How The Corning Museum of Glass keeps liquid sand interesting…here in D.C.

In 2018, The Corning Museum of Glass issued an open call to artists from around the world, then asked a panel of curators to review and choose artworks that best represented a diverse approach to glass working in contemporary times. Many of the selected pieces are currently on display at the Renwick Gallery.

I know, I know. Tony and I are generally boycotting all venues that require vaccinated (and now, boosted) persons to mask-up. New exhibits at Renwick, though, can be easily seen in roughly a half hour, pretty much my threshold for wearing a face diaper. Plus, I need culture. So we endured the discrimination for a brief outing while the free dog-sitters the children were in town.

Let’s begin. The Renwick Gallery is steps from the White House and Blair House. Blair House is, of course, the President’s Guest House. Blair House is a combination of four separate brownstones and is the first structure to become a National Landmark. “Blair” refers to an influential advisor to Andrew Jackson, who owned the house.

Fun Fact. Blair House is larger than the White House. Notable guests include Queen Elizabeth II; Nikita Khrushchev; Charles de Gaulle; Emperor Akihito; Margaret Thatcher. You get the idea.

The White House was rather resplendent on this day. Unlike the Brits (because we are unlike the Brits) the U.S. Flag flies routinely whether or not our Head of State is in residence.

Where was I? The Stasi at Renwick are polite in their request for us to mask up before we enter, unlike those at the Freer (another post for another day)Once inside, we were greeted with a piece made from marijuana pipes. This Shit is Bananas.  We agreed.

We turned a corner and the exhibit improved immensely. Cute little glass monsters!

Science-y glass.

“Tranquility.” The Chinese Scholar’s Four Treasures (Paper, Brush, Ink Sticks, Ink Stones) all in glass.

You know I am easily distracted by cows. “The Chief Herdsman and His Cattle.”

If you’re thinking, “This looks Viennese” you would not be wrong. This is “Neo”Tumblers,” made for J.L. Lobmeyer, a Viennese glass company dating to 1823 and still family owned. Their shop on Kärtnerstraße is exquisite.

And Austria’s own Erwin Wurm’s, “Mutter.” Hmm. Perhaps Austria’s Sigmund Freud may have a comment or two for Herr Worm.

Dale Chihuly’s “Irish Moors” cylinder. Most definitely a piece I could find a place for in our home.

Glass. Yep. “Rock Garden”  is its name, and the pieces were made by treating hot glass with stannous chloride (SnCl2 if you’re nerdy). Among our favorite pieces in the exhibit.

“Opalescent Glass Crown” by Harvey Littleton, born in Corning, New York and a leading figure of the American studio glass movement (Dale Chihuly was a student.) The piece, and the setting were equally stunning.

All glass. Just incredible.

Digitally printed glass.

All glass things must come to an end, and what better ending than a…Meat Chandelier.