503) 223-2654

Burt, C. "Collateral Matters."Aug. 24, 2010. BangBack. Accessed October 29, 2010.

Monday, October 18, 2010

David Meinart on Chihuly/KEXP

At the blog Publicola, David Meinart has written "A Two-State Solution to the Seattle Center Debate" in which he makes the point that the two can exist side by side in the former Fun Forest: one is paying rental fees, drawing in tourists, and providing a $2 million playground; the other satisfies Seattleites who want something more public and less "upper-middle class tchotchkes" as one commenter writes.  (KEXP is a local radio station supported by public donations.)

Dave Meinart October 2010:

"What C21 didn’t consider, but is also true is that the Chihuly exhibit will bring the most income to the City (about $1 million per year between rent, direct admissions and B&O taxes and even more if secondary business activity is taken into consideration), drive the most people to the Center, and most benefit the neighboring small businesses.
But the most interesting part of the C21 report that seems to have been missed by most of the reporting on the proposals, is that even with its criticism of KEXP’s bid, the C21 committee still recommended Seattle Center find an alternative location for KEXP on campus."

Meinart, D. "A Two-State Solution to the Seattle Center Debate."  Publicola.  October 12, 2010.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Chihuly in MOHAI?

Heard on NPR today:                                                          
Knute Berger getting the last word in a conversation on the Seattle Center/Fun Forest proposals that are occuring now (this is totally paraphrased):

Moderator:  "There's a new wrinkle in the process, Mayor Mike McGinn is going to be briefed on the decision before the press and public will find out what the City Council's concludes.  I know he favors the KEXP/Chihuly combination proposal.  Maybe he wants to throw MOHAI in there as well." 

Knute Berger: "They can stuff Chihuly and put him in MOHAI."

KUOW 94.9, Seattle.  September 18, 2010.
Pilchuck on Display : An Exhibition of International Glass Art               
Thursday, October 14 2010 6:00 PM - Thursday, October 14 2010 8:00 PM
The Westin Seattle                                                        

From the Pilchuck Website:  "Pilchuck Glass School will host a one-night public exhibition featuring original works in glass by more than 250 international artists. Pilchuck on Display: An Exhibition of International Glass will be held at The Westin Seattle as part of the school’s Annual Auction celebration.

Free and open to the public, this event offers visitors an unparalleled opportunity to view an array of glass art while mingling with artists and patrons. "Pilchuck on Display allows visitors to take a virtual trip to our campus," observes Ruth King, the school’s artistic director. "And it offers them a chance to see finished works by artists from around the world who have studied and taught at the school."

"With masterpieces by studio glass movement pioneers and exciting works by emerging artists, the extraordinary variety arrayed in one place allows viewers to appreciate the range of creativity in glass," says Director of Development Whitney Hazzard. "And Pilchuck is honored to share them with Seattle-area residents and visitors."

Pilchuck on Display will be the only public viewing of these works before they enter private collections. All of these artworks, along with more than 100 table centerpieces will be auctioned off during Pilchuck’s Annual Auction Gala the following evening, Friday, October 15, 2010.
Pilchuck on Display is free, and no reservations are required."

Bako, P. Accessed September 19, 2010.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Puff & Gasp

the ol' pust-n-sug                                       

I found this great packaging in Bremerton yesterday!  Holmegaard apparently produced different versions of this bottle, an early one is inscribed: "I am a bottle - my name is Cluck.  My motto is this - quench the thirst.  Not for too long - I caution you, or you may be driven to wanton acts." ( credit: ABJ Seattle Glass Online

Sunday, September 12, 2010

M-Space: A Fire in the Belly of an Old Brewery

M-Space: A Fire in the Belly of an Old Brewery            

by M.J. Franich             

Art needs a place, a space to grow and become more than the simple sum of parts and material. The light on the brick walls, the dust on the floor and the unmistakable roar of the furnace, the sliver, interior sheet metal that would be as comfortable on a barn, this space, this warm and welcoming workshop creates a mood that becomes an essential part of what is born from a glowing glob of glass.

Both outside and in, bricks form the walls of a hundred year old building, bricks from Clay City, in the valley where the hops once grew. Rough hands mixed the mortar keeping pace with the mason’s trowel, settling each one in place, checking with a line for level as they went up impossibly high. Other hands mixed the hops with barley malt. When beer became illegal, liquid soap flowed into molds, the way glass might today, all in the presence of an ancient, tomb-like quiet. There is no gallery at M-Space, only stairs to a storage area, a perch for pictures. The forms evolve, shaped on a bench, exposed to flames and paddles, all in the presence of historical efforts from a former time, work that made a space for art.An artist can imagine being alone. The truth of the matter is more complex, this sense of being dependent and together at the same time with so many others, in present and recent times, time that when examined closely would begin with native settlements and forests. From the past to the present hands transformed the land, moved rivers and produced unknown numbers of board feet lumber. The sticky, slippery clay became the walls of brick, warm on a winter day as if still cooling from the fire, the beams of the roof overhead all clear fir. Much later came the fabrication, the pipes of natural gas, the crucible. The place where art is born reaches back through time, searching for some meaning in all the labor that produced a protected, fragile space in time for art. Everything connects to something else, like long chains of holding hands, there are no accidents in the present. The vibrations along the chain ripple in the hands that form the glass. In a way, this makes everyone an artist and connects art to life, in the same way life is a little less, without the art, the way the valley forest is a little less in a sea of tilt up buildings, cranes along the waterfront where a village once lived. Art remembers and tells the story in a way no cement building ever will.

