In The Long Run

If the crystal balls are not helping, there is always hope in dreamcatchers, voodoo dolls and Louise Bourgeois’ Articulated Lair (to this day I have no idea what these black objects, hanging like deflated balloons, might be).

Lee Bontecou
Untitled 1980-98

John Outterbridge
Broken Dance, Ethnic Heritage Series, c. 1978-82

Louise Bourgeois
Articulated Lair, 1986

The Long Run @MoMA, December 3rd, 2017

Guardians

of the Gotham Galaxy

About the art:

Public art sculpture >> The Guardians: Superhero (2013) by Antonio Pio Saracino, in Three Bryant Park

From my collection >> Davros and Baby Groot reading the news about Salvator Mundi by Leonardo da Vinci, which had just been sold at Christie’s for a staggering $450 million, the most expensive painting in the world ever sold in an auction. The buyer was a Saudi prince and the painting was supposed to go on display at the Louvre Abu Dhabi but he exhibition was cancelled without any explanation. Salvator Mundi has gone missing from the public eye ever since. Its whereabouts but also its authenticity are subjects of much debate and speculation.

At the Morgan Library >> An early sixteenth century figure of St. Elizabeth of Schoenau (1129-1165), a German nun who published three volumes describing her divine visions, probably the reason she is shown here holding a book.

November 16-18, 2017

At the end of the day [four]

Just when you think it can’t get any better.

Airplane views of Chicago from The Signature Room at the 95th, a cocktail bar located, well, on the 95th floor of the 360 Chicago tower, better known as the John Hancock Center. The cocktails must be good but who would remember after experiencing these dizzying views?

As if to prepare us for the experience, an explosion of light at the lobby: Lucent, an installation by Wolfgang Buttress, representing the 3,106 brightest stars visible with the naked eye from the Earth’s Northern hemisphere.

And, finally, a smooth landing back to Earth, walking past the iconic Wrigley Building on N Michigan Avenue.

Chicago by night on November 5th, 2017

Agora[mania]

The Greek word Agora (/ˈæɡərə/; Ancient Greek: ἀγορά agorá) means ‘open place of assembly’ and, early in the history of Greece, designated the area in the city where free-born citizens could gather to hear civic announcements, muster for military campaigns or discuss politics. Later the Agora defined the open-air, often tented, marketplace of a city (as it still does in Greek) where merchants had their shops and where craftsmen made and sold their wares. The original Agora of Athens was located below the Acropolis near the building which today is known as The Thesion and open-air markets are still held in that same location in the modern day. [source]

Agora is an installation of 106 iron torsos designed by Polish artist Magdalena Abakanowicz and permanently installed at the south end of Grant Park in Chicago. 

November 5th, 2017

Ground control to Major Tom

July 15, 2004. A giant object resembling a silver cloud made its first Earth landing, in Chicago’s Millennium Park. Reacting immediately, local authorities covered it up in a combined effort to reassure the public and control the curious crowds.

May 15, 2006. Authorities could no longer hold back the crowds. In a bold, unprecedented move, they unveiled the space oddity that has remained dormant ever since, defying all laws of physics, leaving scientists and general public puzzled and intrigued. People from the four corners of the earth flock to the park to monitor, examine and eventually try to explain what it is, where it came from and what it is doing here.

Cloud Gate, affectionately nicknamed ”The Bean”, is a public sculpture by British artist Anish Kapoor. It must be one of the most photographed public artworks in the city and I can totally see why.

November 4th, 2017

There will be no TRBL here

|3| – Family of Robot:  Baby, 1986, single-channel video sculpture; thirteen television monitors and aluminum armature – by Nam June Paik

Family of Robot, the first series of video sculptures that Paik created, consists of three generations of family members, including grandparents, parents and aunt and uncle and children. The children, including Baby, are made of televisions that are newer than those constituting their elders. This Baby was assembled from thirteen Samsung monitors, which at the time were some of the most up-to-date equipment. 

|4| – No More No Less (Chicago), 2017, model, MDF, paint, paper and wood – by Mauricio Pezo & Sofia von Ellrichshausen

No More No Less is an ongoing project in which the architects of the firm Pezo Von Ellrichshausen insert a museum at a 1:10 scale into an exhibition space. 

|6| – Custom desk from Untitled No. 2, Chicago, Illinois, 1987, enameled steel and glass – by Krueck and Olsen Architects (now Krueck and Sexton)

|7| – Prefabricated Bath Unit, Les Tournavelles, Arc 1800, France, 1975/78 – by Charlotte Perriand

Completed at the end of Perriand’s career, these units were the culmination of many years of work to make domestic spaces more usable, affordable, responsive to contemporary life and especially at Les Arcs, enjoyable and fun. 

