The Seattle Art museum and the Chihuly Gardens at the space needle. Chihuly, a master of glass work, and is known around the world for his unique style which falls somewhere between actual glass blowing and big art. His work is exhibited across the globe, with permanent installations scattered across the U.S. and Europe, and some in east Asia and India. One of his largest installations, the Chihuly garden in Seattle wraps around the base of the space needle, and makes up the majority of the grounds. Half indoor half outdoor, it is a maze of twisted glass and neon pipes, carefully designed to compliment it’s setting.
The first half, the indoor “Glass house”, is home to the more intricate exhibits, shielded from the environment and lit up to the advantage of the dim rooms. The museum takes about 30 minutes to really appreciate, but you could easily spend much longer.
Opened in 2012, the gardens are some of his more recent work, showcasing the extent to which his scale his progressed. His work at the Phipps, it contours to the environment perfectly, adding a unique character to the conservatory; but it is dwarfed in both size and complexity by the Chihuly Gardens. Whereas previous works were designed to compliment the exhibits to which they were auxiliary; here the garden is designed around the glass, allowing for Dave’s art to stand front and center as the focal point of each area. As you exit the Glass House you come across a magnificent greenhouse entryway, before stepping outside into the sun.
The gardens extend a ways past the greenhouse and around the tower, with clusters of glass works tucked away into little habitats all along the pathways. Occasionally the area opens up into a field of themed glass spires, placed questionably about amidst a wide variety of greenery. If you have a couple thousand dollars on hand, you can buy some original works in the shop there at the garden, but for the most part, this garden is the best available way to acquaint oneself with the otherworldly works of Dave Chihuly.
In addition to the Gardens, we also made a visit to the Seatle Art Museum, and while I would love to give a history of the building and the art, we simply didn’t have enough time to gather all the requisite information. We did however get some amazing pictures, although with artifacts and paintings by the masters, it’s not exactly difficult to make it look good.