I’ve just returned home after an amazing two week trip to the Windy City. It has been chock full of good friends, good food, and good times.
Remarkably I sampled Thai, Indian, Middle Eastern, Japanese, Korean, Cuban, and American foods during my stay. You could say I was on a mission because Rochester, NY does not have the most spectacular variety of restaurants. The most memorable meal might be the mis-ordered Korean Beef take out (thanks Cara!) I highly recommend avoiding the dish. It smells great, but its presentation leaves a lot to be desired. Picture slices of bone with the odd piece of meat hanging off. The most unsettling part are the cooked hairs you can see if you look closely. I’m almost sorry I didn’t take a close up.
Between meals we managed to see quite a lot of the city. Even after living in Chicago for 2 years there is still more I want to see. First on my list are the art museums which leave you feeling cultured, confused, and inspired. We spent half the day at the Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA). Embarrassingly I enjoy time spent wandering their gift + book store more than the actual art. Which reminds me I picked up the latest issue of Good Magazine (the work issue) which looks pretty interesting, the issue’s tag line being “Our generation’s complicated relationship with work.” I also came home with an elegant but unnecessary garlic rocker by Joseph Joseph. Which I may or may not have depending on if Southwest finds and delivers my missing suitcase!
I justified this purchase with the fact that I love, love, love garlic and could manage to add it to just about every food I make.
Later in the week we went to the Art Institute of Chicago. They are home to some of my favorite impressionist paintings by Monet and Mondrian. Ever since seeing one of Mondrian’s early landscapes I wish he never went to Paris to discover Picasso and Cubism.
Piet Mondrain (Dutch, 1872-1944), Farm near Duivendrecht, ca. 1916
I was also quite breath taken by a piece by Charles Ray.
Hinoki - by Charles Ray at the Art Institute of Chicago
I call it a piece of art rather than a sculpture because the artist didn’t actually sculpt this himself, it was outsourced to Japanese craftsmen. Incidentally it spurred a fine debate about what should qualify as fine art. Before I forget the point I was trying to make; reading the artist statement I began to think the piece was about the war between modern man and nature. After using up all the forests we will be forced to recreate parts of the natural world like this hollow log; out of processed lumber to show future generations because we can no longer find the genuine article in nature. Unfortunately I did read the artist statement and it merely explained the process of creation. I don’t always like to read things into art, but there is definitely more to this piece than what you see is what you get. Look closely enough and you can see the biscuits which join together the great big sections of trunk and the painstakingly careful chiseling that creates the bark texture. But why take the trouble to recreate a giant decaying tree when you could just put the actually decaying tree in the museum and call it art? As stated this masterpiece will eventually decay as well.
Anyhoo it was a wonderful trip. I am sad to have left. I am still planning for the day when I can move back to Chicago. Thank you to all the friends that make it unforgettable. I better get back to work!