Pittsburgh–Dale Chihuly at the Phipps

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Dale Chihuly

Like a benign infestation, the glass art of Dale Chihuly has taken over the entire Phipps Conservatory at Carnegie Mellon University. The Phipps, a network of indoor botanical gardens with various environments from desert to rain forest to butterfly garden is a great walk under normal conditions. It’s like the indoor spaces at Longwood Gardens (Phipps doesn’t have the huge outdoor walks that Longwood does however).

Dale Chihuly

Chihuly, known for his Medusa-like flames of colored glass and large fluted vessel shapes, installed his work as if the pieces were flowers and other botanical objects. They’re in water ponds that have been dyed black for maximum drama and they stick up or play peekaboo in flower beds everywhere. There’s one un-flowery installation involving glass balls heaped up in a rowboat and resting on the surface of the surrounding pond.

Dale Chihuly

The works look good during the day but they have a Disney-esque Magic Kingdom affect at night under dramatic lighting in the glass houses. So of course the conservatory has evening hours (with increased prices –presumably to offset the added cost of electricity and staffing). We went shortly before sunset and stayed for the evening drama.

Dale Chihuly

I’m not a big fan of Chihuly’s works but I understand his importance to glass art (founding Pilchuck glass school and all). And there’s no denying the virtuosity and the lovely color sensibiltiy the guy has.

Dale Chihuly

The installation at Phipps got a little too repetitive for me with the wiggly flame shapes being the ones I like best followed by the fluted edged vessels. The place was packed when we went on a Friday night and if you want to catch it it’s there til Nov. 11,2007. More pictures at flickr.

Dale Chihuly

Tags

dale chihuly, phipps conservatory, pittsburgh

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