A Conversation Between Rakow Commission Artist Andrew Erdos and Tina Oldknow, Curator of Modern Glass

The artwork of Andrew Erdos, the Museum’s 2013 Rakow Commission artist, is pop, sarcastic, and humorous, with a hint of social commentary. His over-the-top installations create a situation of sensory overload, which he sees as a reflection of everyday life in urban culture, especially the culture of New York City. Through the use of mirrored futuristic-looking animal sculptures, vehicles used by the artist to navigate identity and environment, Erdos explores the relationships between nature, technology, and people.

Andrew Erdos was at The Studio in July making this year’s Rakow Commission

Andrew Erdos at work in The Studio.

Erdos was at The Studio in July making this year’s Commission, and he took some time to sit down with Tina Oldknow, curator of modern glass, to discuss his work.

Tina Oldknow: What kind of piece are you thinking of making for the Rakow Commission?

Andrew Erdos: It will be a continuation of my current body of work using these large animal forms. What I am most interested in now is using glass mixed with light to create colored light—producing color with a sculpture. Using basic, simple pieces of colored murrine almost as if they’re pixels in a digital image, or dots in a pointillist painting, to produce light, to produce color and produce a new visual experience.

Oldknow: I’ve noticed that you use a lot of silver mirroring on your animals. Will these animals be mirrored as well?

Andrew Erdos used dichroic glass in creating the 2013 Rakow Commission

Andrew Erdos used dichroic glass in creating the 2013 Rakow Commission.

Erdos: The animals will all be mirrored. I’m using another material with similar properties, which is dichroic glass. It’s a material I’ve been extremely averse to for a long time. It’s a part of an overwhelming sense of the experience.

I’ve been going and looking at as many shows as possible, and the key show that I can relate to is the most recent Jeff Koons show. It’s about more, more, more, more, more, and then it reaches the tipping point of being just so overwhelming—and it’s a really fine line. It’s a delicate balance that sometimes can be achieved and sometimes it’s just opening the gates of ridicule. And sometimes, something really amazing can be created. So, try it out…see what happens.

That’s one of the great things about the Rakow Commission is I can make a large piece and if I don’t like it I can smash it and do something else. And it’s totally cool.

Oldknow: You’re interested in creating a situation that is overwhelming, your idea of sensory overload. I want to talk a little bit more about why you go there.

Erdos: Creating a situation that is overwhelming to the senses is many ways a representation of daily life. Living in New York, being surrounded by millions of people doing their own lives—everyone is doing something all the time and there’s just intense competition for energy, for emotion, for people’s time, for people’s feelings, for people’s responses, for people’s ideas. And then you also have something like a beautiful sunset that is an absolute sensory overload. But, it can also be really peaceful and calming. When all your senses are activated is oftentimes when there is a moment of clarity.

Watch the video, see more photos, and read the full conversation.

The Rakow Commission is awarded annually to up-and-coming and established artists whose work is not yet represented in the Museum’s collection.