There is every reason this year to have a world view. Glasstress Boca Raton 2021, brings together 33 artists working alongside master glass artisans at the Berengo Studio on Murano. For the last 35 years, Adriana Berengo has invited artists to explore the challenging medium of glass. It is in this spirit of innovation and experimentation that we see the limitless potential of glassblowing that only decades ago was relegated to craft and functional design. We realize how far we have come as we approach the 60th anniversary of the American studio glass movement, launched in 1962 through the efforts of Harvey Littleton and Dominck Labino. This exhibition is a tribute to them for their initial exploration into the inherent qualities of the fragile transparency of glass and to Adriano Berengo who, with an incredible energy, brought a new vision on how to stimulate artists into thinking how the medium of glass can be made into dramatic, provocative, and unique works of art.
It was a challenging year to plan an international exhibition, but the effort serves as a tribute to the resilience of Venice, surviving the floods endured in 2019 and the pandemic of 2020 -- a reassurance that art is an essential and enduring part of humanity.
Less complicated in transport, but no less impactful is the exhibition in our North Gallery: An Irresistible Urge to Create: The Monroe Family Collection of Outsider Art. Here are artists working on the margins of society with an irresistible urge to create and for whom making art was as essential as breathing. It is a study in inclusivity and diversity, artists passionately engaged, finding solace in their art, creating a private reality, sometimes imbued with spirituality. Several of the artists had difficult backgrounds, suffering from profound mental and developmental disabilities. For them, art was a kind of therapy. More importantly, it was artistic freedom and a sincere and intimate means of communication.
Our third new installation in our Focus Gallery on the second floor is the intimate still life and portrait paintings of Paul Gervais. As personal as are the portraits of friends and family of the artist, the still-lifes are abstracted forms that transcend any time period or culture. They appear like quiet punctuation marks between the portraits. This exhibition is part of a continuing series of installations celebrating the work of artists working in South Florida -- a wonderful balance to the international focus of Glasstress and reminding us (always) of the tremendous talent in our neighborhood.
And speaking of neighborhood, please on your next drive by the Museum notice the new landscaping on the west side of the Museum. The landscape architect Hugh Johnson, a principal at Architectural Alliance Landscape was responsible for this new “arrangement” of plantings. Together with Glavovic Studio, he is now working on the renovation of the newly named Ohnell Sculpture Garden, which we anticipate being completed and dedicated this spring along with a major renovation of the Museum’s Perper Courtyard. Let’s just call it an irresistible urge to create a place of wonder for you all to visit!