This past weekend Luis and I met up with friends Peter and Lizzie, and Lizzie’s wonderful mother, and caught the last day of Dale Chihuly‘s glass installations in the New York Botanical Gardens. We had previsouly seen his installation in Miami’s Fairchild Tropical Gardens – an experience so wonderful that we went twice in one weekend (and took about 500 pictures – which we culled before putting on the web). When we found out Peter and Lizzie were going, it goaded us to move this to the top of our list and actually get out to the NYBG before the exhibition left.
Having seen a couple PBS shows about Chihuly and about the garden installation series (he’s done many other botanical gardens) we were expecting a fare amount of repetition, but figured the difference in composition would be worth it. What a wonderful suprise to see many coupletely new pieces as well as wonderful reconfigurations.
The height of the NYBG installation was definitely the area in and around the Conservatory. Each greenhouse was filled with multiple pieces of glass or installations – most set with amazing care among the surrounding plants. I think may favorite was a reflecting pool filled with blue and indigo pieces. Some were balls, some were more tear-drop like, a flock of heron-like pieces filled one end while a row-boat floated at the other overflowing with cobalt spears and flowing indigo shapes. Absolutely captivating.
Other high-lights of the Conservatory were silver spikes in the arid greenhouse and amazing oversized ornament-like decorated balls floating above some (very healthy) coleus. The garden’s flowers weren’t shabby either. Since this was our first stop, we were blown away. There were five other installations to visit.
Unfortunately, the other installations were pretty much single groupings and not nearly as inspired as those in the Conservatory. Nevertheless, they were worth seeing. I enjoyed the sunburst in place of a fountain and Luis took some amazing close-ups of oversized scollp-edged tulip-bowls.
Overall, I felt like the Miami exhibit had been better integrated with the grounds and had matched well with the plants, showing off their characteristics, while the NY show had some more stunning glass groupings. Both shows were worth the visit, and we’ll probably make an effort to get down to Miami when Chihuly returns for an encore presentation at Fairchild.
All the pictures are Luis’s, as my camera simply can’t do justice to the glass. Here are the full complement of pictures.