A couple of weeks ago I finally made it to the "Chihuly at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts" exhibit. Predictably, it was spectacular. You have probably heard of Dale Chihuly being a virtuoso of color and pioneer of glass techniques and to that I personally would add that he is a marketing genius.
The exhibit included a few of his famous installations such as the Persian Ceiling composed of more than a thousand colorful blown glass shapes. I could not help but stare at them for about 10 minutes. People passed me by but I was just standing there, drifting slowly. The pieces were displayed atop a hallway on a glass ceiling and were lit from above. The colors were delicious, the shapes evoked thoughts of a coral reef and whimsical smaller blown pieces were artfully scattered here and there.
The Persian Ceiling was definitely the IT piece, unmistakably his. I think it targeted the child in all of us, being so colorful that it could be a story about everything yet about nothing. It was mesmerizing, and I was not the only one hypnotized by it, looking for more and more angles like a child that can't let go of a kaleidoscope. So complex and yet so simple.
The surprise came later. A dark room full of pieces inspired by Indian baskets. I just wanted to stay there forever. The glitz was not there, these were deeply spiritual pieces.
So simple, yet so complex.
At the museum shop my husband called over half-jokingly: "Hey, they have a couple of his basket pieces here, starting at $4,500!" My heart stopped. I could not imagine how, but I… had… to… have… it… As I turned around, I saw them, a nested pair, made of gorgeous deep blue and yellow glass… And suddenly I did not have to have it anymore - it was just the shape, the essence was not there.