Contemporary Glass Art Exhibition Brings Fresh Global Perspectives to the Renwick Gallery

“New Glass Now” showcases artists challenging the status quo, offering new perspectives, and experimenting with what the medium of glass can do!

Ans Bakker, Zeeuws Licht no. 1 / The Light from Zeeland, 2017, glass blown in sand molds, 26 x 27 x 27 cm, The Corning Museum of Glass, Courtesy of the artist, 2019.3.10. Photo courtesy of The Corning Museum of Glass, Corning, New York, © Johan Kole

New Glass Now challenges the very notion of what the material of glass is and what it can do. Organized by The Corning Museum of Glass, this touring exhibition documents the innovation and dexterity of artists, designers, and architects from around the world working in the dazzling and exceptionally challenging material of glass. The exhibition highlights the breadth and depth of contemporary glassmaking—from technically masterful vessels to experiments in the chemistry of glass—by featuring objects, installations, videos, and performances made by fifty artists working in more than twenty-three countries.

Monica Bonvicini; Berengo Studio, Bonded. Photo courtesy The Corning Museum of Glass, Corning, New York, © Francesco Allegretto and Berengo Studio

New Glass Now introduces  makers from historically underrepresented communities within the glass world. Featuring women, artists of color, and members of LGBTQ+ communities, the artwork featured in this exhibition challenges the status quo and represents a modern era in glassmaking full of new voices, visions, and representation. These makers respond to the complexities of the contemporary world through timely political commentary and explorations of the intersection between technology and creative culture.  

The exhibition features both American artists and artists from around the world. It is an exciting new opportunity for the Renwick Gallery to not just showcase American makers but to open our doors and reach across borders to present a global survey of glass as a craft medium today. 

Some of the artists included in the exhibition are:  

James Akers (United States), whose unruly assemblages of neon lights and hacked circuit-bent toys elicit a sensory overload that is in tune with the current technology-driven times. 

James Akers, The Wild One (B), 2018, neon, circuit-bent toys, custom circuitry, 61 x 97 x 69 cm, The Corning Museum of Glass, 2019.4.162. Photo courtesy of The Corning Museum of Glass, Corning, New York, © James Akers

Tamás Ábel (Hungary), whose simple and direct performance piece Color Therapy, is a powerful statement of LGBTQ+ presence. Ábel uses a fabricated glass mirror to reflect the rainbow flag onto the Millennium Monument in his hometown of Budapest and the Washington Monument in Washington, DC. 

Tamás Ábel, Colour Therapy: Washington, D.C. + Budapest and 33" Rainbow, 2017, glass, mirror, adhesive, The Corning Museum of Glass, 2019.3.33. Photo courtesy of The Corning Museum of Glass, Corning, New York, © Terre Nguyen and Benedek Bognár.

Deborah Czeresko (United States), whose feminist take on traditional Venetian chandeliers features impeccably sculpted cuts of meat in place of the form’s typical flowered frills, a humorous and subversive critique of the male-dominated arena of the glassblowing shop. You may have seen Czeresko on the Netflix competition show Blown Away, where she won for her ideas and her impressive glassblowing skills. 

Deborah Czeresko, Meat Chandelier, 2018, blown glass, metal armature, 96.06"H x 59.84"W x 59.84"D, The Corning Museum of Glass, 2019.4.165. Photo by The Corning Museum of Glass, Corning, New York

Andrea de Ponte (Argentina), who, through her use of image transfer, specifically of historical maps on blown glass, creates a constrained globe that reminds people of how their expansionist relationship with geography and the planet often strains a finite reality. 

Andrea da Ponte, Globalized, 2015, blown glass, transferred image, 30 x 30 x 30 cm, The Corning Museum of Glass, Gift of Andrea da Ponte, 2020.5.1. Photo courtesy of The Corning Museum of Glass, Corning, New York, © Rosana Silvera.

Bohyun Yoon (United States), whose spinning mass of cast glass projects a human silhouette onto the gallery wall. As it turns, the projected face transforms from the artist’s profile to his wife’s, to his child’s, and back again. Surrounded by subtly shifting refracting rainbows, the piece evokes wonder at the materiality of glass, the immateriality of light, and the mystery of family connections. 

Bohyun Yoon, Family II, 2018, cast glass, motorized pedestal, spotlight (overall, with pedestal): 158 x 60 x 60 cm, The Corning Museum of Glass, 2020.4.3. Photo courtesy of The Corning Museum of Glass, Corning, New York, © Bohyun Yoon.

James Magagula (Kingdom of eSwatini), one of the head glassblowers at Ngwenya Glass in eSwatini (formerly Swaziland), uses craftsmanship and recycled glass to tell folkloric tales in his piece depicting a herd of cattle, a symbol of wealth in southern Africa.  

James Magagula, Ngwenya Glass, The Chief Herdsman and His Cattle, 2018, hot-sculpted glass, 30 x 60 x 70 cm, The Corning Museum of Glass, Gift of Ngwenya Glass, 2019.9.1. Photo courtesy of The Corning Museum of Glass, Corning, New York.

New Glass Now is on view from October 22, 2021 through March 6, 2022 at SAAM’s Renwick Gallery. See more artworks from the exhibition in our online gallery, and learn more about the free public programs we're presenting, including a virtual artist talk with Deborah Czeresko and a virtual studio visit and glassmaking demonstration with artist Megan Stelljes.