Sunday, May 27, 2018

Chihuly Glass in the Garden

Last week I posted about the Chihuly Garden and Glass exhibit in Seattle Washington but, I ended in the indoor portion of the museum.  This week I'll take you outside to the "garden" area of the museum.

Having seen two exhibits of Chihuly Glass in my home city at the Desert Botanical Garden, I wasn't prepared for the thick diversity of a northwest garden.  When I first stepped through the door of the conservatory into the garden, I was greeted with lush greenery and an abundance of colorful blooms.  Mixed in with all of that healthy vegetation was Chihuly's variety of glass sculptures that were also "blooming" out of all that green.

"The Sun" was shining brightly just outside of the conservatory.  This sculpture (or one just like it) was the centerpiece of the Desert Botanical Garden's first Chihuly exhibit way back in 2009.  Here it sits atop a hill covered in a fern-like plant with leaves that almost looked black.

These green and brown glass "blooms" blend in so well they look like tall and graceful sprouts popping up above the low growing plants.

This tower looks very much like the three towers that now grace the entrance to the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix.  Only this one is about twice as tall as our tallest one.

I hadn't seen a tower like this one before with nuggets of colorful glass climbing tall like a new kind of geode forming before our eyes.

Before exiting the garden and the museum, there is an area where glass blowing demonstrations are taking place.  There was quite a crowd of appreciative viewers watching the demonstration but, I was able to snap one shot of this artist as he spun a dark glass orb that was just out of the fire.

As I stated last week, visiting Chihuly Garden and Glass was the highlight of my short trip to Seattle.

Sunday, May 20, 2018

The Artistry of Chihuly Glass

My main reason for going on my recent trip to Seattle was to see the Chihuly Garden and Glass center located on the grounds of the Seattle Center.  The museum is a maze of darkened rooms, each strategically lit to bring out the radiant colors of the glass creations.  Each room told a story of Chihuly's history with glass making from early inspirations to his elaborate creations to his sculptures and paintings.

Entering the room featured in the first three photos nearly took my breath away.  I spent quite a bit of time circling that raised platform full brilliantly colored glass in a huge variety of shapes and sizes.  I kept saying to myself "how can I capture this masterpiece of color and shape".

The next room was equally mesmerizing.  I call it the boat room.  There were two boats, the one above is filled with plant-like shapes of glass.  The reflective floor mirrored the boat as though it was floating on water.

The other boat was filled with orbs in dazzling colors and patterns.  They made me think of a cluster of planets in some galaxy far, far away where worlds of extreme colors exist and float like jewels sparkling in the black sky.

The two boats together created and almost overwhelming display.

Another room featured Chihuly's huge bowls each carefully lit to highlight the colors and patterns in each piece.

Two other rooms were filled with a vast array of chandeliers.  This one had an ocean theme and resembled a geyser of water shooting up from the deep waters filled with sea creatures. 

One like this one was at the very first Chihuly exhibit that was at the Desert Botanical Garden almost ten years ago.  It makes me think of the unusual cactus blooms that fill the garden in the spring.

Finally the darkened rooms opened up into this huge glass conservatory topped with a massive glass chandelier made up of plate-like disks in shades of yellow and orange.  

From the conservatory the display continued into a lush garden.  I'll have to do another post about the garden or this post would be way too long.  

As you can probably guess, I was completely enthralled by everything I saw.  Finding the right words to describe the beauty of this place is close to impossible for me.  I could spend days here.

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Art in Palm Springs

When I finally got the tickets for the Sunnylands tour that I posted about the last two Sundays, I decided that even if I was doing a short trip to Palm Springs, I should add something else to the travel agenda.  I saw online that the Palm Springs Art Museum looked like a great place to visit so, that is where we went when we arrived in the city.

The building is a sleek modern building that sits snuggly against the mountains behind it.

The inside has a wide open feel when you enter with smaller exhibit rooms located to the sides.  The museum has a beautiful Chihuly sculpture that sits on a perch above the main lobby area and I love those golden tear-drops hanging from the ceiling.

What caught my eye when I researched the museum online was that they had an Andy Warhol exhibit going on.  I have to say, it was the very best Warhol exhibit I've ever seen.

The range of works was astounding with many pieces I've never seen before.  There was even a great video playing with interviews by some of the many people Warhol worked with and partied with.

One of the other things that appealed to me when I read about the museum online was their Kaplan/Ostergaard Glass Center where they displayed a vast array of artworks all created in glass.

The piece to the left simply mesmerized me. It is made of blown glass with oil paint by American artist Oben Abright.  It is so realistic, I thought he'd start talking to me.

One of the other pieces that intrigued me was this one by Richard Jolley.  It's called Translating Substance #30.

This one was very difficult to photograph because of it's location against a brightly lit window.  A flash would have helped but of course, flash is not allowed inside a museum.

So I settled for this close-up shot taken from the side.  It misses some of the colorful objects surrounding the life-sized glass model but you can see the facial features.

Every glass object in this gallery was worthy of a second look.  There were some truly brilliant pieces.

I was very impressed by this spectacular art museum.  If I find myself in Palm Springs again, I will certainly stop by for another visit.

Sunday, May 6, 2018

Sunnylands Garden & Center (Part 2)

I don't think I've ever been so inspired by a home tour as I was of the tour of the Sunnylands home.  From the moment our eight passenger golf cart arrived at the front door, to the moment we were returned to the visitor's center, I was in awe of everything around me.

Before entering the home, our guide told us about the impressive sculpture that dominates the front of the home.  The Annenbergs were inspired by a huge sculpture and fountain they saw in Mexico City and commissioned a half-sized version for their home.  It is etched with symbols relating the history of Mexico and its peoples.

As I mentioned last week, photography was not allowed inside the home, but it was encouraged when we were outside of the home.  However, if you are curious and would like a peek inside, there are slides available on the website.  (Scroll down to where the photo of the house is located and click on the arrows.  Scroll down further and you will find a virtual tour of the Room of Memories.)

The home was built in the mid-century modern style where the architectural features are exposed rather than hidden.  Mrs. Annenberg wanted the pink pyramid on the roof of the home to match the pink glow of sunrises and sunsets on the nearby mountains.

In addition to being major philanthropists, the Annenbergs were also avid collectors of art and art objects.  Even though he contributed his 1 billion dollar collection of masters to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, each of the paintings was digitally reproduced so they could continue to hang on the walls of the home.  As I gazed on these reproductions, I realized that I had seen many of the real ones at the museum in New York.

Many of the sculptures they collected remain in the house.  Outside the house are also many sculptures the couple collected like this kinetic sculpture by Harry Bertoia.

Our small group exited the house on the patio where we enjoyed a magnificent view over towards the swimming pool with those gorgeous mountains framing the scene.

From the patio, we were taken to the guest house where we saw the central game room surrounded by color themed guest rooms.  

Behind the guest house was a rose garden with beautiful rose bushes named for many of the famous women who have been guests of the Annenbergs in the past.  Barbara Bush, Queen Elizabeth and more first ladies were all represented in blooms here.

Toward the end of the tour we were whisked off in our golf cart across the 9-hole golf course to view the home from the lake and waterfall.  I think this might be my favorite view of the house.  

On the way back to the visitor's center, we stopped at this sculpture called "Birds of Welcome" by sculptor Arthur Price.  It has a special place of honor on the edge of the sprawling green of the golf course.

If you love historic places and also love architecture and art, I highly recommend visiting this home if you have the opportunity.  Everything about the experience was pleasant from the people who work there to the beautifully planned and constructed surroundings.  I was thoroughly impressed by it all.