Goodbye Shitsville, Hello Shakesville!


Assuredly there’s a place in museum heaven for the select institutions among them that allow visitors to carry and use their cameras within. Yet even in that (regrettably) small sphere, there still must be another spot reserved for places that allow cameras, and whose tickets serve as all day passes. The curators of St. Pete’s Chihuly exhibit will wait to tell you of both conditions after your first trip through; basically tempting you to throw away the plans you had for the rest of your day so you can run to your car and grab your equipment.


Dale Chihuly is America’s, if not the world’s, premiere glass “artist.” The distinction appearing within scare quotes not because the field was understandably small; filled as it is with bong manufacturers. No, Chihuly’s distinction comes on the grounds that the work you see isn’t really his, but glass interpretations of his paintings by his (talented) crew.


So the sculptures are broken into sections, each corresponding to a “stage” in Chihuly’s career. “Stage” also in quotes because no stage has ever actually ended; serving more as themes for him. With most of the sculptures taking years to be finalized.



Maybe the best aspect of Chihuly’s use of a team to make his suclptures is how he didn’t just limit it to the studio. As the pictures illustrate, a good portion of this exhibit’s success stems from the lighting; which was sourced out to a theater hand to ensure each piece looks just right.


FUN FACT!: The big blue chandelier was gifted to the collection by a St. Pete resident who was moving, and apparently didn’t want to have to figure out the logistics of moving a glass chandelier that literally weighs a ton (yes, 2,000 lbs!).





This is the Garden, which, for me, isn’t as interesting as the chandeliers. Sure, you can look at them, and ponder how much time is spent each day dusting them, but that’s about it.


This might just be because I’m a long-time FL resident, so much of the aquatic flora Chihuly’s been inspired by is everyday for me.





Boats and spheres, on the other hand, never grow old. Everyone loves ’em.




Chihuly saves the best for last though, throwing out all vestiges of aquatic imagery for the soft, throbbing hum of fluorescent lights.


There the lovable monstrosity is, floating in the sky, humming a beautiful song of burning radiation.



Though, really, it’s the contrasts that make this room so special for me. Just look at the colors! Walking into it is like being center stage in every worthwhile 50’s sci-fi movie you’ve ever watched.



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