11 July 2010
Posted by Paul Anater at 6:31 AM
The Chihuly Collection in St. Petersburg opens officially today and I was fortunate to attend a preview for the press yesterday. Chihuly himself was scheduled to lead the press tour but unfortunately, his health prevented him from being there. In his place, the tour was lead by Chihuly's friend and project architect Alberto Alfonso.
The Chihuly Collection in St. Petersburg is presented by The Morean Arts Center and it's the world's first permanent Chihuly installation, and Alfonso's brilliantly, thoughtfully designed space reflects the fact that this collection is here for keeps. The facility and the art interact perfectly and the impact of both is magnified exponentially.
Chihuly's best known for his work in glass, but he works on paper and neon as well. There are installations in all three of his media in the collection and the combination of the three in one space fleshes out he vision and talent of an artist who practically invented the studio glass movement.
Because I attended a press preview, the collection staff hadn't erected all of the barriers and velvet ropes that will protect Chihuly's work when the public are welcomed in today. I was granted a once in a lifetime opportunity to see this work close up, barrier-free. It bordered on the unsettling to walk around ten feet tall, suspended chandeliers with a value I'd be afraid to calculate. What a thrill!
The collection starts in the street with a Chihuly sculpture that pays homage to the iconic tower of The Vinoy Hotel in the background.
In no real order, here are some of the works on display.
St. Petersburg's Chihuly Collection opens today and you can find out about operating hours, ticket prices and information about how to get here and where to stay on The Chihuly Collection's website.