Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Downtown Chi-town

I spent the second half of the week at Katie's picture perfect house in Naperville. Seriously, I should have taken pictures and done a home tour. It is simply lovely. The neighborhood is so pretty, I even went for a run. When did I become a person who exercises on vacation? Maybe it's something that happened with age, like enjoying pecans, blue cheese, and walnuts in a brownie. Anyways, I've really come to enjoy experiencing a city by pounding the pavement because you get to take a bit of time truly looking at the scenery. I don't notice the smells and unique taste of the air until I am running. Naperville wasn't quite as wonderful as Seattle's, but still much better than the desert I live in. It was interesting so be somewhere without mountains.  I wonder if I would miss them after awhile.

Katie wasn't feeling well and Korrali was sick so I hopped on the train and explored downtown solo. My #1 tourist priority was seeing the Art Institute of Chicago. You can thank a father with a humanities degree for that particular nerdism.

They had lovely sculptures on the way down from Union Station.

I walked past the Willis (formerly Sears) Tower, but didn't think 2 hours in line with an infant was worth it.

The Art Institute was too big to photograph well with my 50mm, but I loved the iconic lions.

We received this set of books as a gift and it has a train painting from this series so I snapped a picture for J.

I think this is my favorite Renoir. The red and blues are so vivid in real life.

Someday, I want to be able to layer paint like this without having it crack.

I really liked these Monet and had never seen them before. They are so different from the rest of his work

And this classic fellow is much smaller than I expected. I included the random stranger for scale (and because I'm too impatient to wait for a clear photo)

These next two are also similar to the one's in the board books so I had to take pictures of them for J. She probably won't realize it is kind of cool until she's, oh, 24 or so.

I know modern art has a bad rap because everyone thinks they can do it, but there are some subtle things that make it stand out. I remember this Jackson Pollack piece from kindergarten (Way to go Mom and Art Masterpiece volunteering!) because we had to give awards to all the pieces at the end of the year. The award for the one we didn't like was shaped like a dog bone and I gave it to this piece. Then I saw Kevin gave it the award shaped like a star indicating it was his favorite and I just couldn't believe anyone could like it. Of course it was Kevin and it was a very Kevin like choice. Now I completely understand.

They had some nice Rothko pieces too. These definitely make me think I could paint a copy, but I like to look at them and try and see why some critics found them exceptional. I get irritated when they are untitled like this one because it gives me no clue as to what the artist is trying to convey.

 I really like this one and want to figure out a way to do something like it for my house. Not everyone's cup of tea, but it just catches my eye and I want to keep looking at it. Is it angry or exuberant? Did he layer the paint on when it was wet or dry or both? Was it planned or just free formed?

 At this point, M was done with the museum and was making it known. Do you know how those open galleries echo? M made sure all the patrons knew. It was also the least stroller/ handicapped accessible museum I've ever been in. There were 3 buildings but only connected on one floor. Then there were dozens of sections raised by 6 or 7 stairs and no ramps. You had to wander through three rooms to find an elevator just to move forward 20 feet. REALLY annoying, especially when you have a baby that needs to leave right away to preserve the experience of everyone else. Everyone there was so kind and I was surrounded by smiles and kind words than anger. The entire city seemed so friendly and I always had several offers to help me lift the stroller up onto the train and back down again.

He refused to be consoled so we went outside so he could cry his little lungs out and hopefully give into sleep. Right next door is the famous sculpture officially called Cloud Gate but more affectionately known as The Bean.

I always like touristy spots because I don't feel dumb doing touristy things.

The underside of it has some sweet distortion.

M was still unhappy so I indulged in some delicious hippie food to go and had a little picnic. Pain au chocolate makes baby crying much easier to deal with. I even snuck M a few flakes of croissant.

He was skeptical of my intentions.

He had been crying for almost an hour (despite being fed, changed, pushed in the stroller, held in my arms), just fighting sleep and wouldn't stop freaking out until I set him in the grass. That calmed him down almost instantly. So naturally I sat the camera on the ground in front of him and took some pictures blindly.

I loved how they turned out.

After I put him back in the stroller and checked out this interesting fountain art thing, he promptly passed out.

I figured I might as well go back into the museum and get my $25 worth. One of the docents was complimenting M on how sweet he was. I told her she probably wouldn't have thought so an hour ago when he was awake and crying. She said, "That was him?!" I was slightly embarrassed, but more amused. Mostly I was just happy he was asleep so I could see a few more of my favorites. I'm still annoyed Sunday at the Park was in a special exhibit that cost an extra $15. And the Picasso I wanted to see was in a gallery closed for renovation. I never win. But I did manage to find these guys you probably recognize. 

And a pretty Georgia O'keefe. She often has something sexual transcribed into her nature works so it's fun to try and find it.

I rather liked this Sargent. There is something fun about a painter painting someone painting.

Overall it was really fun to be able to wander around on my own and spend as much time looking at things as I felt like (minus M's opinions) and I can't wait to go back some day without a kid.


Jocelyn Chappell said...

Running on vacation is my favorite because you really get a taste of the area and you get out of your regular hum drum running routes. I really wish my bicycle would pack up into my carry-on because I imagine cycling would be even better than running in a different city.

By the way, Rothko speaks to my soul. He doesn't label his art because this style of art is about what you bring to the experience. It's about your own personal emotional reaction, which I love.

jeanene c said...

We will go together, Okay. I love seeing familiar works in Museums. I loved your photos. We saw the Picasso museum with Alicia, but they wouldn't allow photos even without a flash. Bummer. I guess they want you to buy the books in the gift shop.

Katie said...

I was so glad you went even though the rest of us wimped out!

Matt S. said...

I loved the picture of the ladies with the red hats. The painting of President Eyring is also good! Just hanging out there on the wall... it's so weird to think that these iconic images just sit there with no fanfare.

Alicia W said...

Beautiful pictures! Chicago seems better in your light. :)


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