Kanik Chung: Does Everything End in a Lamp!

For the month of March, Kanik Chung: Does Everything End in a Lamp!, will be on view at 111 Front Street. The retrospective celebrates multimedia artist Kanik Chung’s decades long career. Featuring drawings on paper, sculpture, video, paintings, and glass, the exhibition will open on March 6 with an evening reception, as a part of the First Thursday Gallery Walk, and continue through March 27, 2014.

The late artist Kanik Chung (1968-2013) had been an active member of the DUMBO art community. Known mostly for his masterful glass work, Chung produced art in a variety of media. In addition to his professional success as a glassblower and craftsman, Chung was very dedicated to his fine art practice, and worked out of a studio in DUMBO after relocating to New York in the early 2000’s. In 2009, Chung, along with fellow artist Jan Lee, opened 70 John, a gallery and showroom to showcase handmade glass and antiques, which they opened regularly for the First Thursday Gallery Walk.

We reached out Victoria Calabro, who organized “Does Everything End in a Lamp!” along with artist John West and Chung’s sister, Ling-Fong Chung, to learn more about Kanik Chung and the exhibition she has curated to celebrate his life and art practice.

Q: Tell us about Kanik.

Calabro: Kanik Chung is a sculptor specializing in blown glass, with an MFA from The Ohio State University. Since 2000, he worked in New York City fabricating glass for artists and designers. He worked as a glass blower for over twenty years in many studios large and small, working on a range of projects from the production of small tabletop glass to large glass installation sculpture to lighting.

Q: How did you and Kanik meet?

Calabro: I met Kanik in 2005 when I was an MFA Student at NYU. He helped introduce me to glass at UrbanGlass in Brooklyn. We became friends bonding over our mutual love for art and art making.

Q: What was Kanik’s art practice like?

Calabro: Kanik was known primarily as a glassblower and as an exceptional craftsman. He could make almost anything. When he moved to Brooklyn from San Francisco in 2000, he built a business fabricating glass products for designers and artists and worked on his own commission-based projects. During this time he made his own artworks in glass as well as videos, drawings, and paintings on paper. In 2012 at the age of 43 Kanik was diagnosed with liver cancer. Time became important. He really wanted to produce a new body of work and made a decision to focus on his studio practice full time. It helped him process what was going on in his life and kept him engaged in what he loved most: art making. Kanik was a funny guy, very silly at times, and that was reflected in his work. Despite his difficult last few years, he made an entirely new body of work. This work is more serious than the work he made previously. Despite his diagnosis he was still able to mix in the trademark Kanik charm and wit into each work. His newest glass works were maquettes for larger sculptures: an electric chair, halo, bulletproof vest and a stretcher. At times he felt invincible, and other times he felt like he needed to be rescued. Somehow he made all of these objects beautiful and not as scary.

Q: What work will be on view in “Does Everything End in a Lamp!”?

Calabro: This show includes a survey of works from 1996-2013. All of the works are beautiful, expertly crafted, and full of curiosity and humor and also reveal deep moments of vulnerability.

If you go:

Kanik Chung: Does Everything End in a Lamp!

111 Front St, suite 216

March 6 – March 27, 2014

10am – 5pm Friday – Sunday & by appointment

(650) 270-5553


Photo by Ed Lefkowicz