‘Playing with Fire’ a Hot Show

Oakland Museum celebrates 50 years of California studio glass with new exhibit
Playing With Fire
Two glass pieces from ‘Playing with Fire’: ‘Blue Orchid’ by Randy Strong (left) and ‘Guardian’ by Latchezar Boyedjiev (right).
(photos: courtesy Oakland Museum of California)

Artists working in glass these days can do almost anything!

As seen in the Oakland Museum of California’s ‘Playing with Fire: Artists of the California Studio Glass Movement,’ they blow glass, sandblast it for texture, paint it, and combine it with wood, cement, metal—even video projection.

The ‘Playing with Fire’ exhibit runs through March 24, with a talk by Julie Muñiz, the museum’s associate curator of design and decorative arts, 2 p.m. November 17.

“I wanted people to get an idea of all the different ways artists manipulate glass,” Muñiz says.

In one work, Cassandra Straubing has cast glass so skillfully it looks like a dirty shirt that a migrant laborer in the Central Valley has just hung on a hook.

Straubing’s piece deals with labor issues and race. Other works tackle such subjects as living in earthquake country, the theft of cultural treasures, and repression in Burma.

Still, some of the best pieces are the earliest and simplest—abstract forms by Berkeley artist Marvin Lipofsky and the late Robert Fritz, who were among the founders of the Studio Glass Movement in the 1960s.

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