A selection of contemporary glass from the museum's collection currently on view by the Courtyard Entry
Glass has been prized as a functional and decorative material since ancient times, and Pittsburgh has a proud tradition of glass production dating from the 18th century to the present. After World War II, increasing numbers of American and European artists working in small studio settings began to explore the artistic potential of glass. They honed their skills through workshops with industrial glassblowers, visits to European centers of glass production, and formal instruction in newly established university programs. Access to technical expertise and specialized glassworking facilities gave artists the means necessary to carry out their conceptual visions; as a result, interest in studio glass has grown exponentially.
Carnegie Museum of Art made several prescient acquisitions of glass in the 1970s and 1980s yet developed the majority of the contemporary glass collection over the last decade, thanks in large part to the generosity of the late Maxine and William Block Sr. During the same period, artists Kathleen Mulcahy and Ron Desmett co-founded and cultivated the Pittsburgh Glass Center in the Penn Avenue arts district. Throughout its 10-year history, the Glass Center has attracted many notable artists to work and to exhibit in Pittsburgh, including several with objects on view here: Nadège Desgenétez, Sidney Hutter, Benjamin Moore, Kait Rhoads, and Nobuyasu Toyooka.