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Chihuly at the New York Botanical Garden

By Peggy Roalf   Wednesday May 10, 2017

Art in and for the garden has a long history in American decorative arts, and the New York Botanical Garden has become a major proponent of this popular combination. In fact, it has come full circle with the recently opened installation of more than 20 works by Seattle glass artist, Dale Chihuly.

When the garden first hosted an installation of his work in 2006, previous attendance records were shattered. And with the 2015 installation of Frida Kahlo: Art, Garden, Life, that number rose to over a half million visitors. “Having artwork in the landscape changed how people view the plants, and the entire garden,” said Karen Daubmann, associate vice president for exhibitions and public engagement at the New York Botanical Garden, referring to the 2006 show. “People thought of us as an exhibition venue from that point on.” 

 

Greeting visitors along a pathway not far from the garden's entrance is the enormous Sapphire Star, (above), resembling a huge dandelion or perhaps an exploding star in shades of blue, from a deep blue at the center to white at the tips of each spike. Not far away, the towering glass Red Reeds on Logs (top), installed over a highly articulated pile of logs, stuns with brilliant color and towering spiky forms.

Inside the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory's aquatic plants and vines gallery, a new interpretation of Chihuly's Macchia Forest (below) resembles giant, elevated, undulating bowl shapes in dazzling shades straight from the color wheel. And in the Conservatory Courtyard, reflected dramatically in the Hardy pool, where koi laze in summer, is another new installation: Neon 206, composed of an eponymous number of glass tubes imported from Italy, and then heated and bent into a colorful sculpture.

 

Because Chihuly’s art glass relies on light—both natural and artificial—for its powerful presence, the garden will be hosting evening hours throughout the summer. Info. There are many public programs on the lineup, from films about the artist in his studio to a Flame Work Demonstration and a Young Poets reading on the Summer Solstice Info, and live jazz concerts throughout the season Info

This weekend, the garden is hosting a special Mother’s Day Garden Party, with games, music+science performances especially geared to families, and food trucks strategically located for in situ picnicking.

Chihuly continues through October 29 at The New York Botanical Garden, 2900 Southern Boulevard, Bronx, NY. The garden is 20 minutes by Metro North from Grand Central Terminal in midtown Manhattan. Info
Photographs © copyright and courtesy the New York Botanical Garden

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