Day 1&2

The Crystal City, Corning, New York

Corning Museum of Glass

Two days are not enough! $24 buys you a two day pass at the Corning Museum of Glass. This is plenty for most people, but for a glass nerd like myself then 4 to 6 days is more like it. Absolutely everything there is fascinating. I felt very overwhelmed within the first hour. I decided I needed to have a coffee, a think, and come up with a strategy. With a heavy heart I knew there wasn’t enough time to see everything. I’d come all this way and realised that two days meant I could only scratch the surface……….Still two days was two days and who knew what I might discover.

So…why had I come?

To seek out pieces made using the Flamework technique, also often called Lampwork. I already knew of artists like Susan Plum who worked on a large scale, weaving linear structures

and Amber Cowan’s dense flora and fauna panels of reformed milk glass

and was excited to be seeing these pieces in reality. I was excited to discover new artists and how the technique was used throughout history.

My strategy:

  • To take lots of photos, then look more closely back home and share as a resource.
  • Day 1 do a quick overall scan of the entire museum and pick out areas to revisit on Day 2.
  • Squeeze the library in somehow.

The Contemporary Art and Design Wing

The 26,000-square-foot contemporary gallery is part of the Contemporary Art + Design Wing, designed by architect Thomas Phifer and Partners, and opened in 2015. The contemporary galleries in the new wing are the world’s largest space dedicated to the display of contemporary art and design in glass. The gallery features a sophisticated light-filtering system using diffusing roof skylights, which provide most of the lighting required to view the art.

The Contemporary Art Gallery shows large scale contemporary objects, sculpture and installation. The gallery is at the entrance to the museum and is a suitably awe inspiring experience. I could see how immensely this new gallery lifted the whole museum and visitors perception of the material into a contemporary realm.

One of the very first pieces I saw in the new Contemporary Art and Design Galleries was perhaps my favourite from the entire collection. The piece by Josepha………………………. Made from pieces of borosilicate glass, meticulously glued in place. The effect is a piece that changes with the light and the viewers movements around it, it seems to hover and shimmer.

This new gallery opened in 2015 designed by architect Thomas Phifer and Partners, are beautifully designed and light, both natural and artificial has been carefully considered and embraced. The lighting throughout is absolutely beautiful, coming/pouring from the natural light through the ceiling and the enormous windows in front of which is an elegant taught gauze.. It is a thing in itself coming through the ceiling and huge panoramic windows through which the light is filtered through taught gauze. Pieces in display cabinets are lit from above through frosted glass, creating an even gentle light.

Immediately afterwards I visited the Ben W. Heineman Sr Family Gallery of Contemporary Glass. Despite being a fascinating collection I could instantly see how dated the design of the exhibition space was, in comparison to The Contemporary Galleries and the effect the lighting, plinth design etc had. I felt tired. The objects felt tired. I tire easily in Art Galleries. I have a Tate card for the reason that I need to go and visit a big show a few times, I can’t take it all in. For me it’s like smelling perfumes, too many and they all start to merge together. In this sense I would have been better to have taken a day or two over each gallery. But then that’s just my pace, other people may find they can absorb it all.

The museum is so diverse it’s easy to lose focus. I kept reminding myself that I can’t take it all in and not to try.

Tomorrow I have a few areas to target Natural Glass Looks amazing, as do the Diorama’s and Beadwork.