In May 2016, The Corning Museum of Glass (CMoG) will present the first comprehensive exhibition to explore the relationship between the exquisite works of famed 19th-century glass artists and naturalists Leopold and Rudolf Blaschka and their impact on marine conservation efforts today. Titled Fragile Legacy: The Marine Invertebrate Models of Leopold and Rudolf Blaschka, the exhibition features more than 70 exquisitely detailed glass models of marine invertebrates and dozens of the Blaschkas’ original drawings of aquatic lifeforms. Taken together, the Blaschkas’ creations serve as a time capsule of the ocean’s past, and provide a critical benchmark for 21st-century scientists trying to determine how many of these species still survive. On view at CMoG from May 14, 2016 through January 8, 2017, the exhibition will also feature footage taken by two Cornell University researchers who have set out to film living examples of the creatures captured in glass by the Blaschkas more than a century ago.
In April 2016, CMoG will also present Revealing the Invisible: The History of Glass and the Microscope. This exhibition will tell the stories of scientists’ and artists’ explorations of the microscopic world from the early 1600s until the late 1800s, and show how their work drove improvements in scientific glass and the advent of modern scientific glassmaking. Key archival materials from the Museum’s Juliette K. and Leonard S. Rakow Research Library will be featured in the exhibition, alongside historically significant microscopes from external lenders, including an original van Leeuwenhoek microscope—one of only a dozen left in the world. The exhibit will be on view from April 23, 2016 through March 18, 2017.
“CMoG is a center for the exploration of glass as a material, a nexus for artists experimenting and innovating with glass, and the premier place to study the history of glass,” said Dr. Karol Wight, the president and executive director of The Corning Museum of Glass. “These exhibitions grow out of the diverse range of expertise and resources at CMoG, which is unlike any other single institution in the world. Fragile Legacy andRevealing the Invisible illustrate how art and science work together to give us new insights into our world—from life in a drop of water, to life in the depths of the ocean.”
Dr. Marvin Bolt, CMoG’s curator of science and technology, added, “There is often an assumption that the sciences and the arts are worlds apart. But it is the curiosity shared by artists and scientists alike that led to advances in glass technology and to the development of the modern microscope, as we show in Revealing the Invisible. And it is the extraordinary technical and artistic skill of the Blaschkas that make their models as important for scientists today as they were in the 19th century. It’s tremendously exciting to present these exhibitions that bring the public into collaborations by artistic and scientific visionaries.”