Spare 9

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Object Name: 
Sculpture
Title: 
Spare 9
Accession Number: 
2014.4.76
Dimensions: 
Overall H: 37.1 cm, Diam (max): 7.7 cm
Location: 
Not on Display
Date: 
1971-1972
Credit Line: 
Gift of the André and Carol Billeci Family
Web Description: 
This object is one of a group of sculptures made by the American studio glass pioneer Andre Billeci for “A Glass Environment,” his 1972 exhibition at the Corning Museum. The exhibition opened on June 7. On June 23, the Museum was devastated by a flood, and all of Billeci’s sculptures were destroyed. Billeci had chosen 10 sculptures for his show, but this one, from the same series, was left behind at his studio and survived the flood. The sculpture came to the Museum on loan for the exhibition “The Flood of ’72: Community, Collections, and Conservation” (May 24, 2012–January 3, 2014), and it was donated after the exhibition closed. Located near Corning, Alfred University offers specialized study in ceramics and glass research and technology. Throughout the 1950s, the glass technology department offered students occasional opportunities to blow glass. In 1962, Billeci, a ceramics professor, requested permission to operate a glass furnace at the university during the summer, and with the help of two retired Corning Glass Works glassblowers, he began to experiment with glass. An independent-study course that Billeci introduced in 1963 led to the establishment of the first glass curriculum at Alfred in 1966. Billeci used molten glass to explore sculptural form rather than to make functional objects. Spare 9 is characteristic of the free-form sculpture made during the late 1960s and early 1970s. It preserves an important moment in early American studio glass, before the introduction of European techniques, when blowing glass was still relatively unskilled and experimental. Billeci’s work is published in Martha Drexler Lynn, American Studio Glass, 1960–1990: An Interpretive Study, New York: Hudson Hills Press, 2004, pp. 59 and 78; and Susanne K. Frantz, Contemporary Glass: A World Survey from The Corning Museum of Glass, New York: H. N. Abrams, 1989, pp. 7 and 58–59. For more information, see www.urbanglass.org/glass/detail/in-memoriam-remembering-andy-billeci-1933-2011.
Provenance: 
Billeci, Carol, Source
2012-03-15
to
2014-10-14
Brill, Robert H. (American, 1929-2021), Former Collection
2012-03-15
Technique: 
Material: 
Inscription: 
9
inscription
Engraved on body near edge of base
#9 / SPAR[label has been worn off]
label
Affixed on base
Primary Description: 
Sculpture, "Spare 9". Colorless and amber glass; hot-worked. Abstract sculpture in the form of an amber droplet with mushroom top from which a colorless "stem" with flattened neck ring has been drawn up. The sculpture was made by shaping a pad of hot solid glass and stretching it out with shears. Another pad of hot solid glass was attached, and a thick thread was drawn out of that pad, which was then wrapped with a thread to create a ring. The base of the sculpture was flattened by cold-working.
Venue(s)
Rakow Library, Corning Museum of Glass 2012-05-24 through 2014-01-03
On June 23, 1972, Corning and the surrounding communities were devastated by a major flood, as a result of the tropical storm Agnes. At the Museum, hundreds of objects were broken, more than half of the Library’s materials were saturated with flood water, and the facility was covered with a thick layer of slime and mud. This exhibit chronicles the determination of Museum staff and the community to rebuild, and sheds light on the unique conservation techniques that were used to restore Library materials. Spring flooding was fairly commonplace in the greater Corning area. In fact, a series of dikes had been built in response to the floods of 1935 and 1946. However, two additional dams had been planned, but not constructed, as of 1972. In June 1972, tropical storm Agnes brought torrential rainfall to the area and raised the Chemung River water level to 15 feet by June 22. Overnight, an additional 12 feet of water accumulated, causing the river to break through the dikes and flood into the Crystal City, submerging homes and businesses, including The Corning Museum of Glass and its Library. The Museum was situated in the middle of the disaster area where water had surged 15 to 20 feet above the lower level on the west side of the Glass Center. By the morning of June 24, the river was back within its banks but the damage remained for much longer. Inside the Museum, the water line was 5’4” high on the walls and cases, and two inches of mud covered the floor and many of the objects and Library books. Residents and businesses had to face initial cleanup without electricity and running water, some for up to three weeks. After the waters receded, many of the 13,000 glass objects in the Museum were covered with mud; remarkably, though, only four percent suffered damage and were in need of restoration. Books and paper materials housed within the Museum’s Library, however, were not as fortunate. The entire rare and special collection was flooded, as well as many of the browseable books, periodicals, documents, archives, images, slides, films, and audio tapes. The moisture and silt caused severe damage to the Library materials and made them vulnerable to mold and insects. In the community, more than 6,000 people were displaced from their homes and property damage exceeded $230 million. Tragically, 18 individuals lost their lives. The City of Corning was extremely fortunate to have visionary leadership in government and industry, as well as an outpouring of volunteers who made the rebuilding of the community and restoration of the Museum and Library collections possible. The exhibition The Flood of ’72: Community, Collections, and Conservation details the damage caused by the floodwaters, as well as the spirit of the community and Museum staff that drove them to rebuild. Photographs, documents, and other selected historical materials from the Library’s collection will highlight the flood, its aftermath, subsequent reconstruction, and the development of new disaster preparedness programs and conservation techniques. To commemorate the 40th anniversary of the 1972 flood, the exhibit will remain on view through the end of 2013.
Recent Important Acquisitions (New Glass Review 36) (2015) illustrated, p. 108 (top right); BIB# AI99415
The Corning Museum of Glass: Notable Acquisitions 2014 (2015) illustrated, p. 50 (#34); BIB# AI100547
The Corning Museum of Glass Annual Report 2014 (2014) illustrated, p. 39 (top); BIB# 706293