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Indepth Arts News:

"Crowds Flock to the Chihuly Exhibition at the Tower of David"
1999-07-01 until 0000-00-00
Tower of David Museum
Jerusalem, , IL Israel

Chihuly in the Light of Jerusalem 2000, the exhibition of monumental glass works by Dale Chihuly that opened at the Tower of David Museum of the History of Jerusalem on July 1, drew crowds of nearly 70,000 people in its first month, an unprecedented number of visitors for the first weeks of an exhibition. Similar numbers are expected in September.

We are delighted and humbled by the public's reaction, noted Shosh Yaniv, the museum director. When Chihuly first visited us two years ago he was enchanted by the fortress as a unique location for his glass art and resolved to mount an exhibition here. I remember him sitting in my office where he drew sketches of his glass towers inside the stone towers, surrounded by people saying 'Wow.' And that is exactly what is happening.

Yaniv attributes the success of the exhibition to the sheer beauty and artistry of the glass sculptures. The public has become captivated by the installations, she says, suggesting that the effectiveness of the museum's marketing campaign has been enhanced by word of mouth recommendations. People are particularly enchanted by 'Chihuly by Night.' when the installations are beautifully illuminated Yaniv notes. They are prepared to stand in long lines to come into the courtyard.

Among the visitors to the exhibition in its first month were Reuma Weizman, wife of Israel's president, who has expressed her desire to return to see the glass illuminated at night, Leah Rabin, wife of the late Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, and former president Yithak Navon.

The exhibition, Dale Chihuly's homage to Jerusalem on the eve of the millennium, is made up of some 15 large installations in the courtyard of the Tower of David, a glass ceiling above the staircase that leads down to the Crusader Hall and an exhibition of smaller items in the Hall. Some 42 tonnes of glass was shipped to Israel for the exhibition, the largest that Chihuly has ever mounted. Among the installations are The Blue Tower, a 13.5 meter tower of some 2,000 pieces of glass, The Moon, a 3.5 meter diameter blue globe made from 500 pieces of glass that hangs above the fortress and is visible from the new city, and The Crystal Mountain, a 9.5 meter high pyramid made from 1,600 crystals on a frame of 4 km. of metal.

Dale Chihuly, one of the greatest glass artists of the 20th century, was born in Tacoma, Washington, USA, in 1941, and has placed his installations in fast-flowing rivers and fields of flowers, and merged them into the architecture of old buildings.

To reduce the crowding, the museum has extended its opening hours for the summer. The Chihuly exhibition will remain open until the spring of the new millennium and Chihuly by Night will be open throughout September and October.

For further details, contact Deborah Lipson at the Tower of David Museum, 02-6265356, tower@netvision.net.il

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