25 May Chihuly at the New York Botanical Garden
With spring coming to a close and summer just around the corner, there is nothing better than spending a weekend afternoon out in the fresh air amongst beautiful flowers and contemporary art. We recently had the pleasure of spending the day at the New York Botanical Garden in the Bronx for the highly anticipated Chihuly glass exhibition. This must-see spectacle consists of over 20 different art installations made of glass, resin, and neon lights — all of which are on display throughout the 250 acre park.
The event highlights world renowned artist, Dale Chihuly, with his first major show in over ten years. Chihuly has studied and worked with glass since the mid-60’s, is the founder of the glass program at Rhode Island School of Design and a cofounder of Pilchuck Glass School in Washington State. With a Bachelor’s degree in Interior Design, two Masters degrees in Fine Arts with a concentration on glass, it is safe to say that he is truly a master of his craft.
Having grown up spending much of his childhood playing in his mother’s garden, a vast amount of Chihuly’s work is inspired by nature and its organic forms. This is apparent in his work and the New York Botanical Garden is an apt installation for his bright, brilliant, and vibrant pieces. No matter where you enter, only a few steps will lead you to one of Chihuly’s marvelous pieces.
Beginning at the Bedford Park Gate, you are greeted by the breathtaking Sol Del Citrón. The sheer size of the piece and the exquisite detail of each glass curlicue are simply awe-inspiring. Drawing influences from the sun, each swirl was individually created, shipped and pieced together in the garden by his team to create an intricate explosion of color.
Featured within the Haupt Conservatory, the polka-dotted White Tower is prominently placed within a curated garden of soft white and powder pink florals along with various shrubberies to complement the elaborate sculpture. The White Tower was exhibited for the first time at the Tower of David Museum in 1999, a show that was inspired by the light of Jerusalem and brought glass blowing back to its place of origin. Its carefully planned presentation in the glass house of the garden has the tower surrounded with Pink Trumpets and Cobalt-Pink Spears, also created by artist Chihuly.
The exhibition is not only a view of Chihuly’s talent and genius, but of his historical work as well. Many of the pieces seen throughout the garden are works from his past. Each time a piece is chosen to showcase, it is assembled and rearranged to interact within the environment surrounding them. The Koda Studies, originally created in 1975, are three such pieces located in the Native Plant Garden. They are situated just so as to form an entryway for the waterfalls running through the center pond — creating beautiful reflections within the flowing water below.
Though Chihuly is known for his glass sculptures, the garden showcases a few of his works in other media. Blue Polyvitro Crystals is made from polyurethane resin cast in a rubber mold, creating a stunning uncut crystalline forms. These glacial-like shapes are similarly inspired by the reflective qualities of ice and the translucent world formed inside.
The Chihuly exhibit is open now through October 29, 2017 with special night hours showcasing the spectacular sculptures in illuminated form. To read more about the exhibit and to purchase tickets, visit the New York Botanical Garden website.