#BeTheCurator

By Katie Phelps, Curatorial Assistant and Visiting Artist Coordinator

This January at MOG, we’re inviting all of our visitors to #BeTheCurator for our newest crowd-curated exhibition, which opened January 16.

Museum curators have a long tradition of being keepers of the past. Historically, they have been regarded as specialists responsible for the research and care of collections of objects. In the age of social media, the concept of curating has become an everyday occurrence. The Web is full of “curated” content that is selected, edited, and presented to represent specific concepts and ideas. Our interaction with Facebook, Pinterest, and countless other websites has made us all curators.

Last year, we invited visitors to use their social media curation skills to create an exhibition. Visitors viewed a selection of artwork from MOG’s collections, both in the Museum and on Facebook, and voted on which objects to display in #BeTheCurator. Our visitors left thoughtful comments and insights about their selections, and I wanted to share some of their thoughts on a few pieces from the exhibition.

David Huchthausen (American, born 1951) Triad, 2008 Constructed glass sculpture Collection of Museum of Glass, gift of Linda and Arthur Schwartz
David Huchthausen (American, born 1951)
Triad, 2008
Constructed glass sculpture
Collection of Museum of Glass, gift of Linda and Arthur Schwartz

“From whatever angle you look at it, you see a different color. From my perspective, at 11 o’clock, it looks like the colors make a Ying/Yang sign.” – Shayla (age 13, New York)

 

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April Surgent (American, born 1982) But You Won’t Look Back, 2006 Fused and cameo-engraved glass Collection of Museum of Glass, purchase courtesy of Lisa and Dudley Anderson

“After reading about the artist, I like her depiction of how modern times has forgotten the past, and how she uses art to recreate the old into the new. Very inspiring!” – Marcus (age 24, New Jersey)

 

Lino Tagliapietra (Italian, born 1934) Manhattan Sunset, 1997 Blown glass with cane pick-ups, battuto and inciso cut; steel and glass Collection of Museum of Glass Photo by Duncan Price
Lino Tagliapietra (Italian, born 1934)
Manhattan Sunset, 1997
Blown glass with cane pick-ups, battuto and inciso cut; steel and glass
Collection of Museum of Glass
Photo by Duncan Price

“The delicacy of this old world process used in this most modern of installations/multiple pieces is unparalleled. The bonus is the title’s suggestion of an abstract skyline and plethora of colors a sunset can evoke.” – Marv Goldber (age 70, Tuscon)

 

Erich Woll (American, born 1970) Mistakes Will be Made (blue-footed Boobies), 2014 Hot-sculpted glass Collection of Museum of Glass, gift of the artist
Erich Woll (American, born 1970)
Mistakes Will be Made (blue-footed Boobies), 2014
Hot-sculpted glass
Collection of Museum of Glass, gift of the artist

“Art that brings us back to nature and shows the interdependence we have with the world around us is beautiful (and quite symbolic, being made of glass).” – Bethany (age 31, New Jersey)

 

Michael Sherrill (American, born 1955) Brightly Hidden, 2010 Hot-sculpted and flameworked glass, forged bronze and laminated colored porcelain Collection of Museum of Glass, gift of the artist
Michael Sherrill (American, born 1955)
Brightly Hidden, 2010
Hot-sculpted and flameworked glass, forged bronze and laminated colored porcelain
Collection of Museum of Glass, gift of the artist

“It’s beautiful! It’s a great nature piece. Glass is science, art, nature…and the natural subject of a flower and a snake fits the medium well.” – Chelsea (age 32, Olympia)

 

In the age of the Internet, we each have the power to construct and curate information on a whole new level. By broadening our definition of “curator,” the Museum of Glass staff is excited to share the power to construct narrative, highlight artwork, and shape artistic development with our visitors!

These objects, along with our other most “Liked” pieces, will be on display in #BeTheCurator now through October 23, 2016. We invite you to visit MOG and continue to be part of the Museum’s curatorial process. Each visitor gets to add their “Likes” to the pieces included in the exhibition! The artist who receives the most votes will be invited for a five-day Visiting Artist residency at Museum of Glass in 2017.

Katie Phelps is the Curatorial Assistant/Visiting Artist Coordinator at Museum of Glass. She is an alumnus of Whitman College (BA) and University of Washington (MA). In her life outside of the Museum she is outside as much as possible, wearing skis as often as she does hiking boots.   

Hello, 2016!

By Alex Carr, Communications Manager

2015 was an exciting year for Museum of Glass. The Museum premiered the never-before-seen Chihuly Drawings exhibition, hosted the US Open’s Bob Jones Award reception, collaborated with the Shanghai Museum of Glass to create new Kids Design Glass pieces, hosted its first Party on the Piazza community festival, and much more!

With the arrival of 2016, there are already a few upcoming events that I’m excited for visitors to experience.

#BeTheCurator

MOG will open the new, crowd-curated exhibition, #BeTheCurator, on January 16.

