Cultural Conversation: Boca Museum’s Glasstress Exhibit Showcases Beauty, Political Messages

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By: Marisa Gottesman Associate Editor
It’s an exhibit to show that glass as a form of art can compete with paintings and it is on display at the Boca Raton Museum of Art through the beginning of July.
Glasstress features 42 works by 33 artists who live and work in 23 countries.
The exhibit started in 2009 on the island of Murano when Adriano Berengo sought out to prove that glass was more than just a craft or decoration. So he invited artists, who don’t usually work with glass, to create new works in his studio alongside master glassmakers.
The result: Glasstress, an exhibit that showcases experimental glass works. The show was been produced four times and it is now in Boca through July 2.
“Glasstress challenges our notion of glass as a ‘beautiful’ material and encourages us to explore the bold, political and sometimes less pristine aspects of the medium,” said Kathleen Goncharov, curator of contemporary art.
The exhibit opened with the museum’s Carnevale di Venezia celebration.
From afar the art doesn’t even look like glass. Some pieces are small others grandiose. Museum officials said no pieces were broken during shipping or installation.
The beauty in the fragile pieces isn’t always sending a pretty message. What looks like a massive chandelier that would belong in a five-star hotel lobby is actually made of glass surveillance cameras. Entitled “Big Brother” and created by Chinese artist Song Dong, the piece sends a message greater than a large chandelier.
What looks like geometric white glass bulbs is actually British artist Luke Jerram’s take on viruses. And what looks like a real drum with mallets is really something that would ironically be shattered if it were played. The artists discuss science, social issues and politics through glass.
The museum commissioned a new work by South Florida artist Carol Prusa titled “Spooky Action” for the exhibit.
This month, the museum is hosting a “Boca Talk” featuring Petah Coyne. Coyne will discuss “The Art of Materials” on March 19 from 3 to 4 p.m. Seating is limited and the event cost $10 per person.
Coyne is a New York-based contemporary sculptor and photographer. She is known for her large-scale hanging sculptures and floor installations. During the Boca Talk, she will discuss her experiences at the Berengo Studio.