Sunday, April 10, 2011

Dale Chihuly in St. Petersburg, FL

When I was trying to find a restaurant the night before I left Florida, I stumbled across the Chihuly Collection presented by Morean Arts Center in St. Petersburg. The museum was already closed. I decided to return the next morning when it opened, before I had to catch my plane.

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I got to the museum early and still had to wait in line when it opened. There were at least 10 people ahead of me waiting to buy tickets. As I have mentioned in an earlier post, I did a minor in glass blowing when I was at Parsons. I have a deep respect for glass blowers, as it is a craft that takes years to develop. In the two years that I studied glass, I only scratched the surface.

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Within the glass world, Dale Chihuly is an artist that glass blowers love to hate. It could be his boisterous attitude, fame, or the fact that he has a legion of blowers who produce his work, that have created this stigma. However, when you get beyond the man, the work is beautiful - breathtakingly beautiful.

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The museum is small and really well done. They don't allow photography, so I couldn't take any photos. The finishes used in the interior are rough wood, blued steel, and lustrous plaster walls, which create a fantastic backdrop to Chihuly's installations. I pulled the three photos above from Dale Chihuly's site. The images are close to the installations shown in the museum.
The pieces are magnificent in life. The scale of the work is large and it makes the pieces dynamic. The colors are vibrant and he sometimes plays with texture. As I was following people through the museum, I could hear them gasp with joy as they rounded a corner and came across a new piece. It was fun! You feel like you are traveling through someone's dream, as you move through the museum, because the pieces are so surreal. I was able to make it through the museum and still make my flight with a little hussle. It was a great way to end my trip.
I highly recommend going to this museum if you find yourself in St. Petersburg, FL. If you can't make it to Florida, opening this week in Boston MA, at the Museum of Fine Arts, is Chihuly - Through the Looking Glass. April 10th through August 7th 2011.

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