January 17th

Chihuly exhibit: Desert Botanical Garden

One of the repetitive complains I hear from non-Phoenix natives is, “This town has no culture.” Stucco, suburbs and beige, are a culture — just not one most people want to replicate. The truth is, Phoenix has a growing, fascinating array of cultural exhibits. They simply take getting off the couch to see them. {My friend Amanda regularly emails a weekend update of great events that Mini posts on her blog.}

Chihuly exhibit: Desert Botanical Garden

Dale Chihuly, one of my favorite artists, is currently showing at the Desert Botanical Gardens. I spent several hours today with Dee, wandering the winding paths at the base of the Papago Mountains, admiring these glass beauties. The art seems to be planted with the plants, creating a very trippy garden experience.

The garden is a dashing work of art — cacti from all over the world have been gathered on display, along with many other desert plants.¬† The waiting list for weddings and parties at the garden pushes two years. It’s a gem of the Valley.

Chihuly exhibit: Desert Botanical Garden

Chihuly exhibit: Desert Botanical Garden

This exhibit is powerful. It is hard to tell if he specifically designed these pieces for the garden, or if they are a general outdoor traveling exhibit. It seems a bit like Dr. Seuss came through with a magic wand (and cat in a top hat). Chihuly’s work made me dizzy. The colors, variety of texture, detail in pieces and incredible shape and size are spectacular.

Chihuly exhibit: Desert Botanical Garden

Chihuly exhibit: Desert Botanical Garden

If this isn’t culture, I’m not sure what is.


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Arizona, Journal, Photography
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29 Responses

  1. That looks like culture to me!

  2. Yes, great culture! You are such a good writer! You captured it so well. It was a fun afternoon! So glad we went!(I can’t wait to have my computer back–hopefully Wed to sort through my pics. I’m using J’s right now to at least get some posts on my blog for the time being.) Enjoy the rest of your weekend. Looking forward to our next photo journey! ~Dee

  3. Very cool!! Wish we could get this type of art in NJ.
    Have a great weekend!

  4. Beautiful photos of Dale’s work! He was here in San Francisco over the summer. I took my 8 year old daughter and my 6 year old son and they LOVED it!!! Cool blog!

  5. Very unique and unusual! How cool!

  6. I heard of Dale C. only recently and his work is really cool!

  7. Phipps Conservatory in Pittsburgh has an exhibit with some glass work too right now. Wonder if it is the same or similar. Small world. My brother in law just told me about it, but I can’t remember the artist.

  8. Whoa. This is the second time I’ve come upon his work posted on a blog. I definitely must go to see his stuff–lucky you being in Phoenix vs Chicago at this time of year!!!

  9. Tina in Duluth January 18, 2009

    Very Seussical indeed! I’d like to see it!

  10. Great photos! I love Chihuly too. I try to see his exhibits whenever I’m around. Really outstanding, fun, colorful art.

  11. Wow – I love that one where the glass seems to be growing out of the ground. What a beautiful way to spend an afternoon.

  12. Those look so neat! What a great experience and fun thing to do, lucky girl.

  13. Definitely on my list…already was but glad to see photos.

  14. I love Chihuly as well. We got to see some pretty amazing stuff when we lived near Tacoma (he grew up there and has established the Tacoma Museum of Glass).
    I’ve never seen an outdoor instillation of his work in person. What an outstanding site that must have been. Glad you got to see it.
    (And beautiful photos, btw.)

  15. Have I mentioned in previous comments that my little sister moved to Phoenix just this month? Thanks for the links, I can wait to see what your city has to offer!

  16. It’s amazing to me that most people think we live in something that resembles the Sahara, completely devoid of any semblance of life and culture. Arizona has amazingly wonderful cultural opportunities all over the state. Even in the Sahara, you can find something that expands your world view, you just have to have an open mind for unique adventures. It doesn’t matter where I go, I always find something to celebrate and appreciate about any place. I’m so glad that you are like that, too, Kelli.

    I can’t remember if I told you this but Dale C. was the featured speaker when I received my Master of Arts degree. He is truly awesome and his work is stunning.

  17. How beautiful! It looks like it was a wonderful winter weekend outing.

    I’ve seen the exhibit twice & was blown away with the beauty at each. (In the Garfield Park Conservatory here in Chicago in the middle of winter & at the Atlanta Botanical Gardens in the middle of summer) I am amazed at how different the same pieces look in the different settings.

  18. His work is amazing. I can’t imagine seeing it outside in such a natural setting. Beautiful.

  19. Thank you for sharing these! I love Dale C. and I’m envious of the wonderful exhibit you wandered through. Thanks for the great photos!

  20. My parents are going to that!

  21. How beautiful! The glass looks like it is growing along with the plants. I can’t imagine how wonderful it must have been to have seen this exhibit.

  22. Jennifer Monroe January 18, 2009

    Chihuly is amazing. He had an exhibit in Atlanta, but I missed it. Luckily, he gave two pieces to the botanical gardens. Incredible.

  23. I’d like to see the exhibition, I like glass work so much. You would go crazy if you had the chance to visit Murano (Venice) and see all the glass artisans over there!

  24. Oh, I would LOVE to see that exhibit. Gorgeous! Thanks for sharing so many photos. Of boobies.

  25. Very beautiful. I think I was first introduced to his art on your site and I am hooked! Gorgeous!

  26. Wow, an outdoor Chihuly exhibit would have been great to see. I was in Phoenix this past weekend but spent all of it at the Phoenix International Raceway. Gorgeous weather!

  27. Chihuly’s glass does what all art should do-it takes you out of yourself and helps you to see with a fresh perspective. He had a totally different installation at the Missouri Botanical Garden a couple of years ago. I think he must design based on the setting. His art is so beautiful.

  28. I was in AZ last weekend on a quick trip out of the frozen tundra, that I call Michigan – and saw this exhibit at the Desert Botanical Garden. It was fabulous! Your pictures are amazing, but it was better in real life!!!