field trip: 3 nights in chicago

While I love Louisville, sometimes it begins to feel a little too small, a little too familiar.  Chicago is about a 5 hour drive up I-65 from Louisville.  It’s a great place to explore and try new things.  I’ve probably visited Chicago around 15 or so times and I feel like I could visit 150 times and still discover tons of interesting spots.  This time, I visited a few touristy spots, some old favorites, and some new and unusual places as well.

Drinks in the bar atop the John Hancock tower on a clear night:


Having fun watching people interact with art–taking pictures of themselves and the city reflected in the Cloud Gate, a massive sculpture by Anish Kapoor at Millenium Park:


Though I love the Museum of Contemporary Art, Art Institute of Chicago, The Shedd Aquarium, and The Field Museum, I decided to focus on some places that I have never been before.  The first place I went was the National Museum of Mexican Art, where the focus was on Mexican art before colonization, during colonization, and after.  I learned a lot about Mexican history.  The museum also had two galleries featuring contemporary Mexican-American artists.  I absolutely loved the figurative paintings with fascinating narratives by Juan Carlos Macias. The painting below is a detail of a larger work. I loved the way he painted that hand.


The other gallery had photographs by the Mexican documentary photographer, Pedro Meyer.


Next, I visited the Garfield Park Conservatory, where it was tropical, warm, and green.  A place like the conservatory is certainly an much-needed oasis during a grey Chicago winter:



I stopped by Gallery 37, which is an after-school arts education program which provides AP art courses to talented and motivated high school juniors and seniors.  Each course is taught by a collaborative team consisting of a Chicago Public School teacher and professional artist from a partnering organization.  There is a gallery for the public to purchase artwork to support the program. I noticed a lampshade with a screenprint inspired by Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” album cover.  I visited the current group’s AP studio exhibition and saw some great artwork.  Studio 37 was actually the model for a Louisville Art program called Studio 2000.


Another interesting museum was Intuit: The Center for Intuitive and Outsider Art.  The museum features artwork and a reconstructed studio for the artist Henry Darger (the subject of a fantastic documentary called In the Realms of the Unreal.)  The current exhibition featured the artwork and photographs by Lee Godie (1908-1994), a homeless, self-proclaimed French Impressionist who pronounced herself superior to Paul Cezanne on a regular basis while selling her self portrait paintings on the steps of the Art Institute of Chicago. 


Restaurants/Bars: Chicago Diner, Karyn’s Raw, Giordanos (pizza photo below), Russian Tea Time (photo of delicious pumpkin and asparagus dumplings also below), La Creperie, Bongo Room, The Matchbox (the tiniest, coolest bar ever with a great Ginger Gimlet drink. Last photo.)





3 Responses to “field trip: 3 nights in chicago”

  1. 1 fc
    December 31, 2008 at 2:52 pm

    another great post. will def. keep this handy next time i visit chicago (although who knows when that’ll be).

  2. 2 Cobra
    December 31, 2008 at 5:54 pm

    Love the great art you showed in Chicago…glad the smaller venues are getting some space.

  3. January 4, 2009 at 4:15 pm

    Hi, Way too cool. A beloved person sent me this blog site and it’s just great. Funny AND informative. I love Chicago (my birthplace). I will definitely keep these smaller art areas and eateries in my file for future visits. I always like doing new things in Chicago area.

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