When I walked into Joan Danziger’s studio for the first time in 2016, it was magical. An authentic reflection of the artist’s creative output for the past four decades, it is both a working space and a showcase.

I was there to view a new wire and glass sculpture series Danziger had embarked upon of horses. I knew of her previous beetle sculptures, and my interest was piqued. Against a backdrop of over 50 sparkling insects hanging on a wall were two completed equine works, Riders of the Blue Spirit and Black Star, and a few others that had been started.

Black Star, 2016, metal and glass, 32 x 48 x 17 inches

They were something new, something different. As I walked around the sculptures taking pictures of them, I began to analyze how they were different. They were joyful, they made me smile, and they were free-spirited; there was something noteworthy about how they were created that made them unique.

Riders of the Blue Spirit, 2016, metal and glass, 29 x 40 x 29 inches

Danziger has completed 17 horses in the past three years since that visit, of which we have on loan 13 in her current solo exhibition at the National Sporting Library & Museum, Canter & Crawl: The Glass Sculpture of Joan Danziger. Her sometimes whimsical works have a freedom and airiness that is emphasized by their mixed media and construction. Each has a metal base with a soldered rod around which up to four layers of chicken wire are wrapped and shaped. Because her materials are so lightweight, Danziger can project her forms, sometimes as much as 3 feet, away from their footings. The negative space created around the works adds an almost ethereal quality. The support rods are mostly hidden in the finished sculpture, heightening the allusion of her horses as archetypes of dancing, galloping, jumping, and frolicking.

Golden Prince, 2017, metal, glass, dichroic glass, and brass wire, 39 x 53 x 25 inches

The contemporary sculptor’s pieces are obviously not meant to be perfect representations of horse anatomy but are an exploration of the spirit and nature of the horse. Danziger’s studio assistant Rebecca Long, a representational sculptor, creates the basic forms, and Danziger instructs her on elongating and exaggerating proportions. In her early career, Danziger was an abstract painter having studied at Cornell University. Relying on her knowledge of color theory and abstraction, she cuts and applies glass shards and braids wire to the forms to create mosaic surfaces that are an intriguing play of light, shadow, texture, translucency, and opacity.

Detail of Riders of the Blue Spirit, 2016

As a photographer, I can attest to how difficult it is to capture the nuances and subtleties of three-dimensional art in a photograph. We at NSLM are excited to be the first venue for Joan Danziger’s uplifting horse series so that visitors may experience these sparkling jewels in person. If you haven’t seen the exhibition yet and are within driving distance, I encourage you to visit Canter & Crawl before it closes on January 5, 2020.

Panorama of one of the Canter & Crawl galleries.

pfeiffer

Claudia Pfeiffer is the George L. Ohrstrom, Jr. Head Curator at the National Sporting Library & Museum and has been with the organization since the position was first underwritten by the George L. Ohrstrom, Jr. Foundation in 2012. Her primary focus is the research, design, interpretation, writing, and installation of exhibitions. E-mail Claudia at cpfeiffer@nationalsporting.org

This year the National Sporting Library & Museum will participate in its first-ever GivingTuesday and we are so excited!

Falling annually on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, GivingTuesday began with the simple idea of encouragement: encouragement to do good, to inspire others to give, reach out to others, create community, and celebrate generosity.

GivingTuesday was created in 2012 to kick off the beginning of the charitable giving season. It is a digital initiative where organizations primarily raise funds through emails and social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram. In 2018, more than 150 countries participated in this international day of giving, raising $400+ million online.

For our first ever GivingTuesday, we will be raising $700 to repair the clamshell box that stores and protects Theodore Roosevelt’s original, handwritten manuscript, “Riding to hounds on Long Island.” This rare manuscript is a popular item at the NSLM and is often shown to the public on tours or used by visiting researchers. The manuscript is housed in a protective red leather case along with a copy of “The Century Illustrated Monthly Magazine” (July, 1886) in which the final copy of his manuscript was published.

We have such a fantastic community of supporters at the NSLM and we cannot wait to see your response to GivingTuesday!

Here is how you can help:

  1. Donate! Any amount makes a tremendous difference to our dear Teddy!
  2. Share our GivingTuesday posts on Facebook with your friends and family. You are our best supporter and ambassador in the community!
  3. Forward our GivingTuesday emails!

If you’d like to contribute this GivingTuesday to help fix the case protecting Theodore Roosevelt’s original manuscript, please follow the link below:

https://app.etapestry.com/onlineforms/NationalSportingLibrary/2019-GivingTuesday.html

Let’s help protect this rare piece of American History at the NSLM!

Lauren joined the NSLM’s Development Department in July 2019 as the Development Associate. She is responsible for membership, communications, and database management.