New Glass Now | Context provides a glimpse of the history behind our current exhibition, New Glass Now by exploring the Museum’s Glass 1959 and New Glass: A Worldwide Survey (1979) exhibitions and the 40-year run of the contemporary glass journal New Glass Review. While contemporary glass has changed dramatically over the past 60 years, the purpose and method behind the New Glass exhibitions and New Glass Review have remained faithful to the formula developed in 1959 by Thomas S. Buechner, the Museum’s founding director. Since its inception, New Glass has used a democratic curatorial model made up of an open, international call for submissions, responses from artists around the world, and the selections of a panel of diverse thought leaders in art, craft, and design.
The first two exhibitions in the series, Glass 1959 and New Glass: A Worldwide Survey (1979) brought unprecedented critical and popular attention to the material, its makers, and designers. As the first exhibition to showcase international contemporary glass, Glass 1959 created the field and laid the foundation for the blossoming of the Studio Glass movement. Twenty years later, New Glass: A Worldwide Survey revolutionized it, spurring individual and institutional collecting across the globe, garnering new scholarly attention, and promoting continued artistic innovation.