One of the cool things about living in NYC during the summer is the chance to check out outdoor spaces like the New York Botanical Gardens. The gardens are huge and are a great way to escape the hustle of the city for a few hours. Plus, they’re right next to the Bronx Zoo which is always a good time (though I’m a little partial to safari life after my trip this summer…).
I like trees and flowers, but my recent trip to NYBG was to see an exhibit by renowned artist Dale Chihuly. Chihuly is famous for his giant colorful glass sculptures and he has more than 20 installations on display, some of which do in fact look like trees and flowers — though the kind you might see growing on Pandora.
Chihuly says “I want people to be overwhelmed with light and color in a way they have never experienced.” I can safely say that I’ve never quite seen anything like what he does. The shapes he creates seem impossible and his use of color and lighting create something that’s constantly changing. I could stand and look at one of his pieces and see something different every time. It’s art for the ADD generation.
Chihuly has been working with glass for more than 50 years and has been influential both as an artist and teacher. He co-founded the Pilchuck Glass School in Washington State and has helped those working in the medium gain respect as fine artists. His work is included in more than 200 museum collections worldwide and he’s well known for large installations like the one at NYBG. His largest sculpture to date was actually commissioned by Steve Wynn for the Bellagio in Las Vegas. I’ve been admiring his piece in the Bellagio lobby for years without even knowing he was the artist.
The show at NYBG is Chihuly’s first major garden exhibition in New York more than ten years. I feel lucky to have been here this summer to see it. The show runs through the end of October and there’s also an evening program where they illuminate the art as part of a moving light show. It’s supposed to be pretty amazing. I’m hoping to get back.