Art Curatorial

Celebrating Chihuly in Wisconsin

Dale Chihuly (American, b. 1941) Isola di San Giacomo in Palude Chandelier II, 2000 Blown glass 183 x 86 x 96 diameter in. (464.82 x 218.44 x 243.84 cm) Gift of Suzy B. Ettinger in memory of Sanford J. Ettinger M2001.125 Photo credit John R. Glembin © 2009, Dale Chihuly
Dale Chihuly (American, b. 1941), Isola di San Giacomo in Palude Chandelier II, 2000. Blown glass; 183 x 86 x 96 in. Milwaukee Art Museum, Gift of Suzy B. Ettinger in memory of Sanford J. Ettinger. Photo John R. Glembin.© 2013, Dale Chihuly

One cannot walk through the doors of the Milwaukee Art Museum without taking in a colorful burst of Dale Chihuly’s glass artwork. The Museum’s Isola di San Giacomo in Palude Chandelier II (at left) is one of the most popular works in the Museum, located at the entry of the Quadracci Pavilion. Milwaukee’s Suzy B. Ettinger, who was recently featured in a great Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Style article, donated the artwork in 2001 to brighten the Museum’s new white Santiago Calatava-designed addition.

Museum visitors have been posing for photos with it ever since (it even appears snaking behind my own mother in her Facebook profile picture). Chihuly’s universal popularity encourages many museums to place his glass artwork front and center as a cheerful greeting.

In fact, in the almost 50 years since he lived and studied in Wisconsin, no other artist can claim to have brought as much popular attention to American art glass as Dale Chihuly.

This weekend, Wisconsin is celebrating Chihuly’s achievements.

Art Behind the Scenes Curatorial

Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the American Studio Glass Movement

American Studio Glass installation. Photo by the author.

The year 2012 is considered the 50th anniversary of the American Studio Glass movement. The anniversary is being celebrated with exhibitions and events across the country, organized in large part by the Art Alliance for Contemporary Glass.

The Milwaukee Art Museum has a terrific collection of studio glass, and we were thrilled to be part of the celebration. Along one wall of the newly-designed Kohl’s Art Generation Studio is a new installation that celebrates using glass as a medium of creative impulse.

The glass sparkles, tells an important art history story, and I hope that its visual beauty inspires young artists as they create their own artwork nearby.

What is the American Studio Glass movement, and what is this anniversary?