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Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art presents Chihuly: In the Gallery and In the Forest
Dale Chihuly, Red Reeds, 2014. Atlanta Botanical Garden, installed 2016.

BENTONVILLE, ARK.- Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art presents the temporary exhibition Chihuly: In the Gallery and In the Forest, on view June 3 through August 14.

Chihuly: In the Gallery and In the Forest showcases over 300 objects comprised of 14 bodies of work in the gallery and 10 large-scale outdoor installations by American artist Dale Chihuly. The works are featured both in the gallery and along the newly enhanced North Forest Trail. The exhibition highlights Chihuly’s signature works and newest projects in a museum-wide experience of light, color, and masterful forms.

“This will be the first indoor-outdoor exhibition for Crystal Bridges and the first time Chihuly’s works are on view in a natural forest setting,” said Lauren Haynes, Crystal Bridges’ Curator, Contemporary Art. “Visitors will be delighted and surprised with the variety of media including glass, works on paper, and neon sculptures. Presenting the scope of the artist’s career in a traditional gallery space along with the monumental-scale of the sculptures in the forest will create a unique and memorable experience.”

Born in 1941 in Tacoma, Washington, Chihuly established the glass program at the Rhode Island School of Design and co-founded Pilchuck Glass School in Washington. For five decades, he has pushed the boundaries of studio glass and created installations for audiences around the globe; his works have been included in more than 250 museum collections.

Chihuly pioneered irregular, asymmetrical forms by allowing the molten glass to bend, fold, and move according to its own rhythm and gravity. He experimented with size, weight, and thinness to create new shapes. And he expanded the size and scale of art glass, with sculptural and architectural installations. During a long career, his stunning creations--vessels, orbs, and chandeliers--have become familiar to art lovers and glass enthusiasts alike. From the first small glass bubble he blew as an art student in 1965, Chihuly has marveled at the mysteries of glass.

“To this day I have not gotten over the excitement of molten glass,” said artist Dale Chihuly. “The process is so wonderfully simple, yet so mystifying. I’m still amazed to see the first breath of air enter the hot gather of glass at the end of a blowpipe.”

“Chihuly changed the way we think about glass and continues to push the medium,” said Britt Cornett, Head of Exhibitions, Chihuly Studio. “He is globally renowned for his ambitious site-specific installations in public spaces, as well as in museums and gardens all over the world. Crystal Bridges is the only venue for this particular exhibition and many of the works are presented in a new way or for the first time. The works are inspired by the surrounding nature and unique architectural elements at the museum.”

Chihuly: In the Gallery introduces Dale Chihuly as an artist and explores key moments of his work, including objects from the artists’ personal collection such as colorful trade blankets inspired by Native American designs and traditional Native American baskets that inspired series in glass such as his Cylinders, Baskets, Persians, and Venetians. Examples of Chihuly’s Drawings will fill the walls in the gallery, located near the series they inspired. These Drawings are large works on paper using graphite, charcoal, acrylic paint, and mixed media.

The gallery exhibition features a multi-media work originally created for a Barneys New York holiday windows. Winter Brilliance combines clear glass chandelier forms with a Christie’s 360 digitally-mapped lighting display and the musical composition by Hannis Brown, to produce an evocative, ice-like brilliance. There is also a video wall that highlights Chihuly’s career and the team approach to the process of glass-blowing.

Works on view for the first time in a museum setting include a bold new series called Rotolo (Italian for “coil”) featuring thick coils of glass, a brand-new series, Glass on Glass, of painted glass drawings inspired by his Ikebana series, and an early textile work Weaving with Fused Glass. This work was created in 1965 and incorporated glass woven into a textile, representing a point of discovery for a young Chihuly, who was studying interior design and interested in weaving when he began experimenting with the medium of glass.

Chihuly: In the Forest (August 16 – November 13, 2017)
Chihuly’s art is inspired by the natural world and international experiences, as evident in this outdoor exhibition which features bold and larger-than-life installations like the Belugas, Red Reeds, neon Tumbleweeds, a Boat, and a Sun created especially for the exhibition at Crystal Bridges, featuring a never-before-seen palette of colors. Chihuly chose subtle, yet brilliant golds and clear glass forms, connecting back to Venetian glass traditions, to capture and reflect the natural light of the Ozark forest.

Among the first works visitors will encounter in the forest is a neon sculpture, Boathouse 7 Neon. Chihuly began working with neon in the late 1960s and this work represents the first time Chihuly explored multiple colors in one neon installation.

The opening of the upcoming temporary exhibition Chihuly: In the Gallery and In the Forest will serve as the grand re-opening of the North Forest Trail, formerly known as the Dogwood Trail. A year in the making, this paved trail will increase accessibility to the museum’s natural landscape, especially for visitors using wheelchairs, strollers, or mobility scooters. The 1.1 mile-long trail is 10 feet wide, designed in a figure eight; it will include public restrooms, a courtyard with a food truck, and will be lit at night. After the close of the Chihuly: In the Forest exhibition, the museum’s North Forest Trail will re-open for public access and will re-connect to the Razorback Regional Greenway trail system. For information about the museums new entrance and enhancements, visit here.

“Along with the exhibition, we are re-introducing audiences to our newly enhanced north forest and unveiling a beautiful new museum entrance that will provide better access from our galleries to our grounds,” said Haynes. “Beyond Chihuly, we will look for ways to continue to engage guests in the forest with artworks and events designed to amplify the intersection of art and nature.”

Two works are accessible to visitors without a ticket. Newly installed on the Twentieth Century Gallery Bridge is the Azure Icicle Chandelier and the Niijima Floats are displayed in Crystal Pond near the south entrance.

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