I spent a warm sunny spring Saturday with good friends, wandering through the beauty of the Bronx Botanical Gardens. We had a double treat; an exhibit of Dale Chihuly’s stunning masterpieces in glass were on view in the Enid Haupt Conservatory and the fragrant roses in the Peggy Rockefeller Rose Garden were in full bloom.
The Gardens are certainly a fitting place for Chihuly’s glass sculptures as they resemble some of Mother Nature’s (permanent artist in residence) finest floral creations. Placed seemingly at random through out the conservatory and strategically around the grounds, are these shimmering, glowing, sometimes fluid, sometimes tangled sculptures of glass, full of vim and color.
As we walked along the path towards the conservatory, sitting among the trees and grass, was a huge ball of scintillating shafts of blue and white glass. To my eye it resembled a sparkling blue dandelion on steroids. At the entrance to the visitors center stood tall red rods, sharp and gleaming in the sun.
At the entrance of the conservatory sat a corkscrewed craziness in yellow and lime green twisting and curling like glass sea tentacles, climbing up towards the clouds. Once inside we were again awed as the reflecting pool had been taken over by the grand and gorgeous red and gold ruffled glass Persians.
Slowly meandering through the various collections of lush tropical rain forests, palms, and plants, I was taken aback at how real Chihuly’s glass free forms, nestled among nature’s organic forms, looked. It was as if they sprouted from the soil. Climbing a winding metal staircase I looked down and spotted a cluster of milky iridescent tubes, like large alien pods growing out of the rain forest floor.
Another reflecting pool was consumed by Chihuly’s Macchia pieces, vividly displayed beneath the Victorian glass house roof to enhance the color and movement of each piece, among the tropical orchids and plants. Which again, to my eye, looked like the giant clams found deep beneath the earth’s oceans.
Large solid colored glass panels sat in reflection among the dainty lily pads and lotus flowers and beyond that, a tower of deep yellow and red tubes shot up into the sky, like a wondrous fiery rocket.
Giant icy blue chunks of glass chilled in the pool of the Fountain of Life, fronting the Mertz Library, as we made our way back to the train station and home with memories of a day well spent among the alluring and fascinating artistry of Dale Chihuly and Mother Nature.
Enjoy this cultural walk through an urban utopia.
Click on any image to be taken to a slide show.