The National Liberty Museum’s brand new bong exhibit is high art at its finest. The bong exhibit, entitled “The Treachery of Images,” runs from now until May 7. Museum-goers will be able to feast their eyes on upwards of four dozen hand-crafted glass water pipes. The bongs come from 20 of the country’s most well-known and accomplished glass artists.
The bong exhibit is transforming the museum into the world’s most expensive smoke shop. The bongs will not only be on display. They’ll also be up for sale. Most of the pieces are going for hundreds of thousands of dollars, with the most expensive sporting a $250,000 price tag.
But beyond giving spectators a chance to gaze at incredible glasswork, the bong exhibit is catapulting an entire underground art community into the national spotlight. This is important because too often artists within the cannabis community don’t get the recognition they deserve.
Along with glass makers, there are also cannabis artists who make incredibly intricate joints. Similarly, artists have created images using cannabis flower, and one artist even figured out how to “paint” using weed smoke.
“This Is Not A Pipe”
The National Liberty Museum’s bong exhibit takes its name from the title of a painting called “The Treachery of Images” by Surrealist artist René Magritte’s.
The painting is an image of a pipe. Challenging viewers to see beyond the ordinary, Magritte scrawled beneath the pipe the caption “Ceci n’est pas une pipe,” French for “this is not a pipe.”
Meegan Coll, the museum’s glass director, said she used the title to encourage viewers to see the bongs on display as works of fine art, in the same way, that people see paintings as fine art.
Also, the title is a nod to the treachery of stereotypical images of cannabis users as unaccomplished “pot-heads.” Coll hopes the bong exhibit overcomes many of the treacherous images surrounding cannabis culture.
As Coll described it, it’s hard to tell whether the pieces in the exhibit are works of art or pipes. Upon closer inspection, they turn out to be both amazing artworks and fully functional smoking devices.
“You really have to appreciate the art and the skill it takes to execute the creation of these pieces,” Coll said.
The Most Jaw-Dropping Bong Exhibit In The World
The pieces on display in the National Liberty Museum’s bong exhibit are simply breathtaking. Some look like complex statuettes of deities and dragons, rich with color and texture.
Others allude to previous works from art history. For example, there’s one piece designed to look like Andy Warhol’s famous images of Campbell’s soup cans.
There’s always something magical about a really artistic glass piece. Whether it’s a bong, a pipe, a bubbler, or a dab rig, there seems to be no end to the creative ingenuity of glass makers.
However, for the most part, these artists and their art have been known only to those within the cannabis community. Outside of this closed circle, those artists face negative stigmas and even prosecution.
But now, thanks to displays like this one, artists whose work was never truly considered “art” are getting the acknowledgment they deserve.