Tag Archives: Beth Lipman

#AskACurator

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.

14290044_10154296246050932_4411285487688168692_oHere 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.

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.

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.

The Forest through the Trees

By Katie Phelps, Curatorial Assistant/Visiting Artist Coordinator

I met Landscape by Beth Lipman (American, 1971) and Ingalena Klenell (Swedish, 1949) three years ago as a graduate student at University of Washington’s Museology program. We came to Museum of Glass for one of my class field trips, and Landscape definitely made an impression. If you haven’t had a chance to see the piece, it is truly breath-taking. It is a 3D, 31×18 foot collage made of 425 thin pieces of glass that hang from the ceiling or sit on the ground to compose a wintery landscape.

Landscape, installed at Museum of Glass as a part of the exhibition Glimmering Gone - Ingalena Klenell and Beth Lipman which was on display August 21, 2010 – March 11, 2012.

Landscape, installed at Museum of Glass as a part of the exhibition Glimmering Gone – Ingalena Klenell and Beth Lipman which was on display August 21, 2010 – March 11, 2012.

As I sat on a bench looking at the piece, I turned to one of my classmates and said “Man, I feel sorry for the guys who have to take that down.” Turns out…one of those guys is me. Last week I traveled with our exhibition designer, Lynette Martin, to Figge Art Museum in Davenport, Iowa, where the Landscape had been on loan since February 2014. Our mission? To successfully take the piece down and pack it in crates, all while documenting the location of each piece so that we can hang Landscape the same way at future venues. Imagine you just completed a 500 piece puzzle. And, now that you’re finished, you have to write instruction as you put it away, so that the next person can put it back together exactly the same way. That is a good way to think about our process. Here’s how we did it: 1. Number each of the pieces using pieces of blue tape and Sharpie.

The forest, complete with blue tape numbers.

The forest, complete with blue tape numbers.

2. Take lots of photographs! We use these photographs to help decipher where each piece of glass goes, along with how to orient it top to bottom. Since all of the pieces are clear, we use a black piece of tagboard to create some contrast between layers.

We used black tag board to make the individual pieces of the fir tree more visible.

We used black tag board to make the individual pieces of the fir tree more visible.

3. Trace the outline of each piece directly onto the floor using a Sharpie. The result was a huge, numbered, template that described which piece goes where and corresponds to the photographs and numbers. We took a large sheet of plastic and traced over the floor, giving us a map that we can use for the next installation.

The base of the fir tree, with rocks numbered and traced on the deck.

The base of the fir tree, with rocks numbered and traced on the deck.

Those three steps got us through all 425 pieces of glass. It took a team of 6 people about 140 hours to take the piece apart, all while surviving near-record temperatures and humidity, along with a close encounter with a tornado. We couldn’t have done it without Andrew, Robin, Steve and Justin – the fabulous crew at Figge Art Museum. Now that it’s all said and done, we’ll organize our notes and be ready to assemble the piece at the next exhibition venue. Until next time Landscape!

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.