I arrived at the Institute about 30-40 minutes before it opened, so rather than joining a short line of over-eager art enthusiasts, I moseyed across the street to enjoy a cappuccino at the Caribou Coffee. I was deliberately bypassing the national and international chains (Starbucks, Prêt) in favor of what what looked like a local joint. But apparently Caribou has nearly 500 cafes across at least 15 states, with its HQ in Minneapolis. In fact, CBOU (NASDAQ) has recently gone private with a German investment firm, and they are essentially pulling out of Chicago, according to one report. The location I visited had a notice on the door that it was remaining open; I assume that it will be re-branded or something. Still, the coffee was good.
When I first glimpsed this sculpture in a little park adjacent to the Institute, it reminded me of a dragon. As I approached it, however, from some angles it looked much more like a farm implement, and I was a little nervous to see the title -- what if it was supposed to be a plough or something equally disappointing? Fortunately, to my delight, the sculptor's imagination was aligned with mine.
|Alexander Calder, Flying Dragon 1975|
I started with the "Picasso and Chicago" exhibit, although the Institute readily admitted that the artist never actually visited the city in person. This was my favorite selection from the exhibit - I love seeing the transformation of the bull. Chicagoist describes it nicely:
There are lithographs, like the 1945 series which features 11 images of a bull and is basically a class in abstraction. It begins with a realistic depiction of a bull and each frame becomes progressively abstract, until only a simple outline remains.
|It's almost like the original drawing has been eaten by piranhas!|
(yes, I'm thinking of the old "skeletonize a cow in under a minute" trope)
I thought this one was fun and lively as well (plus it makes me think of Mr Tumnus):
|Picasso, Faun Musician No. 5 1948|
|"Simian Mother and Child" (Indonesia, 13th C)|
|"Karttikeya, God of War, Seated on a Peacock" (India, 12th C)|
As advertised, the miniatures were amazing.
|I liked the illusion of gardens and natural light outside the windows.|
|This made me think of From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler|
by E.L. Konigsburg (Feb. 10, 1930 - Apr. 19, 2013 R.I.P.)
|"New Hampshire Dining Room, 1760"|
I looked in on the East Asian and African galleries:
|Wine Flask (China, 4th Century B.C.)|
|Mask (Côte d'Ivoire)|
|"Pole Tops with Double Bird-Shaped Bell" |
(Northern China or Inner Mongolia, 6th/4th century B.C.)
|Mom's fave catch-phrase! (Or one of them, anyway.)|
|First glimpse of a famous O'Keefe painting, Sky Above Clouds IV 1965|
|Harald Sohlberg, Fisherman's Cottage 1906|
This painting was huge, and I think the audio guide said that it was designed for a home with a lot of tapestries. It reminded me of the Shire - in terms of mood and feeling (obviously not the architecture). More impressive in person, though.
|Edouard Vaillard, Landscape: Window Overlooking the Woods 1899|
I think every undergrad architecture major has to undertake a project to build a chair out of cardboard. This one looked pretty comfy:
I liked this NYC scene (that's the statue of liberty in the lower middle):
|Chagall, America Windows 1977|
|A hall closed for renovation.|
I spent a lot of time looking at this work, which only whetted my appetite to visit the surrealist galleries.
|Peter Blume, The Rock 1944-48|
|The figures are cartoonish, with large, globby hands |
and rubbery, bendable arms
|The ruined façade has a bit of the original wallpaper |
and a picture in an oval on the internal wall
This one reminded me of Botticelli's Primavera. Only creepier:
|Paul Delvaux, The Awakening of the Forest 1939.|
I hadn't seen this painting before. It is now my favorite painting by my once-favorite artist:
|Magritte, The Banquet 1958|
|(Was Magritte inspired by the Japanese flag?)|
|Victor Brauner, Acolo 1949|
|A very simple 3D sculpture out of cardboard. |
Any guesses about what two body parts stick out?
|Giorgio de Chirico, The Eventuality of Destiny 1927|
A classically beautiful work by an an artist who soon became famous for quite a different style:
|Piet Mondrian, Farm near Duivendrecht 1916|