Wadsworth Atheneum ‘Fired Up’ for contemporary glass show

Alex Bernstein, ‘New Spring Blue Group,’ 2021. Cast, carved glass and steel, 25 by 45 by 6in. Collection of the artist. Courtesy of Habatat Galleries.

Alex Bernstein, ‘New Spring Blue Group,’ 2021. Cast, carved glass and steel, 25 by 45 by 6in. Collection of the artist. Courtesy of Habatat Galleries.

HARTFORD, Conn. — More than 50 contemporary glass artists breathe new life into nature’s most volatile medium in Fired Up: Glass Today, opening at the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art on September 16. Of more than 150 works on view, approximately half were created exclusively for this exhibition or will make their public debut at the Wadsworth. Special live events including glass working demonstrations at an on-site hot shop feature artists who will bring the magic of glass to Hartford this fall. Fired Up will be on view through February 5, 2023.

“This group of exceptional artists is taking risks, forging new paths, and inspiring people with glass as a means of expression,” said Brandy Culp, Richard Koopman curator of American decorative arts at the Wadsworth and curator of the exhibition. “The work in Fired Up is exceptional for its sculptural beauty and technical skill but also for its ability to make bold social statements.”

Nancy Callan, ‘Luminescence Droplet,’ 2021. Blown and etched glass, 17 by 14 by 14in. Photo by Russell Johnson. Courtesy of the artist.

Nancy Callan, ‘Luminescence Droplet,’ 2021. Blown and etched glass, 17 by 14 by 14in. Photo by Russell Johnson. Courtesy of the artist.

Works by glass maestros such as Nancy Callan, Sidney Hutter, Dante Marioni, Lino Tagliapietra and Tim Tate test the physical and aesthetic potentials of glass. At the same time, the works in the exhibition question cultural assumptions about sexuality, relationships, racial equality and the environment.

Kim Thomas, ‘The Cloud Riding Contraption #1,’ 2022. Borosilicate glass, steel, wood and yarn, 12 by 18 by 12in. Collection of the artist. Courtesy of Habatat Galleries

Kim Thomas, ‘The Cloud Riding Contraption #1,’ 2022. Borosilicate glass, steel, wood and yarn, 12 by 18 by 12in. Collection of the artist. Courtesy of Habatat Galleries

Among them are Kim Thomas’ Cloud Capturing Apparatus; Hannah Gibson’s Recycling Narratives, A Tangible Hope made from recycled COVID-19 vaccine bottles; and Dan Friday’s installation Schaenexw (Salmon) Run, each signaling human impact on nature’s delicate balance. Seattle artist Megan Stelljes’s Neon Wallpaper and This Shit is Bananas both colorfully employ humor to communicate about sex, sexuality and consent.

Dan Friday, ‘Schaenexw (Salmon) Run,’ 2020. Blown and sculpted glass, approx. 24 by 116 by 7in overall. Photo by Ian Lewis. Courtesy of the artist.

Dan Friday, ‘Schaenexw (Salmon) Run,’ 2020. Blown and sculpted glass, approx. 24 by 116 by 7in overall. Photo by Ian Lewis. Courtesy of the artist.

“Fired Up is powerful for bringing a vast range of innovative glass works together and for connecting working artists with the public at the museum,” said the Director of the Wadsworth, Dr. Matthew Hargraves. “Not only will you see great works of art in this exhibition, you’ll also meet the people who bring these wonderful objects into being and see how they do it in real time.”

Dan Friday, courtesy of the artist

Dan Friday, courtesy of the artist

Fired Up joins offerings by institutions worldwide, including the Art Alliance for Contemporary Glass (AACG) and the United Nations, in celebration of the International Year of Glass 2022. The historic global initiative aligns with the 60th anniversary of studio glass and aims to honor glass in art, architecture, history, technology, industry and science.

Visit the website of the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art and see its dedicated page for Fired Up: Glass Today.