We head back
into the city for a day at the museums and art galleries of Chicago. We luck
out in that it is a 'Ford Tuesday' - every Tuesday all the museums and art
galleries are completely free of charge. I am however stopped at the door of
the Chicago Art Gallery as bags and bottles of water are not allowed. I'm a
little wary of checking in my bag as it has the laptop in it. But I take the
risk and one dollar lighter of pocket we enter the museum.
It is a fabulous
gallery / museum. Walking to the right after entering leads you into a maze of
softly lit corridors filled with an incredible array of asian sculptures in
stone, jade and ceramic. Further round the ground floor there are a lot of
modern art installations.
I am always in
two minds about modern art - I think that's partly the point of it, but here I
find a lot of installations that I really like. Two that stand out are a work
of art consisting of a large rectangle on the floor made up of shiny wrappered
sweets akin to Quality Street or Roses. It's a pleasing sight in its own right
- a bright rectangle of colour glittering away differently depending on the
angle you are standing at. Reading the plaque on the wall reveals another
dimension. The artist who created this piece is suffering from aids. Guests
are invited to take away a sweet with them and the diminishing presence of the
artwork represents the diminishing health of the artist. Both Pip and I take a
sweet, much to the horror of several other patrons near us who think we are
destroying the art. We smile knowingly and direct them to the information
interesting work is made up of three lines of plates hung on the wall. At
first glimpse you think they are marked with some kind of ancient
hieroglyphics or similar. But instead, they turn out to be floor plans from
museums around the world.
After lunch at
the café we move upstairs into the American art section. It is all very good
stuff and there are a few famous works hung on the walls. The most notable one
I spot is 'Nighthawks'. Sadly 'American Gothic' - the pitchfork wielding man
and wife picture that is currently famous by its presence in the opening
titles of 'Desperate Housewives', is on loan at the moment, a tiny print hangs
in its place. Although I'm only mentioning a couple of works here - the museum
is filled with fabulous works and would probably warrant several days of
wandering. It's up there with the Louvre in my opinion.
attempting to take a photo of an interesting sculpture I manage to set off a
proximity alarm, much to the amusement of the security officer in the room.
The last section
of the museum is the classical section. The most interesting is the
pointillist painting that was featured in Ferris Beullers' Day Off (There's
that movie again). We stop at starbucks to warm up and make our way over to
the Hard Rock Café to have some dinner. It's an impressive restaurant, even
for a Hard Rock. The circular bar has a core made up from a tower of plasma
screens all blasting out music videos.
We spend the
evening at 'Blues Chicago' - one of two bars of that name that display the
best of Chicago Blues. The bar is moody and lit with blue lights. We see a guy
called Charlie Love - a great singer and performer. Every now and again a
burly doorman takes the mic and reminds us to tip the waiting staff if we want
to leave with our teeth in tact. It's all quite well spirited though. A great
night out. A great day for that matter.