May 18, 2011

Chihuly: From Brockton to Boston

If you live in the Boston area or plan to visit this spring or summer, put the Museum of Fine Arts (MFA) on your don't-miss list. You'll see the soaring, new, half-billion dollar Art of the Americas Wing, and you can take in mindblowing glass sculpture by Dale Chihuly, a Living National Treasure. The MFA has mounted a major Chihuly exhibit, which runs through August 7, 2011.

Before she left her Boston campus for the semester, Dana flashed her college ID and got into the MFA and the Chihuly exhibition for free and texted me the photo above. We're Chihuly fans from way back.

Eleven years ago, when Adam was 11 and Dana 8, I took them to the Fuller, a small museum in Brockton, Massachusetts, to see some blown glass by a guy named Dale Chihuly. I'd read about him in magazines and thought it cool that his work was on display in the town next to ours. The kids brought Cheerios, Transformers and stuffed animals but didn't need them to stay occupied. They, and I, were totally entranced by Chihuly's exquisite, wildly colorful glass creations. (Chihuly actually has a staff who blow for him. He designs and directs, and he blows a bit, but others do lots of the big lung work.) We three wandered around a few darkened rooms at the Fuller, entranced by the magic of Chihuly's Seaforms collection, ocean life rendered powerfully in delicate glass.

Then, several years later on a family trip to Las Vegas, we marveled at the Chihuly ceiling in the lobby of the Bellagio. The suspended ceiling panel, a rich-hued rendering of flowers called Fiore di Como, runs the length of the lobby and makes it nearly impossible to look anywhere but up. Even if you're not staying at the Bellagio, if you're in Vegas, see the Chihuly.

I doubt our little neighborhood Fuller will be mounting any Chihuly shows in the future; he's too big now. But I'm glad the kids and I were introduced to his work on that Fuller visit so many years ago. I'm looking forward to sitting in the MFA this summer and taking in his latest work.