Erich Woll (American, born 1972); Mistakes Will Be Made (blue-footed boobies), 2014; Hot-sculpted glass; Collection of Museum of Glass, Tacoma, Washington, gift of the artist; Photo courtesy of the artist.
Erich Woll (American, born 1972); Mistakes Will Be Made (blue-footed boobies), 2014; Hot-sculpted glass; Collection of Museum of Glass, Tacoma, Washington, gift of the artist; Photo courtesy of the artist.

Last year, Museum of Glass invited visitors to vote for artwork displayed in Treasures from Glass Collectors that they would like to see return to MOG’s galleries in a larger exhibition of pieces from the Museum’s private collection, curated by the public.

Visitors were able to vote for three pieces at the Museum, and those who couldn’t visit were encouraged to vote through Facebook with a “like” for their favorite pieces. The social media component had votes from as far away as Brazil, Armenia, the Philippines, Taiwan, and Kazakhstan, and spawned the hashtag-inspired exhibition title, #BeTheCurator.

#BeTheCurator will feature the most “Liked” pieces in MOG’s collections, along with visitors’ comments and reactions.

I’m excited for the public to see this exhibition because it will continue to include and encourage audience engagement through a variety of components, such as voting boxes where visitors can have their say in which artist featured in the exhibition will receive a Visiting Artist Residency!

For the Love of Lino

Photo by Russell Johnson.
Photo by Russell Johnson.

The Maestro returns! Visitors can enjoy two weeks of Visiting Artist Lino Tagliapietra working in the Museum’s Hot Shop from February 10 through 21. Make sure to save these dates!

More details about Tagliapietra’s residency will be available on the Museum’s event calendar soon.

The Fifth Annual Slider Cook-Off

I look forward to this event every year because it provides guests with a fun, delicious way to experience glass art!

Once again, local restaurants will bring their best burgers to battle for the title of People’s Choice and Judge’s Choice while artist John Miller entertains guests with fiery action in the Hot Shop.

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Every year, Miller makes a giant glass slider during the event, and every year the slider he makes is different in style (last year, the burger had wings!). So, don’t miss your chance to see what he makes next, sample local food and beer, and dance to swingin’ 1950s hits!

Stay tuned for information about tickets and the list of participating restaurants.

See you in 2016!

Alex Carr is the Communications Manager at Museum of Glass. When she’s not circulating the Hot Shop floor trying to get the perfect Instagram shot for the Museum, you’ll find her baking at home, running at Green Lake, or exploring Washington’s wineries.

Care and Handling of Artwork at Museum of Glass

By Rebecca Engelhardt, Registrar/Collections Manager

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All exhibitions at Museum of Glass (MOG) are supported by the curatorial team. It is our job to make sure the galleries look spectacular for our visitors to enjoy.

In addition to keeping our objects looking beautiful, it is also our job to keep them safe. And as a museum, we are challenged to keep them safe “in perpetuity” (which means forever)!

How do we do that, you ask? Fortunately, we have colleagues throughout the world who study the effects of the environment on a variety of historic and art objects and set out guidelines for their care.

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We use a system of policies and procedures (called “Preventative Conservation”) to combat the effects of all “agents of deterioration”.

Defined by the Canadian Conservation Institute, “The agents of deterioration identify ten primary threats specific to heritage environments and encourage their prevention at the collections level.” The ten agents are: Direct Physical Forces, Thieves and Vandals, Fire, Water, Pests, Pollutants, Light, Incorrect Temperature, Incorrect Relative Humidity, and Dissociation.

So, how do we at MOG go about combating these agents, and how does what we do apply to your own collections at home?

In a series of blog posts, we will share how MOG implements the preventative measures for every one of the agents.

This post is dedicated to “Direct Physical Forces” which includes things like: shock, vibration, abrasion, and gravity. This is a big one for glass!

Since the Museum is seated in the Ring of Fire, our staff is always thinking about how to protect our fragile artifacts from the vibrations potentially caused by earthquakes.

Photo credit: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ring_of_Fire#/media/File:Cascade_eruptions_in_the_last_4000_years.png
Photo credit: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ring_of_Fire#/media/File:Cascade_eruptions_in_the_last_4000_years.png

At the same time, we are taking precautions against the rumbling trains rumbling past our building and the possible accidents that might result from a potentially clumsy visitor or while setting up an exhibition.

Objects are at risk from damage every time you handle them.

We use several methods to secure objects to the platforms they are displayed on. One of our favorite materials is a sticky substance called Rhoplex N580™ that aids our team in securing objects of many sizes.

Rhoplex is placed on the bottom of artwork. These sticky dots keep objects from sliding around or falling over.
Rhoplex is placed on the bottom of artwork. These sticky dots keep objects from sliding around or falling over.

For larger objects, or ones that are more at risk of toppling over, we use a latex water based adhesive (it’s a lot like silicone). Once it dries, the adhesive “glues” the artifact down.

