Corning Watch: Corning Museum of Glass offers visual feast

Date: 6 December 2011
Source: Corning Incorporated/stargazette.com
Residents of the Cooperstown area don´t spend every day at the Baseball Hall of Fame.Although that magnificent museum is parked squarely in the middle of that stylish and historic community, most Cooperstown residents don´t wake up each day with the Hall of Fame at the top of their mind or their agenda.

The same is true for Corning area residents and the Corning Museum of Glass. People have places to go and things to do and commitments that make it impossible for them to visit the museum as often as they would like.

Saturday and today some people will stop by for the Holiday Open House. Others will enjoy the food, the music, the glassmaking demonstrations and the camaraderie at 2300 Degrees events.

Even at that, many of us never get to see the museum in one of its most powerful incarnations — quiet, nearly empty, with little to detract from the full force of its masterpieces.

I took the opportunity to do that recently, showing up early in the morning before the galleries had begun to fill. Also, I limited myself to one area where I could spend significant time enjoying particular installations or pieces that appealed to me.

That area happened to be the Ben W. Heineman Sr. Family Gallery of Contemporary Glass. I chose it because I was thoroughly unfamiliar with its contents, because the glass in it was acquired recently and because I had no preconceptions about its possible appeal.

Contemporary art glass affects different viewers in different ways. I was frozen in silence by the elegance of Lino Tagliapietra´s hanging vessels — narrow, shallow, smooth-surfaced, boat-like containers.

They struck me as worthy to carry a soul to its final resting place.

Then came Nicolas Africano´s small glass sculpture of a half-dressed female figure based on studies of his wife, Rebecca.

She demanded attention not because her body is partially exposed but because she handles the exposure with such calm dignity.

There are other artists represented in the Heineman Gallery whose names are familiar to glass collectors around the world — artists like Dale Chihuly and Harvey Littleton.

There are also new generations of art glass masters, such as American Nicole Chesney and Australian Mel Douglas.

Give yourself a refreshing new look at Corning´s most significant artistic asset by picking your own corner of the Corning Museum of Glass to browse some quiet morning.

You will soon want to do it again and again.

600450 Corning Watch: Corning Museum of Glass offers visual feast glassonweb.com
Date: 6 December 2011
Source: Corning Incorporated/stargazette.com

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