Thursday December 7, 2023 | by Jahlil Rush

Chihuly's first botanical garden installation in Australia set to open in 2024

Artists have exhibited their artwork in botanical gardens since at least the late 19th century, when botanical illustrations were shown at the Royal Botanical Gardens, Kew, and it was at these London, England, gardens where Auguste Rodin's sculptures were first exhibited in the United Kingdom in 1902. Almost exactly a century later, Dale Chihuly unveiled his "Garden Cycle" installation at Chicago's Garfield Park Conservatory, which became an immediate sensation, more than tripling attendance in its run from 2001 to 2002.

Chihuly pictured in 2002 in front of his Persian Lilly Pads at Garfield Park, Chicago.
"I'm thrilled that the show has become as popular as it has," Chihuly told the Chicago Tribune in 2002. "I had no idea it would draw so many visitors to the Conservatory. This is the first time I put glass in a glass building." The show was extended, and then traveled to more than ten botanic gardens in the United States, including a 2017 encore performance at the New York Botanical Garden, where it was first installed in 2006. "Garden Cycle" was also installed at Gardens by the Bay in Singapore, and twice at the Royal Botanic Gardens in London (2005 and 2019).
A scene from the 2017 Chihuly installation at the New York Botanic Gardens.

In September 2024, the Adelaide Botanic Garden in Australia will become the newest home to the Chihuly presentation of glass wihtin a botanic garden setting. In a prepared statement, Chihuly praised the Adelaide Botanic Garden as the perfect stage for his work.
“I have sought an opportunity to return to Adelaide since 2000 when I first presented work at the JamFactory,” That exhibition, entitled "Chihuly: Masterworks in Glass" took place from April to June, and was his first in Australia, helping to establish him there.

The Palm House Conservatory at the Adelaide Botanic Garden.

Adelaide Botanic Garden director Michael Harvey, spoke on the announcement of the garden’s acquisition of Chihuly’s collection. “I am thrilled that Adelaide had succeeded in securing Chihuly’s Gardens Cycle exhibition,” Harvey said. “It will be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to experience an extensive collection of Chihuly’s monumental works in the beautiful setting of a botanic garden.”

Outside of Australia, Chihuly currently has a museum exhibition on display at the Oklahoma City Museum of Art titled “Chihuly Then and Now: The Collection at Twenty”. Chihuly’s outdoor exhibit in Adelaide will be available to the public through April 2025.

Glass: The UrbanGlass Quarterly, a glossy art magazine published four times a year by UrbanGlass has provided a critical context to the most important artwork being done in the medium of glass for more than 40 years.