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Even major works of art need dusting, including Chihuly's masterpiece at IU School of Medicine

  • May 30, 2014

INDIANAPOLIS -- It rises 19 feet from the atrium floor of one of the busiest laboratory and classroom buildings on the Indiana University School of Medicine Indianapolis campus. This unique sculpture created by renowned glass artist Dale Chihuly is, well, dusty; it needs cleaning.

The luminous structure composed of more than 1,000 glass spheres in shades of blue, green, mauve and yellow can't simply be vacuumed or spritzed with window cleaner and buffed with paper towel. The process is more complex, and only one firm in the United States is authorized to handle the maintenance and cleaning of Chihuly's artwork. These professionals from Denny Park Fine Arts travel the globe delicately and skillfully disassembling, cleaning and reassembling Chihuly's masterpieces.

Denny Park Fine Arts has been commissioned to clean the IU School of Medicine DNA Tower, modeled after the so-called blueprint for life. They will be working on the project June 1 and 2 in the Morris Mills Atrium of the VanNuys Medical Science Building on the Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis campus.

The sculpture was installed in 2003 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the founding of the IU School of Medicine and the 50th anniversary of the discovery of the DNA molecule by IU alumnus James D. Watson and colleague Francis Crick. The DNA Tower was unveiled Sept. 30, 2003, and this will be its first thorough cleaning.

The Indiana University School of Medicine DNA Tower by Dale Chihuly

The Indiana University School of Medicine DNA Tower by Dale Chihuly

Print Quality Photo

More than 1,000 glass balls of various colors form the IU School of Medicine DNA Tower created by artist Dale Chihuly.

More than 1,000 glass balls of various colors form the IU School of Medicine DNA Tower created by artist Dale Chihuly.

Print Quality Photo

Mary Hardin