Those who love art glass will find a bounty of pleasures at two new exhibitions now on view at the Long Island Museum in Stony Brook.
"Tiffany Glass: Painting with Color and Light" and an accompanying exhibit of contemporary works by nine modern glass artists, "Fire & Form: New Directions in Glass," showcase glass art ranging from Louis C. Tiffany's stained-glass window scenes to objects that stretch into elongated shapes or take more utilitarian forms such as vases.
"It's going to be a really wonderful opportunity for people to see the full journey of glass in the last 120-plus years," says Joshua Ruff, curator of the exhibit and the museum's deputy director and director of collections and interpretation.
The traveling Tiffany exhibit was organized by the Neustadt Collection of Tiffany Glass in Queens, which aims to foster a better appreciation of Tiffany's leaded glass artwork. Some of the exhibit's windows and lamps were displayed previously at the Queens Museum of Art. It includes five windows, 20 lamps and displays showing how Tiffany’s leaded-glass lamps were assembled. It also shows how collectors can distinguish between authentic lamps and forgeries and highlights some of the key figures at the Tiffany Studios: chemist Arthur J. Nash and designers Agnes Northrop, Frederick Wilson, and Clara Driscoll.
Using items from its collection, the Long Island Museum has added a lamp, a stained-glass window and two paintings, Ruff says. A Tiffany watercolor made after his international travels ("Arab Scene") shows an Arab market scene, while an oil painting by Charles Webster Hawthorne ("Tiffany's Estate, Laurelton Hall") shows a view of the Locust Valley estate that burned in 1957. "They connect to Laurelton Hall because of his fascination with the East and how a lot of the incorporation of Eastern design elements in the house came right after these experiences," Ruff notes.
The stained-glass windows showcase the depth and richness in the specialty glass palette the studio developed, Ruff says, and highlight the intricate designs.
The largest window the museum has shown is 75 inches high by 31 inches wide and is called "Grape Vine and Lemon Tree with Trellis." It will greet visitors as they enter the exhibit. "There are more than 20 shades of green just in that piece," he says. "There's a regional pride in Tiffany and we hope this will appeal to the general public."
FIRE & FORM
Nearly 50 works from nine contemporary artists are included in the "Fire & Form" exhibit. Their works reinforce the sculptural possibilities of glass. "It's no longer just about the flora and fauna of Tiffany," Ruff says. "It seems it can be picking apart popular culture or exploring some of the darker terrain of gender inequality."
The exhibit includes work from four Suffolk County artists — Andy Stenerson of Amagansett, Marianne Weil of Orient and married artists Trefny Dix and Bengt Hokanson of East Hampton, along with works from Joseph Cavalieri and Deborah Czeresko, of Brooklyn, and by Beth Lipman, Judith Schaechter and Toots Zynsky. Those who've watched the reality-competition glassblowing series "Blown Away" on Netflix may recognize Czeresko, who won the first season of the show.
The exhibitions dovetail nicely, Ruff says. "I think it will be a really stunning experience for people. They're going to have a chance to really see the journey of glass, to see the similarities and differences between the world of early 20th century Art Nouveau-stained glass and then kind of coming up to the present, the modern ways."
"Fire & Form" will cover more than 2,500 square feet in the museum's History Museum and Visitor’s Center, where visitors stop first to get tickets. There's also an illustrated 30-page catalog as a take-away for visitors.
WHAT TO KNOW
"Tiffany Glass: Painting with Color and Light," organized by the Neustadt Collection of Tiffany Glass in Queens, is at the Main Gallery of the Long Island Museum; "Fire and Form: New Directions in Glass" is in the LIM’s Visitor’s Center. Both exhibits run through Dec. 19; 1200 NY-25A, Stony Brook; hours are Thursday — Sunday from noon — 5 p.m.; 631-751-0066; longislandmuseum.org; $10 for adults; $7 for seniors 62 and older; $5 for students ages 6-17 and college students with ID; $3.50 for persons with disability, care assistant free; children under age 6 free.