Museum of Glass – Chihuly – 2 of 2

Monday I visited the Museum of Glass in Tacoma, Washington.  Much of the Museum’s design and history is to highlight the works of Dale Chihuly, a Tacoma native.  In addition to the artworks housed in the museum there are several places nearby where Mr. Chihuly’s work is on display free, 24 hours a day, for the people of Tacoma (or from anywhere else) to enjoy.

One of these places is the “Chihuly Bridge of Glass” which is billed as a 500-foot long glass ceiling over which sit over 2,000 pieces of colored glass.  Now that I’ve been there I can tell you that is a little misleading.  There are actually 24 panels (3 panels wide and 8 panels long) which are suspended about 30 feet over a pedestrian bridge which spans from the Museum near the waterfront, over Highway 405, to downtown Tacoma.  So at 20 feet in length (each) the actual length of the artwork is 160 feet.  It is still very impressive, especially lit up at night.  I know this because I have seen this concept on a smaller scale in several art museums around the country (pre-blog) and the pieces were much closer to the viewer and were lit from above.  Each piece is truly unique and there are lots of colors, shapes and sizes.  There is quite a bit of repetition in the basic shapes used but it is still an amazing sight.  If you ever get a chance to see this type of display in person I highly recommend it.

Here are 5 of the 24 panels:

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As people cross the bridge there is also a huge “display case” called the Venetian Wall which contain over 100 individual pieces (large, oversized vases for example).

Finally, in Union Station, across the highway from the Museum and now converted to a federal courthouse, there were several pieces of Chihuly art on display.

This is a window, high up in the building – facing the highway and waterfront.  These pictures were taken from two different vantage points.

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This is a large piece hanging from the center of the entryway.  Each of the colors you see is a separate piece of glass.  I saw a piece like this in Oklahoma City last year which I bet was 4 stories tall.  Again, this is from two different angles:

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And this was on an upstairs balcony, where visitors aren’t allowed to go:

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I have seen Mr. Chihuly’s art in several places around the country and have lots more pictures, including closeups, which I will post when I get back to Durham.

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