Monday, March 5, 2012

Chihuly Under Glass

Phipps Conservatory
I love conservatories. Of course I do, they're full of tropical/house plants.  But, throw in some Dale Chihuly art, and the experience is even better. It adds a dimension to the plants that nothing else can. Absolutely beautiful. Following are some photos from conservatories around MI, OH, PA, and IL  I have visited, that have Chihuly.
     "Sites that include Chicago’s Garfield Park Conservatory (2001), the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew (2005), the New York Botanical Garden (2006), and Pittsburgh’s Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens (2007) enable the artist[Chihuly] to juxtapose monumental, organically shaped sculptural forms with beautiful landscaping, establishing a direct and immediate interaction between nature, art, and environmental light." ~Davira S. Taragin, Independent curator Formerly Director of Exhibitions, Racine Art Museum;
Curator, The Detroit Institute of Arts, Toledo Museum of Art.
These first pictures are from Phipps Conservatory in Pittsburgh, PA. I have to say, it is one of the nicest conservatories I've ever been to. Even my husband, who is surrounded by plants at home, and would rather not spend his free time in a conservatory, said he could have stayed another hour. That's big praise for Phipps. I definitely would put it on your list of places to go if you love tropical plants.

I love the way this Chihuly mirrors the barrel cactus below.

Phipps Conservatory
Phipps Conservatory


Missouri Botanical Garden
Chandelier in entrance lobby at Missouri Botanical Garden.

Chihuly art in the pond in the Climatron.
 A few years ago, I was lucky enough to visit the Missouri Botanical Garden. Wow! What a fabulous garden, inside and out. It is gas been open for 159 years. There is a plant, a Dioon from Mexico,  from the 1904 World's Fair, still growing in the conservatory. 

Chihuly art peeking through the plants at Franklin Park.

Franklin Park Conservatory in Columbus, OH
     In Columbus OH, is a beautiful 1895 Victorian glasshouse. The Franklin Park conservatory is fabulous, filled with Chihuly. The Chihuly exhibition opened in 2003, and when it closed in 2004, the Friends of the Conservatory purchased most of it. Consequently,  Franklin Park owns the most Chihuly of any botanical garden. The tall multicolor tower of glass peeks through the plants and draws you onward in the conservatory. The balls floating in the pond can be seen from different vantage points and are magical on the water. 
How beautiful with the koi.
Beautiful floating balls.

Two summers ago, Chihuly came to Grand Rapids, to the Frederick Meijer Gardens. The artwork was scattered throughout the garden, inside and out. All of it was unforgettable. The pieces hanging in the desert house, done in neon,  were, I think, meant to represent tumbleweeds.
Hanging in the desert house.
Chihuly at Frederick Meijer Gardens.

Beautiful arrangement in the conservatory.

Now, moving into the tropical conservatory, we find arrangements in vases, as well as artwork in the plants. There was also a beautiful piece of hanging artwork that looked like different size Christmas balls glued together. While these pieces are no longer there, a chandelier and the cafeteria lighting are permanent.

Bowls in conservatory.

Hanging artwork peeking through the foliage.

Ceiling art.

 My favorite was the bowls in the water with the Alocasia macrorrhiza. The color of the bowls exactly matched the color of the roots. Did Chihuly plan it that way? I think he knew exactly what he was doing. He is an extraordinary artist who does wonders with glass and nothing is done by chance. Love it!
Notice the color of the roots of the Alocasia.
Better picture of the bowls.

Cafeteria lights. Really? Wow!

More cafeteria lights.
Last, but not  least, is Garfield Park Conservatory in Chicago. They don't have a lot of Chihuly , but it is the most gorgeous conservatory, unlike any other. If you've never been there, you should make it a priority to go. Designed by Jens Jensen, walking through it is like being out in the woods. Ferns, waterfalls, and ponds; it is stunning. It's peaceful and tranquil......I'm wandering. I'll show pictures of that on a later post. Here are the Chihuly pieces in the pond there.

Again, I love conservatories, but a conservatory with Chihuly artwork added, is absolutely the best. Find a conservatory near you, with Chihuly or not, and visit. Be sure to take your camera!

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