Michael Glancy, American, born 1950. Sterling Convergence, 2002. Engraved blown glass, engraved industrial plate glass, copper, silver. 8 1/2 × 12 × 12 in. (21.6 × 30.5 × 30.5 cm). Courtesy of the Isabel Foundation L2017.53

Hybrid: Glass + Metal

February 16, 2019 - June 16, 2019

Harris - Burger Gallery

Glass and metal come together in unexpected ways in this exhibition—one material is known for its strength, the other is known for its fragility. Each artist featured in Hybrid: Glass + Metal explores the possibilities of these two materials in creative ways. 

In the early 1970s, Mary Shaffer, an early practitioner of the American studio glass movement, adapted an auto industry technique for shaping windshield glass into her own mid-air slumping process. Sheets or chunks of glass are heated into a plastic state, then allowed to slump, or sag, around a metal element. She used iron wire, rusty tools, sheet metal, anything that could endure the heat of the kiln. The outcome is glass that gracefully drapes in a state akin to fabric while the metal remains in its strong, rigid state. 

Shaffer’s work reveals a fascination with the effects and manipulation of viscosity, leverage, balance, inertia, mass, and space. She explains her process as a dichotomy of feminine and masculine principles: “Because I work with gravity… I say I work with nature. I call this the ‘female principle’ in the Jungian sense—the idea of joining forces with nature versus the 19th century attitude of ‘man over nature.’ This is the fundamental philosophy behind my work.”

Other artists in this exhibition include Bella Feldman, Kyohei Fujita, Michael Glancy, Masami Koda, Albert Paley, Richard Ritter, Sally Rogers, Ginny Ruffner, Howard Ben Tré, Janusz Walentynowicz, and Albert Young.

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Vanessa German at ARThouse, Homewood, Pittsburgh. Courtesy of the artist and Pavel Zoubok, Fine Art, NY. Photo: Brian Cohen

Vanessa German: Miracles And Glory Abound

January 27, 2019 - April 20, 2019

Henry Gallery

Miracles and Glory Abound explores the power of stories through Vanessa German’s assembled sculptures. The exhibition draws from both the visual and emotional concepts of the iconic painting, Washington Crossing the Delaware (currently on view in New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art) by Emanuel Leutze. German uses what she terms “power figures” to imitate Leutze’s composition and create a conversation about public memory and the rewriting of history through the lens of privilege. After closing at the FIA, Miracles and Glory Abound travels to Figge Art Museum in Davenport, Iowa, and Bates College Museum of Art in Lewiston, Maine. 

A fully illustrated catalogue accompanies the exhibition with essays from performance artist Holly Bass, art theorist Hilary Robinson, and abstract expressionist painter Danny Simmons. The catalogue is available in the FIA Museum Shop for $19.95. 

View Vanessa German's performance during the 12th Annual Community Gala here.

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Mbole-Yela peoples, Democratic Republic of Congo. Mask, n.d. Wood. 11 3/4 in. (29.8 cm). Collection of Dr. Robert Horn.

Engaging African Art: Highlights from the Horn Collection

January 27, 2019 - May 26, 2019

Hodge Gallery

Engaging African Art is an exhibition of works collected by New York psychiatrist Robert Horn over five decades. According to Horn, he was first exposed to African art in the mid-1950s, after stumbling upon the Museum of Primitive Art in New York City. This museum, founded by Nelson Rockefeller in 1954, was closed in 1976, and its collections were transferred to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. That first exposure to African art made an indelible impression, with Horn writing, “I walked often through its intimate galleries, usually completely alone, an amazed, eager, and curious young man, almost startled to discover the collection’s unique objects, powerful, but each beautiful and expressive, of meanings not readily revealed.”

This exhibition is not meant to be a comprehensive history or encyclopedic survey of African art; rather it explores one collector’s viewpoint and taste. Horn’s emphasis, for example, has been collecting sculpture, mostly masks and small- to medium-sized figures. Of these categories, he has collected primarily West and Central African works from more than 60 different cultures. Engaging African Art presents highlights from Horn’s collection, showing pieces that carry ritual, social, and ceremonial messages, as well as display a range of techniques and materials.

