While I was in the Finger Lakes region, I couldn’t resist the half-hour drive down to Corning to visit one of my favorite museums, the aptly named Corning Museum of Glass. Such gorgeous creations in there, and it is a treasure trove for photographers.
While I was in Corning, I also checked out the Rockwell Museum down the street, since there was a combined ticket for both. I’m always up for a new museum. Read on to see the treasures I found…
Corning Museum of Glass
Both times I’ve visited the glass museum, this sculpture has captivated me. It’s blown glass, cut, assembled, and then placed in a kiln for finishing. It’s simply amazing. The detail above shows the complexity of the piece. If I owned this, I would probably spend a huge part of every day staring at it, zooming in and out and looking at all the curves and shapes. It’s beautiful.
I really liked this contemporary piece, which at first look just seems like a lot of cool glasses placed on glass shelving. But, there is more to it than that…
Step back and you can see that the colors and shape form a tree of glassware. There are three of these pieces and the installation is called Forest Glass (Katherine Gray). It’s a statement piece, as the accompanying text explains. Most of the glass produced during the Middle Ages in Europe was green or brown, and the glass industry had the unfortunate side effect of destroying entire forests to provide wood for kilns. Using about 2000 glasses in those two colors to create her glass forest, she is “reforesting” with glass trees.
This installation is a clever way to make us think about how beautiful things (like glass) can come with a high environmental cost. In this time of climate change, what are we doing that will be the subject of art and commentary by future generations?
To keep with the trees theme, here’s a glass piece to remember aspens by, should they disappear from the face of the earth. It’s a small piece, maybe a foot wide, but beautifully detailed, almost as if the artist had made pencil rubbings of the trees. It’s another piece I secretly covet owning.
The last piece I fell in love on this visit with was this blown glass created by Lino Tagliapeitra, who trained on Murano, the island of glass near Venice. As the text accompanying the piece states, he is widely acknowledged as the best glassblower in the world. Zoom in and you can begin to see why. This is any amazingly complex piece of glassblowing and shaping, echoing the shape of a nautilus shell purely, created by glass, fire, breath, and decades of skill.
Rockwell Museum of Art
A short walk from the Corning Museum of Glass is the much smaller, and well-curated museum founded by a local couple, the Rockwells, who donated their eclectic collection of American art (they were no relation to THAT Rockwell). The bottom floor was showing Objects in Motion: Wendy Red Star’s Accession Series, an exhibit combining her contemporary artwork with catalog paintings of similar indigenous items made by WPA artists during the Great Depression. It was interesting, but the lighting reflected on almost every single painting, so I was disappointed to not have any great photos from it. You can see some of her work online here:
I have to admit, though, that my heart was stolen by two paintings on the top floor, featured in an exhibit about the role of art during a pandemic. The exhibit featured brief writings from different museum employees explaining how a specific painting had helped them through the pandemic, and I found myself nodding at how much I used my art and others to see beauty and find glimmers of hope in the last three years.
One of the highlights of my 2021 was seeing the peaks of Zion for the first time. I was speechless as I drove through the approach to the eastern tunnel and then even *more* speechless as I descended into the valley and gazed in awe at the mountains towering over me. The artist captured some of that mountain majesty in this painting. Despite it looking like a classic, it’s only 35 years old. I thought it would have been from early 20th century, but I was so wrong!
This painting was early 20th century (circa 1908), so at least I wasn’t far wrong in guessing age here. I’ve always loved Yosemite, since my very first, magical visit with my Dad when I was 10. The artist captured the light and color of Yosemite so well that I got a bit homesick for it as I stood in front of it.
The reason for this exhibit was so interesting that I want to share it here:
ArtRx: Creative Antidotes
It’s proven that art, even just viewing art, can help us connect back to ourselves and others. We dearly treasure the first responders who cater to our survival. We’ve become more grateful to them than ever before this year. But once our basic needs are met, how do we find the strength to carry on being human? The arts work as a “second responder” to meet our next stage of needs: connection and belonging.
Want to Know More?
- Corning Museum of Glass (my 2017 visit)
- Corning Museum of Glass website
- Rockwell Museum website
Art evokes the mystery without which the world would not exist.
12 thoughts on “Corning Museums, NY”
Corning Glass Museum was my mecca while working on my MFA in glass and sculpture at nearby Alfred back in the late 80’s. Looking forward to visiting again and seeing new pieces like Forest Glass. Thanks for the tour! While you’re in the area (farther South) check out Storm King and Opus 40 Sculpture Parks.
Oh, I do want to see those two parks, I’ve read about them. I just need to find camping closer to them (I was up near Albany because that was the closest state park with electricity).
Yet more places to add to our list. These museums appear to be “can’t miss” sites near the finger lakes. The two paintings you highlighted are reminiscent of the works of the Hudson River School artists, which are some of my (Kellye) favorites – especially Albert Bierstadt. Thank you for sharing and for contributing to our ever-growing list of places to visit in the US.
They do fit nicely in the the Hudson RIver School of painting, I agree. If you’ve not seen Olana yet, that’s a good place to visit in NY as well, and has beautiful views of the Hudson and the Catskills.
This place is on my bucket list because of my geeky hobby. Corning is known, to insulator collectors, as having been the makers of some of the highest quality glass insulators in the world. Glad you included this place.
Oh, I love to see insulators, they are such cool and functional pieces of glass! Glad you enjoyed the tour, John.
Thanks Annie! I hope to visit the Corning Museum sometime next year..
Thanks for the lovely break. I needed it.
My home town of Toledo, Ohio has been called The Glass Capital of the World This was mostly because of glass manufacturers. If you ever go through there check out the amazing glass in the Toledo Museum of Art
These are beautiful and amazing pieces. Can I add, I really needed this today. Connection
Always wonderful to hear your reflective take on the places you visit.
This was lovely. Thanks for sharing museums are always on our list.