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Glass exhibition celebrates birth of American Studio Art Glass movement at Toledo Museum of Art
Dan Dailey, Pistachio Lamp. Illuminated Sculpture, 1972. Hand blown glass. Gold plated brass. 14”H x 10”W x 10”D ©2011 Dan Dailey.
TOLEDO, OH.- This year there is no better place to see studio art glass than at the Toledo Museum of Art.

The Museum is renowned for its extensive glass collection and for being the site of the historic 1962 Toledo Workshops. Those workshops, led by Harvey Littleton at the invitation of then-Museum Director Otto Wittmann, nurtured the artists now considered pioneers of the American Studio Glass movement and, through extension, helped to rejuvenate studio glass in post-war Europe.

To commemorate the 50th anniversary of those workshops, TMA is presenting Color Ignited: Glass 1962–2012, an enticing “coming of age” look at the medium. The free exhibition is on display June 13–Sept. 9, 2012.

International in scope, Color Ignited showcases studio glass created during the past half-century, spotlighting pivotal work by Toledo Workshop participants as well as by the major artists working in the medium since then. The exhibition focuses on the role of color—from the conceptual to the political to the metaphoric—in artistic expression.

Approximately 80 objects from private collections, galleries, other museums and TMA’s own collection are shown, including works by Littleton, Dominick Labino, Marvin Lipofsky, Dale Chihuly, Dan Dailey, Judith Schaechter, Ginny Ruffner and Klaus Moje.

Jutta-Annette Page, curator of glass and decorative arts at the Toledo Museum of Art, and Peter Morrin, director emeritus of the Speed Art Museum in Louisville, Ky., curated the exhibition.

“The choice of color in glass was an obvious one,” said Page. “We wanted to tell the story of the last 50 years of glass through blue-chip artists with a focus clearly on how the movement developed. We wanted to capture the enthusiasm they had at the beginning—these people really had a lot of fun.”

Many of the Toledo Workshop participants were schooled in pottery, and as a result, many early works were vessels, some stylized, some with rays of color, some opaque and some transparent.

“We have pieces from the original Toledo workshops by Tom McGauchlin and Edith Franklin, and we also have fused glass, neon glass, mirrored pieces and sculptures. There is quite a variety,” Page said.

Color Ignited is the inaugural exhibition in the Museum’s new Frederic and Mary Wolfe Gallery of Contemporary Art. The Wolfe Gallery space was the home of the Museum’s glass collection until 2003, when construction began on the TMA Glass Pavilion®.

“This is a full-circle moment for the Toledo Museum of Art as our former glass gallery has been remodeled to display contemporary art. What better way to inaugurate the space than by displaying the work of the leading studio glass artists of our time,” noted TMA Director Brian Kennedy.

A fully illustrated exhibition catalogue, with essays by Page, Morrin and Robert Bell, senior curator of decorative arts and design at the National Gallery of Australia, will be available in the Museum Store.

TMA’s comprehensive glass collection located primarily but not exclusively in its Glass Pavilion®, contains some 4,000 complete objects and 2,000 archaeological fragments spanning 4,500 years of history. Participants in the 1962 Toledo Workshops studied the handmade ancient glass; today visitors come to see the world-class permanent collection and special exhibitions, watch glassblowing demonstrations, enroll in classes, participate in workshops, and enjoy the Glass Pavilion® itself, which was designed by the Pritzker Prize-winning architectural firm SANAA and opened in 2006.

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