While spending some time in San Diego over the weekend, I drove up to La Jolla to visit the Salk Institute for Biological Sciences, a place as famous for its architecture as for its contributions to science. Shortly after arriving there, amidst the clean lines and regular rhythms of Louis Kahn’s courtyard design, I was very surprised to discover giant monster Chihuly blobs hanging in mid-air. While Seattle has a love/hate relationship with the famous local glass artist, I don’t have a strong opinion on him. But there are times and places where his work is simply out of place, and my second visit to the Salk Institute was just such a time and place. Really, here? How could they? One of these artists is not like the other. Does somebody consider this a “counterpoint”?
I was relieved to find out later that the temporary pieces helped commemorate the building’s 50th anniversary, the celebration of which had included a Chihuly exhibition. While Chihuly has spread his tentacles even wider than I’d originally thought, at least his tentacles are only spreading over Kahn’s stark, modernist architecture for another month or so. Phew.