The Corning Museum of Glass (CMoG) is presenting diverse programming dedicated to contemporary glass and celebrating the artists and designers who are pushing boundaries in the field. Today, the Museum announced two major new commissions by artists Spencer Finch, widely admired for his exploration of phenomenological experience, and David Colton, a gifted flameworker celebrated for his sculptural, abstract glass pipes. CMoG also announced the appointment of two leading artists who will be in residence at the Museum this fall and next winter. Deborah Czeresko, the winner of Netflix’s Blown Away, will be in residence from October 14–17, as part of the prize package for the glassblowing competition series. Beth Lipman was awarded the seventh Specialty Glass Residency, a collaboration between Corning Incorporated and The Corning Museum of Glass, which will begin in 2020. The Museum will also host its 58th Annual Seminar on Glass on October 18–19, which in conjunction with the current exhibition New Glass Now, will focus on contemporary glass.
In the first half of 2020, CMoG will install The Secret Life of Glass, a site-specific, large-scale installation that the Museum commissioned from renowned, contemporary artist Spencer Finch, whose multidisciplinary practice explores the beauty and complexity of everyday moments. To create this work, the Museum captured thermal images of the exterior glass curtain wall joining the Museum’s Contemporary Art + Design Wing, designed by architect Thomas Phifer, and Innovations Center over the course of one winter day. In examining the data, Finch homed in on an image captured at 4:30 in the afternoon, in which the range of temperatures experienced by the glass formed the pattern of a wave. Using this fleeting afternoon moment as his starting point, Finch translated the temperatures by assigning colors—inspired by the Sennelier palette favored by Matisse—to each four-degree temperature shift. The result is a poetic interpretation of “the secret life” of window glass as it is exposed to the interplay of sunlight and air on that winter’s afternoon. The finished 12- by 28-foot work, comprised of 16 (3- by 7-foot) fused glass panels set into aluminum framework, will be installed just inside the windows whose “secret life” they reveal.
As described by Finch in his project proposal: “With this work, I am using the decorative elements of glass to describe the technical aspects and physical properties of the material. By considering the transparency of glass, one of its most basic characteristics, and the ways transparency masks a complex interaction with the environment, I am trying to engage and celebrate the complexity of the material as well as the wonder of human perception.”
David Colton (b. 1974, USA) was awarded the 34th Rakow Commission. His work, Untitled, Corning Museum, made of flameworked borosilicate glass and steel is the first functional glass pipe to ever be accessioned into a museum’s permanent collection. The work is currently on view through January 5, 2020, as part of New Glass Now, the Museum’s groundbreaking global survey that documents the innovation of artists, designers, and architects working in the challenging medium of glass.
“Pipes are one of the most important areas of glass production in the 21st century,” said Susie J. Silbert, CMoG’s curator of modern and contemporary glass. “They are inventive in their material and technique and have a broad popular appeal. Colton’s expressive, abstract pipe, with its graffiti-like form and nearly hidden function, beautifully demonstrates the aesthetic influences and possibilities of this art form.”
Inaugurated in 1986 by The Corning Museum of Glass, the Rakow Commission supports the development of new works of art in glass, engaging artists whose works are of superior intellectual and/or technical quality that transcends the traditional boundaries of glassworking. The Rakow Commission, which provides $25,000 to the artist, is made possible through the generosity of the late Dr. and Mrs. Leonard S. Rakow, who were Museum Fellows, friends, and benefactors of CMoG. Each commissioned work is added to the Museum’s collection.
Blown Away Residency
In 2019, CMoG was the proud collaborator and key consulting partner on Netflix’s 10-episode show, Blown Away, the first glassblowing competition series. Deborah Czeresko was awarded the title of “Best in Blow” and a prize package that included a week-long residency at CMoG.
Czeresko will be in residency this fall—two sessions are past, with one more October 14–17—in the Amphitheater Hot Shop, CMoG’s main demonstration space. Reunited with the team that assisted her in the series finale, she will use the residency to experiment with new techniques and realize new work. The family-friendly narrated demonstrations are open to the public between 10:00 am and 4:00 pm daily, and are included with Museum admission.
While visiting the demonstration, the public is also encouraged to view the special installation Blown Away: Glassblowing Comes to Netflix. One work from each contestant is on view, as well as a behind-the-scenes documentary that includes interviews conducted on the set and footage captured of the Museum’s Hot Glass Demo Team taking part in the finale.
Meat Chandelier by Czeresko – a commentary on the male-dominated hot shop and a prelude to a piece that fans of Blown Away will recognize from the series finale— is currently on view as part the Museum’s current exhibition New Glass Now.
The Specialty Glass Residency is an artist residency program jointly run by The Corning Museum of Glass and Corning Incorporated. Since 2014, the Residency has enabled artists to explore the adaptation of specialty glass materials for the creation of new work. Corning, which has developed and patented many specialty glass formulations, provides the resident artist with access to specialty glass, as well as access to staff with technical expertise in glass formulation, melting, and forming. The Corning Museum of Glass provides access to its extensive resources, including its glassmaking facilities and collection. The resident artist works closely with the Museum’s glassmakers, curators, and other staff to better understand glass and its historical and artistic contexts.
“Beth Lipman’s solid skills and boundless creativity are hallmarks of her impressive career to date,” said Amy Schwartz, Director of The Studio of The Corning Museum of Glass. “She has only had access to commonly available commercially-made glasses for her work. This fundamental limitation will be removed when she begins her work here as our 2020 Specialty Glass Resident. I’m looking forward to seeing what she does when she gets to experience the special glasses available to her at Corning Incorporated’s research facility, Sullivan Park.”
“For every moment that I’ve been in Corning, I’ve never gone into industry. The corporate Headquarters is the closest I’ve come to being in that section of glassmaking. I expect to be blown away by what I see and by the resources that will be made available to me.” Lipman said.
58th Annual Seminar on Glass
The Museum’s 58th Annual Seminar on Glass (October 18–19) will focus on contemporary glass. For 60 years, the Museum has encouraged dialogue on contemporary glass, shaping the field, through the foundational exhibitions Glass 1959 and New Glass: A Worldwide Survey (1979), as well as the annual publication New Glass Review. Two current exhibitions—New Glass Now, the latest exhibition surveying contemporary glass worldwide, and New Glass Now | Context, which traces how CMoG has brought unprecedented critical and popular attention to the material, its makers, and designers—serve as a starting point for the two-day seminar. With a schedule featuring lectures, panel discussions, and conversations on issues relevant to contemporary glass, the seminar will explore topics including gender, feminism, and the modern hot shop; sexual orientation and contemporary glass; conversations with the New Glass Now selectors; Glass 1959 and building a field of contemporary glass; New Glass: A Worldwide Survey (1979), taking glass global; and contextual overviews of contemporary glass in Europe and Asia.