Chihuly in the Missouri Botanical Garden

It’s not all that often a person has the opportunity to view an artistic installation on such a large scale. I’ve personally longed for a day when I can do something with similar breadth as Dale Chihuly’s exhibit at the Missouri Botanical Gardens in St. Louis.

The focal point of the show is an enormous greenhouse. Glass sculptures are everywhere. Floating in little puddles, climbing trees, tucked away in little clefts and standing in the midst of thick and exotic flora. The works meld deftly into the humid and lush environment. Their color and form are at the same time plant-like next to the surrounding rain forest fare, and also slightly more exotic than reality.

I found myself waxing childlike as I would find one sculpture after another, some quite easy to walk right by for their camoflage. I particularly liked the reeds standing amidst thick vegetation, and the floating “onions” surrounded by lily pads. These two forms, repeated throughout the gardens, blended into the environment an exquisite manner. These form’s simplicity betray their elegance and beckoning to engage the viewer — particularly the monochromatic reeds.

Chihuly is a rarity in this day and age, an artist with a workshop staffed with talented artisans at his disposal. Such was the model 300 years ago. It’s sad to note that Chihuly is mired in a lawsuit, in part involving one of his former artisans, over copyright issues. As one Florida newspaper put it, “there aren’t likely to be any winners.”

Nonetheless, his installations are worth seeing.


About pcNielsen
Paul Nielsen founded The Aesthetic Elevator late in 2005. He owns a piece of paper, located somewhere in his house (not on the wall), stating that he earned a B.F.A. from the University of Nebraska around about 2001. While there, he studied studied architecture, graphic design and ceramics, graduating with a degree in studio art. Paul presently serves as communications manager for a small non-profit doing their print design and marketing. He spends as much time sculpting in his studio as possible — which is not nearly enough. Visit his website at

One Response to Chihuly in the Missouri Botanical Garden

  1. Pingback: Vacation. It’s like an Entmoot, but we’re not going to war. « The Aesthetic Elevator

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