Why am I so crazy for the Chihuly exhibition at the Halcyon Gallery, New Bond Street? I’m a firm believer in accessible art. By that I mean you shouldn’t have to consider the meaning of an artwork, or wonder what it is trying to convey, or have to concentrate too hard. You should be able to appreciate it by just looking, lose yourself in the aesthetics, and let the wow factor hit you. Which is why I’ve always made an effort to attend any Chihuly exhibition that is on in London.
Halcyon Gallery is a large and spectacular gallery space inside a Georgian building on New Bond Street. Three levels of artworks await you (entry is free), and the space is perfect for showcasing them to maximum effect. The current exhibition is Dale Chihuly: Beyond the Object, and sees the American glass artist react to, and transform, the gallery space with his hand-blown glass sculptures: “What I’ve always really been interested in is space. Even when I made a single Cylinder or Macchia, my interest was always in space. I was thinking not of the object itself, but how the object would look in a room.”
Chihuly is the world’s foremost glass artist, and even if you don’t know his name, you’ll probably recognise his signature style of work. He made the impressive 30ft chandelier that hangs in the lobby of the V&A museum, as well as the red flame-like sculpture on Park Lane during the London Olympics. With big installations around the world, both indoor and outdoor, his exhibitions already draw record crowds because his art is so undeniably striking, breath-taking and accessible.
Some critics get sniffy about Chihuly’s art for the same reason that I love it – they say there are no big ideas behind it, and that it’s a craft not an art. To Chihuly, “…if it’s good, it’s an art. The best of everything is an art.” His large installations now sell for millions. The pieces in the window of the Halycon Gallery at the moment are £650,000 each!
The exhibition is on until 5th April, and entry is free. This is breathtaking stuff – make no excuses and just get down there.
144-146 New Bond Street, London, W1S 2PF