Corning Museum opens $64M expansion
CORNING--The Corning Museum of Glass opened the doors of its new Contemporary Art and Design Wing, Friday, March 20. The $64 million expansion was funded by Corning Incorporated and features a 100,000 square-foot addition, which includes a 26,000 square-foot gallery and a 500 seat live glass demonstration facility. The wing's inaugural installations feature 117 works from the museum's permanent collection, more than 30 of which have never before been on public display.
"The opening of the Contemporary Art and Design Wing marks an important milestone in the museum's history," said Karol Wight, president and executive director of the Corning Museum of Glass. "The premier institution dedicated to glass, we are now the leader in the display and interpretation of contemporary art and design in glass."
The new, 26,000 square-foot gallery building showcases contemporary art and design in glass from 1990 until present. The building's five galleries of varying sizes contain thematically curated works, and also extends into the porch space that wraps around the entirety of the galleries.
Works on display include large-scale sculptures, installations, glass "paintings," and vessels. Artists known for their work in glass are on display, such as Dale Chihuly, Roni Horn, Karen LaMonte, Josiah McElheny, Beth Lipman, Liza Lou and Klaus Moje, along with artists less-known for their work in glass like Robert Rauschenberg, Tony Cragg and Kiki Smith. There is also a gallery containing glass designs from the past 25 years, featuring works by artists and designers James Carpenter, Christophe Côme, Dan Dailey, Studio Job, Tejo Remy and Stephen Burks.
"With the opening of the new wing, we are able to display and interpret contemporary art and design in glass in the same elegant and thoughtful way in which it is being produced," said Tina Oldknow, senior curator of modern and contemporary glass. "Today's artists are using glass in previously unimagined ways. They are innovators of new approaches, concepts, and techniques that push the known boundaries of the material -- perhaps, most noticeably, of scale. These large sculptures and installations demanded a monumental space in which to be experienced."
The new wing also features a new, 500 seat Amphitheater Hot Shop for live glassblowing demonstrations. Set inside the renovated Steuben Glass factory building, the new hot shop features a balcony running around the perimeter of the shop, offering visitors a 360-degree view of the glassmaking demonstrations.
Designed by Thomas Phifer and Partners, the façade of the new contemporary gallery building is constructed of large white glass panels that create a nearly seamless, softly reflective expanse. Inside, the building features a white interior. The galleries are defined by massive, curvilinear concrete walls, which actually serve as the supports for the skylight roof. The porch, the area outside the galleries along the perimeter of the building, provides additional display space, and a 140-foot-long window provides views out onto the new one-acre Museum Green.
A system of roof skylights and overhead lighting provide the optimal lighting conditions for works in glass. Four-foot tall by three-a-half-inch thick concrete beams rest on the curved gallery walls and diffuse the light as it comes through the skylights, directing the light to the floor where the glass is displayed. Electric track lighting is programmed to complement and spotlight the art by adjusting to changes in exterior natural light levels.