May 13, 2017

Chihuly in The Garden!

A visit to the New York Botanical Garden is a pleasure in any season but particularly magical in the spring when the trees are in full flower.  This year there is yet another reason to take a ride up to the Bronx as the already spectacular grounds are further embellished with a special exhibition by renowned glass sculptor Dale Chihuly.  So when my good friend and gardening aficionado, Betsy, suggested that we spend a day at the NYBG I couldn't think of a nicer way to welcome May!

We began our visit in front of the Merz Library where Chihuly's "Blue Polyvitro Crystals", 2017, grace the Lillian Goldman Fountain of Life.  Cast from shards of automotive glass, these massive forms look a little like giant blue ice cubes cooling the water!  Inside the Mertz Library building are more examples of the artist's work, as well as a selection of his drawings and a short video presentation on the life and career of Chihuly.

Born in Tacoma, Washington, in 1941, Dale Chihuly has established himself as one of the most innovative and most successful artists to work in the medium of glass.  His work spans the spectrum from small, intimate sculptural forms suitable for a private home to large-scale commercial installations in hotels and train stations.  No matter what the size, Chihuly's works are distinctive in their vivid coloration and organic sculptural forms - forms that are very similar to flowers which makes this collaboration a perfect match.

"Macchia Forest", 2017

This is not the first time that Dale Chihuly's work has graced the Garden, but this exhibition, titled simply "Chihuly", is a great deal more extensive than the inaugural event of 2006.  At that time, the NYBG was just beginning to explore the possibilities of artist-themed installations, and now, after the successes of shows on Claude Monet and Frida Kahlo to name just a few, the curators are more comfortable in opening up the buildings and grounds to non-horticultural displays.  This season's special exhibition features 20 installations, both out-of-doors and inside at the magnificent Enid A Haupt Conservatory.

 "Sol del Citron"

"Persian Pond and Fiori"

"Scarlet and Yellow Icicle Tower"

After a lovely lunch in the Hudson Garden Grill we set off again, this time to view the many purely natural splendors on view at this time of year.  Unfortunately the tulips were just past their prime and the peony trees were not quite in bloom, but there was plenty more to see.  A ride on one of the tour vehicles was an easy way to cover the 250 verdant acres, and the knowledgeable guides and frequent stops was the perfect way to optimize the visit.

A view of the azalea grove set among rock outcrops and some very old native trees

The lilac collection was in full bloom and so fragrant

This was the first time that I had visited the NYBG in the spring and what a treat it was.  "Chihuly" will be on view until the end of October and I would heartily commend you to spend a summer or fall day enjoying this concert of man-made and natural beauty.