On September 14, Museum of Glass participated in #AskACurator for the second year. #AskACurator invites museums throughout the world to answer questions from the public on social media. This year, Into the Deep curator Katie Buckingham took over Museum of Glass’ Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to field questions from curious online fans.
Here are some of the questions she was asked and the answers she gave!
Q: What temp does glass melt along the color spectrum, Curator?
A: The melting point of a specific color of glass is specific to the brand of glass because it is specific to the exact chemical composition. Even clear glass melts at a variety of temperatures. The clear batch we use at MOG, called Spectrum 2.0, begins to soften at 1236*F and melts at 2200*F. Clear borosilicate glass (like Pyrex) glass melts at 3000*F because the chemical recipe includes the metal oxide boron trioxide. When glass artists purchase colors to use in their projects, each bar has a melting co-efficient (COE) that describes its specific melting temperature.
Q: How can you tell if an exhibition is curated well or not?
A: In my opinion, an exhibition should use the art/objects to tell a story.
Q: How do you choose which wall colors to put behind exhibitions? Especially with clear or transparent glass.
A: We have a fabulous Exhibition Designer who selects the wall color for our exhibits. She considers the mood of the show and also what makes the artwork look the best. Sometimes our artists have a specific color in mind, too. There are all sorts of tricks for clear glass – it depends on how much you want the piece to reflect the colors around it.
A: If there was one artist you could be a curator for, past or present, who would that be and why?
Q: Another hard question! Given that I’m surrounded by sea life lately, I would have loved to curate for Leopold or Rudolph Blaschka. They were a father-and-son team who created these amazing (and very scientifically accurate) glass models of sea life and plants. Our friends at Corning Museum of Glass have a great exhibit of their work. Check it out online: http://m.cmog.org/collection/exhibitions/blaschka.
Q: What is the proper way to approach a gallery with your glass art?
A: If you’re preparing a portfolio to present to a gallery, it’s helpful to include information about your work (an artist statement, biography and resume), as well as high-res images of your work with complete credit information.
Q: Is there a certain piece or pieces you think defines the collection at MOG?
A: It’s hard to choose just one! The first piece that comes in mind is Landscape by Beth Lipman and Ingalena Klennel. It’s monumental in scale (13 x 36 x 21 feet) and is made from over 400 pieces of glass. The artists collaborated on the piece during a series of residencies at MOG. It’s a beautiful piece, and a fantastic example of pushing the medium of glass to its limits by experimenting and collaborating.
Beth Lipman (American, born 1971) and Ingalena Klenell (Swedish, born 1949). Landscape (detail), 2008-2010. Kiln-formed glass; Collection of Museum of Glass, Tacoma, Washington, gift of the artists. Photo by Russell Johnson and Jeff Curtis.
Q: How do you choose the pieces for a show like Into the Deep? Are they all pieces you already have in your collection?
A: Great question! Into the Deep started with a “Big Idea” – kind of like a thesis statement in a written paper. Our Big Idea is: “Glass artists are inspired by the ocean. They use the unique properties of glass to capture the way light water with water, as well as the movements and textures of marine life.” We then for pieces that illustrated our Big Idea. Some of the artwork is part of MOG’s collection. Other pieces, like Treasure-trove, were made in our Hot Shop.
Kelly O’Dell (American, born 1973) and Raven Skyriver (American, born 1982); Treasure-trove, 2016; Blown and sculpted glass; 12 x 16 x 13 inches (30.5 x 40.6 x 33 cm); Courtesy of the artists; Photo by Kp Studios.
Q: What’s your personal mission as a curator?
A: I would love people to leave an exhibition excited about art and inspired to make something creative of their own.
Plan a visit to see Into the Deep at Museum of Glass, open September 24, 2016, through September 2017.