Museum of Glass crew member securing segments of work by Stanislav Libenský and Jaroslava Brychtová, 2002.
Museum of Glass crew member securing segments of work by Stanislav Libenský and Jaroslava Brychtová, 2002.

For objects that don’t sit flat on the top of the display case, or need a little more security, we call a “mount maker,” a specially trained technician who builds a customized support—usually out of metal—that locks onto the object and generally gets screwed to the display furniture. For really large artifacts, we consult with structural engineers who make sure that we have designed our mounts according to the proper building codes.

When you visit our Museum, or any other, there are always many more objects stored behind-the-scenes that will be used in future exhibitions, or by researchers. We want to keep those objects safe, too. Our storage shelves are very carefully designed to prevent the glass from sliding off the edge as well.

Museum of Glass’ Permanent Collection is safely stored—each with a customized nest in the compact foam-lined shelves.
Museum of Glass’ Permanent Collection is safely stored—each with a customized nest in the compact foam-lined shelves.

Handling artwork is where most accidents can happen. So, at MOG, we are all carefully trained on how to follow a specific set of rules to protect our collections. We use a lot of specially designed equipment as well as some things you might see in your own home.

Transportation to and from the Museum is something we plan very carefully. There are even commercial transportation companies that work exclusively with (or have a special fleet assigned to) fine arts. We also build crates designed to minimize shock and vibration during the journey, which might be as far away as Australia!

Look for our next post about dealing with protection from thieves and vandals!

Rebecca Engelhardt is the Registrar/Collections Manager at Museum of Glass. Her background includes ten years at MOG, plus time at major museums such as Smithsonian Institution and The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art.

Mortal Combat

By Derek Klein, Audio/Visual Producer 

On Tuesday, September 29, Hot Shop Heroes: Healing with Fire instructor, Patricia Davidson, and program participant, Army Sergeant First Class (SFC) Peter Bazo from Joint Base Lewis-McChord (JBLM), joined forces to install the new exhibition, Healing in Flames, which is currently on display in the Grand Hall at Museum of Glass. All of the pieces were designed and crafted by soldiers participating in the Hot Shop Heroes program.

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One of the class’ collaborative pieces included in the exhibition, entitled Mortal Combat, features a glass scorpion and camel spider preparing to fight in the desert sand. The piece was inspired by a game often played by deployed soldiers as a way to pass time. The game involves placing a scorpion and a camel spider in a pit—dug by soldiers—where they would engage in a fight to the death.

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While installing Mortal Combat, SFC Bazo realized something was not quite right with the desert sand. He explained that there is a common misconception about the cleanliness of the desert. Contrary to popular belief, the desert is not a clean place, explained SFC Bazo. In fact, it is just the opposite.

As a last minute decision, Bazo suggested a plan: “Why don’t we add random filth to this scene? Here, I have some cigarette butts and spent shell casings to begin.” In the end, Mortal Combat shows the desert in its true form, including cigarette butts, water bottle caps, spent shell casings, and other forms of trash you might see in a war-torn desert.

Healing in Flames features several pieces conceptualized and created by the soldiers themselves, under the watchful eyes of instructors Patricia Davidson and Greg Owen, who are both well-established artists in the Pacific Northwest. All pieces were inspired by the soldiers’ experiences while on tours of duty. The exhibition also features a short documentary film created by the soldiers, which highlights their experiences within the Hot Shop Heroes program.

The soldiers were quite pleased with the accuracy achieved by the exhibition installation crew at Museum of Glass in creating a representation of the T Wall, a large concrete wall reinforced with rebar used for blast protection purposes in war zones. This T Wall replica displays some of the exhibition’s works of art.

Healing in Flames is on display at Museum of Glass through March 2016.

Derek Klein is a documentary film maker and has been covering the Pacific Northwest and international glass scenes with Museum of Glass for the past seven years.

Museum of Glass Collection Travels to Sunderland, England

By Alex Carr, Digital Media Coordinator

A selection of artwork from the Museum of Glass (MOG) collection has traveled across the pond to National Glass Centre (NGC) in Sunderland, England.

This partnership began in 2014, when a representative from National Glass Centre traveled to Tacoma, WA, to meet the Museum of Glass curatorial team. Following this meeting, the Museum of Glass mascot, Green Guy, had the opportunity to visit Sunderland, where he explored the artwork on display at NGC!

Since then, Seattle-based artist and National Glass Centre staff member Paul Marioni has worked with both institutions to select a variety of pieces from the MOG collection to travel to Sunderland.

The Museum of Glass collection is now on display at National Glass Centre through August 31, 2016.

Alex Carr is the Digital Media Coordinator at Museum of Glass. When she’s not circulating the Hot Shop floor trying to get the perfect Instagram shot for the Museum, you’ll find her baking at home, running at Green Lake, or exploring Washington’s wineries.