The Chihuly Exhibit

Confession: Objectively, I’m doing well.  Yesterday, at 3:00 a.m., I finished and submitted the revised first chapter of my dissertation.  That means all three chapters have been revised and submitted. This should allow me to plan for the fall, and for a dissertation defense. I hope. I need to spend the rest of the summer putting the final manuscript together, making final edits and most importantly, writing an introduction. But it means that things are happening.

Subjectively, not so well. I’m exhausted, on some sort of edge most days. I think the last two months have been too much. Too much work, too much loss, too much sorrow.

Yesterday, I couldn’t work anymore, so I went to the Museum of Fine Arts to see the Dale Chihuly exhibit. If you’re not familiar with him, he’s probably the most famous glass artist working now. I will also confess that his art isn’t quite to my taste. While walking through the exhibit, I thought, This is the Las Vegas version of Fairyland. I went to Las Vegas once, for a conference on the eighteenth-century American writer Charles Brockden Brown. I was giving a paper. I think the conference organizers had selected Las Vegas because the hotel was inexpensive (as long as you didn’t gamble). To get to the rooms where we were presenting papers, we had to walk through a casino. It was interesting and surreal to see academics, in their gray and black clothes, walking among the slot machines.

But back to the Chihuly exhibit. I took pictures, so I’ll show you some of it, more or less in the order I walked through it.

Upstairs, by the courtyard, there were cases of jars (I can’t quite call them vases) with designs based on Native American blankets. (I know this because I saw a PBS special on Chihuly’s techniques and latest projects.) That’s me, in one of the pictures.  I look so dark because flash is not allowed in the museum.

In the courtyard there was a green glass tower and outside, orange curls of glass. You can see me taking a picture in one of the windows.

But the real show was downstairs. I hope you’ll see what I mean by a Las Vegas version of Fairyland.

What I did like were the smaller jars based on Native American baskets, displayed with Chihuly’s basket collection. And the large jars displayed here on a slab of wood. They were quite delicate, and looked almost like natural objects.

Here it is, the Las Vegas Fairyland. This was not my favorite room. And yet, I liked some of the individual pieces. It was just them all together, the lack of restraint. To my eyes, they ended up being garish. Yet I liked the large glass balls. If you could put one into a garden, surrounded by grass or plants, it would be lovely. Chihuly sometimes sends glass balls floating down streams, and then they look magical.

The next room had a ceiling with glass shapes. It was rather interesting, looking up. But again, too much for me.

And finally, there was a room filled with chandeliers, which are some of his trademark pieces. I only photographed two because my battery ran out, right at the end of the exhibit. But I think you get a pretty good idea of what it was like?

So that’s what I did yesterday. Today I am back to work, making it through. But feeling on edge, as though something might break. Like glass.

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2 Responses to The Chihuly Exhibit

  1. emily says:

    I thought the Chihuly exhibit was amazing! But I guess that’s because I really like colors . . .

    I, too, liked the jellyfish-like jars(?). There was one I particularly really liked, the one that looked like an abnormal, large skull/brain. You can kind of see it in the first jars picture you posted at the end of the row. I also really liked the glass ceiling. It’s like a canopy of colors with streaks of light coming through. The light in the color.

  2. Grey Walker says:

    I’m now imagining a long, narrow pool in a garden, with several of those glass balls floating in the water.

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