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What I Did On My Vacation... Chicago Art Excursion

Had an incredibly entertaining and educational trip to Chicago last week, making it to several art museums and exhibits​ in just three afternoons. We took the train into​ the city, and walked every where, blisters be darned! My friends​ made for wonderful tour guides!

Day one, we went to the Murakami exhibit at the modern museum, then the Rolling Stones Exhibitionism at Navy Pier. Day two was spent at the Mexican Museum, and day three we hit the Oriental Museum at Chicago University, and then the Black History exhibits at the Cultural center.

All were fabulous, beautiful, entertaining and enlightening. Coincidentally, but not surprising, were the repeated themes.

There was an over-arching theme of cultural identity and assimilation in Murakami, the Mexican art, and the black history paintings we saw last.

We started with Murakami, and while his Japanese iconography didn't obviously turn up again, eye popping bright color certainly did. Even the Egyptian statues and buildings would have originally been vibrantly painted.

One of Murakami's repeating motifs is eyes, which turned up everywhere, from the Egyptian eye on a Rolling Stones poster to the original stone carving of an eye hieroglyph symbolising magic and healing.
And of course their Bridges to Babylon stage set had an Egyptian theme, as did the Malcolm X College doors.
And the Stones worked with Andy Warhol, who Murakami references as an influence.

Everything was unique yet flowed together in my mind, each exhibit building on the ones before, and it would have worked had we reversed the order!

After I got home I did a bit of reading on these exhibits, artists, and their history and themes, just enough to realize how important what I was fortunate enough to see was, and that I know so little about so many things! So this is not a lecture, just a little taste of what the exhibits​ were, and some links if you want to learn more.

First stop, the larger than Life colorful Murakami exhibit at Chicago's Museum of Contemporary Art.  It was gorgeous vibrant pop art, some light and breezy and some darker themes, although presented in bright technicolor! The pix of the Murakami works should give you an idea of the size scale of the pieces -- huge!

Then just a couple pix from the gem of Pilsen, the National Museum of Mexican Art, and then Egyptian artifacts from the University of Chicago Oriental Institute (where we also saw the Frank Lloyd Wright Robie House), followed by pix of my new favorite artist, Eugene Eda Wade's work: the doors he painted for the original building of the Malcolm X College on display at the Cultural Center, and finishing with one of Wade's more recent works showing how the pop art black Egyptian culture theme still resonates with him.

Click on the pix to enlarge.

My undying gratitude to P&J for schlepping me around when they had seen it all before!







Assorted rabbit hole links:

Easter egg time!
  • King Sargon's Lamassu -- I couldn't find the translation of the carved text on the statue, but let's just say it is very theatrical in it's declarations​ of King Sargon's attributes! I read it out loud at the museum, to the greatest entertainment of all who heard me! No one before me had ever read it so well! Only I knew how to do it best! 

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