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San Francisco
Dale Chihuly
de Young Museum
Golden Gate Park, 50 Hagiwara Tea Garden Drive, San Francisco, CA 94118
June 14, 2008 - September 28, 2008

Sneak preview of Chihuly at the de Young, opens 06/14
by Natalie Hegert

"The most ambitious show I've created to date," is how Dale Chihuly describes his exhibition, opening on June 14 at the de Young Museum, "We went all-out for this show." Artslant was invited to the press preview of the show, still in the process of installation, on June 10, so we're able to give you a sneak preview of Chihuly at the de Young:

Many of the installations are presented on plexi-glass, providing a reflective surface which adds more dimensions to the work. This piece is entitled the Glass Forest and highlights the artist's use of neon:

The Venetians along with corresponding drawings:

The Macchia series, which in Italian means "spotted." Chihuly developed much of his glass-blowing techniques while living and working with master glass-makers in Venice, under a Fulbright fellowship.

The artist in front of the piece Neodymium Reeds, which are installed on whole logs of birch:

Check out his shoes! He said it only takes one session of painting (he paints on the floor) for his shoes to get like this:

He was curious as to how his audience would rate each room in the exhibition and much of our press Q&A time was actually taken up voting for each installation. This was the winner: the Niijima Float Boats, named for the island in Tokyo Bay which is home to the Contemporary Glass Art Museum.

This was my favorite installation in the show as well. It looks to me like all of the surrealist figures from an Yves Tanguy painting hopped in a boat and are taking a trip together, all waving good-bye:

The qualities of glass and light are best exploited in this room, entitled the Persian Ceiling:

And a spectacular finish with the 56-foot-long Mille Fiori, a "garden of glass" made up of hundreds of colorful, glass flora:

There must be tangible effects of seeing billions of glinting colorful glass objects, the reason cathedrals employ stained glass to inspire their congregations, for I left the exhibit refreshed and bright-eyed. See the exhibit and soak it in!

Make sure to check out the videos playing in the lobby before the main galleries, which offer an energetic look into how Chihuly creates his art work with Team Chihuly in the "hot shop."

Opening weekend promises to be a circus with free admission sponsered by Target and a host of events like displays of glass blowing and arc welding, hands-on art activities for children, clowns and stilt-walkers and other such craziness, described by the curator as "Chihuly-palooza." More info here. Tickets are first-come, first-served so get there early!

--Natalie Stanchfield

(All images courtesy of Natalie Stanchfield.)




Posted by Natalie Hegert on 6/10/08

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