If American glass megastar Dale Chihuly calls him, “… perhaps the greatest glassblower in the world,” you know he has to be pretty good. No need to take Chihuly at his word, because now visitors to the Toledo Museum of Art can view about two dozen works by Venetian glass wizard Leno Tagliapietra (TALL-ee-ah-pee-YA-tra) on display in the Glass Pavilion. The TMA organized the show, Venetian Glass Birds: Lino Tagliapietra, in conjunction with its exhibition In Fine Feather: Birds, Art, and Science.
The show arranges Tagliapietra’s abstract glass birds into three sections. A colorful grouping of highly abstracted birds in flight, suspended from the ceiling, occupies the center of the gallery space. A second set of stylized birds roost on pedestals, ranging in abstraction from what seems like a three dimensional, highly ornamented Nike swoosh to much more literal forms with beaks, wings, heads, and tails. Birds of the third set, like Brancusi’s Bird in Space, bear no immediate resemblance to an actual bird but abstractly evoke, through their dynamic trajectory upward, the upward movement of a Phoenix rising. All the works in the exhibition show off dizzyingly complex multicolored geometrical patterns.
Tagliapietra has exhibited work in venues such as the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington D.C. and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. Until June 22, visitors to the TMA can see his works in the Glass Pavilion (which, incidentally, is itself always worth a visit). The show is free of charge.