Waking the morning after that malarkey filled day o’ green shenanigans, I was feeling far fresher than I’d bet most other celebrants were. I ended that previous night at a fraternity brother’s apartment with host Abe, and mutual friend Andrew. Abe, being Abe, got right up and set to cooking the finest breakfast I’d had in many a moon. He’s a bit of a culinary buff, and thanks to familial ties to Boar’s Head had a ridiculous quantity of fine meats and cheeses to bestow upon us.
After we brunched (a great example of a portmanteau I might add), we rode back into the city before going our separate ways. Andrew needed to get back to his West Michigan life, and I was about to take Abe up on an offer to visit The Art Institute of Chicago. Admission here would usually cost more than a score of dollars, but thanks to his member card I could just waltz on in behind him.
I really knew nothing about the contents of this building, but that’s not to say I wouldn’t have an appreciation for it. I did enjoy going around a few of the museums in Europe and saw quite a number of famous pieces. I’m not an art critic, and therefore have no real way of breaking down what makes a piece good. Admittedly I rely heavily on the opinions of history when formulating my assessment. Still, even though we were breezing though this place, there was a lot to see.
We started by going into a Chinese and Japanese art exhibit. I’d seen a lot of that sort of thing in my day, but I wanted to view it equipped with all the wisdom that I had gleaned while living there. Of course I’m joking. The only connection I had to any of it was an awareness of the cities or regions where they were made. There was a folding panel that did stand out to me; it’s a Japanese maple in fall, with strips of poetry hanging down.
After that we strolled through a collection of impressionist works that were, suitably, impressive. There was a room of Renoirs, many Monets, and even that spotty Seurat. I remember seeing this in a middle school math textbook, and am more than pleased to have applied something of that course to real life…
We moved the slowest in this gallery because there was so much to take in. I’ve seen way too many takes on Monet’s lily pads in my life, but seeing some of his earlier work helped me understand the style. I liked the look of what I saw in the lower right corner, by Paul Gauguin.
We continued our stroll past lots of other colorful rectangles, and eventually found ourselves in the modern wing. Abe made the comment that he didn’t like looking at this newer art. Of course one can have their preferences, but when I painted the scene as someone who only listened to classic rock with no respect paid to the marvelous modern music made at present, he conceded it as a fair point. The highlight from this entire wing though was ‘American Gothic’, which is another one of those heavily parodied and widely recognized pieces.