From the mirror you peered into this morning to the receptacle you sipped juice from to the stoplight on the corner, people encounter glass constantly in their daily lives.
“Even down to the glass that you see on smartphones, all of this is actually industrial glass,” said Jennifer Klos, associate curator at the Oklahoma City Museum of Art. “We will continue to be surrounded by glass in our everyday lives — but also in art. It only seems natural that artists would choose the medium.”
For people who are interested in glass art, the Southwest — and Oklahoma City in particular — is the place to be to explore the past, present and future of the multifaceted medium.
“2012 is a big year in the glass community: It's the 50th anniversary of the studio glass movement,” said Alison Amick, the Oklahoma City Museum of Art's curator of collections. “We sort of acknowledged the past and the future this year ... and it does make it a very great year for glass at the museum.”
Celebrating its 10th anniversary in its downtown home in 2012, the museum kicked off the year with the reopening of its extensive collection of Dale Chihuly glass art, and the famed Seattle artist will visit the museum June 24 for an invitation-only lecture and a book signing for museum members.
Last month, the museum organized a bus tour of the new Chihuly exhibit at the Dallas Arboretum, and this week unveiled its special exhibition “Fusion (A New Century of Glass),” a selection of 47 works by 20 emerging and mid-career artists.
“Just thinking back about how the museum opened with a Chihuly glass exhibition and then wanting to do something to acknowledge glass for 10 years, we ended up taking a very different look than our Chihuly glass collection with ‘Fusion,'” Amick said. “It's sort of the lineage of the evolution of glass as a medium.”
Chihuly past, present
The museum opened its Donald W. Reynolds Visual Arts Center in 2002 with “Dale Chihuly: An Inaugural Exhibition,” and it was so popular, the institution launched a campaign to buy all 18 installations and returned them to view in 2004. It is considered one of the most comprehensive collections in the world of the popular artist's glass sculptures.
Since New Year's Eve, thousands have toured the redesigned “Illuminations: Rediscovering the Art of Dale Chihuly.”
In May, the Dallas Arboretum premiered its new Chihuly exhibit, with large-scale sculptures installed in 15 locations throughout its 66 acres of manicured gardens, towering trees and serene water features. Besides its daytime hours, the arboretum is open some evenings for “Chihuly Nights,” when the sculptures are specially lit.
“I think everyone was really awe-struck,” said Chandra Boyd, the Oklahoma City museum's education curator, who hosted its Dallas bus tour. “We went on our tour right at dusk, and it just really was very stunning to see all the sculptures lit. ... There were large crowds there that evening, but you still just felt this sense of peace and calm and beauty.”