Art In America

“Outlaw Glass”

at apexart,
291 Church Street

For a man of culture and taste, choosing a bong can be a tricky task. The range of options can feel limited: water pipes weighted down with tired psychedelia or sterile cylinders emblazoned with bro graphics. The premise of this exhibition of exquisite pipes, bubblers, and bongs is that the liberalization of marijuana laws in some states has led to a kind of renaissance in stoner culture. New (or at least newly emboldened) patrons of the functional glass arts are demanding smoking accoutrements that better reflect their tastes and sensibilities than a frat-house four-footer or some sexless vaporizer that looks like an iPod. Curator David Bienenstock, former head of content at High Times, surveys the diversity of high-end glass pieces emerging from the kilns of leading figures such as Ben Barocas, CapNCrunk, Dwreck, G-Check, Richard Hollingshead II, and Stevie P. The mirrored vitrines at apexart contain a wild menagerie: intricate alien life-forms, cheeky cartoon animals, and simply elegant pipes in warm organic colors.

Still, for all its apparent diversity, the work in “Outlaw Glass” can feel a bit insular, reliant on familiar headshop iconography—aliens, goddesses, wizards. This may reflect that pressures still faced by what Bienenstock calls a “legally grey art form.” His thoughtful essay for the show recalls how glass artists, including the legendary Bob Snodgrass, were swept up in a federal raid in 2003. It’s clear that the full flourishing in glass art that Bienenstock senses on the horizon won’t come to fruition until broader segments of the population can contribute—an impossibility now given a legal system that continues to imprison people, especially people of color, for marijuana crimes. —William S. Smith


Pictured: View of the exhibition “Outlaw Glass,” 2017, at apexart, New York.

More from the Lookout

Cindy Ji Hye Kim

at Helena Anrather,
through Jun. 23
28 Elizabeth Street

Mariah Robertson

at 11R,
through Jun. 9
195 Chrystie Street

“A Surrealist Banquet”

at Di Donna,
through Jun. 2
744 Madison Avenue

Elias Sime

at James Cohan,
through Jun. 17
533 West 26th Street

Naoki Sutter-Shudo

at Bodega,
through Jun. 11
167 Rivington Street

“Body, Self, Society: Chinese Performance Photography of the 1990s”

at the Walther Collection Project Space,
through Aug. 19
526 West 26th Street, Suite 718

Roni Horn

at Hauser & Wirth,
through Jul. 29
548 West 22nd Street

Rachel Harrison

at Greene Naftali,
through Jun. 17
508 West 26th Street

Susan Hiller

at Lisson Gallery,
through Jun. 10
504 West 24th Street

Lygia Clark

at Luhring Augustine,
through Jun. 17
531 West 24th Street

Nancy Spero

at Galerie Lelong,
through Jun. 17
528 West 26th Street


Richard Tinkler

at 56 Henry,
through May 28
56 Henry Street

Walead Beshty

at Petzel Gallery,
through Jun. 27
456 West 18th Street

Henri Cartier-Bresson

at the Rubin Museum of Art,
through Sept. 4
150 West 17th Street


Siebren Versteeg

at bitforms gallery,
through May 28
131 Allen Street


“Formal Complaint”

at the Knockdown Center,
through May 28
52-19 Flushing Ave., Queens

Lygia Pape

at the Met Breuer,
through Jul. 23
945 Madison Avenue

Georgia O’Keeffe

at Brooklyn Museum,
through Jul. 23
200 Eastern Parkway

“Self-Interned, 1942: Noguchi in Poston War Relocation Center”

at the Isamu Noguchi Museum,
through Jan. 7
9-01 33rd Road, Long Island City

Giorgio de Chirico and Giulio Paolini

at The Center for Italian Modern Art,
through Jun. 24
421 Broome Street

Submit your e-mail to receive insider information from the art world every week.