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As a result of a generous donation from R. Crosby Kemper ’45 in memory of his classmate Harry C. Morgan, the Addison’s newly renovated building is graced with a major installation by Dale Chihuly, one of the world’s foremost artists working in glass. Sitting atop the museum’s new green roof and visible from the Museum Learning Center, <i>Black Niijima Floats</i> (2010) was designed by Chihuly specifically for this site. Consisting of ten glass spheres, or, as the artist calls them, “Floats,” of various sizes and subtly differentiated surfaces, the objects were blown in the artist’s studio in Seattle, Washington, shipped to Andover, and then installed by a team of his assistants.
Inspired by small Japanese fishing net floats washed up on the shores of the Pacific that the artist encountered as a child, the Addison’s sculptures are made of black glass and adorned with spatters and swirls of silver, gold, and iridescent paint. Evocative of deep-sea organisms or celestial orbs, the assembled Floats lend the roof an otherworldly effect as the shifting sunlight causes them to glow and shimmer against the subdued greens of their sedum-covered foundation.