Dale Chihuly blankets on display at Museum of Art

PULLMAN – The Museum of Art at WSU will exhibit “Wrapped in Tradition: The Chihuly Collection of Native American Trade Blankets,” Oct. 3 – Dec. 19.
“Wrapped in Tradition” includes 80 vintage Native American trade blankets from the personal collection of the master of glass, Dale Chihuly. Also on view will be numerous pieces of original art from Chihuly’s Blanket Cylinder series, which vividly invokes the blankets’ unique texture, patterns and colors. A third component of the exhibition showcases vintage examples of Native American baskets from WSU’s Museum of Anthropology. The resulting display conveys a rich cross-cultural dialogue between an innovative contemporary artist, commercial craftsmanship and Native American traditions.
Museum of Art Director, Chris Bruce said, “Aside from the obvious opportunity to view a famous artist’s personal collection, this exhibition is an example of the value of cross-cultural experiences. There is a proven maxim that innovations often occur when the practitioner is open to encounters with new and unexpected influences. Think of Van Gogh and Japanese prints, Picasso and African sculpture, or Lichtenstein and comics. Dale Chihuly has spent a lifetime surrounding himself with all kinds of materials outside his specific field: old toys and rare books, masks from all over the world, historical photographs and other artist’s work and, in this case, Native American baskets and trade blankets. The result in his own art is not direct influences, but rather constant, changing sources of inspiration and reminders to think out of the box.”
Artist Dale Chihuly, born in 1941, lives and works in Seattle. He received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Washington, a master’s from the University of Wisconsin at Madison, and a  Master in Fine Arts from the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD). In 1969 he established the glass program at RISD, where he taught full-time for more than a decade. He cofounded Pilchuck Glass School near Stanwood, Wash., in 1971.
The Museum of Art will also feature guest speaker Barry Friedman, author of “Chasing Rainbows: Collecting American Indian Trade and Camp Blankets and one of the nation’s experts on trade blankets.” Friedman will speak  at 7 p.m., Oct. 3 in the Fine Arts Auditorium.

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