DETROIT.- The Detroit Institute of Arts
is celebrating the 50th anniversary of the American studio-glass movement with the opening of the renovated Aviva and Jack A. Robinson glass gallery on Wednesday, April 4. The gallery, which is dedicated solely to displaying studio glass, will feature new cases, upgraded lighting and two stunning new acquisitions: Still Life with Vines (2011) by Beth Lipman and Spirit Box (2009) by Preston Singletary.
We are delighted with the new look in the Aviva and Jack A. Robinson gallery, said Graham W. J. Beal, DIA director. Visitors truly enjoy the glass gallery, and the new cases and lighting will increase their enjoyment by bringing new dimensions to these works.
The DIAs collection includes iconic works by Dominick Labino and Harvey Littleton, who founded the studio-glass movement in 1962 with workshops at the Toledo Museum of Art. Other notable artists in the collection include Dale Chihuly, Howard Ben-Tré, Herb Babcock and Therman Statom.
Weve completely reinstalled the Robinson gallery with highlights and rarely displayed objects from the collection, said Rebecca Hart, DIA associate curator of contemporary art. These works illustrate the evolution of the studio-glass movement from its origins until today.
Conceptual artist Beth Lipmans Still Life with Vines is a tea table with 48 individual objects that pays homage to 17th-century still lifes in which European masters painstakingly rendered details like the fine crumb on a crusty loaf or the sparkling glint of crystal. Lipman recreates such images in clear glass, draining them of color and substance, which blurs the identities of each form. Translucence and multiple reflections mask the clarity of Lipmans well-crafted forms, dissolving the boundaries between them. Her glimmering tableau appears as a brittle scene from a fairy tale or a dream vision that might shatter.
Spirit Box by Preston Singletary, a noted Tlingit artist, is based on traditional bentwood boxes made from single planks of cedar intended for ritual use and decorated with clan crests or images of supernatural beings. These prized containers often held sacred or ceremonial objects, and were exhibited by the elite at potlatches as demonstrations of social power and wealth. Spirit Box is one of Singletarys most ambitious works, and its light source and iconography align with Tlingit creation mythology.
Aviva and Jack A. Robinson endowed the gallery in 1996 and made the most significant donation of glass in the museums history. The Robinsons are internationally and nationally renowned for the quality and range of their collection of studio glass.