Too much of a good thing is still a very good thing. Even if it melts your brain. In this case, it’s now clear to me why folks become members of museums. Because trying to get through it all in one afternoon guarantees it melds together. And you walk around in a haze of awesomeness that fogs the mind.
All of a sudden you see a Roman guy is walking through renaissance France while holding Chinese porcelain filled with smokes for Picasso. And at that point you’re like, “Yeah, uh, I should probably go.”
But if you live there and you’re a member, you can make it a Byzantium day, an impressionist day, a modern crap day, and so on. But if you don’t live there and you only have one afternoon, then you need an escape plan for ensuring you don’t go insane.
Art Institute of Chicago, weekday afternoon, still packed. And quite the ride.
First off, no, I didn’t take pictures.
1) I didn’t know they allowed you to take pictures. I left my camera in the backpack they made me check.
2) Even if I’d known, I still wouldn’t have taken the camera. If you ask me, sometimes a photo cheapens the moment.
Sometimes, not always, but sometimes when I’m in front of a legendary work of art, I don’t want to be whipping out the lens. I just want my eyes on the moment. I first employed this tactic when I climbed Coba in Mexico. The only photograph of that journey is inside my skull. But you’d better believe I remember every detail.
3) Physics aside, I’d still be fearful that my camera flash would damage the art, somehow or in some way.
Anyways, so for hours and hours I walked about. It’s just truly too damn big for a month let alone part of one day. But I loved it until I started to lose my sense. It’s just beyond extraordinary to see so many different aspects of human talent, genius, and history.
The care, detail, and craft to make a simple cup two-thousand years ago. Or the religious passions to hand carve images of Buddha or Jesus in the most intricate detail. To paint something you hated and it turns out a masterpiece for centuries.
If you ask me, in our newfangled smartphone era, this concept has become lost. Everything is transitory, short little bursts, and quickly forgotten. It’s all noise. Nobody takes their time anymore, nothing’s static, and thus nothing is legendary anymore.
Who’s going to sit down and hand craft a mosaic tile floor anymore? Nobody. Yet in comparison to such beauty, all our modern technology is crap.
Your smartphone is future landfill. Gauguin’s colorful looks at a new world are timeless. There is no competition. The future can kiss my ass.
So what was my favorite? Hands down:
Ghosts and Demons in Japanese Prints
So you’re probably like, what? You liked what?
I mean, it was cool to see Seurat’s wall sized wonder, but it just doesn’t have the same impact on me. As you may have figured out from the unhinged tact of this blog, I’ve got a weird view of life. This sort of thing appeals to me.
Ghosts screwing with people’s lives, the unnatural world overruling all our carefully laid plans, demons at war with the forces of good, it’s all in the game of life.
Plus, you can’t go wrong with multiple works on Shōki The Demon Queller.
Long, long story short, Shōki is originally of Chinese origin and basically battles demons and is a guardian of the home and protector against all evil.
Just look at this guy on the job:
I want in on this dude’s team. If anybody knows a way of joining up, other than through a deliberate act allowing one to cross over to the spirit realm, please you let me know.
Short of that, I’ll probably just put a picture of Shōki up on my wall. In the unlikely event I get attacked by forces from the dark realm, I can then count on Shōki going to bat for me.
Anyways, so I then left this palace of art and needed to rest my head. So I ate a cheap, tasty hot dog from a shop about the size of a closet. And then stumbled upon a pub with a draft wall about eighty-feet long filled with the finest the Midwest had to offer. After that things got a little fuzzy. Did I mention this city was awesome?
Again, not my photo, but you get the idea. Well worth every second. Go. Go now.