Chihuly: In the Light of Jerusalem
The Tower of David Museum (the Citadel)
Jerusalem holds a unique place in the consciousness of the western world: it
is the birthplace of monotheism and the worlds great spiritual center. At
the Jaffa Gate entrance to Jerusalems Old City stands the Tower of David
and the 700-year old Citadel, built on a site that was pivotal to the citys
fortifications for 2,700 years. It stands between east and west, and between
old and new, at the heart of 4,000 years of history and the development of
the worlds three major monotheistic religions.
Today, the Citadel houses The Tower of David Museum of the History of
Jerusalem, which recounts Jerusalems history with a balanced focus on the
importance and significance of the city to the worlds three major
monotheistic religions. The Citadel is also well known as a place for
cultural and educational activities, including concerts, special art
installations and other unique events.
A Fusing of Ancient and Modern Art Forms: Chihuly In Jerusalem
The tower of David Museum is proud to be mounting an exhibition of glass
installations by the American artist Dale Chihuly, the worlds premiere
artist whose medium is glass.
Four thousand years ago, the Canaanites, living in this region, made glass
beads. But their material was incidental to the form created, and often the
glass was made to look like marble, which was more highly prized. Two
thousand years later, in the eastern Mediterranean, man discovered how to
blow glass and began to create forms which made glass-its properties and
nature-central to the created work. For the two thousand years following,
artists have been exploring the possibilities of shaping glass into fragile
forms. Yet no one has brought it to a higher level of creativity than
Chihuly. In exploring the sculptural potential of glass, Chihuly has
confounded expectations, shattered boundaries, and expanded the scale and
uses of glass with fanciful technique, historical reference, aggressive
shapes, and luscious forms.
Chihuly was drawn to Israel after a brief visit in the summer of 1997, and
was struck by its importance as the birthplace of both glassmaking and
glassblowing. Early glass works found in Israel strongly resemble Chihulys
organic forms. He hopes to create artworks that are both an homage to the
ancient glass traditions of the Middle East and an impetus to revitalize
glassmaking in the area. As in his other projects, Chihuly will collaborate
with glassblowers from the region, both Israeli and Palestinian, to produce
a portion of the glass parts for his sculptures. This message of coexistence
is particularly suited to the Citadels mission to recount objectively and
fairly all the periods of Jerusalems history.
A Jewish legend relates that ten measures of beauty were given to the world
at the time of its creation. Jerusalem received nine of them. To this day,
beauty is at the heart of this city; in its spiritual importance; in its
merging of old and new; in the incredible golden quality of its light.
Surely, Chihulys encounter with Jerusalem was inevitable. The mounting of
his installations over the city will be a fitting celebration of the
millennium, and herald the next two thousand years of artistry in glass.
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