Italy

Venice and American Studio Glass Exhibition (Venezia, Italy)

“Venezia e lo Studio Glass Americano”is the first exhibition focused on the influence that aesthetics and traditional Venetian glassmaking techniques have had on American Studio Glass from the 1960s to the present. In 2020 the programme included real exhibitions with augmented and virtual reality,  guided tours in presence and online, virtual events.

Background

LE STANZE DEL VETRO is a pluriennial, both a cultural project and an exhibition space on the Island of San Giorgio Maggiore (Venice, Italy). It is dedicated to the study and the exhibition of modern and contemporary forms of glass art.  

The initiative is realized by Fondazione Giorgio Cini, Istituto Veneto di Scienze, Lettere ed Arti and Consorzio Promovetro Murano, with the aim of promoting the study and the valorization of the glass art of the 20th century and contemporary. 

The cultural project has been held during The Venice Glass Week – the international festival founded in 2017 to celebrate, support and promote the art of glassmaking: the artistic and economic activity for which the Lagoon City of Venice has been renowned around the world for about 1,000 years.

Two exhibitions are staged each year: one in the spring, dedicated to the use of glass in 20th and 21st century Art and Design, and the second in the autumn, dedicated to the talented people who designed objects for the Venini glassware company in the 20th century.

The project hosts, on an annual basis, a series of monographic and collective exhibitions dedicated to international artists who have used glass in their art works.

Within the project LE STANZE DEL VETRO (THE ROOMS OF GLASS), a special Study Center has been set up to promote the creation of a specialized library, the organization of seminars and conferences addressed to researchers and artists interested in the history, technologies and developments of glass art, also providing scholarships for those researchers interested in the subject.

The activities carried out within the project THE ROOMS OF GLASS are coordinated by a scientific committee.

Description

LE STANZE DEL VETRO (“The rooms of glass” ) is a cultural project and exhibition space dedicated to the study and exhibition of modern and contemporary forms of glass art. It aimed to promote and enhance the culture of glass art.

Antique Murano Glass beads’ have been recently included to the Unesco list of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. (from 17/12/2020) The glass industry — an art that is almost 1000 years old and constitutes one of the symbols of Venice. Currently it is going through the worst crisis in its history, influenced by the COVID-19 pandemic as well.

The exposition showed the enduring and versatile legacy of Venetian glassmaking in America by exploring the impact of Venice on contemporary American art in glass.

In the second lockdown period in Italy (October 2020), the online virtual tour service has been added, so visitors could book their online excursion via Zoom or walk around the exhibition in 3D model online. 

The exhibition provided new services in the pandemic period: 

  • Real space integrated with virtual reality tours
  • 3D model of space and objects, integrated with 3D devices use
  • Tags with information about the objects exposed on display (audio, text, video)
  • Glass Bot – virtual guide, answering the questions in Messenger
  • Possibility to book the tour online live in Zoom 

The guides could accompany the visitors online through the galleries of the exhibition on the island of San Giorgio Maggiore: the visitors had the opportunity to know how the glassworks on show and learn more about the themes and the leading artists.

Impact

Besides the main target group – adults – the new edition in 2020 tried to reach children as well: through workshops dedicated to the culture of glass art, organising training and meetings with the artists (face-to-face and online). 

The network of the organiser has been widened as well. They launched a new series of online talks/interviews in collaboration with other european organisations, such as The Glass Art Society and The VICARTE – Vidro e Cerâmica para as Artes – Research Unit, devoted to the promotion of transdisciplinary research applied to glass and ceramics, focusing on the intersections between art and science, stimulating sharing of knowledge, experiences and methodologies.

The organisers reached their visitors through social pages and their website. 

The last Glass Festival before COVID-19 pandemic was held in 2019, with 200 events in more than 100 different venues, attracting an audience of 103,000 visitors from Venice, Italy and abroad.

In September 2020, the project succeded to reach the wide public as well, even if the second lockdown was announced in Italy just after the exhibition opening. In this intensely challenging year when Covid-19 caused the glass industry to shut down for months, the fourth edition was held. It was titled #TheHeartOfGlass and attended by an audience of over 62,000 visitors.

The 3d tours remain available online for free: https://living3d.it/view/vrGLwtUJEZ2.

Interpretation

The exhibition “Le Stanze del Vetro”  faced the challenge of promoting and enhancing the art of glassmaking during the lockdown, as all the cultural institutions in Italy. Digitizing its services and addressing, therefore, a wider range of users, the organisers found new innovative solutions for their project’s development, that they are using currently in post-lockdown period.

References

Author

Header photograph

Island of San Giorgio Maggiore (Venice, Italy). Wikimedia Commons.

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