Xerjoff Magazine

The poetics of Venetian glass that conquered America


The exhibition "Venice and the American Glass Studio" highlights the influence that the traditional glass working techniques of the lagoon city have exercised on American artists from the 1960’s to nowadays.

The exhibition is held at Le Stanze del Vetro, a new exhibition space on the Island of San Giorgio in Venice, and Tina Oldknow and William Warmus curate it. This exhibition will be the first to carefully examine the influence that aesthetics and traditional manufacturing techniques of the Venetian glass have had on the American Glass Studio from the sixties to today. The goal of this American movement, between the mid- and late twentieth century, was to remove glass production from industrial processes to make it directly in the artist’s studio. At the end of the 1960’s some artists thus began to blow glass with experimental and innovative methods, even if most American artists did not have sufficient technical knowledge. Thus, the members of Studio Glass looked to Europe, and in particular to Venice and to Murano glass blowers, to find a guide to follow.

The Venetian exhibition traces this “love affair” by exhibiting 155 pieces of great value including vases, sculptures and glass installations created by 60 American and Venetian artists, among whom Dale Chihuly, Benjamin Moore, Richard Marquis, Josiah McElheny, Katherine Gray and Norwood Viviano, Carlo Scarpa, Archimede Seguso, Lino Tagliapietra, and Pino Signoretto. At the center of the exhibition is the monumental installation by Dale Chihuly, “Laguna Murano Chandelier”, created in 1996 in Murano with the Venetian masters Lino Tagliapietra and Pino Signoretto. The chandelier, made up of five enormous components, incorporates sculptural elements that refer to the Venetian lagoon. The exhibition can be visited until January 10, 2021.

Above: John Kiley, Halo, 2018, Photo: Ben Van Houten