The Art of …

… glass, by Dale Chihuly

These photos were taken at the artist’s Seattle Gallery called Garden and Glass. Photos are by Mike Heller Photography. and there is much more to see from the gallery at his site. I’ve chosen a few of my favourites and they can be seen below the fold.

From the exhibit Garden and Glass by Dale Chihuly. Photo by Mike Heller.

From the exhibit Garden and Glass by Dale Chihuly. Photo by Mike Heller.

From the exhibit Garden and Glass by Dale Chihuly. Photo by Mike Heller.

From the exhibit Garden and Glass by Dale Chihuly. Photo by Mike Heller.

From the exhibit Garden and Glass by Dale Chihuly. Photo by Mike Heller.

From the exhibit Garden and Glass by Dale Chihuly. Photo by Mike Heller.

From the exhibit Garden and Glass by Dale Chihuly. Photo by Mike Heller.

From the exhibit Garden and Glass by Dale Chihuly. Photo by Mike Heller.

From the exhibit Garden and Glass by Dale Chihuly. Photo by Mike Heller.


  1. says

    Chihuly’s designs are amazing. I was a bit saddened when I learned that he doesn’t actually make any of his stuff; he has a whole atelier of top-notch talented glassblowers who do the actual work. In my eyes that reduces it slightly, which is why I make a pedantic distinction between artist-as-designer (Ai WeiWei, Dale Chihuly, Andy Warhol, Jeff Koons, Richard Avedon) and artist-as-artist (Caravaggio, Da Vinci, Ansel Adams, Irving Penn) It’s complicated. For example, should I value Avedon’s photography less highly than Adams’ because Avedon didn’t process his own film or expose paper to make prints? Well, Adams started out doing his own processing and eventually migrated to having someone do it for him. That applies to many many artists.

    Caravaggio and Van Gogh would have produced more great work if they farmed it out to others and stuck their name on it, but there’s something magical about the idea that one person embodies the entire process from start to finish.

  2. says

    (Avedon didn’t even load his own camera. His assistants set up the lighting and he’d walk in, pick up the loaded camera, and fire away) That reduces him in my eyes as an artist.

  3. avalus says

    Woah, vivid, squiggly, colourful! They seem alive and alien.

    Hm, I want to comment on Marcus comments, but I can’t really put my thoughts to words. “Art as a colleborate effort as opposite to the ‘one person doing everything’ have both merits” -- maybe?

  4. kestrel says

    This work is very distinctive and I knew who the creator was from seeing the first photo.

    Yeah, I too feel a little odd knowing that others do this at his behest. The buyers don’t seem to mind. I do understand farming out some of the work: after all, I do not mine my own pigments, grind them into powder, add the filler and so on. Nor do I make my own brushes, grow, harvest and weave my own cotton etc. I just admit that it is odd to think that there is a glass blower who does not blow his own glass. The designs are stunning, however, for me personally, these are not things that I would buy or wish to have in my house. I do enjoy them however.

  5. petern says

    As a recording engineer, let me say that I think in general a song comes out better when the musician leaves the audio engineering to a professional. I’m using my own imagination and creativity, too, and musicians often incorporate the engineer’s ideas which they might not otherwise have thought of.

  6. says

    I think it is OK to contract some work to others, especially some really specialized or particularly big parts -- as long as you are a part of the team and get your hands dirty too. This work would be probably impossible to be done by one person alone, but if that person sticks their name on it, then they at least should have the skills to do it or most of it alone. Which cursory google search shows is the case here.

    The work is beautiful but not particularly to my tastes. I love the floral motifs, but the tentacles not so much.

  7. says

    I am a huge fan of the artists I listed as producers/directors rather than sole performers. It has always seemed to me, though, that they ought to be more clear about the fact that their productions are a group effort -- as petern says, the creative contribution of the collaborators is important artistic effort in its own right. I love Chihuly’s work but I’d be more impressed with it if it was listed as: “Designed and produced by: Chihuly, Blown by X, Y, and Z. Glass prep and tooling by J.”

    Another problem I have with this is that the valuation of artworks depends on the provenance. One would not expect a piece of “Chihuly” glass to fetch as high a price, if it explicitly acknowledged that Chihuly’s hands only touched it when he was signing it. I’m generally a non-fan of the “art market” because I think its desire to put a price-tag on art distorts our interpretation of it. I don’t like that; it offends my aesthetics. Worse, there are cases where someone may work on part of another artist’s production and then sign non-disclosures limiting their ability to claim credit for their involvement. Thus, we have things like Buckethead, and countless session players who contributed licks to great music and died unknown and unappreciated. Or utterly insane things like John Fogerty being sued for sounding like himself on a solo album.

    That’s my value system; I don’t expect everyone to agree, and the art/gallery system clearly does not agree (because it would cost them too much).

  8. says

    PS -- we’re all OK with going to a movie and seeing “directed by …” and 16 pages of contributors. Because we know that even the incredible Stanley Kubrick couldn’t make 2001 by himself. I think that listing contributors by name is the right way to go.

    For example, who here besides me knows who did the incredible guitar licks on Bowie’s Cat People (Putting out fire) track? Nobody would except the guitarist’s manager made sure he was listed in the liner notes. And I appreciate the track better because of it. When I see a movie, I like to see that Vangelis did the music for Chariots of Fire holy shit, I love that guy, he did Blade Runner too! etc. I actually can’t recall who directed Chariots of Fire

  9. says

    Art market needs to die anyway.
    I love them, but also the photography, because I know how easy it is to fuck such a great motif up.
    I’d probably try to lick some of them to see if they were candy…

  10. voyager says

    I think that every artist who contributes creatively to a project should be acknowledged. Glass blowing is hot, exacting and difficult. I think that all of the involved artists should have their photo displayed along with a brief description of what they contributed to the whole.

  11. Tethys says

    Many of those compositions are giving me a ‘coral reef and jellyfish forest’ impression, rather than garden. An octopuses garden perhaps?

    The first sculpture is very similar to a light fixture I am considering for my home. It is called Dandelion, and does look very similar to a glowing seedhead though not quite as tentacle-like as the glass sculpture.

    I think credit should be given where credit is due. It is not rare for a known artist to have a studio full of less well known people working to produce their designs. Architects get credit for their buildings, but nobody expects them to build them singlehanded. Are they artists?

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