Friday, March 17, 2006

I Heart Chicago

The view from our room...
The river was right outside our hotel.
Our first night in Chicago included strange March lightening storms. In the rest of the mid-West tornadoes were raging.
Chicago is a city of art. Should it surprise me that I fell in love with the place?

But I'll admit, the trip wasn't all fun and games. Actually, at times it was quite frustrating. I was glad I decided to take Tuesday afternoon to wander the city on my own...because, really, it turned out to be the most fantastic part of the trip. Luckily, I was able to check my blog and read a comment left by hobess, who reminded me that the magic bean (aka "Cloud Gate") was located on the corner of Michigan and Randolph. Since I was on my way to the art institute I made sure to take a route that would lead me to this sculpture that I've been fascinated with since I learned about it in an art history class a few years ago. Thank you hobess--it was incredible!!! I saw it in the distance and couldn't help but be overcome by a huge beaming smile. It was the first time that I felt like I could really take a deep breath in Chicago. Among layers and layers of buildings, in the middle of it all is this giant, shining egg that opens up into sky, reflecting everything. The openness of space created by the reflection was enough to crack me open...and it made me want to sit there all day.

Yep, that's little ol' me in the big city... feeling perfectly content.

...and this is my reflection in The Bean.

I couldn't help but take loads of was too much fun!
Can you see me?

aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa: The Magic Bean

Ok, but the real reason for my excursion was The Art Institute of Chicago. I walked in and nearly wet my pants because in the first 20 minutes I saw Caillebotte, Manet, Monet, Renoir, Pissaro, Picasso, Daumier, Van Gogh, Degas, Toulouse-Lautrec, Cezanne, Dali, Diego Rivera, Georgia O'Keefe. UNBELIEVABLE!!!

To see their work in the flesh and blood absolutely floors me. These are the artists that I've studied, looked up to, read and wonder about. But pictures never capture half of it. To see the colors and brush strokes hanging on a wall just inches from you is something that text books and magazines just can't do justice.

When I reached the room full of Gauguin paintings, I felt my whole body relax and another smile take over my face. This one, "Day of the Gods," is my absolute favorite painting. I have it hanging in my studio to inspire me on a daily basis. Oh, to see it in real life! There is a calm quality to Gauguin's Tahitianwork that none of the other European artists of the time seem to capture. The lifestyle of the people he lived with is absolutely present in his work. I wished there had been a bench in that room. I could have stayed there all day too.

Eventually I made it to the Girodet Exhibit. My god!!! I need to write more about this in a post all its own. Never have I experienced such an alter-world of art. Such powerful work--it was silencing.
I fell in love with Chicago and can see why so many of you left comments on my last post about how much you love this city. It is a city in the most extreme sense...but so alive and full of art...not to mention, everyone was so incredibly FRIENDLY!!! Needless to say, I had a good time and even though I missed my husband and my wolfie and my cats...I'm glad I went. I'm also glad I took that afternoon to myself. I felt like a local--and, I must admit, I enjoyed the feeling immensely. I miss Chicago already!

But it feels good to be home too. I've been getting more attention from my husband and animals than I know what to do with!


Blogger gkgirl said...

i'm so glad that
you had a great
and inspiring time!
thats fantastic...

that said,
i'm equally glad
to see you back
and posting again

12:06 PM  
Blogger In Otter Space said...

I am so happy you LOVED Chicago. Just looking at your pics made me feel homesick and happy too. I could even see my old office buildings (PRUDENTIAL and PRU II the building with the pointy thing on top) in the background of Millenium Park.

Do you go to Daley Plaza to see Chicago's Picasso?

When you go back go in the summer! I recommend taking the architectural boat tour down the River. AWESOME!

Tell us about the food. Oh how I miss the food. Sigh.

I am proud you found Chicago friendly! I think we are the friendliest people in all the world. In fact moving to the South has been a total disappointment b/c I thought Southerners would be more friendly. Guess I'm just spoiled by the good old midwestern-style friendly. :-)

1:26 PM  
Blogger Cynthia E. Bagley said...

My brother loved Chicago. I actually like smaller towns though. Like your pics.

3:09 PM  
Blogger Kristine said...

Cool pics! Sounds like it was an amazing time!

3:23 PM  
Blogger Mardougrrl said...

I miss Chicago so just hit me like a wave. I'm glad you had fun!

8:15 PM  
Blogger HoBess said...

Oh I can't stop smiling! First your pictures of "home" are making me feel all good inside. Hubby and I always say the only way we would ever move back would be to live downtown again. And I'm so glad you had such time to spend with Cloud Gate and at the Institute. It is truly one of the most magical of places. Oh ... I'm going to look at the pictures again! Have a great weekend.

8:53 AM  
Blogger artjunk~ said...

wow, incredible. thanks for sharing this! really great pics and fun seeing it through your blog! well done!

9:49 PM  
Blogger melba said...

I have never been, but I so want to go! I told my sister that I really want to go there on a trip together. (we use to go on trips before we both got married)Maybe someday...
I am glad you had fun!

10:20 PM  
Blogger Joy Eliz said...

I haven't gone into the city in years. I love Chicago too, my great grandparents settled there from Europe and although I never lived there it always feels like 'home'. My favorite piece of art is the Chagall Mosaic at Dearborn and Monroe. I hope you got to see it.

9:54 AM  
Blogger eliza said...

i've never been to chicago, but you made me want to go. you have also REALLY inspired me to get myself to an art museum. thank you!

12:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

oh I felt the ZING!!

the ZING!

Thank you so much for sharing-- it IS a city of Art.


11:12 AM  
Blogger j e p p e said...

Neat wide angle effect created by the bean. At first I thought you were shooting with a fish eye.

3:40 PM  
Blogger liz elayne said...

it sounds like you had an amazing time and that your visit inspired you...that is fantastic!
I love Chicago (grew up 2 hours away)...but the bean, i did not know about the bean. when i go back for a visit in june the bean will be one of my destinations.

3:42 AM  
Anonymous Cheryl said...

I also heart Chicago! We were fortunate enough to spend the summer there for DH's work - we actually were in that building in the reflection - the one next to - was it Stone? The Dural on Michigan and randolph. I LOVE LOVE LOVE it there! For a busy big city everyone was SO nice! and the daughter loved sliding down the Picasso. LOL.

7:32 AM  

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