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Friday, July 18, 2008

Go See the Dale Chihuly Exhibit at the de Young

I just got back back from a long day of museum-going with the fam. My grandma's a docent at the De Young and the Legion of Honor, so when new stuff comes to town I'm sort of obligated to see it. Not that I mind, especially when the exhibits are as cool Chihuly at the de Young, which features an extensive array of the artist's works in blown glass.

If you get a chance, check it out. It runs until September 28. Adult admission is $15.

The Chronicle's Kenneth Baker didn't like it, but me thinks he might be stuffy and a touch jaded.

Sure the exhibit is "glossy" (some might even say garish), but it's refreshing to see an artist who is A.) alive and B.) not taking himself too seriously. Correspondingly, his work is approachable and fun to see. And the "theatrical lighting," Baker gripes about, illuminates and enhances the mesmerizing glow of the glass sculptures. I've never been surrounded by so many vibrant colors (crimson, cobalt, fuchsia and pretty much any other hue can think of. Chihuly and his protégés work with roughly 300 shades of glass.)

On the downside, outside of an amusement park or Nordstrom's half-yearly sale, I've never been surrounded by so many people. One lady, who looked like SNL's Pat, kept bumping into me with her fanny-pack; and was never far behind, calling everything "outrageous" in her loud Pat voice.

I will also agree with Baker on two points. The exhibit did have a "meretricious" component. You walk out of the exhibition, and directly into a line devoted to gawking at about 10 Chihuly pieces for sale in the gift shop. Prices range from around $4,500-to-$8,000 (i.e. more money than I have to spend).

And even though Chihuly was in a car accident-- in the 70's-- that claimed his depth perception, and his left eye (over which he now wears a pirate-esque eye patch), it does bother me a little that solely his name is attached to the work that is co-created by a devoted team, under his direction.

That aside, I still say Chihuly at the de Young is more than a worthwhile see. Plus you can't be that mad at him. It's not his fault he was injured. And it's still his vision.

Fun Fact: A Chihuly Macchia piece (said to be valued at $30,000 in 1999) was prominently displayed in Frasier Crane's apartment, on the sitcom Frasier.

Lastly, apologies. The shitty photos above were taken from my non-3G iPhone.

Chrishueur has some awesome pics on his flickr if you want to see more of Chihuly at the de Young.

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