Artworks
Sunburst
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emckinstry's picture

Contributor

Walking into the Minneapolis Institute of Art, visitors are welcomed by their own indoor sun, or Sunburst.

Over 3,000 pounds of glass and neon tubing hang precariously above visitors’ heads. For a man who seems to attract accidents, it's curious Dale Chihuly would hang such a heavy object above the heads of art lovers just trying to see the diverse, and mostly earthbound, art collection of the MIA. But we forgive him because that sun-like sculpture graces the dim interior of the Minneapolis Institute of Art, giving the illusion of a gravity-free orb ushering us inside.

Unlike his usually vague titles, Sunburst is quite specific. No one can deny that Chihuly created a miniature sun, complete with over a thousand solar flares reaching out into the entrance of the museum, beckoning – or maybe pausing – visitors on their way inside. And let’s be honest, blowing air through a metal tube into molten blobs, forming beautifully curling strings of yellow glass, is about as close to facing and mastering the heat of the sun as I can imagine.

Chihuly’s decision to use such a dangerous medium earns him some definite props. Even more fascinating is his ability to convince other artists, or daredevils, to accompany him on this pursuit. While Chihuly is the mastermind behind the sculptural designs, it takes hundreds of artists, part of his “Boathouse” studio, to create the thousands of hand blown glass pieces shooting off of this work. By employing the Venetian team model of glass blowing, having many hands make light work of this task – or in this case incredibly heavy work – Chihuly is able to be quite prolific. This art production model of many artists creating the ideas of one was also used in Andy Warhol’s “Factory”, so the kudos given to these two should also go out to the team. But the best part is that Chihuly has created a little army of glass blowing fanatics! So get ready for even more glass structures to pop up in our favorite places.  It’ll be like a giant glass structure scavenger hunt!