Free Day

I’m in a workshop at Columbia College which gets me right down on Michigan Avenue every weekday. Last Wednesday was free day at the Art Institute of Chicago and I had a great walk through there with my friend Thomas. Here is a video of what it was like.

I was most struck by this Rodin bronze, Head of Pierre de Wissant. The slack-jawed sorrow on his face surprised me when I passed by the case. But I’ll have to come back because I only got a quick look at a case full of these hilarious little bronze heads.

I haven’t been able to articulate for myself what it feels like to see in person the paintings I’ve seen reproduced and riffed on a thousand times before. The closest I can come is that it’s like meeting a celebrity—the thrill of recognition but without any other familiarity.

Nighthawks is beautiful in person, but I didn’t get a long look at it. My sister  used to have print of it hanging in her room when we lived on Billings Avenue. The 10-12 year old me was particularly fascinated with the 5¢ PHILLIES sign and unsettled by the ghastly redhead and skeletal waiter. Seeing it in person I didn’t look at the ghouls at all, only at vibrant area to the right of them. I noticed two details: one of the samovars in empty, and the door has a  single brush stroke for a push plate. Now I feel like all I have is a he’s way shorter than I thought he would be story.


3 Comments so far. Comments are closed.
  1. Colleen,

    Wow…so glad you got to visit the museum! The reason we had the print “Nighthawk” by Edward Hopper Is because we bought it at the museum after seeing it there in 1981. We really fell in love with the many stories it told. You must post pics of your puppets in progress so that we can see the resemblance to the Rodin bronzes!

  2. Sara,

    Kev, Do you remember visiting the Rodin Sculpture Garden when we toured Stanford? I was reminded of it by the photos you posted. (can’t figure out how to hyperlink it to the text, sorry).

    • Ah ha! Thanks for the link sis, I knew that I had seen Gates of Hell before. I thought it might have been on our Europe trip, Marco took us to see The Thinker, but I couldn’t place it and I knew Mom and Dad were there.

      I’d like to visit that campus again.