Saturday, November 08, 2008
If you can't grow em, make em
It’s a stretch to call creating a glass flower indoor gardening, I do realize. But it does make a flower happen and it’s fun. Although it’s only about two and a half hours away, we don’t visit the Corning Museum of Glass as often as we should. They have a great permanent collection covering the entire history of glass, from Egyptian portraits to the latest from Chihuly, Ben Tre, and many Czech artists with very long names. Above is the 1997 Hollow Torso by Irish artist Clifford Rainey.
It’s a bit of a shame that the only glass artist most people know—I include myself in this—is Chihuly (above). I like his stuff, but during our visit, there were so many other wonderful contemporary sculptures and installations. I guess Chihuly is one of the only ones able to make the crossover into the larger art world. (You know, that whole craft vs. art thing.)
The magnificent Chihuly sculpture you see here is in the lobby of the museum, which, appropriately uses a lot of glass in its construction. Then you move into the galleries, which are chronologically arranged. There are also regularly changing special exhibitions. It was cool to see some work from the Blaschkas (their salvia, above), whom I posted about on Garden Rant. They made a lot of plant and animal glass in the nineteenth century for the purposes of natural science.
Throughout the galleries, I found that many of the objects have nature and flower motifs, as with this Venetian candelabra above.
Corning is certainly one of the most visitor-friendly museums you’ll find, and in an intelligent way, not just a bunch of video-game-like stations, such as many “science centers” have. There is an educational interactive gallery, a theater where you can watch artisans making glass, and a “make your own glass” center. We both made flowers—mine is above. Best of all, you can take as many flash pictures as you want. They do not care. More of mine are here.