TACOMA, WASH.- Museum of Glass
has organized two exhibitions that coincide with the opening of the Pacific Northwests newest cultural attractionsChihuly Garden & Glass in Seattle and LeMay Americas Car Museum in Tacoma. Both displays opened in May, just prior to each institutions grand opening.
Origins: Early Works by Dale Chihuly showcases works made by Chihuly in his early career. The artwork displayed include 30 transitional pieces from prominent local collections and the Museums Permanent Collection along with historic exhibition posters from the Mary Hale Cockran Library. Collectively, the works chronicle Chihulys influence as an artist, a visionary and a pioneer of the American Studio Glass movement.
The earliest works in the exhibition date back to 1968 when Chihuly was a student at the Rhode Island School of Design. Funded by a Fulbright Grant, Chihuly traveled to Venice to work in the prestigious Venini Fabrica for a year to learn the carefully-guarded secrets of Venetian glassblowing. The techniques Chihuly learned from the Venini glassworkers were pivotal to his development as an artist. This influence is dramatically evident in the earliest works in the exhibition, such as his RISD Goblets, created prior to his trip to Venice. Other works in the exhibition include examples of Chihulys earliest Cylinders, Sea Forms and Macchias.
The central piece of the exhibition in an historic 33-piece installation titled Persian Sea Forms that was gifted to Museum of Glass in 2011. The work was created in 1988 by a small team of artistsincluding lead gaffers Martin Blank and Richard Royalassembled by Chihuly to experiment on the design. His subsequent Persian series were the result of this session.
This exhibition provides a great historic overview of Dale Chihulys progress as an artist from his first experimentations with glass in the 1960s all the way through the 1980s, comments Susan Warner, Museum of Glass executive director and curator. Most of his design series are represented here and reveal a fascinating journey of experimentation when compared to his later works, like those on the Chihuly Bridge of Glass and what is sure be displayed at the new Chihuly Garden and Glass at Seattle Center .
The second exhibition opened in May is Classic Heat, a collection of large-scale glass hood ornaments created in collaboration with LeMay America s Car Museum . The Museum of Glass Hot Shop Team and artist John Miller created the sculptures that were inspired by classic designs from various American automakers, including the 1952 Buick 8 Special, 1957 Chevy 210 and the 1929 Ford Model A. While the sculptures reference the original emblems, the finished pieces include elements from various makes and models. The collection consists of eight sculptures, half of which will be displayed at each museum.
America s Car Museum hopes to partner with the other cultural organization in our community on an ongoing basis. This initial project is an opportunity for us and the Museum of Glass to work on a project that embodies what each celebrates, said Scot Keller, ACM chief marketing and communications officer. The Museum of Glass provided the artistry while ACM provided the inspiration.
We are thrilled to welcome America s Car Museum to the Tacoma Museum District, and this collaboration is what we hope will be the first of many partnerships, said Warner,. We know that car lovers and glass enthusiasts alike will be impressed by the Classic Heat collection.