Art Institute of Chicago

 This October I took some days off and went to Chicago; it wasn’t my first visit, but it was the first time I went by myself. I decided my quest wasn’t going to be only gastronomic (as previous times) but I was going to go to focus on Art, first stop, Art Institute of Chicago. Its odd that I had delayed this visit many times, I can almost say I was going because I had to. Most of my adult life I’ve been dedicated to Art and not going to this famous museum was kind of wrong…

Because this was an almost forced visit (by myself, but still), I took my time to get there and was basically dragging my feet all the way, so I got there at approximately 3:30 PM (1 1/2 hrs before closing), My God, was that a mistake!

I have to say, my only references for the museum were conversations and “Ferris Bueller’s day off” haha, so I knew I was going to see some amazing pieces, but very traditional, and since I’ve been to the Louvre, d’Orsay, and museums of what I thought were the same style, I didn’t expected anything new. Which lead to this post; How come something that makes my life happier and fuller, can make me so jaded and obnoxious at times?! Is it the “hipster” mode or basically my generation’s attitude at the world? Why is my automatic rolling eyes get in the way of my passion? I dunno but frankly, it sucks sometimes.

Anyway, I went and saw pieces of all over the world. If you’ve been there, you can agree with me; each and every area has so much to offer! There are galleries dedicated to Africa, America, Asia (divided into Japan, China, Korea, etc.) Islam, Latin America, Greece, among many others. Each of them curated exquisitely! Lots of history, but more than that, just plain beauty in every different language you can think of.
One that surprised me a lot was the “Ando Gallery” in the Japanese wing, the museography/design of these gallery is breathtaking, a dark room with symmetrical columns and art pieces inside glass walls. It transports you somewhere else, Japan, I guess.
Kept going and saw that they had a Chagall window, I desperately wanted to see it so I was on the mission; after fighting with the map and asking a bunch of awesome GAs I got to see it. It has its own corner, nothing else to distract you, just perfect!
After admiring the wall for a few minutes, I realized it was almost closing time, so I ran (I ran so far away) to the Contemporary side, and got there just on time to see a few pieces by Roy Lichtenstein <3, Miró, Dalí, and all of my favorites; I even discovered artists that I had no idea existed like the awesome Constantin Brancusi and Ferdinand Hodler. This part was very fast paced, so I decided I have been a moron and had to come back.
After a HEAVENLY dinner/cocktails at The Girl and the Goat ( Don’t judge me, I had to eat!), and very powerful night sleep I had all the energy to go back to the museum, so I did.
I started with the snow globe collection, went to prints and drawings, and miniatures; all great but maybe not my cup of tea. American Design was more down my alley and that prepared me, I was ready for Modern and a slow visit to Contemporary.
I don’t know what is it about Impressionism, I really don’t. I studied it in Art School, I had a very strong Van Gogh stage growing up thanks to my mom’s absolute love for him. I cherished it for a while, then moved on to Contemporary. Seeing it live tho, pffff blows your mind. I wish I knew if there was a study of why does this specific discipline causes such impact on everyone. The biggest crowds are always there, people are always complaining if a museum doesn’t have an Impressionism collection or if its too small. I honestly do not know, but looking at a Van Gogh, Monet, Gauguin, Toulouse-Lautrec, etc. it disarms me.
Disarmed and emotional, I proceeded to Degas’s Ballerinas, this quasi religious experience almost came to an end with some kids jumping around La Petite Danseuse de Quatorze Ans with a firm purpose of not letting anyone see it ughhh! I waited & my patience got rewarded since everyone left annoyed because the kids so, when they finally ran to bother other visitors, the piece was there only for me. Back to nirvana!
I had a glass of champagne in the cafe, slowly taking in all that I’ve been looking at.
Some of the Contemporary galleries were closed, but it was fine, what was there was more than enough, the special exhibits took me from Krishna, to Japanese Buddhist Monks’ Vestments to the raw and colorful photos by Deana Lawson.
It was such an inspirational trip! It made me feel like a teenager again, just discovering IT all, being ok with not knowing, surrounded by pieces that changed the world, acknowledging that odds are, I won’t accomplish half of that, but being fine with it. I can be impressionable and humble again. I don’t think that I’m an a**hole or anything, is just that sometimes I forget why I love Art so much, and why I chose it to be one of the main things in my life, my career; I feel so blessed to feel it again!!!!

The way back I was in the clouds, it was slightly drizzling, a perfect weather for a nice walk, all of my senses were awake and I was happily walking back home, disregarding that Google Maps is a Troll and made me walk in circles for like 30+ Minutes!!!! HA! yes, it happened, it made me laugh a lot when I noticed it, but I got to see the Bean again and Jaume Plensa’s “1004 Portraits” at the Millenium Park, so not everything was lost.

Anyway, hope you get a chance to go to the Museum, even when you think you saw it all, there is always something new and fun, or a different perspective that can change the way you enjoy things. Its worth the time, I swear!

Peace out Chavos!

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