At new Shoreview museum, Cafesjian Artwork Belief goals to raise large-scale glass – Twin Cities


A brand new artwork museum with a concentrate on studio glassblowing is now open in Shoreview.

The Cafesjian Artwork Belief opened on Oct. 13, with its inaugural exhibition specializing in famous glass artist Dale Chihuly. Admission is free, however timed reservations should be made prematurely on-line. The museum’s exhibitions are viewable solely by means of guided excursions, which happen at 10 am, 1 pm, and three pm each Thursday, Friday, and Saturday.

A sunburst chandelier by glass artist Dale Chihuly, proven on Sept. 29, 2022, is the centerpiece of the foyer of the brand new Cafesjian Artwork Belief, which opened this month. The paintings was made by Chihuly particularly for longtime pal Gerard Cafesjian, the museum’s late founder. (Jared Kaufman/Pioneer Press)

With its shiny blue and grey paneling, the museum constructing’s exterior is placing and kooky amid the encompassing suburban white- and red-brick structure. Stepping inside feels transportive, too: The entranceway is paying homage to a tunnel, with bands of sunshine working alongside the arched ceiling. The inside area is vibrant and colourful, identical to the foyer’s centerpiece chandelier, a everlasting floor-to-ceiling glass sunburst by Chihuly.


The museum is called for the late philanthropist, artwork collector and publishing government Gerard Cafesjian, who additionally lent his title to a restored 1914 carousel in Como Park Zoo & Conservatory and an artwork musuem in Yerevan, Armenia. Cafesjian was significantly desirous about glass artwork, and his longtime private {and professional} friendship with Chihuly underlies the museum’s inaugural exhibition, “A Lasting Friendship: Gerard Cafesjian & Dale Chihuly.”

Cafesjian’s daughter Kathie Cafesjian Baradaran, who’s now the trustee of the museum, mentioned the museum goals to disentangle studio glass from “ornamental artwork” — which additionally holds a spot of their assortment, she mentioned — and set up its place amongst high quality artwork media like oil paint or bronze sculpture.

The museum is not all glass, although, Baradaran mentioned. Cafesjian, who died in 2013, amassed one of many world’s largest collections of artwork by Armenian painter Arshile Gorky, in addition to works by different modern artists together with Sam Francis, Gerhard Richter, Jennifer Bartlett and others. The museum’s second exhibition, which is able to run from April 8 to Oct. 18, 2023, focuses on the highlights of the Cafesjian assortment, and a deliberate third exhibition will discover optical artwork by means of works by Victor Vasarely and Jon Kuhn.

Curator and government director Andy Schlauch has spent a good portion of his current profession working with Chihuly and his large-scale glass artwork. For the present present, Schlauch organized the gallery in a chronological loop by means of the artist’s profession, from asymmetrical seaforms to a wall-length set up of Persian floral varieties to extra ornate Venetian-inspired vessels.

“These are extremely difficult items to make,” Schlauch mentioned. Every work may contain as much as 20 glassblowers working throughout a number of days. “In my head, I am pondering not simply the best way to have fun the paintings, however the best way to have fun their work and their expertise and talent to interpret Dale’s imaginative and prescient for what he likes to see in his work.”

Cafesjian and Chihuly met within the mid-Eighties, Schlauch mentioned, following a interval by which Chihuly navigated adjustments in his inventive course of. After a automotive accident that broken his imaginative and prescient and led to his trademark eye patch, Chihuly stopped dealing with scorching glass himself. He took on extra of a directorial position, main groups of glassblowers to create the monumental works he grew to become recognized for.

“There’s nonetheless that romantic notion of the artist working laborious, away by themselves within the studio,” Schlauch mentioned. “It is really a really old style method to creating artwork; you had Rembrandt and Da Vinci who had large studios, and folks to assist them obtain what they needed to create. That is similar to how glass artists work.”

A painted sketch by glass artist Dale Chihuly at the new Cafesjian Art Trust museum
This painted sketch by glass artist Dale Chihuly, proven on Sept. 29, 2022, on the new Cafesjian Artwork Belief museum, depicts the place a chandelier could be put in in Gerard Cafesjian’s dwelling. The chandelier itself is now on show within the museum’s foyer in Shoreview. (Jared Kaufman/Pioneer Press)

A number of of the gathering’s most beautiful Chihuly works had been made particularly for Cafesjian. In a single painted sketch on show, the phrases “Cafesjian Chandelier” flank a spiral staircase surrounding the exact same sunburst chandelier now within the museum’s foyer. The museum’s pergola ceiling, an overhead set up of colourful sculptural glass varieties lit from above — just like Chihuly’s a lot bigger work within the Bellagio in Las Vegas — was initially positioned above Cafesjian’s dwelling eating desk. The museum’s assortment additionally consists of dinner plates and napkins Chihuly doodled on throughout dinners at Cafesjian’s dwelling in addition to private letters between the 2 males.

Now within the museum, the eating desk ceiling is completely put in in its personal room, an echoey however contemplative area the place the lighting throws colourful shadows on the partitions. Schlauch mentioned it is a particular alternative “to have the ability to carry it out of storage and create a room with it, so individuals who come by means of can get that otherworldly expertise.”

The colourful museum facility additionally consists of an occasion area, an in depth warehouse, and a uniquely egg-shaped analysis library. There, along with curating books on all artists within the assortment, employees will work to gather oral histories of influential modern artists.

“[In] studio glass, we’re attending to the time the place Dale [Chihuly] is 81; we have already misplaced Harvey Littleton and Benjamin Moore,” Schlauch mentioned, referring to 2 famend glass artists. “It might be nice if we may grow to be one other useful resource for individuals.”

For the studio glass motion, a museum within the Midwest is a homecoming of types, Schlauch mentioned. The artist Harvey Littleton pioneered glass artwork from his studio on the College of Wisconsin–Madison, the place Chihuly was one in all his early college students. At this time, many massive gamers are on the coasts, from Chihuly’s Pilchuck Glass Faculty in Washington to the influential Corning Museum of Glass in upstate New York. However with native studios like Potekglass, Foci Minnesota Heart for Glass Arts, and extra — and now the Cafesjian Artwork Belief — Schlauch mentioned the Twin Cities is establishing a presence within the studio glass world.

“It has been actually cool to attach with the museums on this area, and likewise there are museums which have massive glass collections across the nation, and we’re a part of this household,” Schlauch mentioned. “They’re tremendous excited to see one other nice glass assortment coming to the general public, too.”

Cafesjian Artwork Belief: 4600 Churchill St., Shoreview; 612-359-8991; make reservations on-line at

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