Tali Grinshpan (Israeli/​American, b. 1972). <i>Hope</i> from the series <i>Of Innocence and Experience</i>, 2016. Pâte de verre, 10x 10 x 5 inches. Courtesy of the artist.

For Immediate Release

A New State of Matter: Contemporary Glass’ Opens at GRAM Jan 25

The exhibition features glass sculpture and installations by 19 local, national, and international artists.

GRAND RAPIDS, MI, January 7, 2020 — The Grand Rapids Art Museum (GRAM) announced today its upcoming exhibition, A New State of Matter: Contemporary Glass which opens at the Museum on January 25. The exhibition is on view until April 26 and features the work of 19 artists working in glass including Grand Rapids artist, Norwood Viviano.

Each of the artists included in the exhibition use glass in innovative ways while presenting its metaphorical possibilities — connecting to broader cultural, environmental, political, and spiritual themes.

We’re thrilled to present A New State of Matter: Contemporary Glass this season at GRAM,” commented Director and CEO Dana Friis-Hansen. As part of the Grand Rapids Art Museum’s ongoing commitment to providing a diverse array of fresh, stimulating exhibitions for our region, A New State of Matter is the first major exhibition of glass art in the Museum’s history, and reveals the beauty, mystery, and expressive power of this dynamic medium.”

The works in A New State of Matter examine the material and symbolic potential of glass in unique and revealing ways. For example, artists Charlotte Potter and April Surgent use the ancient process of cameo glass engraving to consider relationships in the age of social media and climate change, respectively. Jeffrey Stenbom utilizes cast glass to unveil the struggles facing the nation’s veterans. David Chatt, in a repetitive, labor-intensive process, covers found objects with thousands of miniscule glass beads to explore family and nostalgia. Amber Cowan repurposes American pressed glass to create her intricate installations that reference a bygone era.

The talented artists in this exhibition are creating incredible artworks using a spectrum of glassmaking techniques, from ancient to present-day processes,” stated Chief Curator Ron Platt. As the first exhibition at GRAM devoted to artists working with glass, I think our visitors will be amazed by the beautiful and fascinating forms that glass can take. As a material, glass is loaded with a variety of rich associations, making it a perfect vehicle for addressing a range of urgent personal and social issues.”

The exhibition features work by Grand Rapids artist Norwood Viviano, who fuses fine arts practice with data and research findings in geography, economics, and the social sciences to create environments in which sensuous beauty and topical information merge. Viviano, an associate professor at Grand Valley State University, was the subject of a solo GRAM exhibition in 2015, and his work has been shown and collected internationally. GRAM is excited to debut a brand-new sculpture by Viviano, Recasting Grand Rapids, as part of the exhibition. For this work, he combined elements of our city’s manufacturing past and present, fusing a wooden end table made in Grand Rapids in the 1940s with a current scale model of the city’s architectural landscape — all recast in clear glass. Viviano explains, the fragility of glass serves as a metaphor for balance between time, efficiency, and the inability of manufacturing to change and meet future needs.”

Featured artists include: Dean Allison, David Chatt, Amber Cowan, Steffen Dam, Morgan Gilbreath, Tali Grinshpan, Etsuko Ichikawa, Patrick Martin, Rachel Moore, Whitney Nye, Charlotte Potter, Michael Rogers, Erica Rosenfeld, Mary Shaffer, Jeffrey Stenbom, April Surgent, Judy Tuwaletstiwa, Norwood Viviano, and Jeff Zimmer.

On view concurrently with A New State of Matter is Looking (at •into•through) Glass, an exhibition featuring paintings, sculpture, prints, photography and design objects from GRAM’s permanent collection. The exhibition has been assembled to explore glass as a material one can look at, into, and through. Works in the exhibition range from colorful still-life paintings to glass-shaded lamps and provide visitors with the opportunity to explore the variety and depth of objects in the collection.

In addition to the exhibitions, visitors can explore a range of related interactive and educational activities and materials, including artists’ video profiles, hands-on activities, and detailed information on many of the participating artists’ glassmaking techniques, including blowing, kiln-forming, casting, and flame-working.

A New State of Matter: Contemporary Glass has been organized by the Boise Art Museum. The exhibition is sponsored by the Laura Moore Cunningham Foundation with additional grant support from the Art Alliance for Contemporary Glass. Lead support for GRAM’s exhibition is provided by the Wege Foundation. Lead Exhibition Society Support is provided by the Daniel & Pamella DeVos Foundation.

About the Grand Rapids Art Museum 
Connecting people through art, creativity, and design. Established in the heart of downtown Grand Rapids, the art museum is internationally known for its distinguished design and LEED® Gold certified status. Established in 1910 as the Grand Rapids Art Association, GRAM has grown to include more than 5,000 works of art, including American and European 19th and 20th-century painting and sculpture and more than 3,000 works on paper. Embracing the city’s legacy as a leading center of design and manufacturing, GRAM has a growing collection in the area of design and modern craft. 
For museum hours and admission fees, visit artmuseumgr.org