From January to the incredible March Opening, Naglee Fine Arts moved glass exhibits into the new Contemporary Art + Design Wing at the Corning Museum of Glass. The $64 million wing has 120 pieces bathed in natural light from the roof-sized skylight, tempered by a support system of concrete beams giving a dappled light effect. NFA moved all 120 pieces into the museum under the direction of Matthias Smith, CMOG Preparator Supervisor. The first day consisted of a safety lecture and tour. Every visitor to the construction wing was required to wear a hard hat, steel toed boots, safety glasses and vest.
Twice-weekly NFA personnel moved pieces from the museum’s offsite to the museum where Corning’s own preparators installed the glass art. Every move was complicated by a tricky maze of construction as workers raced to have the wing ready for the Grand Opening on March 20th.
The bright, open, airy space was designed by New York City Architect Tom Phifer to showcase the unique qualities of Contemporary Glass. “It is a huge privilege to bring these extraordinary works to life here,” Phifer said, adding his firm had never worked to showcase glass before. “When we got the job, we took a piece of glass out on the street in New York and saw how it became magical. The more light you put into it, the more light it pushed out at you. Light really infuses this glass with a new spirit. That was the start of it,” he said.
All of the pieces were transported in Naglee Fine Art’s air ride suspension truck. Two preparators and a driver loaded the truck at Corning’s off-site facility then off-loaded at the museum. While the new wing has a spacious 10 x 10 foot elevator, it was still under construction as the art was being brought over. NFA staff had to transport the crated glass through the Museum itself, weaving between museum attendees and current exhibits. After the pieces were unpacked NFA transported the empty crates back to Corning’s off-site.