Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Chihuly at the NY Botanical Garden

Last week, three friends and I took a road trip to the NY Botanical Garden, a stone's throw from the hospital in the Bronx where I was born.  The motivation for the trip was the Chihuly work currently on display at the Garden.  We hit the road before 7am, and by 10:30, we had arrived!
I should admit, I always love botanical gardens, so with or without the Chihuly sculpture, I knew I'd enjoy the day.  I had visited a big exhibit of Chihuly work at the Boston MFA a few years ago (I blogged briefly about it HERE), so I knew it was really cool to see his work in person. I figured that the combination of the garden and the glass sculptures would be a perfect combination, kind of like marshmallows, graham crackers, and chocolate.

But honestly, I was as intrigued by some exotic plants, as I was by the glass work!  

Actually, the volume of Chihuly on display at the Garden was somewhat small, compared to the previous exhibit I'd seen.  And while the pieces were installed within the Garden, and those that were outside looked beautiful in the sunshine, they were not all as incorporated into the environment as I'd expected them to be. 
For example, the blue "tree" below.  I walked onto the grass, under a tree, and in my camera lens I framed the sculpture with the leaves hanging from the tree.  Just as I was about to shoot the pic, I was reprimanded by a guard.  Evidently I wasn't supposed to walk on the grass.  So I had to stand back on the sidewalk to shoot the pics below, without the framing of leaves. 
Pink waterlilies!
So many pretty colors!
I'd seen photos of other outdoor Chihuly installations, including colorful glass orbs floating on a stream, amidst the waterlilies and other plant growth.  So I expected I'd see something similar at the Garden.  And there they were, colorful glass orbs, in sort of a stream (more of a man-made canal of sorts), but piled in a boat.  Yes, it's cool, but I admit I was disappointed.  My expectations of dozens of orbs floating amidst sunbathing turtles and blooming waterlilies were too grand.

 I know this photo is peculiar, but I kind of like the shadows...

This piece pictured below kind of reminded me of someone dropping a box full of plastic straws.  It was kind of "messy" looking.  But I had fun enhancing the colors in the second pic below!

I hope you've enjoyed this little armchair tour!  I'm glad I live close enough to be able to make a trip like this in a day (with a friend confident enough to do the drive!).  Chihuly or not, I'd like to return to the Botanical Garden in other seasons, particularly earlier in the spring, when the magnolias and lilacs and other flowering trees would be in bloom.
Here's a link to a blog post, showing a student putting the finishing touches on a Chihuly-style tower made in my classroom a few years ago. 


  1. Ever since visiting Chihuly's Bridge of Glass and the Glass Museum and Glass Blowing Studio in Tacoma, Washington a number of years back, I have been a fan. Your post prompted me to check out his website (I hadn't visited it in awhile) to find that he is now doing glass on glass painting -- EXCITING!! Also, he has an exhibit until Dec. on Catalina Island, just a stone's throw from me -- I will have to plan a visit this summer.

    Love your first photo above of the glass orbs reflecting in the water. It reminds me of a "floating sphere" art project I had kids do a couple of years ago modeled after an art installation of large painted spheres that were floating in the lake at one of our local parks. Your photo would be a perfect inspiration for something like that.

    1. Sounds like a cool project idea. I'd love to see those painted spheres floating in a lake. Sounds lovely!

  2. Going to message you with some logistics questions. Love how you mixed the actual plant photos with the glass photos- a beautiful combination challenging your viewer to decide if it was a plant or glass!

    1. I'm glad you noticed that. I did have fun picking the photos and deciding how to group and order them! I'm glad it paid off!