Sunday, September 07, 2008

Chicago #2, Museums and Architecture

Friday was our first day touristing. We walked from our hotel on Lakeshore Drive to the Art Institute, past numerous interesting buildings, including this Wrigley Bldg, if you can call that a building.
We broke up our long walk with some clam chowder at a deli. Resuming our walk, this Turkish facade reminded me of Venice, which is full of such things, amidst its other marvels.

Millennium Park brings the city's great collection of great sites into the 21st century.

When my friend Joel and I were teaching English in Tokyo many years ago, we went to see a Monet show there, which really impressed me. "The Art Institute of Chicago is even more impressive, "Joel told me so I'd been wanting to see it ever since. Unfortunately, when we got there, we discovered that most of the Monets and other Impressionist masterpieces were on loan to a museum in Ft. Worth!
The only Monets available for our enjoyment now were

I also enjoyed a Chagall, White Crucifiction, a Magritte, On the Threshold of Liberty, some paintings by artists I'd never heard of, Cabin in the Cotton,
Love of Winter,
and Peter Blume's The Rock which was painted for Frank Lloyd Wright's Fallingwater, a good preparation for all the Wright houses we'd be seeing in the next few days. I thought it looked like Dali, while E pointed out its Escher-like qualities.

I had last visited The Field Museum in 1955 and thought there might be something in it from those distant days. Entering the museum, I thought Vancouver was following me around.

My cousin E had spent more time with my daughter Bit than she'd spent with me since she'd become an adult and remembered Bit's fondness for shoes. No doubt Bit would have loved this collection.

The Egyptian sections are always my favourite part of Natural History museums. Unfortunately this statue of Bastet was the only feline image in this collection. As my interest in Egypt stems from discovering how much they loved cats, this was disappointing. Still, one is better than none.

I was interested in the Mayan civilization even before I created a
radio play
about it.

When we were looking at the "Indian Village" exhibit, E started talking to the docent there. He looked like an older man so I asked him if there was anything still at the museum from 1955, when I had last visited it. Turns out he had first come to the museum as a child in 1951 and remembered it fondly from those days. Not only did he answer my question (The Asian Mammals live on from that distant era, in all their stuffed glory) but continued pouring information on us. Even when we had wandered off to look at something else, we turned around and found him following us, to enlighten us still further. E was so impressed she wanted to go back to the museum in later days and compliment them on the quality of their docents.

Can't say I remember seeing my sibling in 1955 but he was in the museum then. He probably doesn't remember me either.

From a window in the dinosaur exhibit, I got a great view of this great city.


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