Chihuly Returns to Tropical Botanical Garden

Striking sculptural forms set in lush landscapes.

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Dale Chihuly, Niijima Floats (2014). Photo: Fairchild Tropical Botanical Garden.
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Dale Chihuly, Sol del Citron (2014).
Photo: Fairchild Tropical Botanical Garden.
Dale Chihuly, Niijima Floats (2014).
Photo: Fairchild Tropical Botanical Garden.
Dale Chihuly, Walla Wallas (2014).
Photo: Fairchild Tropical Botanical Garden.
Dale Chihuly, Rainforest Fiori (2014).
Photo: Fairchild Tropical Botanical Garden.
Dale Chihuly, Scarlet and Yellow Icicle Tower (2013).
Photo: Fairchild Tropical Botanical Garden.
Dale Chihuly, Sapphire Star (2010).
Photo: Fairchild Tropical Botanical Garden.
Dale Chihuly, Tropical Neon (2014).
Photo: Fairchild Tropical Botanical Garden.

“It’s one of my favorite places in the world to show my work,” glass artist Dale Chihuly said of the Fairchild Tropical Botanical Garden in Coral Gables, Florida, at the December 6 opening of his sprawling site-specific exhibition.

Throughout the garden’s 83 acres, Chihuly and his team set 24 installations of his well-known glass sculptures at various sites—among them: sweeping meadows, palm forests, and a butterfly farm.

This is the third time Chihuly has been invited to show at the Fairchild, the last being during the 2006–07 season, and the legions of Chihuly fans that turned up at the exhibition’s opening (which coincided with all of the art events surrounding nearby Art Basel in Miami Beach) explains why.

These luminous colorful works by the 73-year-old sculptor have mass appeal, although the artist emphasizes in interviews that the works are not simply aimed to please. In the garden installations, he says, has environmental concerns in mind as he attempts to raise awareness about the fragile relationship between human-made and natural forms.

“The exhibition is, in essence, a culmination of my work out in the landscape,” the artist said in a statement. “Many of the installations have been presented in different ways from previous projects, but are evolved and designed to complement the tropical setting. For example, I created a new Sun installation that we titled “Sol del Citron,” using forms and colors that have never been presented before. I also redesigned a neon installation specifically for the garden to take advantage of the beautiful long vistas.”

The Florida exhibition coincides with a major Chihuly exhibition, “Lumière,” at the Halcyon Gallery in London, on view through January 12. The Halcyon recently sponsored one of the artist’s large glass totems, The Sun, for Berkeley Square; it was Chihuly’s first public sculpture in London.

 

Lumière” runs at the Halcyon Gallery in London through January 12, 2015. Art at Fairchild runs at the Fairchild Tropical Botanical Garden through May 31, 2015.


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