Dale Chihuly’s “Lime Green Icicle Tower” at the MFA is the subject of a donation plea to visitors. (image via Hyperallergic)

You have to give Boston’s Museum of Fine Art a gold star for trying something out of the ordinary. The institution is asking visitors, who are supposedly goo goo ga ga over a large work by glass artist Dale Chihuly to donate money via SMS, online or any way they want to so that the venerable New England museum can add the 42-foot-high, 10,000 pound, 2,400 piece “Lime Green Icicle Tower” sculpture to their permanent collection. The art work is a highlight of the MFA’s current Dale Chihuly show.

From the Boston Globe:

The MFA has launched a campaign to raise more than $1 million to buy the 42-foot-tall “Lime Green Icicle Tower’’ … The public contributions will be matched by those of a group of longtime MFA donors.

It is fairly standard, these days, for a museum to acquire a work from an artist who has been featured in a solo exhibition. But typically, deep-pocketed donors are sought to make those purchases. The MFA’s public appeal includes, for the first time, a chance for museum visitors to give online and by texting on their phones – people can text the word TOWER to 50555, then reply to the follow-up message “To confirm your $10 donation to MFA Boston, reply with the word YES.’’

And my favorite:

The MFA quietly began the campaign last week by adding a donation box next to the piece …

I do like the idea of harnessing the power of the art public to help buy a work that many people seem to be passionate about rather that asking a single trustee to purchase it.

Here’s an interesting tidbit about the show and its popularity with the Boston art crowd:

This week, attendance surpassed 320,000, meaning that when Chihuly closes Aug. 7, it will be at least the fifth-most-visited MFA exhibit of all time, behind just Monet in the 20th Century, Monet in the ’90s,’ Renoir, and Pompeii 79 A.D., which were held in 1999, 1990, 1986, and 1978, respectively.

Our review of the Dale Chihuly show is here and the reviewer called the “Lime Green Icicle Tower” “pretty incredible. The show closes on August 7.

Homepage image via mfa.org

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Hrag Vartanian is editor-in-chief and co-founder of Hyperallergic. You can follow him at @hragv.