Local Art: Seeing is Believing

IN THE DARK Ages, unread masses sought illumination in tales of saints, sinners and saviors set in churches’ stained-glass windows. Nowadays, modern aesthetic enlightenment awaits in Seeing Is Believing, a monumental masterwork by Philadelphia’s stained-glass superstar, Judith Schaechter. More than 10 feet high and wide, composed of 200 distinct pinwheel shapes — reflections on the Gothic
rose window — the work is a permanent highlight of the Museum of Arts and Design’s new (and ever-­controversial) home at 2 Columbus Circle, New York. Known for her lightbox tableaux of doleful damsels amid teeming patterned backgrounds, Schaechter here offers a luminous lesson: Stained glass isn’t simply seen by the eye and read by the mind. Sun-warmed and color-saturated, it is experienced
by the entire body.