According to Nii O. Quarcoopome, Co-Chief Curator and Department Head, Africa, Oceania, and Indigenous Americas at the Detroit Institute of Arts, Horn’s collection is “perhaps best described as an adventure in connoisseurship” because of his eclectic tastes and collecting practices. Says Quarcoopome, “In addition to the usual forms we have come to expect in most museum collections, it also includes some rare or uniquely carved pieces that suggest Horn’s refined tastes and sophistication as a seasoned collector. […] Horn’s collecting approach may have inadvertently created opportunities for rich immersive cultural experiences, as well.”

A fully illustrated catalogue accompanies the exhibition with essays from Nii O. Quarcoopome and Henry John Drewal. The catalogue is available in the FIA Museum Shop for $24.95.

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Tsukioka Kōgyo, Japanese, 1869–1927. Kinatsu, 1923, Woodblock print, 14 7/8 × 10 1/16 inches. Collection of David R. Weinberg

The Drama of Japanese Prints

January 19, 2019 - April 14, 2019

Graphics Gallery

This exhibition features colorful, early 20th-century woodblock prints from Japanese artist Tsukioka Kōgyo. Although he depicted many subjects, Kōgyo is most well-known for his numerous scenes from Noh theater, one of the oldest existing forms of theater still practiced today. His artworks provide a glimpse into the rich stories, elegant actors, and subdued ambiance of Noh plays. Artwork from two of Kōgyo’s most important series, Pictures of Noh Plays (Nōgaku zue) and One Hundred Noh Plays (Nōgaku hyakuban) are on view in The Drama of Japanese Prints.

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Peter Fischli & David Weiss, Swiss. The Way Things Go, 1987. 30 minutes. Image courtesy of the artists

The Way Things Go

March 1, 2019 - March 31, 2019

Media Arts Gallery

In a warehouse, artists Peter Fischli and David Weiss build a structure made out of common household items. Then, with fire, water, gravity, and chemistry, they create a self-destructing performance of physical interactions, chemical reactions, and precisely crafted chaos.

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Baccarat, French, Garland on white "stardust" carpet ground, mid-19th century. Glass, 2 3/16 x 3 3/16 inches. Gift of Mr. and Mrs. William L. Richards, 1969.75.51

Small Worlds

April 7, 2018 - October 27, 2019

Ann K. Walch-Chan Gallery

On May 17, 2019, the Paperweight Collectors Association (PCA) will visit the FIA as part of their biannual conference, happening this year in Dearborn, Michigan. The PCA is a non-profit organization dedicated to appreciating and collecting glass paperweights. Their mission is to promote education by increasing knowledge about paperweights, their creators, and the astounding glass medium from which they are created. FIA Curator of Collections and Exhibitions Tracee Glab will be the keynote speaker during the conference. During their time at the FIA, they will tour the Small Worlds exhibition and view demonstrations in the FIA Hot Shop and Flameworking Studio. 

During the planning stages of the conference, contemporary paperweight artist Cathy Richardson visited the FIA to see its facilities. This trip inspired her to donate one of her paperweights to the museum. Her paperweight, Homage to Margaret Mee, was inspired by the botanical artist of the same name. Mee was a British environmentalist artist whose work is now part of the London’s Royal Botanical Gardens collection.

Richardson created this paperweight by lampworking the botanical creatures on the inside, and using intaglio for the accents. Intaglio is a form of design/decoration where the picture is below the surface of the glass. This effect may be achieved by cutting away the glass to form the shape of the design, or by pressing the molten glass into a mold. 


Now Available

Paperweights: Highlights from the Flint Institute of Arts Collection

(hardcover; 248 pages; $24.95)

This exhibition catalog features more than 140 weights from the Classic Period (1845–1860) of French manufacturers Baccarat, Clichy, and Saint-Louis, to works by contemporary artists Josh Simpson and Debbie Tarsitano, from the collections of Mrs. Viola E. Bray and Mrs. Genevieve Shaw. Kathryn Sharbaugh, FIA Director of Development, serves as guest curator to research and write about the history of paperweights, as well as highlight their various styles, techniques, and categories. This book is published in conjunction with the exhibition Small Worlds, which presents a survey of glass paperweights from the 19th century to the present. Support for the catalogue provided by the Bray Charitable Trust.

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