Monday, July 27, 2009

Themes on a Vacation

I have several hundred pictures from the big vacation. I've been debating how to organize all of this while avoiding one giant bore-fest of a post and not taking it to the extreme of only posting about the vacation for weeks on end. But it is my blog; and my posterity (if they ever get here) may appreciate it one day. Plus, I might like to look back and remind myself of one of my favorite vacations so far.

So I'm going thematic. Today's theme: Art. The Chicago Institute of Art (July 3rd) and the Kansas City Art Festival (June 28th). Totally out of order, but I hope that this way you get a sense of my vacation. And really, chronological isn't always my thinking style.

So, I've always, always, always, always wanted to go to all of The Big Art Museums of the World. The Met, Louvre, The Guggenheim. The Art Institute of Chicago was my first taste of this goal and it did not disappoint. Mostly because I got to see a couple of originals that I've only dreamed about.

1. Georges Seurat's Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte. Thank Ferris Buehler. Thank the Steven Sondheim musical Sunday in the Park with George. I've always wanted to see this in person and it is magnificent.

2. Georgie O'Keefe's Sky Above Clouds IV, 1965

This doesn't do its size justice. Maybe this will give you an idea:

Joan Didion has an essay about O'Keefe and she references this painting. To see it in person was simply moving for my geeky self. The essay begins,

I recall an August afternoon in Chicago in 1973 when I took my daughter, then seven, to see what Georgia O'Keefe had done with where she had been. One of the vast O'Keeffe 'Sky Above Clouds' canvases floated over the back stairs in the Chicago Art Institute that day, dominating what seemed to be several stories of empty light, and my daughter looked at it once, ran to the landing, and kept on looking. "Who drew it," she whispered after a while. I told her. "I need to talk to her," she said finally.

My daughter was making, that day in Chicago, an entirely unconscious but quite basic assumption about people and the work they do. She was assuming that the glory she saw in the work reflected a glory in its maker, that the painting was the painter as the poem is the poet, that every choice one made alone -- every word chosen or rejected, every brush stroke laid or not laid down -- betrayed one's character. Style is character.

O'Keefe is forever intertwined in this Didion essay for me. Seeing this painting taking up "several stories of empty light" made me understand, once again, how art begets art.

Away we go with images, images, and more images coupled with a bit of travelogue.

Next in the thematic post: the Kansas City Arts Festival. On Sunday, June 28th, before driving across Missouri into Nauvoo, we spent the morning driving into Kansas City and tracking down something fun to do. We bumped right into this arts festival which included interesting goods to look at, excellent people watching, a delicious lunch at a brewery, and the cutest little frozen yogurt bar I've ever seen. Some highlights:

That took way too long to create. More vacation posts to come (slowly but surely).


Natalie said...

I've never seen that O'Keefe before. I never would have guessed it was hers cuz I only think of flowers when I think of her. It's very unusual. I love that sculpture, I think it was, with the red/orange/yellow dress. I want to see that in person. Thanks for sharing!

Wendy said...

I just realized I never commented on this. LOVE all the pics of design, color, and light. ;) It looks like you had an edifying experience all the way round minus the bugs.

I can't wait to see the rest of your pics.

Ashley said...

Very cute collages! I am glad you enjoyed all the art. Too bad it was 100 degrees in Kansas City that day. Freaking hot!

This trip is taking me forever to post. I only have 2 posts done. But at least we are doing it!

Alice said...

What fun pictures my friend. I am glad you loved the museum so much, even though you were there with us :)

Yay for vacations, and posting about them afterward.