Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Miami Social Diary

Sol del Citron. During Art Basel, Fairchild Tropical Botanical Garden opened the largest ever exhibition of Dale Chihuly's glassworks, scattering the renowned artist's objects among its 80-acre tropical landscape. On Thursday and Sunday evenings, the garden affords patrons a spectacular aesthetic experience, a more satisfying light show than fireworks.
Blown Away on a Full Moon:
#ChihulyAtFairchild 12.6.2014 – 5.31.2015
Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden 10901 Old Cutler Road – Coral Gables

By Augustus Mayhew

If Sunday night's crowd was any barometer, Blown Away, sculptor Dale Chihuly's largest and most comprehensive exhibition, may well surpass Fairchild Garden's attendance records. After dark, Chihuly's dazzling glassworks enhance and transform the observable dimensional landscape into an otherworldly illusionary encounter. Although I did not see all of the 24 sites or visit the Chihuly Gallery and Shop, I was swept away by this incomparable showcase, much more than the artist's 2005 show at the same venue.
The exhibition poster for Dale Chihuly's latest magnum opus.
I arrived about an hour before sunset as the last broad swatches of sunlight crossed the Garden House Lawn. From there, I hiked up through the Rain Forest and entered the Glasshouse, where I lost track of time trying to snap a hummingbird (some OK images) and a blue Morpho butterfly (impossible, would have to spend hours). Then, to the Glasshouse Café for a lite dinner before trekking back through the now darkened Rain Forest before reaching the Lowlands where I spent most of the evening. Even with a Full Moon and clear skies, by that time it was really dark and I could see people were swarming in every direction. Fortunately, staff and volunteers could be found at every turn; some with flashlights.


Late afternoon @ Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden
A view of Paintbrush Tower, afar; Fiori Boat, foreground.
Garden House Lawn
The last tall shadows provide contrast to the Garden House Lawn.
A winding path led through the Rain Forest.
Rain Forest Fiori.
Inside the Glasshouse
Along with a sensational collection of butterflies, the Glasshouse complex features a Tropical Plant Conservatory, Rare Plant House, and Tropical Fruit Pavilion.
Wings of the Tropics Exhibition
Incubation rack for the Blue Morpho, since I wasn't fast enough to photograph one in flight.
The elusive hummingbird ...
While many of Chihuly's pieces are a play on a single color, I enjoyed the mixed bouquets.
End of the Day Tower. Tropical Plant Conservatory.
The William F. Whitman Tropical Fruit Pavilion.
Glasshouse Café.
Inside the Rain Forest
Rainforest Fiori.
Twilight @ the Garden of Glass
Shortly after sunset, Glade Lake, a view to the south with a Float Boat, foreground; afar, Blue Fiori Sun.
Blue Fiori Sun. Glade Lake.
Blue Fiori Sun. Glade Lake.
Sapphire Star and Blue Fiori, Bailey Palm Glade.
Blue Fiori. Bailey Palm Glade.
Sapphire Star. Bailey Palm Glade.
Facing Cattails, one family appears not to know where to go or what is happening.
Dusk at Tropical Neon, 2014. Royal Palm Lake @ the Lowlands.
Tropical Neon, 2014. Royal Palm Lake.
From afar, Tropical Neon.
White Belugas.
Sol del Citron, 2014.
Fiori Boat.
Walla Wallas. Moonlight on Pandamus Lake.
The Gift Shop has an in-depth selection of books.
Pandamus Lake, a view from the Fiori Boat to Paintbrush Tower.
Photographs by Augustus Mayhew.

Augustus Mayhew is the author of Lost in Wonderland – Reflections on Palm Beach.