The New York ID allowed me entrance to walk on the path. Everything else cost extra – the tram which runs along the 250-acre park, golf carts, entrance to the flower garden and, more importantly, the Conservatory, which opens at 6:30 pm (that costs $38). Still, with so many budget cuts to the arts, I understood the need for organizations like the Garden to acquire funding from entrance fees and patrons.
At first glance, the glass sculptures at the Chihuly exhibition appear more involved with the sea than the manicured garden in the Bronx. Three amorphous shapes float from the ceiling of the entrance like yellow, green and blue jellyfish, their tentacles protruding from nuclei. Outside, the work, “Red Reeds on Logs,” glows when the sun hits them. It’s the kind of showmanship for which Chihuly is noted, and it’s a wow opening.
“Sapphire Star” nearby is a brilliant burst of blue and white color.
The Blue Polyvitro Crystals in front of the Library is well set and almost looks like the late 19th century sculptures have come to life and are pushing an impending disaster of giant ice floes headed toward the building. (The cubes are anchored but move a with the breeze or a gentle push.)
Glass sculptures from the 70s (Koda and Koda Study #1) are located inside a pathway, where visitors can enter, meander or sit by a group of works in a boat or at the end of the large pool.
Inside the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory sculptures such as the “Manchia Forest,” “Persian Pond with Herons”, “Scarlet and Yellow Icicle Tower” and “Neon” face the viewer boldly, while “Garden Fiori” peek out from among the foliage along the narrow path.
The New York show, named simply “Chihuly,” which runs until Oct. 29, is the latest in a number of exhibitions he has shown in the botanical gardens since 2001. Available are a gallery display of early career drawings and art glass, and an interactive map, which explains where the artworks are located and also contains more information about the artist and the works.
Chihuly is 75 and gave up his own glass blowing years ago, serving instead as the head of a creative team that includes glass blowers, installation experts and lighting designers. His studio is based at his Boathouse in Seattle.