The Corning Museum of Glass (CMoG) has announced the appointment of Susie J. Silbert as curator of modern and contemporary glass. An independent curator, writer, and historian, Silbert has developed an encyclopedic knowledge of glass, and strong connections to people in the field. In her new role, Silbert will be responsible for the acquisition, exhibition, cataloguing, and research of the Museum’s modern and contemporary collection, a period ranging from 1900 to the present day. She will also oversee the programming of the 26,000-square-foot Contemporary Art + Design Galleries, part of a 100,000-square-foot addition which opened in March 2015. Silbert will join the Museum on April 18.
Silbert fills the position following the retirement of Tina Oldknow, who was curator from 2000-2015.The modern and contemporary glass collection contains close to 18,000 objects, and expands annually through gifts and acquisitions.
“I am looking forward to welcoming Susie to fill this important curatorial position,” said Karol Wight, president and executive director of The Corning Museum of Glass. “The opening of the Contemporary Wing has brought in new audiences who have come to appreciate contemporary art in glass. Susie has the perfect background to step into this position since she has artistic training as well as a strong approach to contemporary art, theory, and criticism combined with a deep knowledge of glass from all periods.”
With a background in craft, design, and glassmaking, Silbert has a passion for interpreting the built world. In her current role as an independent curator, Silbert has partnered with institutions and arts organizations including Parsons The New School for Design, UrbanGlass, Houston Center for Contemporary Craft, and the Center for Art in Wood, amongst others. She has worked on numerous exhibitions featuring diverse media, and has contributed to exhibition catalogues for the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston and the Chrysler Museum. Silbert has also worked with galleries and artists, most notably holding the position of curator and collaborator at the studio of glass innovator, Mark Peiser. She currently teaches history of glass at Rhode Island School of Design, and is a board member of the Furniture Society. She was also named a finalist for the inaugural American Craft Council Emerging Voices Award (2014) and an Emerging Leader of New York Arts (2014-2015).
“I am thrilled to be joining The Corning Museum of Glass,” said Silbert. “As a curator and scholar who has invested a significant amount of time thinking through this material and its scientific, artistic, and cultural contributions, there is no better place to continue my work. With its excellent collections, passionate staff, and outstanding facilities for making and viewing glass, CMoG is exactly the kind of dynamic institution I want to be a part of.
“I am particularly excited about the opportunities that the new Contemporary Art + Design Wing offers to meaningfully combine narratives of process and display,” Silbert continued, referencing the Wing’s new 500-seat Amphitheater Hot Shop, the world’s largest space in which to watch a glassmaking demonstration. “I started my career as a glassworker myself, blowing, casting, and lampworking, and I strongly believe that visceral knowledge of the material is a critical component to understanding and interpreting objects made from glass.”
Silbert holds a master’s degree in Decorative Arts, Design History, and Material Culture from Bard Graduate Center, and a BFA, concentrating in glass, from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She has held a curatorial fellowship at the Houston Center for Contemporary Craft, worked on projects for the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, and the New-York Historical Society, and interned at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the American Craft Council Library. Her recent exhibitions include #F*nked!, exploring the relationship between digital interfaces and handmade objects, at the Kansas City Art Institute; Concept:Process at Parsons The New School for Design; and Material Location at UrbanGlass in Brooklyn.
Silbert joins the Museum just after the one-year anniversary of the opening of the Contemporary Art + Design Wing, and just prior to the 45th annual Glass Art Society (GAS) conference, which will be held in Corning, June 9-11. This year’s conference, entitled Creating Context: Glass in a New Light, will bring together thousands of contemporary artists working in glass, as well as collectors, manufacturers, scientists, experts, and students.
“I am thrilled to be in Corning to host thousands of my closest friends and colleagues during the GAS conference,” said Silbert. “These are fellow contemporary glass artists, collectors, and admirers. It will be exciting to welcome the glass world to Corning so soon after I make it my new home.”