at Talley Dunn Gallery and at the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden
by Todd Camplin
A hot debate has be brewing about Dale Chihuly. Where does his work belong in contemporary
art, if at all? The Huffington Post gave an online poll asking if he was even an artist at all. Well, just
because he works in glass doesn’t delegitimize him as an artist, and like any art, not everything he
does is a masterpiece. I find the context of his work helps to frame his work better. For example, you
can see his work up in Dallas at Talley Dunn Gallery and at the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden.
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|Dallas’ Botanical Garden is really the best place to see this work. Big glassware in the outdoors,
tempting fate and looking like plants from another world. I have often wondered why Star Trek
never used his work for alien world plants. I think the interaction of his work with nature creates
an interesting dialog between art and constructed gardens of natural life. Both his glass and
the plants are displayed and ordered into a joint installation. I remember being captivated by
his work when I visited a few museums and seeing a video of his show in Israel, but then I kept
seeing the work. An explosion of glass in art galleries and museums all over. I am reminded,
however, that some key conceptual elements are still present in the work. One, no longer is
art split from crafts in separate categories. Two, his willingness to display the work in the
elements of outdoor space attests to his commitment to the experience of glass. In the
garden, he is not concerned with preserving crafted object, because, he can replace
them like a factory.
|On the other hand, as in the Talley Dunn Gallery show, he does create crafted works to be
displayed by collectors in homes. Though this takes away some of the conceptual punch,