As lockdowns, stay-at-home orders, and closed recreation facilities have produced a mental health crisis in America, art is now the reverse of ‘non-essential’.
Thankfully, on the island of Murano, the home of a centuries-old Italian glassmaking heritage, the intrepid Venetian artist Adriano Berengo has—despite lockdowns, flooding, and other stunt associated disturbances—has managed to maintain his glass workshop running hot.
And, lucky for individuals in Florida, the Maestro of Murano, in partnership with the Museum of Art in Boca Raton, is staging a 2021 version of ‘Glassstress’ the planet ’s most famous glass-art exhibition.
One thing we know for certain Life is fragile, just as glass is fragile, yet in this fragility there is also strength, says Berengo.
The exhibit, in South Florida for a 9-month stay through September 5th, expands Berengo’s dream of teaching the world that glass can be a magnificent material for modern art. The show uses an old art form to catch lots of the challenges faced by societies around the world, such as guy ’s relation to climate change, oppressive governments, and racial injustice.
With 2020 being such a challenging year to coordinate an international exhibition of this size and scope, the effort serves as an important reassurance that art is an essential and enduring part of humankind, says Irvin Lippman, the Boca Raton Museum of Arts Executive Director in a press release.
In fragility there is strength
The scale of this project was immense, and required bravery in spades to set up, with all the doubts of the pandemic, particularly those associated with travelfour visa applications were denied, even while their goal was to work with Americans, due to lack of federal interests. ”
Nevertheless, Berengo’s craftsmen worked over the course of 3 years with 34 artists from all over the world to combine their artistic visions with the expert hands of Venetian glassmakers.
Powered by his base, Fondazione Berengo, which sponsors a recurring exhibition in the renowned Biennale of Venice, Glasstress has also traveled the world, making appearances in Beirut, New York City, and Stockholm.
We’ve brought Glasstress to countries around the world for ten decades, attempting to expand and enliven international awareness of the variety and richness of contemporary artists using glass in their creative practices, states Berengo.
Over a chandelier
One of the marquee pieces on display is Chinese artist Ai Weiweis, Blossom Chandelier, a gargantuan installment of 1,600 individual elements of glass, both hand-cut and pasted, bursting with unexpected shapes such as manacles, Twitter birds, flowers, and a special nod to his time in a Chinese prisonhis own middle finger.
In a similar expressive tone, Dustin Yellin’s Invisible Sisyphus (below) is a diorama of simple folk living beneath the roots of a wonderful tree, all encased in a giant brick of glass, the impurities inside which provide the illusion of clouds, sky, and atmosphere.
Glass Big Brother (below) is a government-inspired chandelier, exquisitely made of metal and glass, teeming with ominous looking cameras, reminding us of the danger of allowing a government too much authority.
“ Unlike the past and the present, what comes next for our world presents itself as constant possibility, constantly transforming as we move forward in time,” states Berengo in a press release. “This idea of transformation has ever held an affinity with glass, a medium which —as the name Glasstress suggests—exists in a state of constant tension. ”
“Life needs tension, it requires energy, and a lively exchange of ideas. ”
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