A new exhibition of monumental works by Dale Chihuly is now on view at one of Arizona’s most iconic landmarks and the state’s only cultural UNESCO World Heritage site, Frank Lloyd Wright’s famed home and studio, Taliesin West, in Scottsdale.
A historic partnership between the revered artist and 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 showcases six art installations at 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, pairing 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.
Dale Chihuly is known for revolutionizing glass with immersive, large-scale installations around the world. The interplay of Chihuly’s work with architecture has been core to his practice since studying interior design at 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 like the ancient Citadel in 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 exhibition. 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 Dale Chihuly.
Over seven decades, Wright explored, invented and redefined American architecture through innovative projects and experimental approaches. His aim was to design structures that truly connected with their surroundings and focused on synergy between the built and natural environment, a philosophy he called organic architecture. Similarly, over the course of 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 catapult beyond the conventional ideas of function and beauty.
“Chihuly and Frank Lloyd Wright, two American originals taking inspiration from the country’s unique physical and cultural landscapes, are a perfect fit at 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 this 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 to see them both in an entirely new way.”
Now through June 19, Taliesin West will offer In The New Light: Wright & Chihuly ($49 per person with discounts for students, youth and members), a 90-minute guided tour where guests explore Wright’s desert home and laboratory and the six Chihuly artworks throughout the campus. Also available is Sunsets and Sips ($35), a new happy hour where guests are invited to linger with a drink at the Studio and under the Pergola. All tickets come with a complimentary drink (beer, wine or soda) and access to select spaces on property with staff present to answer questions. Beginning this month, Taliesin West will introduce Chihuly Nights ($35 per person with discounts for students, youth and members offered Friday – Sunday from 6:30 to 9 p.m.), a self-guided, 60-minute outdoor tour of five Chihuly artworks where guests explore the grounds of Taliesin West’s historic core at night and see the Chihuly artworks illuminated.
Chihuly in the Desert is co-presented by Taliesin West and the Desert Botanical Garden with both venues featuring the artist’s extraordinary works. To purchase tickets to either venue, or to learn more, visit ChihulyintheDesert.org.