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.


themanicgardener said...

I am most impressed by your flower! And my impression of Corning has risen. Nice post.

Carol said...

That's a very pretty flower, lily-like. You did a good job with it.

I'm glad they allowed people to take pictures; that is pretty unusual in a museum or gallery. In fact, I was thinking as I read your post that you had risked being kicked out, taking all those pictures!

Carol, May Dreams Gardens

EAL said...

I think because everything is behind glass (likely anti-UV), there's no danger from the flash. EVERYBODY was taking pictures there.
Museums don't allow pictures for good reason--copyright and damage to the work from the light. The contemporary artists must have to sign some disclaimer or something, because they still own copyright to any images of their work. I was surprised too, Carol.

Kathy said...

Is the Blaschka exhibit still there? I was able to see that myself, but I thought it was leaving soon afterwards.

EAL said...

Kathy, I believe some of the Blaschka was kept in the collection. They just had a small segment of it on display.

MA said...

The salvia is marvelous. I, too, had the good fortune to see Chihuly's stuff up close. And when in Seattle, there is art glass everywhere you turn. Such a great medium.

Lisa at Greenbow said...

I bet that was a hoot to get to make a flower out of glass. You did a good job.

I remember nto wanting to waste my time going to see the Chihuly exhibit in Chicago. I was stunned by the way the glass art moved me. Now I look at glass in a different way.

Craig at Ellis Hollow said...

One thought I had after my last visit that I've never followed up on: Is there someone on staff there who could give a floral/garden themed tour of the museum? I couldn't help looking at the works through that lens, and wished there was someone there who could tell me more and point out things that I missed. Would make a good excuse to get garden bloggers together.

chuck b. said...

If you like glass art, visit the Pacific Northwest sometime. You will not go wanting for glass art.