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Institute Kicks off 50th Anniversary Celebration with Chihuly at the Salk

Dale Chihuly

Niijima Floats

The bold iconic laboratory buildings of the Salk Institute will receive an equally dramatic jolt of colorful artwork April 22-27 when the Institute kicks off its 50th anniversary celebration with Chihuly at the Salk - an outdoor installation of sculpture by artist Dale Chihuly.

The celebratory event is open to the public for day and some evening guided tours ($15/ticket), in the course of which visitors can experience Chihuly's fantastically colorful and expressive glass pieces. The artwork will be positioned throughout the grounds of the Salk Institute, marking the first time a Chihuly installation has ever been displayed at a working research institution.

"This fusion of extraordinary scientific, architectural and artistic creativity is indicative of the true spirit of our founder, Jonas Salk," said Salk Institute President William R. Brody. "We are absolutely delighted that we can open our doors to the public to share this unique experience. And we are deeply appreciative of the generous sponsorship of Joan and Irwin M. Jacobs that made this exhibit possible."

Chihuly's The Sun and White Tower, each standing about 15 feet tall, are among the largest sculptures that will be set against the Salk's austere, angular buildings and courtyard overlooking the Pacific Ocean, and in the adjacent eucalyptus grove.

Other signature pieces on display will include Niijima Floats, large spheres–up to 40 inches in diameter and approximately 60 pounds–with surfaces richly colored in gold and silver leaf and foil; Chandeliers, large hanging sculptures assembled from hundreds of colorful, tentacle-like glass components; Reeds, translucent spears that appear to jut out from the ground.

A lecture and book signing ($50/ticket) with the artist is scheduled on April 25 from noon-2 p.m. in the Salk Institute's Frederic de Hoffmann Auditorium. Chihuly will discuss some of his most significant exhibits from around the world and touch on the installation at the Salk and the landmark architecture that inspired it. A 15-minute Q&A session will follow.

Chihuly has led the avant-garde in the development of glass as a fine art. His work is included in more than 200 museum collections worldwide. He has created many well-known series of works, among them the Baskets, Persians, and Seaforms, but he is also celebrated for large architectural installations.