Sunday, February 21, 2016

A Mental Health Day

 There was a new Vincent Van  Gogh exhibit opening up at the Art Institute of Chicago. So, my bestie and I decided to take a day and go.   As it just so happened, the Van Gogh exhibit was beginning a week before the end of a Degas exhibit.   So the boys let us escape. God Bless Them.
We so desperately needed a day off.  In the olden days, we'd do some time in Edinburgh and shop for the kids.

We wanted to get an early start, so we could plan on getting there close to opening.  
We got a little late start, and it still was clear we needed to stop for drinkies.  So first stop 20 minutes in, was Starbucks.  Priorities yo.  And as it just so  happened, we both had some freebies saved up- Bonus!

The Tell-Tale Lion - these guys are an icon, apparently everyone thinks of these guys when they enter the Art Institute.  We drove by this entrance, but did not enter this way.  Not too bad a shot from the passenger side of the car, through the window.  

Since traffic impeded our smooth travel, we opted to go for Valet parking at the museum, to save time.  Plus, if we're each pitching in half, it's still cheaper than driving and parking alone.  There's also the bonus that I got to feel so Fancy driving up to the Museum, valet parking, and flashing our membership.  We cut all kinds of long lines!   So. Worth. It.  (And the car was there and waiting for us when the museum closed, we had shut it down, and we were so exhausted, we just exited, and poof - car!) 

When we bypassed people waiting to get into the member line, the line was already long.  As we walked past, we saw the line pass by a 60 minute sign.   We got in line next to a 30 minute wait sign.  I guess that's about how long our wait was, we didn't time it.   It moved fairly steadily.  There were a lot of people who wanted to see Van Gogh!  We didn't avoid the crowds. 

One of Vincent Van Gogh's most famous self-portraits, 1887.  

As we wove our way through to the demo room with the 3 Bedroom paintings, we got to see some other neat works, some letters, sketches, a few paintings.  I found this to be very interesting, Van Gogh's Yarn!  He would use yarn for color identification. 

This is Kathleen with the first bedroom painting, in southern France
Van Gogh's Bedroom in Arles, 1888.

The whole exhibit focused on how rare it was for him to stay put in one place, and he stayed over a year, it was his first bedroom just for himself.  He had moved 37 times in his 37 years.   He was most likely Bipolar.  It was during one of these depressive times that the ear incident happened.  He returned to Arles, after his stay in an Asylum, where he painted Starry Night.  

This was the Second Painting of his Bedroom in Arles, September 1889.  
At first I only liked this one's floor, but it grew on me the further we got into the exhibit.  

My first thought was that I liked this one best, the third Bedroom, October 1889.  

This was another self portrait, late 1889, after the ear thing, so it just focuses on the right ear.  
It was neat to see the painting with his palette, because in one of the display cases was one of his palattes and some paints.  Really neat to see in real life! 

This was my favorite Georgia O'Keefe, Yellow Hickory Leaves with Daisy. 

America Windows.  
We found a lot of these works were used in the Museum scene of Ferris Bueller.  
We were kind of doing a Bueller tour.  But I loved this one, it was much more impressive in real life than in the movie.   We passed by it on our way to lunch in the museum cafeteria.  I got some fabulous scrumptious squash soup, inspired they said by Van Gogh, made to kind of look sunflower.  I could see it.   Kat got the swankiest Chicago Dog ever.  

After lunch, we were off on a mission to find Degas.  The exhibit was called something like From Steeples to Stage, and it was a bunch of his jockey/horseracing works, and many ballet things.  
Here's Kathleen checking out one of his largest pieces, Scene from the Steeplechase: The Fallen Jockey. 

I am not really sure why I love him, but I do.  I thought it was that he was a spainard in France, but no, I must've imagined that.  But he had a way of painting ballerinas, and their dancing, that I just love.  His technique of painting tutus to really achieve that lightness and texture, I just love it! 

This was my favorite ballerina picture they had.  

This was another big ticket display.  
This bronze sculpture by Degas, Little Dancer Age 14, was on loan for the exhibit.  
I love how well he does their feet, so true to real ballerinas and their toeshoes. 

After Degas, we continued on through other Impressionists. 
I loved this Renoir painting, it's called, Two Sisters. 
I love his use of color.  

And then one we were most excited to see. 

Georges Seurat's: Sunday in the Park at the Grand Jatte. 

This one featured heavily in Ferris Bueller.  We were a little lost looking at our map to find it, when a stranger came up to us, overhearing us, happy to find others as excited about art as he.  He asked if we knew the 'real focus' of the painting.  It's the little girl.  Not just from the movie.  I noticed she's the only one whose face is forward.  It's mind boggling to think he did this in 2 years just painting dots. 

To give you an idea how Large this painting is, here's Kathleen,  pensive as she checks out the Sunday in the Park with George.

Can you tell what this is?  
It's Water Lilies by Claude Monet. 
What an amazing use of color.  From a distance, it's obviously water lilies, but when we get up close, it's a hodge podge of color spackled on copious amounts.  I love his use of color and light.  The man was a genius.  Close up, it looks like it was spackled on, but it wasn't, it was intentional.  Brilliant. 

Old Man with a Guitar 

It's one of the classics from Picasso's blue period.  I'd seen this picture many times.  I'd have to say it's probably my favorite of his.   I love how his works changed over time.  I even like the Cubist stuff, because we spent a lot of time studying in Spanish history; it's much more than women with 3 boobs.  But this is my favorite.  I felt like I was smart when I was discussing the works of El Greco earlier (because we opted to not go to that part of the museum, in favor of the modernists), and mentioned how his people were so long and lanky, then we were looking at this and turns out Picasso was inspired by El Greco.  Ah ha!   I got it.  I know some stuff about art!  I tell you, doing this trip made me feel like an intelligent member of society.  Being a Mom is great, and I love it, but as it turns out, I am also a person that likes Art.  And sometimes I need to take a break to remind myself of that.  Maybe I've been in my own Blue Period.  

Surprisingly awesome.  This is Jackson Pollack.  I didn't use to like or understand his stuff either.  I thought it was just splatter, mass chaos.  But then I watched the movie a couple years back and realized how hard he worked to create these pieces, and how he went a little crazy.  It gave me a better insight and respect for his work.  I surprised myself by actually liking this one.  Most of his stuff is named after numbers.  I don't find myself enjoying that, because I can't get behind the story of #17.  This one was called Greyed Rainbow.  It was mostly black and white, but the bottom third had small hints of color.  We had to get kind of close to see it.  And again, though the paint looks like it was just thrown on, there's kind of a method to the madness.   So I liked this one.  

Turns out I like modern art too.   Some contemporary stuff I don't like, for it looks like the kids painted it, or something I could have done myself.  There were three giant grey blocks on one wall that made me think, Why!?  I didn't get that.  But it was refreshing to go see new things, and find out what I did or did not like.  I actually got to use my brain.  I'd almost forgotten how to do that.  

Me and Van Gogh, turns out we all need Mental Health Days.