The Chihuly Garden and Glass, a permanent, museum-sized attraction in the shadow of Seattle’s Space Needle, is opening this week to considerable fanfare. Though welcomed by some as a characteristically eye-catching Dale Chihuly project, and tied to collective hopes of revitalizing the downtown district and attracting tourists, many have derided it as a vanity project, pointing to the fact that the Garden is a for-profit institution with no curator that will take up space that might otherwise be dedicated to city parkland for public use. The real whipping boy, however, has been Chihuly himself, an artist whose showmanship and relentless self-promotion have brought him more than his share of invective and verbal pies-in-the-face. Some of our favorites, after the jump.

“It’s terrible. The Bridge of Glass is terrible. And I never wrote about it when I was in Tacoma because I was worried that someone would try to kill me. It has completely revolutionized downtown Tacoma, but as art it is a complete failure.” Jen Graves, “Dale Chihuly Makes His Own Weather,” Seattle Stranger, February 16, 2006.

“The exhibition is about as critically limp as a museum can get, failing to provide any context or history to the artist’s work and instead content to simply show the work as is, an amusement-park glass menagerie that too often looks like a 5 year old’s acid trip.” Kyle Chayka, “Dale Chihuly Mounts World’s Biggest Bong Retrospective,” Hyperallergic, June 14, 2011.


Reed Singer
Blouin ArtInfo