978-0-8109-6708-3 / 9780810967083

Chihuly Projects


Publisher:Harry N. Abrams



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About the book:

Voluptuous shapes in luscious color, Dale Chihuly's large-scale glass sculptures are all about immediate sensory experience. It's likely no book could capture the intoxication of being in the presence of clusters of glass forms that look like undersea life or tropical forests, hanging overhead or rising up from the floor in fabulous splendor.

Chihuly Projects offers 200 full-page photographs (in supersaturated color) of 34 installations the Seattle artist created over a 30-year span for public and private clients, plus chatty comments by the artist and members of his staff. A fine essay by the art writer Barbara Rose places Chihuly's work in the context of contemporary art and his own life. (An eye injury in the mid-'70s precipitated his shift from blowing individual tabletop glass pieces to becoming the director of a team effort.) But the photographs tend to flatten out Chihuly's generous shapes, and the real-world settings of the sculptures are often so busy visually that, seen from the fixed vantage point of a still photo, they compete distractingly with the art. Although some pieces are shown in different stages of completion, it's hard to grasp how any given project actually comes together from start to finish.

A splashy book that seems to be trying to match the brio and outsized vision of its artist, Chihuly Projects serves primarily as an eye-popping general tour of work that ranges from a 70-by-30-foot ceiling for the Bellagio hotel in Las Vegas to an outdoor "chandelier" (for a retreat in Washington State) with 1,200 handblown glass icicles--and an attached heater for melting snow to add hanging pendants of real ice. --Cathy Curtis

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