‘The Whiteness of Glass’ at Corning Museum of Glass

The Corning Museum of Glass (CMoG) in Corning, NY is partnering with artist collective Related Tactics (comprised of Michele Carlson, Weston Teruya, and Nate Watson) to present their research-based exhibition Disclosure: The Whiteness of Glass at CMoG this November. The collective work originated from an essay commissioned by CMoG in 2020 for New Glass Review, an annual exhibition in print and incisive look at the field of contemporary glass.

Recently on view at the Center for Craft in Asheville, North Carolina, the exhibition will be installed in the Special  Projects Gallery of the CMoG Contemporary Art + Design Galleries through March 2024. 

Disclosure: The Whiteness of Glass considers and celebrates collective action as a form of  resistance to the racism, exclusion, and inequity that exists in the current field of glass, through a  supportive collaboration among artists of color. Much like a game of telephone, Related Tactics invited a series of artists to creatively translate hard data about the demographics of the glass  field. The exhibition showcases three iterative stages of interpretation: originating data visualizations by Related Tactics, written artistic prompts by Einar & Jamex de la Torre, Cheryl  Derricotte, Emily Leach, Corey Pemberton, Ché Rhodes, and Joyce J. Scott, and responses to the prompts in the form of glass artworks by Pearl Dick, Raya Friday, Vanessa German, Helen Lee, and  Victoria Ahmadizadeh Melendez.

“This is an exhibition of documentation of a socially engaged, relational project designed to create community among BIPOC artists, using the glass community as a case study,” Related Tactics said. “Using the demographic data we collected for the New Glass Review article as our starting point, we united two groups of artists for a multi-phase collaborative glassmaking and community building studio  process. The overarching process is a means of contending with the wounds of misrepresentation,  tokenization, and marginalization, while creating a space for mutual support, creative exchange, and the  development of a collective imaginary.”

About the Exhibition

“We are honored to play a role in supporting Disclosure: The Whiteness of Glass,” Kathy  Fredrickson, Director of Collections and Curatorial Affairs at CMoG, said. “Given the generative nature of the convening and the richness of the resulting work, the exhibition shows what happens when BIPOC artists who might feel isolated within their predominately white day-to-day professional communities have the opportunity to come together and experiment in glass, considering  overarching issues that they regularly contend with and sharing those experiences in a safe space of community and support.”

In the first part of the creative process, Related Tactics produced a series of abstract data visualization drawings based on equity data and the lived experience of BIPOC artists in  predominantly white spaces and institutions. In the second part of the process, each of the six drawings was given to a different artist who was asked to devise ‘creative actions’ in the studio, rather than specific fabrication steps.

These approaches differed significantly, reflecting the  diversity of practice by the six invited artists.

For example, one set of instructions created by Corey Pemberton, participating artist and CMoG Trustee, directed the next artist to:  

“Think ‘optics’  

One object will represent a solution to a problem. 

It should be strong, solid, considered, supported. 

It exists in contrast to a pile of failed, quickly constructed, 

fragile components. Broken like the trust of the one’s whose 

time and resources we waste when we act with haste. 

Think ‘impermanent’”

In the third step, each of these creative actions was given to a different glass artist—notably all  women—who then interpreted those instructions during a convening at the hot shops of The Tyler School of Art and Architecture at Temple University in Philadelphia, PA.

The CMoG exhibition will present not only the final objects, but also the first sets of visualizations and creative actions.  

“I hope that some of the emotion we felt from having this space to create in together comes through in the gathering of the work alongside our accounts of the experience,” articipating artist Pearl Dick said. “The first thing we did on meeting in Philadelphia was hug, and then we cried, as the weight, enormity, and privilege of our being together given our shared histories of isolation settled upon us. I also hope people come away with a sense of the diverse voices and practices within communities of color working  in glass. Even the somewhat rarified (for now) group that gathered in this space represents a range of  perspectives.” 

Disclosure: The Whiteness of Glass. Detail.
Disclosure: The Whiteness of Glass. Detail. Vanessa German. 2021–2022. The Corning Museum of Glass. L.5.4.2023. 

About Related Tactics 

Related Tactics is an artistic collaboration between artists and cultural workers Michele Carlson, Weston  Teruya, and Nathan Watson. Formed in 2015, Related Tactics projects are made at the intersection of race and culture. Their projects explore the connections between art, movements for social justice, and  the public through trans-disciplinary exchanges, collective making, and dialog.

Related Tactics is also a conceptual space and platform that employs curatorial strategies as artistic gestures to create  opportunities within our communities and construct space for collective voice. Related Tactics confronts systemic and institutional racism or inequities that influence their immediate socio-cultural lived  experience—a practice that benefits from collective support and sharing knowledge or resources. They do this through collaboration and critical thought strategically implemented amongst and for communities of color and the diaspora.

Carlson, Teruya, and Watson work loosely between the San Francisco and Washington DC areas, engaging many community members that make their work possible. 

About The Corning Museum of Glass 

The Corning Museum of Glass is the foremost authority on the art, history, and science of glass. It is home to the world’s most important collection of glass, including the finest examples of glassmaking spanning 3,500 years.

Live glassblowing demonstrations offered at the Museum and on the road, bring the material to life. Daily Make Your Own Glass experiences at the Museum enable visitors to create work in a state-of-the-art glassmaking studio.

The campus in Corning includes The Studio, a year-round  glassmaking school, and the Rakow Research Library, with the world’s preeminent collection of materials  on the art and history of glass. Located in the heart of the Finger Lakes Wine Country of New York State,  the Museum is open daily, year-round. Children and teens, 17 and under, receive free admission.

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