Roadtrip: Corning Glass Museum

Had a peak experience at the Corning Glass Museum. I ended up bursting into tears, I was so overwhelmed by beauty. The museum includes a full history of the glass of the world, and everything from a Steuben glass slipper to the naturally occurring glass skeletons of sea sponges. So much beauty, color, so much transformed and transfixed light.
The innovative sculptures–majestic contemporary pieces, hit me the most. I’ll just share two here, with text from the website. Silvia Levenson’s piece is part of the art of survival, a memorial of the disappeared, and seems to be in the post feminist tradition using “craft” to document the political. It blew me away.

My art is about my life. Everyone has anxieties and fears, and I try to resolve some of these feelings in my work. It’s Raining Knives could be any suburb. The piece is about us, and family, and what is happening now. We may feel safe and secure in our houses, but the truth is that we can never be sure.
Glass is not a neutral material, but a very powerful medium of communication. I see it as a metaphor for transparency, for feeling and revealing emotions. It is a wonderful material that is both beautiful and treacherous. I use knives and scissors in my work because they are ordinary, everyday objects that can suddenly become dangerous. For me, knives symbolize the possibility of violence, rather than violence itself. —Silvia Levenson
She was born in Argentina in 1957. “The installation, It’s Raining Knives, was conceived in 1996 in response to Levenson’s personal experiences during the Videla dictatorship. It has since become a thought-provoking commentary on the threat of terrorism in general, and on the culture of fear that has rapidly spread in the United States and abroad since the events of September 11, 2001. It’s Raining Knives “is not supposed to make people feel anxious,” Levenson says, “but to make them feel better.” Rather than making a political statement, her art work is about coming to terms with fear…”

Very different and yet equally compelling–and perhaps dealing with some of the same emotion, is The Proof of Awareness by Loretta Hui-Shan Yang of the People’s Republic of China,
“Wishing my next life be as clear as crystal.” — Loretta Yang. Loretta Yang’s sculpture is inspired by traditional Chinese and Buddhist philosophy. According to Yang, this glass peony, which was cast in one piece, “inspires reflection on the Buddhist teachings of impermanence, as the blossom is most vibrant just before the flower begins to fade.”

3 thoughts on “Roadtrip: Corning Glass Museum

  1. Thanks for sharing these incredible works! What size is the glass peony? Someday I hope all who burst into tears do so because they are overwhelmed by beauty…

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