Brian Clarke, Norman Foster and Robert Storr in Conversation
An online conversation between the foremost practitioner of stained glass, architectural artist Brian Clarke and esteemed architect Sir Norman Foster.
Clarke and Foster are longtime friends and fruitful collaborators, working together on notable architectural art commissions for locations around the world, including London's Stansted Airport, the Al-Faisaliyah Complex in Riyadh, a landmark work in the development of modern stained glass, and the Palace of Peace and Reconciliation in Kazakhstan.
In Norman Foster's words, Clarke "uses buildings as a canvas" and his spectacular stained-glass artworks "impart a wonderful sense of poetry to a space."
The conversation was chaired by art critic, curator, and artist Robert Storr, and was recorded on Nov 13, 2020, to celebrate Clarke's exhibition at the Museum of Arts and Design, New York.
To learn more about Clarke, watch our HENI Talk 'Brian Clarke: The Art of Light'.
Ben Tufnell (b. 1969) is a curator and writer. He was previously a curator at Tate, Director of Exhibitions at Haunch of Venison, and is currently a Director of Parafin, an independent gallery in London. Tufnell has published widely and his books include Land Art (Tate Publishing, 2006) and Frank Stella: Connections (Hatje Cantz, 2012). In 2013-14 he co-curated the Arts Council Collection touring exhibition Uncommon Ground: Land Art in Britain 1967-79, which travelled to four UK museums. As an independent curator and writer Tufnell has collaborated with many international museums including the National Museums and Galleries of Wales, Cardiff, Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh, Yorkshire Sculpture Park, Henry Moore Institute, Queensland Art Gallery, South African National Gallery, and MUAC in Mexico City, amongst others. His most recent book is In Land: Writings Around Land Art and Its Legacies (2019).Brian Clarke, painter and architectural artist, was born in Oldham, Lancashire, in 1953, and is the most celebrated stained glass artist in the world today.
A lifelong exponent of the integration of art and architecture, Clarke's commitment to total art has developed into a Renaissance engagement with multiple media -- from painting, sculpture, ceramics, mosaic, tapestry, jewellery and furniture, to sets for opera, the ballet, and stadia. Practising in secular and sacred spaces, his architectural collaborations include work with Zaha Hadid, Norman Foster, Arata Isozaki, Oscar Niemeyer, I. M. Pei, Future Systems and other leading figures of Modern and contemporary architecture, creating stained glass designs and art installations for hundreds of projects worldwide.
His practice in architectural and autonomous stained glass, often on a monumental scale, has led to successive innovation and invention in the fabrication of the medium and, through the production of leadless stained glass and the creation of sculptural stained glass works made primarily or wholly of lead, he has radically stretched the boundaries of what the medium can do and express.
Major works include the Pyramid of Peace, Kazakhstan; Victoria Quarter Leeds, the largest stained glass roof in Europe; the Hôtel du département des Bouches-du-Rhône (Le Grand Bleu), Marseilles; the Royal Mosque of King Khalid International Airport, Riyadh; the 13th century Cistercian Abbaye de la Fille-Dieu, Romont; Buxton Thermal Baths' Cavendish Arcade; the Al Faisaliyah Center, Riyadh; Pfizer World Headquarters, Manhattan; Beaverbrook Coach House and Spa at Cherkeley Court; the Stamford Cone, Connecticut; and NorteShopping, Rio de Janeiro. Stage sets and designs for theatre include designs for two productions of Wayne Eagling's Rudolf Nureyev-tribute 'The Ruins of Time', with the Dutch National Ballet; Paul McCartney's World Tour (1989-90) and The New World Tour (1993); and a production of the Robert Ward opera 'The Crucible', directed by Hugh Hudson.
Clarke is an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Institute of British Architects; Fellow, Trustee, and Council member of the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust; former Visiting Professor of Architectural Art at the Bartlett School of Architecture, University College London; former trustee and Chairman of the Architecture Foundation; Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts; Honorary Liveryman of the Worshipful Company of Glaziers and Painters of Glass; Hon. Doctor of Law, University of Huddersfield; Doctor of Humane Letters, Virginia Theological Seminary; former member of the Design Review Committee for the Commission of Architecture and the Built Environment (CABE); Governor of the Capital City Academy Trust; Sole Executor and Chairman of the Estate of Francis Bacon; Trustee and Chairman of the Zaha Hadid Foundation.
Robert Storr is a curator, critic, and painter. From 1990 until 2002 he worked at The Museum of Modern Art in New York, where he was curator and then senior curator in the Department of Painting and Sculpture. His exhibitions there included, 'DISLOCATIONS', 'Modern Art Despite Modernism', and retrospectives of Robert Ryman, Tony Smith, Chuck Close, Gerhard Richter, Max Beckmann, and Elizabeth Murray. From 1990 to 2000 he directed MoMA's Projects program devoted to contemporary art, for which he organized small monographic shows by Art Spiegelman, Franz West, Tom Friedman, and others. In 2002 he was named the first Rosalie Solow Professor of Modern Art at the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University. From 2006 to 2016 he served as the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Dean of the Yale University School of Art, where he continues to be a professor of painting. In 2007 he served as Artistic Director of the Venice Biennale, the first American to hold that position.
Since 1982, his essays, reviews, and columns have appeared in Art in America, Art Press, Frieze, Artforum, Parkett, Corriere della Sera, and other magazines and journals. He is the author of numerous catalogues and books -- most recently, of Intimate Geometries: The Life and Work of Louise Bourgeois (2016), for which he received the 2017 Filaf d'or Award, as well as the 2017 Filaf Award for Best Book on Contemporary Art. A frequent lecturer both in the United States and abroad, he has taught painting, drawing, art history, and criticism at numerous colleges, universities, and art schools. He is the recipient of prestigious awards for his criticism and curatorial work from organizations such as the International Association of Art Critics and the Archives of American Art. In 2016 he was awarded a fellowship from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation. Made Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres by the French Ministry of Culture in 2000, he was subsequently promoted to Officier of the same order. Storr lives and works in Brooklyn, New York, and New Haven, Connecticut.
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