MURANO: Glass from The Olnick Spanu Collection presents a comprehensive examination of Venetian glass making in the twentieth century. Organized chronologically, the exhibition comprises approximately 290 outstanding examples of blown glass and explores the nature of modern, artistic Murano glass in terms of its distinct characteristics and its relation to international design. The exhibition is drawn exclusively from the private collection of Nancy Olnick and Giorgio Spanu of New York, and the artworks include many of the finest examples of Murano glass in the world. Ms. Olnick and Mr. Spanu began their collection in 1989 with the purchase of an emerald green and cobalt blue Paolo Venini clessidra (hourglass) and quickly became passionate about Murano glass, intuitively choosing works that reflect major twentieth-century art movements. The strength and stylistic diversity of their encyclopedic collection demonstrate not only the richness of modern Murano glass, but also the close relation of the decorative and fine arts.
Curator: Marino Barovier belongs to a family whose association with the glass industry in Venice dates at least to the Renaissance. He is an internationally renowned glass historian and the author of books on the work of Carlo Scarpa and Lino Tagliapietra.
Designers: Lella and Massimo Vignelli designed the installation and graphics for MURANO: Glass from The Olnick Spanu Collection. The Vignellis were honored with the 2003 Lifetime Achievement Award by the Smithsonian Institution¥s Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum.
The National Tour of this exhibition was sponsored by Venini.
Additional support from the Art Alliance for Contemporary Glass, Casa Italiana Zerilli-MarimÚ at New York University, and the Beacon Cultural Foundation.