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Contemporary Glass: Chihuly and Beyond Opens at New Britain Museum of American Art
Beth Lipman, Basket with Melons, Pomegranates and Pineapple, 2006, Glass/mixed media, 16 x 44 x30 inches.

NEW BRITAIN, CT.-The NBMAA explores the art of studio glass and its explosive popularity in recent years in an exhibition including internationally known artists Dale Chihuly and Lino Tagliapietra, as well as more than 50 well-known international and American glass artists. The exhibition will be on view through October 26, 2008.

The exhibition will correspond with the Museum’s acquisition of Chihuly’s 9’ x 7’ chandelier, a major artwork acquired for the NBMAA’s new Chase Family Building. In June, the chandelier will be permanently installed above the LeWitt Staircase leading from the first to second floor of the Museum. School children and young Museum visitors will be invited to enter a competition to name the chandelier after it is installed.

Chihuly attended the University of Washington in Seattle, where he studied interior design and architecture. After graduating in 1965, Chihuly earned a Master of Science in glass blowing at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. He also earned a Master of Fine Arts in sculpture at the Rhode Island School of Design, where he later established a glass program and taught for more than a decade. In 1968, Chihuly was awarded a Fulbright Fellowship and became the first American glass blower to work in the prestigious Venini Fabrica in Murano, Italy. Chihuly co-founded the Pilchuck Glass School in Stanwood, WA and is credited for spear-heading the avant-garde development of glass as a fine art.

Tagliapietra was born in Murano, where he was apprenticed to a glass studio at age 11 and worked under the internationally known master Archimede Seguso. He later worked as a glass blower and designer at other glass studios including Galliano Ferra, Venini, La Murrina, and Effetre International. Tagliapietra is known for his excellent craftsmanship and his ability to bring together the best of classic and contemporary design. He is also known as an inspiring teacher who helped link the traditions of Venice to the contemporary glass world of the Unites States. In 1979, Tagliapietra came to Seattle to teach at the Pilchuck School, thus beginning a long tradition of sharing centuries old Venetian techniques with American glass artists, which had begun with Gianni Toso in the mid-1970s at the Great California Glass Symposium.

In addition to Chihuly and Tagliapietra, the exhibition will include work by some 50 artists, and a variety of styles, subject matter and techniques will be represented. Included in the exhibition will be former NEW/NOW artist Mundy Hepburn and well-known glass artists Peter Greenwood, Dennis Peabody and Josh Simpson.

The exhibition will be documented in an illustrated brochure with an essay by William Warmus, one of the foremost glass experts in the country, and a series of educational programs, artist talks and other events will compliment it. The exhibition is presented by Bank of America with support from The Art Alliance for Contemporary Glass.

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