Form From Fire: Chihuly glass sculpture to illuminate Dayton Art Institute


DAYTON, Ohio – Internationally acclaimed artist Dale Chihuly has been creating spectacular visions in glass for more than three decades.

Opening July 21 at the Dayton Art Institute, the exhibition Form From Fire will feature more than 100 objects from Chihuly’s most beloved series – including Baskets, Macchias, Ikebanas, Persians and Cylinders. Never before seen installations designed exclusively for The Dayton Art Institute will highlight this exhibition.

Along with his glass works of art, drawings by Chihuly will also be on view.


Chihuly has become perhaps the world’s best-known glass artist and has, in many respects, single-handedly popularized the studio glass movement in the United States and abroad. He has been creating glass since 1967 and currently has pieces in more than 180 museums world-wide including Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Germany, Denmark, Switzerland, France and the Czech Republic.

Ranging in size from a few feet to several hundred feet and weighing up to several tons, Chihuly’s glass is a colorful array of shapes and sizes which may consist of hundreds, even thousands of hand-blown pieces.

Sea-inspired forms, lopsided baskets and 30-foot-long Persian pergolas are just a few samples of Chihuly’s exquisite glass. Chihuly’s glass sculptures can be found as an impressive glass ceiling in the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas, suspended over canals in Venice and are part of the White House’s permanent collection. In 1992, he was named the first National Living Treasure in the United States.

The exhibition.

In addition to Chihuly’s well-known work, Form From Fire will feature new art designed specifically for The Dayton Art Institute.

In the first special exhibition gallery, visitors will encounter a series of ikebanas, another name for Japanese flower arranging. These colorful and elegant long stemmed pieces were made with the help of long-time friend Lino Tagliapietra after a trip to Japan in 1998.

In the next gallery, an anemone wall features long, slender finger-like stems that look as though they are floating underwater.

On the opposite wall, a series of baskets are installed on pedestals. Chihuly’s Baskets series are essentially lopsided bowls inspired by the sight of an old Indian basket, sagging and misshapen in appearance.

Next, visitors encounter Chihuly’s Persians, a series he began in 1985. His signature pieces are known as Persian windows, Persian ceilings or Persian walls.

At the art institute, these large flowerlike objects are displayed on a table, as well as in mass, incorporating a Persian ceiling. The Persian ceiling is a colorful 8-foot-high, 40-foot-long tunnel made of hundreds of brilliantly colored glass, lit from the top, providing a magical passageway for visitors.

Eccentric 1920s and 1930s-looking art-deco inspired Venetians fill the next gallery, a series Chihuly began soon after returning from Venice in 1988, where he first encountered these innovative and beautiful pieces.

Stocky angel-like Puttis will also be on view, as well as a nearly 10-foot tower, which graces the center of the last gallery.

Visitors may also view Chihuly’s Jerusalem cylinders, vase-like round pieces depicting a scene on the front of each. These scenes are actually thin pieces of glass that have been molded and fused to the cylinder. Translucent white seaflowers fill an 11-foot case, across from the cylinders.


Sprinkled throughout the special exhibition wing, Chihuly’s drawings, including early Venetian drawings, give visitors yet another aspect of Chihuly’s talent. Several of Chihuly’s glass will enhance the art institute’s permanent collection.

In the General Motors Entrance Rotunda, a 70-foot colorful Persian wall will reach from the Berry Wing of European Art doorway to the doors of the Dicke Wing of American Art.

The Persian Wall is made of 60 large Persian forms, mounted sporadically on the wall, in essentially every color of the rainbow.

A series of Macchia’s will be displayed on metal pedestals of varying height throughout the Great Hall. This series arose from Chihuly’s challenge to use all 300 glass colors in one series.

The name Macchia comes from the Italian word spotted, which fits these speckled pieces.

In addition to the Macchias, an incredible red Tower, made from thousands of individuals glass pieces held together by a massive metal armature, reaches nearly 18 feet and will be lighted and visible from Interstate 75.

In the Italian Cloister, red and cool optic purple Reeds, some of the longest glass forms blown by Chihuly’s team, will complement the fountain and provide a vivid array of “spears” randomly placed in the grass.


Admission is $10 for adults; $8 for seniors (60+); $5 for students (7-22, with valid student ID); free for children 6 and under and museum members.

Tickets are dated and are available at the visitor service desk located in the General Motors Entrance Rotunda, by phone at 937-223-4ART or online at


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