Big Leaf Maples rise and fall in fifty year cycles, rotting out from the core. It is the same with a glass furnace, born to die from the first day, fighting off corrosion like a pickup truck on an ocean beach. Someone needs to watch over the fire brick, feed the spruce pine, the soda lime, melting individual crystals that combine in a pool of glowing glass, orange hot, waiting for the doors to open, the dance on the floor of the shop to begin. Careful measurements produce a bench, a table and the tools required to work the glass. The same equipment might be used on a cruise ship off the Florida Coast, constructed in the same way, identical material, put to a similar use, and yet, even there, something of the past reaches across the water, moving in a watery, wave like way through the space. The world of elemental parts is connected by the art these materials produce. Being alone is the illusion, the reality is so much different and complex.

So many hands work the glass, in so many different ways. How to measure art, define and contain what slowly cools in the dark becomes another preoccupation. How is a delicate cup so different from the level lines of brick along the wall? How often do both become invisible in the hours of a day, that imagined time alone in the world. Seeing requires a process of stepping beyond, between, approaching objects as a landscape. A space for art should be open, welcoming like a friend with high expectations and encouraging words. There is at all times the balance of a budget to keep in mind, an awareness so like the foundations that hold the walls in place, a piece and a part of a larger whole. But an even larger sense is the work itself, extended over time and generations. The work continues and connects to the world outside the walls and because of this, the world is a different place, as are those who live in the world.

2514 S. Holgate
Tacoma, WA 98402

Contact: Joe Miller

Friday, June 18, 2010

"Corporate Legacy - A Continuing Cultural Gift" @ The Wright Space

June 2010 Regina Hackett:

[excerpt from review] "Aside from the coma-inducing title, the exhibit is a fine time capsule for a certain kind of NW art: strong in painting, ceramics and glass, barely there in photography and nonexistent in video, installation and anything that rests uneasily in a specific medium. The collection tends toward the conservative [...]  Once abundant, corporate collections are now a rarity. Safeco's rewarded artists, art at its source. In the 1980s, it was easy to take it for granted. Now, it appears to represent a better time."

Hackett, R. "Time capsule of Seattle art." Another Bounding Ball, artsjournal blog.  Accessed June 18, 2010.

"A Continuing Cultural Legacy."
Selections from the Safeco Collection Contribution to the Washington Art Consortium
Friday, April 23, 2010 - Friday, June 25, 2010

The Wright Exhibition Space
407 Dexter Ave. N.
Seattle, WA 98109
Phone: 206-264-8200
Hours: 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Thursday and Friday

Lynda Benglis @ MOG June 23-27

From the Tacoma Museum of Glass website:

"Lynda Benglis is a pioneer of the Post-Minimalist movement of the 1960s and is perhaps best known for her poured sculptures, including her translation of Jackson Pollock’s drip technique into sculptural forms. Over her notable career, she has worked with myriad materials—from plastic, wax and polyurethane to ceramics, bronze and video—creating works that portray her interest in themes of body and gender. A 40-year retrospective exhibition organized by the Irish Museum of Modern Art is currently traveling and will open at the Rhode Island School of Design this fall. During her residency, Benglis will utilize African masks as canvases for applications of glass using with her own unique aesthetic sensibility."

Conversation with the Artist: June 27, 2 pm

Thomas S. Buechner, NYT obituary

June 2010, William Grimes:
[excerpted] "Doubtful about his ability to make a career as an artist, Mr. Buechner accepted a job as assistant manager of the display department at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. When the Corning Glass Works created the Corning Museum of Glass in south central New York State, he was named its first director and served in the position from 1951 to 1960.

Mr. Buechner established the museum as a scholarly institution whose exhibitions on ancient and contemporary glass traveled to museums around the country. He founded two professional journals, The Journal of Glass Studies and New Glass Review.

After resigning from the Brooklyn Museum in 1971, he returned to Corning Glass, where he became president of its Steuben Glass division in 1973, a position he held until 1982. He also served again as director of the Corning Museum of Glass from 1973 to 1980.
After retiring from Corning in 1987, he returned to painting full time, executing portraits, landscapes and still lifes. His portrait of Alice Tully, a granddaughter of the founder of Corning Glass, hangs in Alice Tully Hall in Lincoln Center."

Grimes, W. "Thomas S. Buechner, Former Director of Brooklyn Museum, Dies at 83."  New York Times. June 17, 2010.  Accessed June 18, 2010.

The Seattle Times supports Chihuly for the Seattle Center

gm_18025 Seattle Center Rides, Washington 1991
Originally uploaded by CanadaGood

Creative Commons license, FLICKR
June 2010, The Seattle Times:

[excerpted] "...Money should not be the only consideration, but it remains a key factor.  Of all the proposals, the one most likely to contribute additional revenue to the center's budget and allow the center to be more helpful to struggling nonprofits is the Chihuly proposal.

The Wright family, which built and owns the Space Needle, made some earlier mistakes on its proposal, mostly by working behind the scenes too quietly.  This is a public space, after all, and that requires public process.

But in the end, the Chihuly plan appears most promising."

Editorials.  "Chihuly's the ticket for Fun Forest site." June 18, 2010.  A24, News.