CORNING, N.Y. – The new Modern Glass Gallery of the Corning Museum of Glass will open on October 7, completing the museum’s Art and History Galleries. The Modern Glass Gallery joins the Ancient, European and American Glass Galleries and the Sculpture Gallery in presenting an encyclopedic overview of the art and history of glass.
The museum’s collection of modern glass documents the Twentieth Century, from turn-of-the-century Art Nouveau to the contemporary Studio Glass movement. Exhibits in the new Modern Glass Gallery feature a diverse array of vessels, sculpture, lighting devices, furniture, windows, and panels. They cover a range of artistic movements, beginning in the 1880s with European and American Art Nouveau, Art Deco from the 1920s and 1930s, Italian and Swedish design at mid-century, and studio glass from the early 1960s to the 1990s. The work of more than 100 designers and artists will be represented in the gallery.
Redesigned by Ralph Appelbaum and Associates, the new gallery will feature familiar pieces in a fresh setting as well as objects never before exhibited. New display cases present more glass objects with better visibility than before, and where possible, stained glass is presented in natural light.
The interior walls of the gallery have been removed to reveal the exterior windows of the building. As a result, the gallery space takes advantage of natural light while reconnecting to the museum’s signature architecture.
“The Modern Glass Gallery is the final piece of the puzzle,” says Tina Oldknow, curator of modern glass at the museum. “In other museums, it wouldn’t be possible to tell the story of glass this way.
“[Now] you can trace the development of certain techniques, like mosaic, from ancient times through the close of the Twentieth Century,” she continued. “You can see Roman mosaic glass of the First Century AD and then a short walk way, see how Nineteenth Century designers reinterpreted the mosaic technique, and then how Twentieth Century artists have reinterpreted it. And you can see this without having to walk through galleries of intervening paintings, sculpture and decorative arts. It’s a great thing.”
The contemporary Studio Glass movement produced a diverse and vivid body of work in its first decades. Many of the movement’s leading artists are on display, their work put in context in a way possible in no other museum. The Modern Glass Gallery aims to provide a sweeping overview of the most dense and varied century in the history of all the arts. Oldknow’s choices were influenced by the historical importance of the work.
“I like glass that creates connections to other movements in art history – glass that you can see history through,” commented the curator.
The Corning Museum of Glass is open daily from 9 am to 5 pm. For information call 607/937-5371.