Hand placing more than 200 pieces of curly, blown-glass horns onto thick spikes of iron in one Dale Chihuly's 10-foot tall works of art takes a lot of patience and precision.

Luckily, Dennis Palin, packaging and project manager with Denny Park Fine Arts, has done this sort of thing for years.

Denny Park Fine Arts is an art studio, which was chosen by Chihuly to install his glassworks in galleries and museums around the world.

"I'm basically an art handler and put together the pieces," Palin told The Park Record while unpacking the "Chihuly Venetians" exhibit at the Kimball Art Center earlier this week.

The display, which is comprised of works that George R. Stroemple of Seattle, Wash., has collected over the years, will be shown publicly at the Kimball Art Center from Saturday, Oct. 13, through Sunday, Jan. 6, 2013.

The art, which was secured for the KAC show by was secured through the Kimball Art Center's Exhibition Director Erin Linder, is a significant collection because the centerpiece chandelier, known as the "Laguna Murano," was made by Chihuly and two Italian glass artists - Lino Tagliapietra and Pino Signoretto - in the early 1990s on the island of Murano, Palin said.

"Tagliapietra and Signoretto are two major Italian glass artists, Lino being probably one of the most gifted glass blowers on the planet and in the same context, Pino would be one of the most gifted glass sculptors," Palin explained.


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"It is a significant work, because Italian glass artists don't get together very often. There are a lot of hostilities and jealousies, and anything you can imagine, happening on that island.

"So, to get two of them to agree to (work together) is a big event," Palin said with a laugh.

The chandelier features Chihuly's trademark pulled and curled, hornlike pieces of glass that are placed individually on spikes that have been fastened onto larger poles.

"We have boxes of the glass that are coded and we match the codes with the codes on the poles to make sure we're putting them in the right area," Palin said. "We'll empty the box on the floor and start placing the glass where they need to go and stand back and look at it and create art as we go."

The pieces are placed randomly.

"That way every time it's displayed, it's looks a little different at every show," Palin said.

The "Laguna Murano" was finished in 1995 and was completed close to when Chihuly did the 'Chihuly Over Venice' project, which was an installation of 14 large glass chandeliers on bridges, in gardens and canals, throughout the city.

In addition to the "Laguna Murano," the KAC exhibit will feature some of the other works that Chihuly created around the same time.

"The Venetian object pieces - the Putti Venetians and the Piccolo Venetians - which were made just for George Stroemple, will be included, and we have the Putti Stoppers, which are the big glass sculptures on display as well," Palin said. "The multi-image that will also be set up are known as the piccolo pieces and they are all very beautiful."

Throughout his time working for Chihuly, Palin has constantly educated the public about glass art.

"Although the art form, itself, is 3,000 years old, it's still pretty new in the United States," he said. "It's only been around for 50 years old in this country. And by studio glass art, we don't mean factory glass where they press ashtrays, drinking glasses and beer bottles."

While Palin has worked to install exhibits done by other glass artists, he has a soft spot for the Chihuly works.

"I was there in the 1990s watching them make all this stuff," he said. "Then I spent almost 11 years traveling to museums and galleries like the Kimball Art Center, and it was my responsibility to follow them around the country to set them up and take them down."

In addition to setting up the art, Palin will give a public art talk, which will run from 7 p.m. until 8 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 8, at the Kimball Art Center.

"I found out four days ago that I was going to give a talk," he said with a smile. "I haven't a clue of what I'm going to talk about. I've never given a talk before to be honest with you, but there will probably be some questions about Stroemple and I'm sure there will be some about Lino and Pino.

Chris Brady, director of the Kimball Art Center's multimedia and special projects, who is making a time-lapse video of Palin setting up the exhibit that will be posted on the KAC website, said when he feels like he's looking at something otherworldly when he sees Chihuly's art.

"It's almost like I'm looking at plants or some organic material that has a shine and sparkle from another planet," Brady said. "Some pieces have so many different colors and shapes coming together that they become something that could blow in the wind. And others look like ancient artifacts from thousands of years ago."

With an exhibit this big and popular, the KAC has hired additional security to be on watch throughout the exhibit's run, said education director Jenny Diersen.

"We'll also have Kimball Art Center docents on hand to talk with people about the works," she said.

The Kimball Art Center, 638 Park Ave., will present "Chihuly Venetians," from the George R. Stroemple Collection in the Main Gallery from Saturday Oct.13 through Sunday, Jan. 3, 2013. There will be a member's opening reception on Oct. 13 from 6 p.m. until 8 p.m. The exhibit's installation team, featuring Dennis Palin, will give an Art Talk on Monday, Oct. 8, from 6 p.m. until 7 p.m. For more information, visit www.kimballartcenter.org.