Viva Vetro! Glass Alive! Venice and America
Venice has been a preeminent glass center since the 16th century. European factories and designers for centuries have emulated the city’s success by adapting or copying designs associated with the Venetian masters. In the second half of the 20th century, American artists and designers also started looking to Venice for inspiration, many of them traveling to Venice to work directly with the masters in the factories. These Americans returned to the States and invigorated the country’s rapidly growing and flourishing studio glass movement. This flourishing interest in the art of glassmaking prompted Venetian masters to travel to the United States to teach and also to learn; a dialogue between artists began. Venice instilled in the Americans discipline, technical skills, and a new appreciation for color. America gave the Venetians the freedom to challenge and to question.
This exhibition, part of Pittsburgh’s 2007 Year of Glass celebration, will examine the links between Venice and America and their significance, from mid-1950s sculptor Robert Willson’s exploratory visit to Murano and the commissioning of work from American designers by the Venini factory to present-day artists, such as Lino Tagliapietra and Josiah McElheny. The exhibition will present approximately 100 works, which will also be illustrated in the accompanying catalogue.
Viva Vetro! Glass Alive! is organized by Carnegie Museum of Art. The exhibition is supported by Pittsburgh Celebrates Glass. Additional support was provided by the Henry L. Hillman Fund, The Fellows of Carnegie Museum of Art, and the National Endowment for the Arts.
The exhibition catalogue was made possible by The Beal Publication Fund and the Henry Lea Hillman, Jr. Foundation.