Museum presents exhibition honoring 20th anniversary of Chihuly collection

OKLAHOMA CITY – A new exhibition of work by pioneering artist Dale Chihuly (American, b. 1941) will open on June 18 at the Oklahoma City Museum of Art (OKCMOA). "Chihuly Then and Now: The Collection at Twenty" features new works on loan from Chihuly Studio in Seattle and from the Seattle Art Museum, as well as visitor favorites from OKCMOA’s permanent collection. The original exhibition, featuring five decades of glass and painting, will tell a comprehensive story of Chihuly’s groundbreaking career. "Chihuly Then and Now" is presented by Inasmuch Foundation, Jeaneen Eddie Naifeh, and Glenna and Richard Tanenbaum.

“I have developed new work in the last 20 years that has not yet been shown in Oklahoma City,” said artist Dale Chihuly. “I look forward to sharing selections from this work, specifically 'Chihuly Merletto,’ ‘Rotolo,’ and ‘Glass on Glass,’ in the company of the collection held by Oklahoma City Museum of Art.” 

“Hundreds of thousands of visitors have experienced OKCMOA's breathtaking and immersive installations of Dale Chihuly's work over the past two decades," said Michael Anderson, Ph.D., OKCMOA President and CEO. “I am thrilled to introduce this dynamic take on our collection to the community and to continue our focus on studio glass. ‘Chihuly Then and Now’ will showcase Chihuly’s extensive career and illustrate his impactful role as a key player in the national studio glass movement. We thank Chihuly Studio and all of our exhibition sponsors for their generous support for this exhibition.”

OKCMOA curator Catherine Shotick added, “For more than five decades, Dale Chihuly’s artwork has captured our imaginations. Often drawing inspiration from nature, Chihuly plays with bold colors, glowing light and organic forms to create unique experiences. He is continually pushing the boundaries of glass as an artistic medium, producing objects unlike anything created before.”

"Chihuly Then and Now" features works not currently in OKCMOA’s collection, such as:

  • “Navajo Blanket Cylinders” - In his first major glass series, Chihuly was inspired by the colors and patterns of blankets woven by members of the Diné (Navajo) tribe.
  • “Soft Cylinders” - This series combines the aesthetics of “Navajo Blanket Cylinders” with the more relaxed forms and gentle curves of the “Baskets.” “Venetians” - The “Venetians” have a traditional vase-like central form with exuberant decorative attachments, such as coils and twisted ribbons. 
  • “Rotolo” - Started in 2013, the heavy and complex “Rotolo” (Italian for “coil”) sculptures evolved from the spiraling forms found in Chihuly’s “Venetians.”  “Glass on Glass” - Comprised of glass panels that are painted with vitreous enamel, Chihuly's "Glass on Glass" works demonstrate his ongoing exploration of the transmission of light through transparent media.
  • “Chihuly Merletto” - Chihuly’s latest body of work was inspired by the ancient Venetian technique called “merletto” (Italian for lace) in which white cane is used to create lace-like patterns.

“With each new work created, Chihuly continues to redefine the boundaries of glass as an artistic medium, which is why it is critical to continue to refresh what we have on view,” said Shotick. “For example, the ‘Rotolo’ series evolved from the spiraling and exuberant forms found in the earlier ‘Venetian’ series. ‘Rotolo’ are heavy, complex and delicate works that can require up to 17 team members working in unison for hours to create. I think visitors will really enjoy seeing these new works in the context of their favorites.” 

In addition to the loaned work listed above, "Chihuly Then and Now" will feature visitor favorites from OKCMOA’s collection including “Neodymium Reeds,” "Ikebana Boat” and a redesigned “Oklahoma Persian Ceiling” installation. The exhibition will offer visitors a chance to walk through Chihuly’s extensive career and gain insight into his techniques and processes.


About Dale Chihuly

Dale Chihuly is an American artist noted for revolutionizing the studio glass movement and elevating perceptions of the medium. Known for ambitious architectural installations in cities, museums, and gardens around the world, Chihuly utilizes a variety of media to realize his creative vision, including glass, paint, charcoal, neon, ice, and Polyvitro. Major exhibitions include “Chihuly Over Venice” (1995-96), “Chihuly in the Light of Jerusalem” (1999), de Young Museum in San Francisco (2008), Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (2011), Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond (2012), Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, Montreal, Canada (2013), Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto, Canada (2016), Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, Arkansas (2017), Groninger Museum, Groningen, Netherlands

(2018), Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, London, U.K (2019), and Gardens by the Bay, Singapore (2020). “Chihuly Garden and Glass,” a long-term exhibition located at the Seattle Center, opened in 2012.


About the Oklahoma City Museum of Art

The Oklahoma City Museum of Art is one of the leading arts institutions in the region. The Museum presents a dynamic range of exhibitions organized from prestigious museums and collections throughout the world. The Museum’s own diverse collection features highlights from North America, Europe and Asia, with particular strengths in American art and postwar abstraction. The permanent collection also boasts one of the world’s largest public collections of Dale Chihuly glass, a major collection of photography by Brett Weston and the definitive museum collection of works by the Washington Color painter Paul Reed. The Museum’s renowned Samuel Roberts Noble Theater screens the finest international, independent, documentary and classic films. Museum amenities include the Museum Store and the Roof Terrace. The Oklahoma City Museum of Art is accredited by the American Alliance of Museums and is a member of the Association of Art Museum Directors. The Museum serves over 125,000 visitors annually from all 50 states and 30 foreign countries.