Compelled by Content
Following two sold out solo shows (one in Georgetown and one in Bethesda), we asked Tim Tate to curate a group show for us.
We discussed having a show that would fit in with our galleries' focus and goals, and thus the show would have to avoid the highly decorative vision most often associated with fine art glass: the vessel.
Because Tate's own work is driven by his experiences, such as being HIV positive, his mother's death, etc., he has been able (and very successfully I might add) to cross an interesting juncture in the world of fine art: away from the decorative vessel and well within the context-driven camps of fine art.
And this is what we asked of Tim to do for us.
And thus tomorrow evening we will open Compelled by Content, an exhibition curated by Tate and featuring 13 artists who use glass as the vehicle to express ideas, narratives, issues and thoughts, rather than to decorate. They are: Diane Cabe, Brent Coles, Michael Janis, Allegra Marquart, Syl Mathis, Elizabeth Mears, Turi McKinley, Marc Petrovic, Ross Richmond, Alison Sigethy, Tim Tate, Erwin Timmers and Lea Topping.
The premise behind this exhibition has already caused some stir (and every single one of Tate's pieces have already sold - all of them to a very influential local art collector - before the exhibition even opened).
Even more surprising to me, there is a tremendously heated debate in the fine art glass online community.
This is the original classified announcement listing about the exhibition and subsequent comments: Original Posting, which then jumped to main board listing for 9 pages: Main Board Comments, then spawned a parody of the main board listing for two pages: Parody Listing, and the current listing on the topic:Current Listing.
It is surprising and good to see such debate in the artists who feed the genre; it has already, in a sense, proven the focus and theme of this show. In the preface for a book just published on this exhibition I wrote:
"Alfred Stieglitz has often been credited with dragging photography into the realm of the fine arts, and I think that now the time is ripe for courageous contemporary artists to once and for all bring glass out of the realm of craft and into the rarified world of fine art.The opening reception to meet all the artists is tomorrow, Friday the 13th, from 6-9PM as part of the Bethesda Art Walk. We're also working to have this exhibition travel to a Baltimore, MD venue and to a Miami, Florida venue.
And like the many other genres of art that we automatically accept as "fine art," without questions of craft or segregation to "glass only galleries," content is one of the ideal concepts that empower art beyond technical skill and visual beauty. It is through content that today's artists working this demanding media are dragging glass into the realm of the fine arts.
See ya there!