He spent a fairly typical postwar childhood playing marbles, building model airplanes, collecting magazines, mowing lawns, washing cars, and delivering newspapers.Chihuly later recalled growing up with his father George and mother Viola: Neither one of my parents went to college.
However, Chihuly’s contributions cannot be evaluated properly without expanding the context for his work from the postwar American studio glass movement to larger art historical and cultural contexts.Chihuly’s reluctance to revisit the trauma of his early life is manifested in his prodigious work ethic and in a personal credo: “I don’t think much about the past. I prefer to be thinking about what I want to be doing tomorrow.” More significant, given his later interest in installation projects, Chihuly remodeled the basement of his mother’s house in the style of Frank Lloyd Wright, one of his heroes.With his mother’s urging and financial support, Chihuly enrolled for the 1959–1960 academic year at the College of Puget Sound.We are less concerned with being narrative or figurative, but we are involved in the glass and the light that passes through it—the phenomenon of light being transmitted through colored glass.Chihuly’s glass sculptures typically are discussed primarily in technical and aesthetic terms, as if they are largely lacking in significant cultural content.Burdened with debt, Viola Chihuly went to work as a barmaid, while her son helped out by working at a meatpacking plant.Chihuly reacted to these deaths by breaking street lamps and a police car window—incidents that led to his arrest.In the process, common critical and popular assumptions regarding Chihuly’s art and career are challenged, and the necessity for a reevaluation of his proper place in art history is revealed.Chihuly was born and raised in Tacoma, Washington, a working-class city whose major industries included shipping, railroads, and logging.Nonetheless, the billboard installation documents Chihuly’s strong antiwar position. Needless to say, it burned up instantly, but I guess we succeeded in making some sort of anti-Vietnam war statement.” While this less public and largely symbolic act of protest in the R. However, Chihuly’s description of these pendant glass objects, some spray-painted red, as “slabs of meat from a butcher,” recalls both his father’s work as a butcher and his own experience working in a meatpacking plant following his father’s death.Soon after, Chihuly, Landon, and other members of the R. The visceral nature of these forms, installed in the basement of a former funeral home, may have served as a private memorial to the deaths of his father and brother. 4) of 1655, Chihuly’s installation explicitly confronts the materiality of the flesh and implicitly questions the existence and locus of the immaterial spirit.