By Pauline Woo
The glass sculptures of Visual Arts teacher John Luebtow were exhibited at the Carnegie Art Museum in Oxnard this summer. âAmerican Glassâ reflected Luebtowâs feelings about the United States before and after the 9/11 tragedy.
âAmerican Glassâ was open from June 10 to Aug. 19, and visitors included Director of Theater Programs Christopher Moore.
â[I was] just blown away by [Johnâs] work,â Moore says. â[I] strolled from one astounding piece to another for well over an hour. I couldnât begin to pick a favorite. [It was] reallyâ¦incredible and thought-provoking work. The imagination, the detail, the scale and the scope of [the art] was mind-boggling.â In an e-mail sent to Luebtow, Moore added, âIt was truly a thrill to see your work. I bought a lottery ticket [for the first time] in the hopes of scoring big to purchase one of your incredible works of art.â
Lubetow said of his latest exhibit, âItâs the dichotomy of the beauty of America with the truth of the violence, anger and frustration for those who have nothing. Itâs a good summation of life.â The artist clarified, âI donât want to be overly political. I want to work in the system, but I also want to call attention to the problem. Iâm not a revolutionary, but I want to make people see. Itâs a way to stimulate the mind of a person observing something and ring something inside them to cause reflection, if not politically then in their own life.â
On how Luebtow began working with glass, he said, âI saw [the glass] and thought, âWow! This is great.â Besides having three-dimensionality, it also has transparency. It has another light in the multiple sense. Thatâs what hooked me.â
Today, his works are commissioned by major corporations. Some of his clients include the Hyatt, Sheraton, and Hilton hotels, the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, the ARCO Tower, Saks Fifth Avenue, American Airlines, and Hewlett-Packard.
Luebtow previously taught at the California Lutheran College and at Harvard School. He has been at Harvard-Westlake since the merger in 1991.