Dale Chihuly expose

chihuly.jpgSince first studying his work in art classes during college, I knew that Dale Chihuly produced things differently than the traditional current artists that most people envision. He has a ‘factory’ where ‘helpers’ follow his directions in assisting in creating the glass sculptures. This wasn’t unprecedented, as masters did this type of stuff 100s of years ago. Fast forward a few years and I was placing his works (very carefully!) in the gallery space where I worked in for years after college. His pieces were beautiful, especially when lit up by the bright display lights, but commanded a bunch of cash. $20,000 is a lot for a nice candy dish, I remember thinking to 13925-large.jpgmyself. Now with a current exhibit here at the Missouri Botanical Gardens, and other recent shows, The Seattle Times is running three days of investigative reporting on the artist, whose filing of copyright lawsuits has opened his business practices to scrutiny and criticism. Day one focuses on the overall business, the building and marketing of the Chihuly brand, the company’s sales practices and factory production methods. Accompanyingglass-chihuly.jpg material includes an informative slide show on the different methods of creating glass art. Day two hones in on Chihuly’s clever deals with charitable organizations who purchase his work for resale. Finally, day three gets to the trigger for all of the inquiry, the lawsuits and speculation on why he decided to take two fellow artists to court. “The overall message is clear: Chihuly Inc. is a business, a successful one that has taken full opportunity from (some would say advantage of) PBS and philanthropic partnerships. They will protect their assets as a business would and do what it takes to keep the money coming in and their products at high value.”