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Retrospective of Influential Artist Richard Marquis at The Corning Museum of Glass

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November 28, 2012
Exhibition highlights American glass artist’s original approach to traditional Venetian glassforming techniques and unique combinations of glass and found objects

Corning, NY—The Corning Museum of Glass will present a special exhibition of the work of the influential studio glass artist Richard Marquis. One of the first American studio glassmakers to travel to Italy to learn historic Venetian techniques, Marquis is known internationally for his work in blown filigrana and murrine glass. Masters of %%Studio Glass%%: Richard Marquis, on view from February 16, 2013 through February 2, 2014, will feature 30 works spanning 45 years of the artist’s career from 1967 to 2012. This exhibition is part of the Corning Museum’s ongoing Masters of %%Studio Glass%% series, which presents in-depth surveys of artists represented in the Museum’s permanent collection.

“Richard Marquis has had an extraordinary influence on the development of contemporary studio glass in America and around the world,” says Tina Oldknow, curator of modern glass at the Museum. “As an artist, Marquis is admired for his understanding of color and form as much as for his offbeat humor and willingness to experiment. As a glassblower, he has influenced an entire generation of artists working in glass who aspire to his technical mastery and the originality of his vision.”

Highlights of Masters of %%Studio Glass%%: Richard Marquis include the unusual Potato Landscape Pitcher (1979), the densely patterned Marquiscarpa #26 (1992) from his series inspired by designs made in the 1940s for the Venini glassworks by the acclaimed Venetian architect Carlo Scarpa; Granulare Vase/Anvil (English Setter) (1997) which documents Marquis’ mastery of Venetian granulare, a difficult technique that Marquis himself researched and revived; and a tiny slice of a murrine word cane of the Lord’s Prayer. To make Lord’s Prayer (1971), Marquis bundled together and fused groups of glass rods, which can be infinitely stretched out when hot, reducing the words of the prayer to the size of a pinhead.

Born in Bumblebee, AZ, in 1945, Marquis has always been a maker and a collector of objects. He frequently uses his collections in the creation of his works, combining found pieces—such as a %%salt%% shaker, shaving brush, or paint-by-number painting—with glass elements. His work is often associated with the mid-20th-century movement known as Funk art, but his objects have multiple references, including the ceramics of Peter Voulkos and Ron Nagle, sculptures by Manuel Neri and James Melchert, the paintings of Giorgio Morandi, R. Crumb’s underground comic imagery, and the assemblage works of H.C. Westermann and Joseph Cornell. 

In 1963, Marquis left his childhood home in southern California to attend the University of California at Berkeley. His introduction to glass came through the artist Marvin Lipofsky, who established a glass program at Berkeley in 1964. By 1968, Marquis had decided to pursue a master’s degree, and he applied for a Fulbright grant to travel to Venice to observe glassmaking techniques. Acting on the advice of another young studio glass artist, Dale Chihuly—who visited Murano on a Fulbright in 1968—Marquis ended up, in 1969, at the famous Venini glassworks on Murano. The Museum’s Stars and Stripes Acid Capsule #4 (1969) and small pink and white Mae West Cup (1969) were made during his time at Venini.

As one of the first American studio glassmakers to travel to Italy to study traditional Venetian techniques, Marquis learned about murrine, a canne and incalmo, processes that he would later teach to other American studio glassblowers at schools across the country, including Penland School of Crafts, Pilchuck Glass School, Haystack Mountain School of Crafts, and the University of California, Los Angeles.

During the seventies, Marquis further developed his colorful murrine for one of his favorite forms: the teapot. The Museum’s Crazy Quilt Teapot #38 (1980) is a signature example of his murrine patterns based on traditional American crazy quilts, checkerboards, and Venetian pezzato or patchwork vases of the 1950s. The exhibition also includes Marquis’ more recent work with Bullseye color-compatible glasses. Dust Pan #04-6 (2004) is an example of Marquis’ work using a new technique that he calls “slab construction,” a term borrowed from ceramics.

Marquis has been honored with Lifetime Achievement Awards by the Glass Art Society and by the Art Alliance for Contemporary Glass. He has received the James Renwick Alliance Masters of the Medium Award, Smithsonian Institute, and he is a member of the American Craft Council College of Fellows. His works are represented in more than 50 international museum collections including Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh, PA; Finnish Glass Museum, Riihimaki, Finland; Glasmuseet Ebeltoft, Ebeltoft, Denmark; Museum Kunst Palast, Dusseldorf, Germany; Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, CA; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY; Musée du Design et Arts %%Appliqué%%s Contemporains, Lausanne, Switzerland; Museum of Arts and Design, New York, NY; National Museum of American Art, Renwick Gallery, Smithsonian Institution, Washington D.C.; New Glass Museum, Tsukuba, Japan; Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, PA; Powerhouse Museum, Sydney, Australia; Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto, Canada; and the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, United Kingdom.

About The Corning Museum of Glass

The Corning Museum of Glass is the foremost authority on the art, history, science, and design of glass. It is home to the world’s most important collection of glass, including the finest examples of glassmaking spanning 3,500 years. Live glassblowing demonstrations (offered at the Museum, on the road, and on the water) bring the material to life. Daily Make Your Own Glass experiences at the Museum enable visitors to create work in a state-of-the-art glassmaking studio. The campus in Corning includes a year-round glassmaking school—The Studio—and the Rakow Research Library, with the world’s preeminent collection of materials on the art and history of glass. Located in the heart of the Finger Lakes Wine Country of New York State, the Museum is open daily, year-round. Children and teens, 17 and under, receive free admission.