Taliesin West hosts Chihuly art exhibition
Feb. 21, 2022
For the first time ever, Taliesin West has an art exhibition, Chihuly in the Desert, showcasing the work of the famous glass artist Dale Chihuly, best known for his uniquely large blown glass sculptures.
From now until July 19, six of his works are set around the former winter home of famed architect Frank Lloyd Wright, who Chihuly claims as a major source of inspiration for his work.
“This exhibition is really a conversation between two artists, artists who took deep inspiration from the form and process of nature, who explored the intrinsic character of the materials that they worked with,” said Stuart Graff, president and CEO of the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation. “Whether it’s Wright doing that with the stone he found here in the Sonoran Desert as he began to build Taliesin West, or whether it’s Chihuly taking glass and using it’s intrinsic properties to show us things that we otherwise won’t see.”
Chihuly himself stopped glassblowing after suffering an injury in 1976 that cost him the use of his left eye, and a surfing injury in 1979 that made it difficult for him to hold the glassblowing pipe. Since then, he has directed a team of glassblowers. According to Chihuly, rather than this being a hinderance, it enabled him to work “at a much larger scale,” leading to the creation of large glass sculptures that can be comprised of thousands of separate pieces of glass, mounted together using a secret method.
According to Graff, this exhibition comes from a process that began in 2018, when Chihuly’s team broached the idea of a partnership. After an extended period of photographing the property, receiving feedback from the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation, and crafting the artwork, the exhibits finally opened this year.
Chihuly in the Desert is a two-part exhibit, with 6 pieces of it being hosted at Taliesin West, and the other half being featured at the Desert Botanical Gardens, which has hosted previous Chihuly exhibits in 2008 and 2013.
This exhibition is the first to be held at Taliesin West, but it isn’t out of character for the location, which has hosted artistic events weekly for years.
“I think that Wright was always pleased by the inspiration that others found in nature, and so I think that he would enjoy this very much. He loved celebrating the beauty of the arts, and that’s what we’re doing here, so I’d like to believe he’d have a smile on his face,” Graff said.