Pioneers of Contemporary Glass: Highlights from the Barbara and Dennis DuBois Collection Marks First Exhibition Devoted to Contemporary Studio Glass at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; Opens in March at the MFAH
Houston, Texas — 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 is possible 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). .
The MFAH Education Department will offer a comprehensive schedule of programming, including lectures, workshops, and docent-led tours, for visitors of all ages.
Sponsorship and Funding
This exhibition is organized by the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, under the supervision of Cindi Strauss, MFAH curator of modern and contemporary decorative arts and design. Generous funding is provided by: Mr. and Mrs. Louis K. Adler; Art Alliance for Contemporary Glass; Anne Lamkin Kinder; and Friends of Contemporary Glass.
A fully illustrated catalogue, titled Pioneers of Contemporary Glass: Highlights from the Barbara and Dennis DuBois Collection, accompanies the exhibition. The book will include full-color reproductions of each work in the exhibition with individual entries written by Cindi Strauss, MFAH curator of modern and contemporary decorative arts and design, Rebecca Elliot, MFAH curatorial assistant, and Susie Silbert, MFAH Windgate Foundation intern, as well as an introductory essay by Cindi Strauss and an interview with Barbara and Dennis DuBois.
For information, the public may call 713-639-7300, or visit www.mfah.org. For information in Spanish, call 713-639-7379.
About Museum of Fine Arts, Houston
MFAH Collections Founded in 1900, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston is the largest art museum in America south of Chicago, west of Washington, D.C., and east of Los Angeles. The encyclopedic collection of the MFAH numbers more than 57,000 works and embraces the art of antiquity to the present. Featured are the finest artistic examples of the major civilizations of Europe, Asia, North and South America, and Africa. Italian Renaissance paintings, French Impressionist works, photographs, American and European decorative arts, African and Pre-Columbian gold, American art, the Adolpho Leirner Collection of Brazilian Constructive Art, and the European and American paintings and sculpture from post-1945 are particularly strong holdings. Recent additions to the collections include Rembrandt van Rijn´s Portrait of a Young Woman (1633), the Heiting Collection of Photography, the Helen Williams Drutt Collection of contemporary jewelry, a major suite of Gerhard Richter paintings, an array of important works by Jasper Johns, a rare, second-century Hellenistic bronze Head of Poseidon /Antigonos Doson, and major canvases by 19th-century painters Gustave Courbet and J.M.W. Turner. MFAH Campus The MFAH collections are presented in six locations that make up the institutional complex. Together, these facilities provide a total of 300,000 square feet of space dedicated to the display of art. The MFAH comprises: • Two major museum buildings: the Caroline Wiess Law Building, designed by Mies van der Rohe, and the Audrey Jones Beck Building, designed by Rafael Moneo • Two facilities for the Glassell School of Art: one with studio spaces for children and another with studio spaces for adults • Two house museums that exhibit decorative arts: Bayou Bend Collection and Gardens features American works, Rienzi features European works • The Lillie and Hugh Roy Cullen Sculpture Garden, created by Isamu Noguchi