Letting Art Shine through with Glass

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Corning Museum of Glass

Design & Application

Design & Application

Letting Art Shine through with Glass

Letting Art Shine through with Glass

The new exhibition at the Corning Museum of Glass Contemporary Art + Design Wing offers so much to capture your attention. At your feet, sunlight flickers on the red shards of “Carroña,” a shattered chandelier with crows picking at it, while towering over your head, 2,000 green drinking glasses stand stacked into the likeness of trees in a piece entitled “Forest Glass."

However, what you might not notice is the material surrounding each of these beautiful pieces of art work. And that is perfectly fine with the Corning Museum of Glass.

This spring, the Museum unveiled the new and expanded gallery space filled with contemporary art in glass. Before opening the new wing, the Corning Museum of Glass teamed with Corning Incorporated to solve how to make delicate pieces of glass artwork feel accessible.

“The architect of this new wing did not want barriers around the art. He pictured visitors freely engaging with each piece,” explained Warren Bunn, manager of the Museum’s collections and exhibitions. “However, we needed to protect both our fragile works of glass, and our visitors.” 

“To keep with the architect’s vision, the thinness and durability of Corning’s Gorilla Glass provided a very elegant solution for us,” said Warren.

 

Corning created a laminate composed of two pieces of tough, ion-exchanged glass with an interlayer in the middle for stiffness. With a thickness of just three pennies, the barriers were tested to show the same strength that has made Gorilla Glass famous as a cover glass on more than three billion devices.

To demonstrate how the Gorilla Glass laminate easily works as a solid barrier, Warren leaned on it just as a visitor might. He also added that heavy traditional glass barriers require multiple people to move and install. 

I can pick these Gorilla Glass laminate panels up with just my fingertips.”

He explained that glass barriers in general are not a new idea ‒ the Museum already has them. However, those are made of tempered glass that is visibly thick, with a greenish tint. That is where chemically-strengthened glass forges into new territory.

“[Gorilla Glass] is so clear, it just disappears when you are looking at the art,” Warren said. “It’s doing its job, but it drops away. And it’s exactly what we wanted.”

“Incorporating this technical glass into a Museum filled with ancient glass pieces to contemporary works of art proves how glass is both a functional material and visionary medium,” said Warren.