What Comes Next

What Comes Next

Laura de Santillana Flag

Laura de Santillana, Flag, 2011, blown incalmo, fumed, hotworked glass, 15 x 19 x 2.5 in.

Toledo Museum of Art

The path to the future is built on the past – and history can be both liability and liberator.

Laura de Santillana might know this better than most. She is the granddaughter of Paolo Venini, founder of the famed eponymous glassworks in Murano, Italy. She is also a renowned glass artist in her own right, praised for her painterly incalmo sculptures – more reminiscent of Mark Rothko’s work than the dappled, decorative style that is her birthright.

Perhaps fittingly, then, Flag (2011) is making its US debut in “Fired Up: Women in Glass,” on view at the Mint Museum Uptown through February 26. This show, the first American art museum exhibition focusing on the achievements of women working in glass, is a creative collaboration between the Mint, in Charlotte, North Carolina, and the Toledo Museum of Art. The emphasis is on female contributions to the male-dominated midcentury studio glass movement, but also on women’s current roles as innovators and iconoclasts, the people who are moving the field forward. On view are some 40 functional objects and sculptures, all drawn from the TMA’s collection.

The exhibition is part of the Mint’s yearlong 80th anniversary celebration, which began in July. They’re calling it “Year of the Woman,” inspired by the women who were the driving force behind the institution’s founding. History, meet what comes next.