Josiah McElheny | Assistant Martha Friedman

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EXCLUSIVE: Watch artist Josiah McElheny and assistant Martha Friedman transform clear hand-blown glass objects into mirrored surfaces in his Brooklyn, NY studio.

Josiah McElheny creates finely crafted, handmade glass objects that he combines with photographs, text, and museological displays to evoke notions of meaning and memory. McElheny’s work takes as its subject the object, idea, and social nexus of glass. Influenced by the writings of Jorge Luis Borges, McElheny’s work often takes the form of historical fictions. Part of McElheny’s fascination with storytelling is that glassmaking is part of an oral tradition handed down generation to generation, artisan to artisan. Sculptural models of Modernist ideals, these totally reflective environments are both elegant seductions as well as parables of the vices of utopian aspirations.

Josiah McElheny is featured in the Season 3 (2005) episode Memory of the Art:21—Art in the Twenty-First Century television series on PBS.

VIDEO | Producer: Wesley Miller and Nick Ravich. Interview: Susan Sollins. Camera & Sound: Joel Shapiro and Tom Bergin. Editor: Jenny Chiurco. Artwork Courtesy: Josiah McElheny. Special Thanks: Martha Friedman.

Contributor
Jonathan Munar is the Director of Digital Media and Strategy at Art21, overseeing the organization's overall digital, Web, and social media presences. He edits and contributes to Art21's "Art 2.1" column.

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