When I was invited to an exhibit of “Functional Art Glass,” my first reaction was, WTF is Functional Art Glass? Then I read a little bit further into the press release and realized that, back in the day, a piece of Functional Art Glass was referred to as a Water Pipe, or a Bong. And now, it is functional art! I can’t tell you how much I love knowing this. As Andy Warhol once said, “Art is What You Can Get Away With.”
Celebrating Twenty Years in business, lifestyle accessories brand 1Percent, one of the leading online retailers for smoking accessories, is currently hosting a gallery showcase, pop-up shop, and a series of events in New York City for the month of January. The gallery features over 75 unique glass sculptures in the Nor’Easter Collection, and you can see why these pieces have risen the status of collectable art. Nor’Easter is a celebration of pipe culture from respected glass artists spanning across the east coast, including MTP, JOP!, Coyle and Slinger.
For fans and collectors alike, 1Percentwill provide a one-on-one exclusive experience with Brandon Long, the gallery curator, as he explains the basics of functional glass, the innovators, and the outlook for high-end glass collectors with the current glass renaissance. I was lucky enough to get a VIP guided tour of the glass with Brandon, and his knowledge is not only impressive but his stories are fun and engaging.
Brandon knows many of these artists personally and is familiar with their education, techniques and methods of creating these pipes. He had a fascinating anecdote about every piece in the gallery! I will attempt to recall some of what he said in my captions for the photos to follow.
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Many other artists have made glass versions the popular Dunny vinyl toy before Coyle, but he was likely the first to turn to turn it into a functioning rig called a Munny. Coyles’ The Munny Project book can also be viewed in the gallery. The pieces above are a collaboration with JAG (Just Another Glass Blower) and sell for about $7,500 each. The Glass Scorpion is by Toby Upton.
Here’s another detail shot.
The above Mismatched Mini Tube by artist MTP was the first water pipe manufactured in Manhattan, according to Brandon. It is literally made up of many mismatched glass pieces fused together and includes inlaid opals. Price: $2,100. What a bargain.
Just looking at it makes me feel high.
This piece is called Hickory Dickory Dock, and it is one of my favorites in the show. Created by artists Diet and LIG (Long Island Glass), the images on this piece — which remind me very much of the art of Travis Louie — were created via a sandblasting technique. Unbelievable. Price: $2000.
Artist JOP (Josh Opdenaker) made this Black Doll using a vintage doll face mold. Creepy Cool! Price: $3,000
Coyle’s Trapped features tiny glass men trapped within individual glass bubbles. Price: $4500.
How gorgeous is this thing? Created by Th3y for Bear Mountain Studios, Submarine, as it is called, will set you back $3,800.
Also: African Stag Beetle by Toby Upton. Price: $850.
Another detail shot of opals that are part of Submarine.
Because this post needed a Pink Thing: Jop!+ Slinger’s Pink Chicken Price: $3000.
As part of the NYC pop up, 1Percent will also offer free rolling classes, ranging from a beginner class – where one can learn the basics of paper types, sizes, and how to use a rolling machine, all the way to advanced rolling – where more experienced rollers can learn how to craft the infamous “Cross Joint” as seen in hilarious film, Pineapple Express. Ah, James Franco was never better.
If your looking to pick up some glass for under four figures there are bargains in the basement, such as this lovely Flower Tube by Frit + Hodouken. Price: $650.
And jewelry, such as these Glass Claw Pendents for just $150.
On the day I visited, the legendary Tommy Chong was in the house after hosting a special Rolling Class for winners of an online contest. Was he in an altered sate? Probably.
The 1Percent Pop Up Shop and Nor’Easter Collection, Located at 143 Ludlow Street (Stanton and Rivington) will run through January 31st, 2015 and is open to the public seven days a week. Hours are 1 – 9:00 PM Sunday -Thursday and 1 – 10:00 PM Friday and Saturday. For additional information on the artists, rolling classes, guided tours or exclusive specialty events please visit 1 Percent Dot NYC.