Sunday, May 10, 2009

The Glass Pavilion

The Glass Pavilion at the Toledo Museum of Art in Toledo, Ohio, is a paean to the history of art-glass, and to the history of glass in general. It's the new home since 2006 of the Museum's extensive and renowned glass collection. The building itself is mostly glass, with rectangular rooms divided into unequal sizes, but also with all walls and corners made of curves rather corners. It's like a maze you can see through. One part of the building is a working glass lab, with kilns and fires for melting and blowing glass; when I was there, a master glassblower was giving a demonstration to a group of school students. I watched behind them through the glass wall for awhile.

In the entranceway is one of Dale Chihuly's chandeliers from the Venice exhibition: a white glass chandelier, white on the pavilion's one white-and-clear backgrounds.

Toledo was a location instrumental for its place in the inception of the modern art-glass movement. in the 1960s, summer workshops were held here that drew many of the Americans and Canadians who are famous names in the art-glass world now, including Chihuly.

In a side room is a massive growing collection of cases with examples of the history of glass, grouped chronologically and by region. My favorites were the old, early glass pieces: the stark beauty of ancient Egyptian, Greek and Persian glass pieces; and the most modern, avant-garde art-glass pieces from America and Europe. This collection is still being developed.

At the back of the room is a table with catalogs on it describing each piece. And on the wall behind the table, backlit, is Dominic Labino's glass mural Vitrana, consisting of 33 glass panels made using Labino's knowledge of chemistry to create many different color effects. Some of these panels alone are gorgeous; the combined effect is stunning.

The shapes are interesting in themselves, but the colors are also layered, translucent, rarely opaque, creating multiple screen effects within each panel. There is a sense of depth in this work that sets it apart.

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Anonymous glass printer said...

Well now let’s see…..a 24″x24″ piece of plywood and a pouch to carry it in ….a 13″ tire tube hung around my neck….a tire pump slung on my belt….a well padded pouch for a 24″x24″ piece of 1/8″ glass… an aluminum 2 quart pot painted black…and the fixin’s….wait for a sunny day and whoppy-de-doo let’s go hikin’ !!!!! Don’t forget you’re weed!!!

1:46 AM  
Blogger Art Durkee said...

Hey, back in the day, photographers had to gaul glass palates, wooden cases, and big tripods back into the wilderness on their backs, or on mules. Digital is much lighter.

You might want to consider that. . . ?

8:55 AM  

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