A A new exhibition of monumental works by revered artist, Dale Chihuly, is now on display at one of Arizona’s most iconic landmarks and the state’s only UNESCO World Heritage cultural site, Frank Lloyd Wright’s famous home and studio, Taliesin West, Scottsdale.
A historic partnership between the artist and a renowned architect, Chihuly in the desert combines American art, architecture and the remarkable landscape of the Sonoran Desert to majestic effect.
Chihuly in the Desert presents six art installations in Taliesin West placed inside the building, on the lawns, in the water and emerging from the desert itself. Each installation is a rich dialogue between Wright and Chihuly, bringing together the work of the two masters in a way that has never been done before. Taliesin West is the great architect’s winter home and desert laboratory, an ideal backdrop for exploring the elements and principles of design, present in both Chihuly’s sculptures and Wright’s architecture. Works include the Alabaster and Amber Spire towers at the entrance plaza; Red reeds and Niijima floats at the front pond; Black saguaros and scarlet icicles on the studio lawn; Golden Celedon Baskets in The Garden Room, Fire Amber Herons in the Tower Pool and Marine Blue and Citron Tower in the Garden Squares.
Dale Chihuly is known for revolutionizing glass with large-scale immersive installations around the world. The interaction of Chihuly’s work with architecture has been central to his practice since his studies in interior design at the University of Washington in the 1960s. This approach is a fascinating aspect of the artist’s work, with notable installations placed across cities, such as Venice during Chihuly Over Venice, in historic sites such as the ancient Citadel of the Old City of Jerusalem for Chihuly in the Light of Jerusalem 2000, and in response to architectural environments such as the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in La Jolla, California.
“It is a pleasure to return to the Sonoran Desert with a new exhibit. Developing and placing work in the distinct environments of Taliesin West and Desert Botanical Garden has been a unique opportunity for me and I hope everyone who visits will find something beautiful and unexpected in the experience,” says Chihuly.
For seven decades, Wright explored and redefined American architecture through innovative projects and experimental approaches. His goal was to design structures that were truly connected to their surroundings and focused on the synergy between the built and natural environment, a philosophy he called organic architecture. Likewise, over five decades, Chihuly has explored new and old glassmaking techniques, pushing the boundaries of contemporary art. He draws inspiration from the world around him, creating statements using color and form to capture the imagination and propel beyond conventional ideas of function and beauty.
“Chihuly and Frank Lloyd Wright, two American originals who draw inspiration from the country’s unique physical and cultural landscapes, are a perfect fit for Taliesin West,” says Stuart Graff, President and CEO of the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation. “With our World Heritage buildings and mountainous desert backdrop, the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation presents its first exhibition of its kind, revealing how art, architecture and nature come together to connect our visitors more deeply with the world around them. Guests have the rare opportunity to experience a visual conversation between Wright and Chihuly and see them both in an entirely new way.
Until June 19, Taliesin West will offer In the New Light: Wright & Chihuly ($49 per person with student, youth, and member discounts) – A 90-minute guided tour where guests explore Wright’s Desert Home and Lab and Chihuly’s six works of art throughout campus; Sunsets and Sips ($35) — a new happy hour where guests are invited to linger over a drink at the Studio and under the Pergola. All tickets come with a free drink (beer, wine, or soda) and access to select areas of the property with staff present to answer questions; and Chihuly Nights ($35 per person with student, youth, and member discounts offered Friday-Sunday 6:30-9:00 p.m.) – A 60-minute self-guided outdoor tour of five Chihuly works of art where guests explore the grounds of the historic Taliesin West core district at night and see Chihuly’s artwork illuminated.
Chihuly in the Desert is co-presented by Taliesin West and the Desert Botanical Garden, both venues showcasing the artist’s extraordinary works. To purchase tickets for either location or to learn more, visit www.ChihulyintheDesert.org.