An assemblage of luminous, bright white icons of modernist glass design, a ghostly, life-size figure in an evening dress, and a dramatic red, cast-glass pyramid seemingly lit from within: these are among the art works that have captivated visitors to The Corning Museum of Glass
time and again and are three of 41 contemporary glass objects featured in the upcoming exhibition, Favorites from the Contemporary Glass Collection. This survey of audience favorites will be on view at the Museum from March 1, 2009 through January 3, 2010.
Many visitors come to the Museum anticipating that they will see Venetian masterpieces and examples of ancient Greek and Roman glassmaking, and are surprised to also discover an extraordinary variety of contemporary works, says David Whitehouse, the Museums executive director. The sheer volume and scale of many of the works in the exhibition, as well as the astonishing variety of forms, color, and techniques represented, underscore the allure of contemporary glass sculpture.
To identify the visitor favorites, the Museum surveyed its education staff, docents, security guards, and others who interact with visitors on a daily basis. The selections range from a painting-inspired still life in glass by Beth Lipman and a sculpture of carrots preserved in a Pyrex tube by Donald Lipski, to Kiki Smiths Steuben vase, engraved with tattoos, and a family portrait comprised of molecular forms by artist Jill Reynolds.
This exhibition brings together some of my favorite objects, as well as the art works that are repeatedly singled out by our visitors. People are drawn to contemporary glass for the unexpected expressions that they discover are possible in the material, by the versatility and skill of the artists, and by the beauty of the objects, said Tina Oldknow, curator of modern glass. The artists represented in Favorites take an innovative approach to the medium, and their work conveys a freshness of thought. I hope that these objects will surprise the visitors who have not yet seen them, and that our visitors who know the collection will enjoy seeing some of their favorite pieces in a different kind of presentation.
The exhibition is part of a larger year-long series of contemporary glass exhibitions. The major 2009 exhibition, Voices of Contemporary Glass, will showcase the 240 objects, by 87 international artists, that constitute the Heineman Collection, one of the largest and finest private collections of contemporary studio glass in the United States, donated to the Museum in 2005 by Ben W. Heineman Sr. and his wife, Natalie G. Heineman. The Heineman Collection is distinguished by the wide-ranging history of studio glass that it represents, with objects dating from 1969 to 2005, and by its focus on selected artists whose work has been influential to artists working in glass worldwide. While over half of the artists in the Heineman Collection are American, there is a wide representation of European artists, as well as artists working in the United Kingdom and Japan. Voices of Contemporary Glass will be on view at the Corning Museum from May 16, 2009 January 3, 2010.