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  • Writer's pictureIldiko

Chihuly's Glass will Blow you away!

Updated: Jun 7, 2022

I was first introduced to the glassworks of Dale Chihuly in 2016 while on a trip to Israel. I had never heard of this artist, but juxtaposed to the ancient white limestone of the 2000 year-old Tower of David in Jerusalem was a bright and brilliant, modern glass sculpture. It made such an impression on me. A second grouping of glass sculpture lay within the citadel mimicking landscaping comprised of tall grass reeds.

I was determined to know who this artist was and why were these modern sculptures chosen to grace such an ancient site? That's when I learned about Chihuly!

In 2000, Dale Chihuly arranged a glassworks installation project in Jerusalem at the Citadel Tower of David in honor of his Jewish friend who had passed away. The two pieces above are ones he left behind and gifted to Israel. More than 1 million visitors saw Chihuly in the Light of Jerusalem. The setting proved superb! The Jerusalem Cylinders, shown below, were also part of that installation.

So who is Chihuly?

Dale Chihuly is an extremely creative American glass sculpture artist born and raised in Tacoma WA and now based out of Seattle. He has been an innovator and leader in the field of glass art, pushing the boundaries of this art form with his vivid, modern, and mammoth glass sculptures. His sculptures seem to defy gravity. He is an artist that seems up for any challenge and is unafraid to experiment or to fail. He has pioneered techniques when working with molten glass that rely on gravity and centrifugal forces, which allow him to construct pieces that are very irregular and asymmetrical in nature. This seems to be his hallmark. He utilizes color, light, space, and architecture to create unique sculptures that have been installed throughout the world in both the private and commercial sectors. Chihuly Garden and Glass is his permanent exhibit that opened in Seattle in 2012.

In case you may be wondering, Chihuly (left) lost eyesight in his left eye from a head-on auto collision in England, in 1976, in which he was ejected through the windshield. He did not lose it from a glass blowing accident. The photo (on the right) shows his long-term installation in Seattle.

Luckily for all, Chihuly does not limit himself to Seattle. He frequently exhibits both nationwide and worldwide. Now that I know who he is, and he is 'on MY radar screen', I seem to be very cognizant of his works as I travel. While many may think of glass artwork as something that is primarily displayed indoors, Chihuly most often integrates his works into the natural outdoor surroundings. I have seen two such outdoor exhibits of his within the past few years.

Living in Bourbon country, I recently viewed a Chihuly exhibit in which his eccentric glass sculpture installations were incorporated throughout the beautiful grounds of the Maker's Mark Distillery in Loretto, Kentucky. This was just fantastic as they coupled the event with Bourbon tastings and tours of the distillery.

Another exhibit that I scoped out was in NYC at the Bronx Botanical Gardens. This too integrated his majestic sculptures into the natural landscape of the Bronx gardens.

Of course I occasionally spot his masterpieces in indoor settings, as well, dangling here in The Cincinnati Art Museum lobby, in Cincinnati, OH.

Also, in The Marketplace Restaurant on Theater Square in Louisville, KY

Chihuly Exhibitions

As you can likely tell, I am a big fan of this artist. Chihuly's sculptures are mesmerizing, bold, creative, and simply fun! If I have managed to spark your interest and you would like to see some of his work, you have many options. You can visit his grandest installation in his home town of Seattle (WA). He also has several smaller permanent exhibition locations within the USA. You may find these in Omaha (NE), Oklahoma City (OK), St. Petersburg (FL), and Columbus (OH).

Chihuly also has two temporary Current Exhibits. The first is at the New Orleans Botanical Gardens in New Orleans, LA which will be available to view until Oct 31, 2020. Another is in the Sims Reed Gallery in London, UK, viewable through July 31, 2020.

Two temporary Upcoming Exhibits will be at Cheekwood Estate and Gardens in Nashville, TN beginning July 18 - Jan 10, 2021. A second will be in the Traver Gallery in Seattle, WA from June 4 - Aug 1, 2020.

I hope you can manage to view his awesome exhibitions somewhere. You will not be disappointed! Simply having him 'on YOUR radar screen' may be just enough to enable YOU to spot his masterpieces dangling from ceilings or towering in lobbies throughout the world. Keep your eyes open and you will surely identify them!

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