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Corning Museum of Glass Acquires Major Contemporary Works by Roni Horn, Klaus Moje, Ayala Serfaty, Jeroen Verhoeven and Fred Wilson

Press Center

January 21, 2015
Acquisitions will be Featured in New Contemporary Art + Design Wing, Designed by Thomas Phifer and Partners, Opening March 20, 2015

Corning, NY–The Corning Museum of Glass (CMoG) today announced five major acquisitions of works by international contemporary artists Roni Horn, Klaus Moje, Ayala Serfaty, Jeroen Verhoeven, and Fred Wilson. These acquisitions will go on view in the new Contemporary Art + Design Wing, opening March 20, 2015. The wing will be the world’s largest space dedicated to the display of contemporary art and design in glass. The works, ranging from kiln-formed glass panels to large-scale installations, represent the vanguard of contemporary art in glass made in the last seven years.

“We’re thrilled to announce these acquisitions as we prepare for the opening of the new contemporary wing, which will demonstrate the incredible vitality and creativity of contemporary art made in glass in the late twentieth and twenty-first centuries,” said Tina Oldknow, senior curator of modern and contemporary glass. “These five works are invaluable additions to our collection. Individually, each is a significant work in its own right. Collectively, they explore the rich and complex relationship between glass and light, and illustrate trends in contemporary art and design in glass. Most of the works are by artists who have not yet entered our collection, like Roni Horn and Fred Wilson, while others illustrate the changing landscape of the glass field, and the shifting boundaries between design and art in glass.”

About the Acquisitions 

Roni Horn, Untitled, 2013 (“The peacock likes to sit on gates or fenceposts and allow his tail to hang down. A peacock on a fencepost is a superb sight. Six or seven peacocks on a gate is beyond description, but it is not very good for the gate. Our fenceposts tend to lean and all our gates open diagonally”).

Roni Horn is a pioneer in the use of large-scale cast glass and one of the most influential contemporary artists working today. Her untitled abstract sculpture, made of lime-green glass, is cast in one block. The work is created by releasing molten glass into a mold over a twenty-four hour period, which is then allowed to slowly anneal over three to four months. When the piece is removed from the mold, it is left in its natural state with mold marks and other flaws readily apparent. Exposed to light or to the shadows of an overcast day, Horn's glass sculptures capture and reflect moments of instability and change. She relies upon natural elements, such as the weather, to investigate the nuances of color and transparency, weight and lightness, and solidity and fluidity in glass. Literary themes appear throughout much of her work, and the subtitle of this sculpture comes from a collection of interviews with the American writer Flannery O'Connor. At the end of her life, O'Connor lived on her family's dairy farm, where she raised different kinds of birds, including pet peacocks. This acquisition was purchased with special funds provided by Corning Incorporated in honor of the opening of the contemporary glass art and design gallery, March 2015.

Klaus Moje, The Portland Panels: Choreographed Geometry, 2007.

Joining the Museum’s extensive collection of Moje’s work, The Portland Panels: Choreographed Geometry marks the pinnacle of his career. Inspired by the historical glass mosaic technique, Moje has pushed the ancient tradition into the realm of abstract art in the creation of his largest work to date. Four separate kiln-formed and diamond-polished glass panels form one large composition, each panel consisting of thousands of strips of cut glass. The work exemplifies his penchant for color and pattern, and reveals the influence color and design theories from many mediums in his work, with inspirations ranging from Josef Albers, to de Stijl, Russian constructivism, and op art. This acquisition is a gift in part of David Kaplan and Glenn Ostergaard and purchased in part with funds from James P. Flaws and Marcia D. Weber.

Ayala Serfaty, Soma, 2014

Made specifically for the Corning Museum of Glass, Soma is part of a larger series of work inspired by organic forms like tree foliage, corals, stalactites, and ice crystal. Soma is the Greek word for body and the work is comprised of hundreds of tinted glass filaments, which resemble veins, and tiny light bulbs to give the effect of a form that appears to glow from within. The filaments are handmade and individually flameworked, and then sprayed with a clear polymer. Serfaty’s work exists in the space between design and art, and is emblematic of the more fluid and receptive design environment. This work will go on view September 21, 2015.

Jeroen Verhoeven, Virtue of Blue, 2010

Virtue of Blue updates the chandelier form for the 21st century. A large teardrop-shaped blown glass bulb is surrounded by 502 applied polycrystalline silicon photovoltaic cell panels cut in the shape of four different varieties of butterflies. The butterflies are clustered around the bulb on aluminum and stainless steel wire arms, which conduct the current to the large bulb. These panels collect up to four hours of power to light the chandelier. This outstanding example of contemporary lighting is an important addition to the Museum’s collection, and represents a field that will continue to be expanded in the contemporary wing. This work will go on view June 21, 2015.

Fred Wilson, To Die Upon a Kiss, 2011

At six by six feet, the monumentality of To Die Upon a Kiss recontextualizes the chandelier as a vehicle for sculpture. Wilson is known for his works that investigate African identities in the context of historical European and American art to illustrate the “invisible” African presence. Inspired by the highly decorative chandeliers that adorn the palazzos lining Venice’s Grand Canal, Wilson created a sculpture that refers to the enduring, but rarely discussed, African population in Venice, a traditional crossroads of cultures. The title of To Die Upon a Kiss are the dying words of Othello from Shakespeare’s tragedy. The color of the sculpture's glass elements gradually shifts from opaque black at the bottom to colorless glass at the top, with deliberate gradations of gray in between. The work is a rumination on death, Wilson says, or more specifically, the slow ebb of life.

About The Corning Museum of Glass

The Corning Museum of Glass is the foremost authority on the art, history, science, and design of glass. It is home to the world’s most important collection of glass, including the finest examples of glassmaking spanning 3,500 years. Live glassblowing demonstrations (offered at the Museum and on the road), bring the material to life. Daily Make Your Own Glass experiences at the Museum enable visitors to create work in a state-of-the-art glassmaking studio. The campus in Corning includes a year-round glassmaking school—The Studio—and the Rakow Research Library, with the world’s preeminent collection of materials on the art and history of glass. Located in the heart of the Finger Lakes Wine Country of New York State, the Museum is open daily, year-round. Children and teens, 17 and under, receive free admission.