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Chihuly Exhibit - Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center
3/6/2009

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The exhibition is a survey of work in which pivotal moments of creative life are represented. Inspired in large part by the Fine Arts Center ’s own outstanding collection of Southwestern and Native American Art, this exhibition has never been seen before nor will it be seen again. It demonstrates the artistic development of one of the most important artists of our era and highlights one of Colorado ’s preeminent collections of Native American art.

The exhibition will feature Chihuly’s most celebrated works, his “Chandeliers”—large, exuberant displays of glass, many of which are suspended from the ceilings of the most celebrated spaces in the world, including the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center. During the more than 35 years of his career, Chihuly has almost single-handedly elevated public perception of the art of glass, creating forms that are now considered on an par with the traditional arts of painting, sculpture and architecture. Chihuly’s Macchia Forrest, Persian Wall, Ikebana, Niijima, Floating Pool, Tower, Cylinders and Basket series are represented in this exhibition.

Background of Exhibit:
In early 2004 the Fine Arts Center commissioned Chihuly to create a monumental Chandelier for its grand and historic entrance lobby. A site visit connected with this project familiarized Chihuly and his studio with the Fine Arts Center’s building, a work that is listed with the National Register for Historic Places and often acknowledged as one of Colorado ’s finest works of architecture. The visit also brought Chihuly in contact with the Fine Arts Center’s impressive collection of Native American art—one of the largest collections in the world. This is especially relevant to the 2005 exhibition since Chihuly’s earliest work—including his acclaimed series of “Baskets” and “Blanket Cylinders”—was inspired by the art of the Native American. As a result of this contact, Chihuly has selected pieces from the Fine Arts Center’s own collection and incorporated them into his exhibition. Thus, for the first time, important Native American works from a Colorado collection will be exhibited simultaneously with the work of one of the world’s most respected contemporary artists, making clear the extent and nature of this influence on an artist of international reputation.

Chihuly’s Place in History:
Dale Chihuly has been described as a “phenomenon,” and his place in the history of art is assured. Many have described him as the most popular artist working today. His work can be found in the permanent collections of over 200 of the most important museums in the world, including the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Whitney Museum, the Smithsonian Museum of American Art, the Musee des Arts Decoratifs, Palais du Louvre, the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, and the Royal Ontario Museum of Toronto, Ontario. Chihuly’s exhibition of “Chandeliers” in Venice , Italy , entitled Chihuly Over Venice, was met with immense crowds, not only in Venice but in America as well, where it toured a number of museums. His most celebrated exhibition, Chihuly in the Light of Jerusalem 2000, broke all international attendance records for 1999-2000, attracting over one million people. Chihuly developed new forms that not only challenged the limitations of the glass medium, but which carried an ever-increasing degree of expressive power and resonance.

The Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center is privileged to present this exhibition and a series of entertaining and educational events to coincide.

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