Chihuly – Surreptitiously Seeping into the NYBG Landscape


Waiting with bated breath for the much anticipated Chihuly Exhibition to finally open at the New York Botanical Garden,  it was a no brainer that it would my first stop yesterday after returning to NYC.  One will be able to witness the more than twenty installations throughout the New York Botanical Gardens from Spring through Fall – day and evening (when it takes on a totally new persona). The meticulously groomed garden becomes the canvas for Chihuly’s richly colored glassworks; three new ones created especially for the gardens and the courtyard’s Tropical Pool. Worthy of your time is a visit to the Beaux Arts Mertz Library where you will peruse sketches, smaller works, along with his early designs, and videos of  Dale Chihuly’s life and process involved in creating these exquisite glassworks. Flying through a windshield in a car accident which resulted in his loss of sight in his left eye, didn’t appear to have slowed down this Tacoma Washington born artist .

Witnessing the play of light during the course of the day was exhilarating, as it was quite cloudy when Barbara and I arrived, giving way to bright sunshine as the afternoon progressed. Quite impressive were the pieces of various shades of green that appeared to be as living as the real plants in the beds. Chihuly alludes often to being inspired by his mother’s lush flower gardens whilst raising her two  sons after losing her husband when they were quite young.

  An Interactive Guide  to use on your cell phone is provided which includes a map and description of each installation.  Happy exploring!!

@NYBG #visitnewyork #thebronx

 Sol del Citron –  I’ll be taking you on a rather circuitous route with the first three pieces at the Southern Blvd. entrance making their appearance later  – Barbara elevates me on any given day, an optimist, world traveler ,and loyal friend who happens to think I’m pretty cool.

Persian Pond and Fiori These  Persians were developed using a technique Chihuly learned at a centuries-old Venini workshop in Venice. An undulating pattern on the surface of the glass is created using a special mold, or “wrap”.

White Belugas – this artwork was originally  created in Vianne, France in 1997, and newer work in 2014 in Seattle was blown.

Macchia Forest experimenting with vessel-like forms in the 1980’s, he used new techniques to obtain unique color and shape combinations – leading to the development of laying color over a thin layer of white to prevent bleeding. Colored glass chips were infused to the outer surface of the vessel  resulting in a spotted appearance – thus the name Macchia, the Italian name for spotted.

Koda Study – Dale revisted his land art installation with Artpark from 1975, reimagined for the site based pools outside the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory. The effect is a minimalistic exploration of light and color.

Scarlet and Yellow Icicle Tower – his inspiration for this piece was the frigid temperature in the Pacific Northwest; icicle forms are placed onto the tower structure – emulating a flame  as the scarlet and yellow reflect light.


Neon 206 – Neon has been used throughout his career back to the 1960’s – the neon in inserted into the colored glass tubes giving it a kinetic energy. I will definitely return to Chihuly nights to witness its glory when lit.

White Tower with Fiori – is truly fanciful and  pulls your eye upward to the dome of this glass house. Cast in 1997 in the Czech Republic, it was exhibited at the tower of David Museum  in 1999 during  Chihuly in the Light of Jerusalem. Since then it has been shown around the world in museums and garden exhibits. I am partial to fuchsia so this is one of the keenest creations enhanced by the Cobalt-Pink Spears and Pink Trumpets. Such careful and meticulous detail as these are mocked up in his Seattle studio,  approved, documented before being dissembled. They are scrutinously packed and reassembled by Chihuly’s team on site. Can you believe they assembled this confection in a single day?


My eye can’t help straying  to the lovely Gothic tower on the Fordham University campus across the street from the Southern Boulevard entrance to the NYBG – the magnificent clock was recently restored in all its splendor. This view is from inside the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory.


Glasshouse Fiori – these random ambiguous forms aren’t bases on  special plants; strategically placing them in the garden causes them to appear as they are alive. I especially loved the blue alien-like anemone designs.


Chanleliers   –  Peridot, Cyprus Green and Mineral Blue – evoking exotic fruit  are not internally lit, but carefully arranged on an armature, then externally illuminated. Can you begin to see how Chihuly’s exploration of the properties of glass enables him to discover the multifaceted forms glass can take?

Red Reeds on Logs – these logs were collected from the NYBG grounds, with the blown glass reds  displayed in groups as plants set against the verdant landscape. Excellent visual of geometric horizontal and vertical lines.


Sapphire Star – Chihuly originally developed these spires for an exhibit in the 1990’s in the Pacific Northwest. Opaque at base to clear at the tip, it’s persona changes with the skies  – cloudy, sunny, dusk, then night. Return for Chihuly Nights with cocktails to witness this whole new persona the glassworks take on after dark!!


Koda Study #1 Koda Study #2  and Float Boat – at peace in the Native Plant Garden,  these stained blown glass panels have been revisted from a site specific land art installation for Artpark along the shoreline of the Niagra River in 1975 – continuing to explore light and color.  Always living near water, these riotously colored Niijima Floats look quite at home in this rustic traditional fishing boat. He was inspired during his stay in Nuutajarvi ,Finland, whilst preparing for Chihuly in Venice.

Blue Polyvitro Crystals – not blown glass, but a polyurethane resin poured into a rubber mold, they bob whilst floating on the water of the Lillian Goldman Fountation in front of the Mertz Library.

Your visit isn’t complete until you visit the first, elevator to the sixth, then the fourth floor of the Mertz Library to peruse Dale’s earlier works.


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An another epic day with this one!!


Whilst at the garden, take advantage of the tram ride history tour throughout the garden. The tram has many stops where you can disembark and further explore an area. Another tram will appear soon  so you can carry on with your tour.  The Rock and Children’s Garden like the Mertz Library and Enid A. Haupt Conservatory  will require you to show your admission ticket.

I only touched the surface in this blog – the NYBG is an vital part of New York’s rich history. You’ll want to return time and time again.

The Shop at the NYBG has a terrific botanical book collection, plants, and great gift items. Two eateries – the Hudson Garden Grill (more formal) and the Pine Tree Café (seasonally inspired) are conveniently located at the Bedford Park and Southern Blvd. entrances.

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