Full-Blown Glass Extravaganza Hits Sarasota

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BY PHILIP LEDERER SRQ DAILY FRIDAY WEEKEND EDITION FRIDAY JAN 29, 2016

Beginning last night with the opening of renowned glass artist Michael Taylor’s latest exhibition, Particles: Something Out of Nothing at Alfstad& Contemporary, the second annual Art Glass Weekend has arrived. Bringing a whole host of events and displays across the community, from exhibits at Alfstad& to curated collections at The Ringling Museum, the Longboat Key Center for the Arts remains the epicenter of Art Glass Weekend, with a new exhibit, guided tours and an international auction of studio glass. If you haven’t already, get ready to RSVP.

Start the day at Alfstad& Contemporary, where Taylor enjoys his first solo show in Sarasota, showing off his signature style with 10 new cold-cut pieces alongside five previously displayed and a collection of digital prints created in collaboration with the studio gallery. “Michael Taylor is a pioneer,” said Sam Alfstad, founder of Alfstad&, calling the work “instrumental” in elevating glass in popular opinion from a craft to an art. According to Alfstad, Taylor’s participation in Art Glass Weekend “shows that Sarasota is becoming—as the American Art Collector Magazine claimed last year—the ‘new art glass Mecca of America.’ ” The exhibit runs until Feb. 26.

Over at LBKCA, the mid-day tours exploring the glass collections of three private collectors have been sold out, according to director Jane Buckman, but there’s still a bit of room for the potential bidder at tonight’s international glass auction, Masterworks, hosted by LBKCA and curated by Habatat Galleries of Royal Oaks, Michigan. The second such auction created in partnership between LBKCA and Habatat in as many years, this year's show focuses on studio glass artists recognized for significant contributions to the movement through the latter portion of the 20th century. It is inherently educational, Buckman noted, but also an opportunity for both “the seasoned collector to add noteworthy pieces to their collection or for a new enthusiast to catch the fever.” The preview begins at 6:30pm and the bidding an hour after. All auction items can be viewed online as well, and participants unable to attend can bid either online or via phone.

And Art Glass Weekend participants have a packed Saturday, beginning with a few stops at the Ringling College of Art and Design campus. With the 2016 Basch Glass Exhibition open in the school's Basch Gallery, more than 30 pieces of glass art stand on display. Curated by Mark Ormond, Nature in Glass gathers them under a common theme, but the styles and technique remain as varied as the environment inspired. After lunch, The Ringling Museum offers a special showcase of glass from the Kotler and Coville collections on display in the Astor Galleries. Top the night off back at LBKCA, where 21 artists lay bare their inspiration and process in Commentaries: Stories Told In Glass, an exhibition marrying sculpture and written statement from the artist.

End the weekend with Commentaries’ complement, Beauty In The Abstract, a pop-up exhibition curated by Habatat Galleries and designed to spur the imagination. Opening at 10:30am in The Whitney Plaza, meet the artists, enjoy a light brunch and begin the long wait to Art Glass Weekend 2017.

Pictured: Glass by Dale Chihuly on display at the Basch Gallery. Courtesy of: Ringling College of Art and Design

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