VISUAL ARTS + MUSEUMS
Pioneers of Contemporary Glass: Highlights from the Barbara and Dennis DuBois Collection
March 7 - July 26, 2009
The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston presents the exhibition Pioneers of Contemporary Glass: Highlights from the Barbara and Dennis DuBois Collection. On view March 7 through July 26, 2009, placed throughout the Caroline Wiess Law and Audrey Jones Beck buildings of the MFAH.
As highly regarded figures in the studio-glass community, Dallas-based collectors Barbara and Dennis DuBois have traveled the globe to find extraordinary glass objects by international artists. In their pursuit of definitive examples, the DuBois’ have assembled a collection of some 300 sculptural works that demonstrate a wide range of techniques, aesthetics, and forms. Pioneers of Contemporary Glass: Highlights from the Barbara and Dennis DuBois Collection, on view March 7 through July 26, 2009, will showcase a selection of 30 remarkable masterworks from the collection, placed throughout the Caroline Wiess Law and Audrey Jones Beck buildings of the MFAH.
Overall, the objects in the DuBois collection illustrate the innovations and shared ideas that have transformed glass art since the establishment of the studio-glass movement in the 1960s. Studio glass cannot be defined as any one type of glass made in any one specific environment by any one person. Rather, the diversity seen today is only possible through a myriad of approaches. In addition to discussing the works individually, Pioneers of Contemporary Glass: Highlights from the Barbara and Dennis DuBois Collection will place them within a historical context, underscoring the important roles of key artists who set the stage for the development of the field.
“The exhibition will introduce visitors to the medium through a focused presentation of major figures and moments in the development of contemporary glass,” explains Cindi Strauss, MFAH curator of Modern and Contemporary Decorative Arts and Design. “The individual works in the exhibition will delight and enthrall museumgoers with their beauty and awe-inspiring techniques.”
Museum visitors will be able to explore the origins of the studio glass movement through works by its innovators, including Harvey Littleton, known as the “father of studio glass” because of his role in moving the production of glass from a factory to a studio environment, and Dale Chihuly, one of the early champions of art glass through his foundation of the Pilchuck Glass School, and his success as an artist.
Other major figures represented in the exhibition include husband and wife team Stanislav Libensky and Jaroslava Brychtova, credited with introducing conceptual ideas into the movement by working with shape, thickness and depth to create art that utilizes “the light inside” and delivers an experience rich with emotion; Erwin Eisch, whose early and radical rejection of traditional glass vessels in favor of an expressive, sculptural form allowed for political or narrative content within glass; and Toots Zynsky, whose delicate creations are singular in their thread-like construction, prompting her to name the technique that she developed "filet-de-verre", or “fused and thermo formed glass threads.”
Featuring works by artists from the United States, the Czech Republic, Germany, Australia, Italy, Finland, and Sweden, the exhibition will be concentrated in the Alice Pratt Brown Gallery, and will reinforce the idea of international artistic collaboration and community, as well as educate viewers about the diversity that ispossible with this unconventional medium. In addition, select pieces from the DuBois collection will be displayed in other areas of the museum alongside various examples from the MFAH’s permanent collection, underscoring the relationship between glass and other media and guiding visitors toward an appreciation of the works as part of a larger tradition of world art.
About the Collectors
As established collectors of decorative objects, Barbara and Dennis Dubois began their glass collection in 1985, with the initial acquisition of a unique glass perfume bottle. Over the last 24 years, increasingly intrigued by the ingenuity of modern glass artists, the DuBois’ have sought every opportunity to learn more about the medium and have enthusiastically pursued pieces of international acclaim by artists from all over the world. Objects in the DuBois Collection total approximately 300, by an estimated 160 international artists, most of which are on view throughout the DuBois residence in Dallas, Texas. As a couple, the DuBois are involved in the Art Alliance for Contemporary Glass (AACG), and Dennis DuBois is a member of the boards of the AACG and the Creative Glass Center of America (CGCA). .
Pictured: Batman, 1998, Lino Tagliapietra, Italian, b. 1934, blown glass, Barbara and Dennis DuBois Collection © Lino Tagliapietra.