Famed glass sculptor to be displayed at Cheekwood

Thursday, July 23, 2009 at 1:43pm

The work of the beloved master glass sculptor Dale Chihuly will be showcased in a 2010 exhibit at Cheekwood Botanical Garden & Museum of Art, officials from the art museum announced Thursday.

The exhibit, which will run from May 25 to Oct. 31, 2010, will include “Saffron Tower” (a 30-foot yellow neon sculpture to be installed in the Herb Garden in Cheekwood’s east gardens); “Sun” (a 15-foot radiant yellow orb to be installed on the facility’s front lawn); “Mille Fiori” (a massive garden of glass composed of eye-catching forms in various bold colors and to be installed in Cheekwood’s reflection pool); and “Chandeliers” (two spectacular installations will be housed in the museum).

“Dale Chihuly's masterpieces have enthralled audiences around the world,” said Jack Becker, president and CEO of Cheekwood. “We're delighted to offer the opportunity to experience his spectacular glass sculptures in this context. Visitors will witness a show in which his dramatic art and Cheekwood’s landscape will stretch their imaginations and offer a new way of experiencing plants and art. It is the perfect exhibition for us to celebrate our 50th anniversary.”

Chihuly’s work bursts with dramatic hues and forms. Sharp angles and fluorescent-like bold colors define his creations. His “Crystal Towers” on the Chihuly Bridge of Glass, Tacoma, Wash., is a strong example of the master’s talent.

In addition, the Frist Center for the Visual Arts from May 14, 2010, to Jan. 2, 2011, will offer Chihuly in an exhibit designed specifically for the downtown museum’s upper-level galleries.

Selections will be taken from the artist’s well-recognized series, including “Seaforms”, “Macchia”, “Ikebana” and “Persians.” An instructional video and several two-dimensional works, which will provide patrons insight into the artist’s creative and production process, will accompany the works.

As part of the overall effort, the Nashville Symphony Orchestra on May 20-22, 2010, will perform Bartók’s “Bluebeard’s Castle.” For the production, Chihuly has created a set design with his artwork. Six individual 14-foot glass sculptures, representing the castle doors, will be revealed during the course of the performance, according to Alan Valantine, Nashville Symphony Association president.

Based in Seattle and addressing a crowd gathered at Cheekwood Thursday morning for the media event, Chihuly described his background and approach.

“We’ll make it look as good as we can,” Chihuly modestly noted of the glasswork, the quip drawing chuckles from the crowd.

Chihuly said the glass sculptures will show a “rhythm.”

“They will be unique to their locations, but the glass won’t necessarily be made for the [specific] locations,” he said.

Nashville Mayor Karl Dean noted the glass art will highlight three of the city’s cultural “gems.”

Susan Edwards, Frist Center executive director and CEO, described Chihuly installations she has seen in museums in Atlanta, New York City and Venice as “stunning.”

“There will be a lot of glass all over town,” Edwards said.

Chihuly’s work graces the world over with permanent installations in roughly 200 museums including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, London’s Victoria and Albert Museum and the Smithsonian American Art Museum. Plus, garden exhibitions of his work have been displayed at the New York Botanical Garden, Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden in Coral Gables, Fla., Atlanta Botanical Garden and the Royal Botanical Gardens, Kew in London.