An end table is about the last place to see the creations (or more appropriately, creatures) of glass artist Dale Chihuly, which flail and snake like sea monsters, sucking up everything in their vicinity. His flashily colored works are also mythical in size: the Laguna Murano Chandelier--a tentacled quasar entangled with sharks and mermaids--is made up of 850 pieces and weighs almost two tons. He recently acquired a harness-and-bungee mechanism to scale his paintings, which are used as models for the glass works. (Assistants have done the glass blowing, under Chihuly's direction, since 1976, when he lost an eye in an automobile accident.)
One of only three American artists who have had solo shows at the Louvre, Chihuly recently completed a site-specific series of works in, above, and along the canals of Venice. A retrospective of his work--which includes the Laguna Chandelier, plus pieces that look like enormous perfume bottles and a series of vessels paying homage to James Joyce's Ulysses--is on exhibit at the Akron Art Museum through February 28. The museum, at 70 E. Market St., is open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. this week from Saturday, December 26 through Wednesday, December 30.