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The Ringling Debuts Studio Glass Works

Published November 26, 2013

The museum presents an overview of a gift donated by Philip and Nancy Kotler.

yellow sculpture of a seated figure

Nicolas Africano, Untitled (Seated Figure), 2002

blue green sculpture of a torso

Martin Blank, Torso

an abstract, organic form of different colors

Robert Palusky, Last Waltz,2004

Sarasota, FL – The Ringling adds to its contemporary art offerings with the debut of the Philip and Nancy Kotler Glass Collection.

The exhibition presents works by some of the leading modern American and European glass artists. To celebrate the opening of the exhibition, more than 150 guests gathered on Nov. 18 for a reception in galleries of the Ulla R. and Arthur F. Searing Wing of The Ringling Museum of Art.

The collection features contemporary studio glass sculptures from a number of important artists including Nicolas Africano, Stanislav Libenský and Jaroslava Brychtová, Peter Hora, Karen LaMonte, Michael Glancey and many others. The works will be on display until June 29, 2014.

This exhibition displays an overview of the larger donated collection. A more comprehensive exhibition of the collection will occur in the future.

“This glimpse of the Kotler Glass Collection provides the opportunity to witness an art form never displayed before at The Ringling,” Steven High, executive director at The Ringling says. “I thank Philip and Nancy Kotler for sharing their collection with the public.”

While the addition of this collection marks the first instance of The Ringling collecting studio glass, the museum does have a legacy of collecting glass artworks. John Ringling collected 1st Century Roman glass.

“This generous donation by Philip and Nancy Kotler begins a new collecting focus for The Ringling and makes a significant contribution to our contemporary collection, allowing us to further extend and enrich our visitors’ experiences,” Matthew McLendon, curator of modern and contemporary art at The Ringling says.

Studio glass is a modern technique of an individual or a small team producing handmade glass artworks. The modern American studio glass movement traces its origin to two workshops at the Toledo Museum of Art in 1962, where small and inexpensive glass furnaces were demonstrated. The workshops spawned the development of independent glassblowing studios across the United States, which encouraged artists to experiment with glass. The Kotlers donated their collection of studio glass to The Ringling in 2012, which marked the 50th anniversary of the studio glass movement in the United States.

Partial funding for the exhibition was provided by a grant from the Art Alliance for Contemporary Glass.The Kolter Glass Collection is a part of The Ringling’s 2013-14 “Art of Our Time” season, supported in part by a grant from the Gulf Coast Community Foundation.