Recent Acquisitions: Local Artist Helps Combat Museum Fatigue

Cultural institutions in San Francisco continually search for new acquisitions. Alexis Coe brings you the most important, often wondrous, sometimes bizarre, and occasionally downright vexing finds each week.

Even curators aren't immune to museum fatigue. On a trip to Boston's Museum of Fine Arts, Julie Muniz was happy to encounter the Please Be Seated program, which favors studio furniture over unremarkable benches.

“I had this vision of a gallery filled with amazing studio glass, and in the center, instead of regular gallery seating, would be this beautiful glass bench that visitors could sit on,” remembers the associate curator at the Oakland Museum of California.

John Lewis, the Bay Area artist who opened one of the first glass studios in 1969, came to mind. By combining the artistic vision of architecture with the medium of glass, Lewis has made substantial contributions to the field. His work has been commissioned by museums around the world, including New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Muniz was planning an upcoming exhibition commemorating the 50th anniversary of the American Studio Glass Movement, but the museum had only a few, smaller sculptural pieces of glass by Lewis. She sought out the artist, who seemed equally excited at the prospect. Muniz then turned to the Women's Board in search of funds for the new acquisitions, who unanimously approved the purchase.

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