Every other week we’ll be posting information about pieces in the Beach Museum’s permanent collection from …to build up a rich collection.. Selected works from The Marianna Kistler Beach Museum of Art.
All pieces in this series are on display now at the museum. We hope you will join in the discussion and enjoy learning in-depth about the heart of the museum, our permanent collection. Beginning with one of the pieces that welcome you to the Beach Museum, Chandelier by Dale Chihuly. What does this piece make you wonder?
Dale Chihuly, born in 1941 in Tacoma, Washington, is considered on of the world’s foremost artists working in glass. Chihuly has become famous for liberating glassblowing from the confines of craft and placing it firmly in the sphere of fine art.1 In 1992 he made his first chandelier, which was created in conjunction with an exhibition at the Seattle Art Museum. At Seattle Chihuly become discontent with a vacant space within the exhibition. His solution was to create a hanging sculpture composed of a multitude of glass spheres. The main appeal of this first piece was not primarily derived from the simple shape of the individual components but from the grouping of these elements into a new structure.2The sheer size and volume of this first chandelier is only half of its attraction. The uniform and vibrant color makes the piece even more dramatic. This first chandelier led to a series of hanging pieces that are now considered among Chihuly’s signature forms.
Ever wonder what it takes to maintain Dale Chihuly’s glass sculpture Chandelier? Our Exhibitions Designer, Lindsay Smith, tells us how it’s done.
Chandelier must be cleaned on an annual basis. The project has roots dating back to 1998, when it was noticed that dust particles would readily settle upon the individual glass pieces creating a dusty film, diminishing the chandelier’s color.
One to two days are needed to complete the project. Because of the location above the stairwell careful thought was needed to determine a structure for this cleaning. It was determined that this could be accomplished with several pieces of equipment that the museum regularly uses: a one-person electric lift, air compressor, soft wool or synthetic dusters, and rented painter’s scaffolding sections. The scaffolding is stackable up to three sections, plus it is narrow and adjustable in height to accommodate the elevation and width changes within the stairwell.
Working from the top of the chandelier down, the air compressor is used to blow away a majority of the dust particles. Then wool dusters are used to clean the top, bottom, sides, ends, and carefully between the individual pieces to the best of our ability.
The Marianna Kistler Beach Museum of Art furthers the teaching, research, and service missions of Kansas State University by collecting, studying, caring for, and presenting the visual art of Kansas and the region.