My mom and I recently went to the New York Botanical Garden in the Bronx to check out the Chihuly exhibit. Dale Chihuly is an American glass sculptor (with an eye patch!), and even if you don't realize it you've probably seen his work which appears in permanent collections around the world.
I first became aware of Chihuly when I was in college and saw an exhibition of his at the Phipps Conservatory in Pittsburgh. The NYBG show is similar to that one in that it intersperses Chihuly sculptures with the garden's own plant collections and natural surroundings. Chihuly pieces are so fluid and organic-looking that they fit perfectly into a garden setting. There were actually some pieces that fit in so seamlessly that it was hard at first to discern what was glass and what was plant—and vice versa.
Chihuly pieces aren't exclusively based on flora—there were ones that looked like cranes and rock candy—and I was surprised at how many different styles are on display in the garden. He's probably best known for his twisting, curling, spikey concoctions as well as his undulating bowls, but there were more modern, simple pieces placed near water so that their reflections were as integral to the art as the actual glass panes.
I was very impressed with his work back when I saw it at Phipps, but ever since I feel like I've very badly wanted to hate on Chihuly for being too commercial or write off his work as faux-opulent (he has a lot of work in Vegas and a store at the Bellagio), but I'm won over every time I see a piece in person.
The New York Botanical Garden
2900 Southern Boulevard
Bronx, NY 10458-5126
Tues-Sun 10am-6pm, Closed Mondays
"Chihuly" is on view until October 29, 2017