Chihuly exhibition launches 20th anniversary season of The Baker Museum

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Chihuly exhibition launches 20th anniversary season of The Baker Museum
Dale Chihuly, Gilded Fiori Boat (detail), 2020. 5½ x 16 x 7½'. Artis—Naples, The Baker Museum, Naples, Florida © Chihuly Studio. All Rights Reserved.

NAPLES, FLA.- Dreaming Forms: Chihuly Then and Now, the third Chihuly exhibition in the history of The Baker Museum, helps celebrate the museum’s 20th season and its reopening to the public. American artist Dale Chihuly has long been associated with The Baker Museum, including an exhibition of his works that was featured when the museum opened in November 2000, with Chihuly himself attending the inaugural festivities. Dreaming Forms: Chihuly Then and Now, on view from November 1, 2020 through February 28, 2021, includes stunning artworks presented in The Baker Museum as well as around the Kimberly K. Querrey and Louis A. Simpson Cultural Campus.

“There is a lovely symmetry to having Dale Chihuly anchor the 20th anniversary season of The Baker Museum, since he helped inaugurate the museum when it opened,” said Kathleen van Bergen, CEO and President of Artis—Naples. “Since then, The Baker Museum has become one of the bright lights on the visual arts landscape in Southwest Florida, and we are delighted to highlight our 20-year relationship with Dale Chihuly as we celebrate the reopening of the museum and the unveiling of the expansion to the south.”

Dale Chihuly is a multi-media artist known for pushing the boundaries of glass and revolutionizing the American studio glass movement. For this comprehensive exhibition at The Baker Museum, Chihuly presents stunning installations drawn both from recent works and from his earlier signature series. Among the featured series, indoors and outdoors, are Baskets, Venetians, Ikebana, Fiori, Rotolo, Glass on Glass and Red Reeds.

In addition, a dynamic, large-scale assemblage, Gilded Fiori Boat, will be premiered at The Baker Museum, occupying a gallery on its own. The work exemplifies Chihuly’s ongoing exploration of site-specific installations and interest in transforming and expanding the capabilities of glass, which can be further seen in Red Reeds. Consisting of a multitude of tall, reed-like forms, the installation will be presented in the reflecting pools in the Norris Garden on the Kimberly K. Querrey and Louis A. Simpson Cultural Campus.

Starting in 1977, Chihuly began creating his iconic Basket series, which consists of large, wide-mouthed and asymmetrical vessels, within which several small pieces nest. He has made an ever-evolving array of this undulating vessel form since then, including Fire Orange Baskets and Chihuly Merletto Baskets, an iteration developed in 2019 which embeds lace-like patterns into the work and illustrates his continuous experimentation with technique, form, pattern and color. This exhibition marks the first time that Chihuly Merletto Baskets will be on view in a museum setting.

Inspired by Venetian Art Deco vases, in 1988 Chihuly launched the Venetian series — boldly colored and intricate, vase-shaped works. Also on view are the Ikebana, which the artist initiated in 1989 as an offshoot of the Venetians, inspired by the art of Japanese flower arrangement. Further demonstrating Chihuly’s penchant for organic, free flowing forms, Dreaming Forms: Chihuly Then and Now also includes an immersive Mille Fiori installation. Chihuly’s Rotolo, which the artist began in 2013 will also be on view. These delicate yet heavy works sprang from his earlier Venetian series and are among the most challenging to make.

Comprised of glass panels painted with vitreous enamels, Glass on Glass, which debuted in 2017, demonstrates Chihuly’s ongoing exploration of the transmission of light through transparent media. Chihuly’s expressive Drawings, on view throughout the galleries, are often dreamlike and colorful, and they have evolved from a means of communicating with his team to a unique body of work that echoes the development of his glasswork.

Dreaming Forms: Chihuly Then and Now aims to inspire and provide the visitor with artistic respite and visual pleasure. It will evince not only Chihuly’s artistic rigor, but also his continuous investigation of contemporary themes and forms while honoring and reinvigorating traditional glassmaking technique.

The museum’s permanent collection currently includes three exceptional Chihuly works: the monumental Blue Icicle Chandelier, which provides a dramatic greeting to visitors as they enter The Baker Museum lobby; Red Chandelier, ensconced majestically in Hayes Hall, where it reflects the light in various ways, creating a swirl of energy in the surrounding environment; and the magnificent Persian Seaform Ceiling, with glass panes spanning the length of an entire corridor on the third floor, sending vivid colorful patterns dancing across the walls and floors below as light filters in from above.

In addition to the Chihuly exhibition, this fall The Baker Museum will also feature the exhibitions Subject Matters: Selections from the Permanent Collection, Rodin: Truth Form Life / Selections from the Iris & B. Gerald Cantor Collections and Magritte: Reflections of Another World – Paintings from the Van Parys Family.

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