This summer, one of my close friends Olivia moved to Chicago with her husband Peter. Olivia wanted a travel partner for the long drive from Boston to Chicago and I jumped at the chance to road trip with her! Over the years, we have taken multiple trips to the beach, music festivals and weddings, but we've never done a trip the song before. I'm going to miss not living a five minute bike ride from her, so thought this would be a good chance to spend some time with her before she leaves.
We split the trip into two days. The first day we drove from Boston to Cleveland and the second day we drove from Cleveland to Chicago. We listened to CDs on the way, shared favorite memories and spent some time quietly watching the landscape unfold.
After helping Peter and Olivia unpack, we had a few days to explore their new city. We ate dinner at a few local restaurants in their new neighborhood, Evanston, and walked to the beach. I never knew Chicago had beaches!
One night I walked to an ice cream store near their house. Along the way I saw a bunch of antique rug stores. I loved walking past the woven designs lit up at night.
The day before I left, I took the L train downtown and spent a day at the Art Institute of Chicago. I was really excited to see Helen Frankenthaler Prints: The Romance of a New Medium. I had seen pictures of this show online, but didn't think I would have the chance to see it in person. It comes down in September, so I was lucky to make it!
The show included over 50 prints ranging from lithographs to woodcuts. I really loved the saturated color fields and texture of her woodcuts and her playful experimentation with printing on colored paper and drawing into the printed image with crayon.
Some process proofs were included in the show to show the evolution of some of her prints. I love it when curators include process work. It provides insight into what an artist was thinking as she made a piece and the decisions that happen along the way that inform the final image. You can see some of Helen's hand written notes to the printers above: "Acid yellow no thanks," and "ditto dead orange out."
After viewing the prints, I walked through the Arts of Africa galleries. I was especially drawn to these South African wedding ensembles for a bride and groom. The time and care put into these outfits is amazing. The beads, pom poms and bracelets make the outfit feel very celebratory.
In the American galleries, I saw this beautiful Mosaic Disk from Northern Oaxaca, Mexico. The dial is a pictorial manuscript that celebrates calendrical events and includes mythological imagery of crossed darts, dates, and footsteps leading up to the sun. I love the turquoise used in creating the piece and the way it is pieced together.
Next, I saw Charles White: A Retrospective. White was born in Chicago and attended the School of the Art Institute. The show included paintings, drawings and prints that explore themes of African American history and the fight for freedom, the nobility of black people, and the dignity of labor and human nature. I was particularly drawn to some of his later prints including Love Letter III and Love Letter I (pictured above).
I've been to the Art Institute a few times over the past few years, so always love seeing new work installed that I've never seen before. Two of my favorite paintings from the permanent collection are pictured above: Lyonel Meininger, Longueuil, Normandie, and Alex Katz's Yellow House 2.
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Current & Upcoming Shows
2020 Member's Prize Show
@ Cambridge Art Association
February 11-April 30, 2020
124 Mt. Auburn Street, Cambridge, MA
Friday, February 13, 6-8pm
Mon.-Fri | 9am-6pm
Sat. | 9am-1pm
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