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Posts Tagged ‘Dale Chihuly’

A hallway with a view in the MFA Boston's new Art of the Americas wing.

A hallway with a view in the MFA Boston's new Art of the Americas wing.

I moved to Boston 19 years ago and having visited Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts many times since then, I can say with confidence that the opening of its Art of the Americas wing has brought a palpable burst of energy to this institution. I always enjoyed visiting the museum, but I’ve found it especially invigorating and lively since this new addition. The light-filled atrium, known as the Shapiro Family Courtyard, is home to the casual New American Café, and also serves as a pass-through to the new exhibit spaces. It is a welcoming and expansive space that seems to beckon conversation and activity — never before have I heard so much chatter and excitement in the MFA Boston than when passing through this space.

The MFA Boston’s exhibit of Dale Chihuly glass creations last year in the new wing also breathed new interest into the museum. Photography was welcomed in the Chihuly exhibit, and imagery and word of the magical beauty of this light-infused display spread quickly. A favorite of the exhibit, placed not in the exhibit itself but in the new atrium, was Chihuly’s 42-foot tall green glass tree. In the fall of 2011, the museum announced that it had succeeded in its public appeal to raise enough money to obtain the much-adored tree as a permanent installation.

One of the museum’s recent acquisitions is that of Juno, the largest classical sculpture in the United States. Weighing 13, 000 pounds and standing 13 feet tall, and dating back to 17th century Rome, it was acquired in the 19th century by a wealthy Bostonian and brought to rest in a Brookline estate. In 2011, the MFA Boston acquired the sculpture. To see Juno’s careful journey from the Brookline estate to the MFA Boston, watch “Juno on the Move,” a 3-minute video.

Juno is currently undergoing a publicly viewed conservation with the intention to eventually move her into a future gallery.

If you haven’t been to the MFA Boston lately, I urge you to visit! For current and upcoming exhibits, visit the MFA Boston website.

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On October 12, 2011, the Museum of Fine Arts Boston released the news that efforts to raise enough money to purchase and maintain artist Dale Chihuly’s 42-foot-tall lime green icicle tower had been successful. The museum received thousands of gifts totaling more than $1 million. The towering glass tree, which had been created for the MFA’s new Shapiro Family Courtyard, will continue to reside in this bright and airy glass-enclosed space.

The soaring sculpture weighs approximately 10,000 pounds. It is made up of 2,342 pieces of hand-blown green glass spikes.

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Fellow Bostonians, If you haven’t made it to the fantastical Chihuly glass exhibit at the Museum of Fine Arts Boston yet this summer, this is the last week! It will no doubt be crowded, but even so, it is well worth the visit. When the light hits these squirming, stretching, curling tendrils of glass, they can look as if they are on fire. This exhibit offers some of the most delicious landscapes of light, shape and color to be found!

I saw a Chihuly glass installation for my first time last year at the lovely waterfront Milwaukee Art Museum. The sheer enormity and wonder of the piece caught me by surprise, its vibrant orange arms reaching out into the vast white space of the lobby. The MFA Boston’s show, however, turned out to be that multiplied by a thousand. Room after room of glowing large-scale landscape installations create an atmospheric fantasy land. Strangely beautiful glass vegetation combines with chandeliers and sea creatures in a journey that feels like a melding of a Dr. Seuss tale and a visit to an alien planet.

According to Dale Chihuly’s website bio, the artist enrolled in the country’s first glass program at the University of Wisconsin in 1965, and continued studies at Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) where he went on to establish a glass program. He also worked in the Venini glass factory in Venice. He has gone on to co-found Pilchuck Glass School in Washington State and to see his work included in over 200 museum collections around the world.

I hope you can find a few hours this week to stop in at the MFA Boston before this show ends on Sunday. For museum hours and other information, visit the MFA Boston’s website.

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