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20th Century American Art Glass: Blenko's First Four Designers
Cassina showroom, 151 Wooster Street
Jun - Aug, 2012

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Featuring the work of Winslow Anderson, Wayne Husted, Joel Philip Myers and John Nickerson.

Mid-20th Century Blenko glass is the purest expression of a uniquely American modernist glass art. The body of work of the Blenko Glass Company's first four designers demonstrates a profound connection to the revolutionary principles of art and design at the time. It represents the bridge between Tiffany's Art Nouveau glass and the Studio Glass Movement. Undoubtedly, this counts for Blenko's appeal to collectors of all things modern and connoisseurs of art and design alike.

Winslow Anderson, the first designer, espoused an appreciation of Henry Moore and exhibited a Russel Wright-like sensibility in his work. The influence of Paul Klee and Le Corbusier is evident in the work of Blenko's second designer, Wayne Husted. Joel Philip Myers, the third designer, was inspired by Richard Diebenkorn's sense of color and Eero Saarinen's mod organic forms. Finally, John Nickerson’s forms have the cool geometry of Louis Kahn and the space-age glam of Barbarella. Each of these young artists was hired directly out of Alfred University, one of the country's top ceramics schools. Trained as artist, they brought an exuberance and originality such as had never been seen before in American glassmaking.

The significance of Blenko's contributions to American design and studio glass, especially its core innovations of dramatically enlarged scale and bold solid colors, has remained largely unexplored by museums, academics and texts. While experts have cited 1960s Pop Art as the precursor for the enlarged scale that is seen as an innovation brought to glass by of the Studio Glass movement, Blenko had been developing uniquely oversize pieces since at least 1954 and offered a more direct influence to the world of Studio Glass. In this exhibition, the evidence is before you.