Christopher Wool

|9| – Boy, 1992 – by Charles Ray

With Boy, Ray created a particularly disquieting figure. The sculpture stands just shy of six feet tall, the artist’s exact height, yet maintains the softness of youth. 

|10| – Dilapidarian Tower, 2010, display boxes, mixed media, lights, tables – by Richard Hawkins

|11| – Three Men Walking II, 1948-49, bronze – by Alberto Giacometti

The Art Institute of Chicago

November 4th, 2017

Chicago || At the end of the day [one]

After a full day of intense lobbying – in the most literal sense of the word, it was time to sit back and (re)collect all the stunning places, experiences and photos we took: the tour at the Rookery, the marvelous art deco details of the Board of Trade and the Field Building, the gorgeous Tiffany mosaics at the Marquette, the very atmospheric Monadnock.

And to top it all off, some serious public art adorning the streets of Chicago.

Flamingo – by Alexander Calder in the Federal Plaza


Chagall’s Four Seasons mosaic in the Exelon Plaza


The Winged Victory of Samothrace, cast from a mold from the original sculpture in the Louvre Museum, Paris – (but why make it gold at all…? marble would have been equally stunning)


We Will, a welded stainless steel sculpture by Richard Hunt


November 2nd, 2017

National Gallery of Canada || Ottawa

What can a visitor do on a rainy October Sunday in Gananoque, apart from eat and sleep? Drive to Ottawa, of course. It’s only a two-hour drive, maybe less in good weather.

And what can a visitor do on a rainy October Sunday afternoon upon arrival in Ottawa with only a couple of hours to go before dark? Go straight to the National Gallery of Canada. Of course!

Housed in a stunning glass and granite building full of light that is carried from the skylights on the roof, the gallery is an excellent antidote to depressing weather. It was designed by Moshe Safdie, who is responsible for a number of iconic structures around the world, including, for example, the Marina Bay Sands complex in Singapore, the infinity pool of which tops both the building and my personal wish-list.

Back in Ottawa; see these glass octagonal features on the roof?  That’s how they look like on the inside, with the addition of white sails to diffuse the light.

“Maman” the giant egg-carrying spider outside the gallery, is a sculpture (1999, cast 2003) by Louise Bourgeois.

National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa

October 29th, 2017

The Darwin D. Martin House in Buffalo

Upstate New York may be home to numerous natural wonders but some of the man-made ones are also a sight to behold. Like, for instance, The Martin House, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright for wealthy Buffalo businessman Darwin D. Martin and his family between 1903-1905. It was our first real-life encounter with a Frank Lloyd Wright building, besides the Guggenheim in Manhattan.

The house is actually a complex, consisting of six interconnected buildings which include the main Martin House, a pergola that connects it to a conservatory and carriage house with chauffeur’s quarters and stables, the Barton House, a smaller residence for Martin’s sister and brother-in-law, and a gardener’s cottage added in 1909.

But Frank Lloyd Wright didn’t stop at the building. He went on to design – or, at least have the last word of approval for – everything in the Martin House; that includes the landscape, interior furnishings, light fixtures, art glass, and selections of artwork and artifacts for interior decoration.

Apropos of the art glass, there are 394 examples – some original pieces – of Frank Lloyd Wright-designed art glass in the complex, including the famed “Tree of Life” window.

But, perhaps, the most surprising fixture, one that I had never expected to encounter in a prairie house in Buffalo N.Y. – even one as prominent as The Martin House – was a cast of the Hellenistic sculpture of Nike or Victory of Samothrace – Νίκη της Σαμοθράκης. A cast so large, it is visible from the front door, some 180 feet away.

According to our guide, Nike was one of Wright’s favourite sculptures and copies can be found in many of his buildings. But only in the Martin House did he place one of such magnificent scale.

The Martin House is open to the public but can only be visited on a tour. There are different tours available, including a ”Photography” one (which we didn’t take). Otherwise, photography of the interiors is not permitted, save for the pergola leading to the statue of Nike.

Buffalo, N.Y.