Chihuly @ Cheekwood
Sunday, November 7 marked the closing of the Dale Chihuly installation at Cheekwood Botanical Gardens in Nashville.
An incredible, whimsical arm from Chihuly’s body of work that Nashville was fortunate to have available for our enjoyment…at one of our revered old Southern manors.
Cheekwood was originally built with the revenue from Maxwell House coffee , owned by the Cheek family. Fifty years ago it became a public art museum and botanical garden. The Symphony holds outdoor Summertime concerts here, occasionally, and I have fond memories of boarding a school bus and taking field trips to see “The Trees of Christmas” over the years.
I can also distinctly remember, as a young man, first viewing an exhibit of George Hurrell’s photos at Cheekwood .
…those images struck, and the memories have stuck with me for many years.
Though this installation, or its themes, are not exclusive to Nashville or Cheekwood, each piece is unique in its own right.
These Niijima Floats were inspired by the Japanese island of Niijima and the traditional fishing floats that are used there. Chihuly and crew have transformed them into the largest ‘free-blown’ glass objects in the world….each one a stand alone work of art.
Dale Chihuly was greatly influenced by his Mother’s gardens so he enjoys placing his work in settings that combine the organic with the ‘art-ganic’…..(I made that up… sorry! .. the ‘art-ganic part’, not about the gardens….)
I first became aware of Chihuly’s work through a few small pieces that were for sale at the annual Temple Art Festival, but not until I had seen images of his various installations, including the Bellagio lobby in Las Vegas, did I realize how far above merely ‘glass blowing’ his art had risen.
After leaving the ‘show’ I Googled Dale Chihuly and one of my favorite things about him, personally, is that he never seems to burden his art with philosophical explanations. I grow so bored with that, from painters, writers, film-makers, and especially photographers. I would rather hear a photographer say,
“I thought it looked cool and I felt compelled to capture it”,
than to labor through,
“This represents the existential elements of light and dark, the yin and yang of nature’s combative embrace on…blah, blah…”
about a photo of an egg…
Chihuly seems to say, (and this is not a quote) , “I did it because it seemed like a fun thing to do!”
I did pick up this quote.
“One of my favorite artists has always been Harry Houdini – maybe that’s what I’m trying to be – a magician.”
Magic it was…..is!