Wednesday, November 07, 2007


Last weekend a small group of art junkies from Columbia boarded a train an hour and a half north of here at the tiny La Plata Station and got off in downtown Chicago for three days of SOFA. The train ride was enjoyable enough but when we emerged from the station I practically yelped with joy at being again in a big city. A BIG city. As we hauled our suitcases the four or five blocks down Adams to our hotel I thrilled to the pace, the noise, the vibe, the verticle architecture looming on all sides. It was my first time to Chicago, a great city, something I'd been told by everyone who'd ever visited there but now I can say it myself.

This trip revolved around the SOFA exhibit and extended explorations of the Art Institute (we were there for the opening of the Jasper Johns Gray Showand Museum of Contemporary Art. I had no idea Chicago was so art rich. We could see most of a Calder sculpture from our hotel window, a couple of blocks from that, a tile mural by Chagall lined the bottom of an office building. Frank Gehry's Pavilion/sculpture at Millenium Park, "Cloud Gate", Anish Kapoor's public sculpture known locally as the "bean," the Crown Fountain's 50 foot illuminated glass block towers by Spanish artist Jaume Plensa were among the highlights of our walk from the Art Institute toward the "Magnificent Mile" which, in my mind, was notable not for it's array of endless shops but it's crowds--throngs of people jostling for real estate on the sidewalk and inside every store.

Making our way down Michigan Ave to Chicago Ave, where we crammed our way inside the American Girl and Hershey stores, was a gauntlet, relieved on one block with a performance by the silver man. Between museum visits, we tried Chicago deep dish pizza at Giordano's, had British fare at the Elephant and Castle and shopped at the MCA store where I was happy to discover (and purchase) a Camilla Engman wallet.
I must say though, after three days of banging elbows everywhere we went, it was nice to return to our happy, quiet "little" city and take a big breath of fresh air no one else was in line for.


jenni said...

Fun! Johnny's been to Chicago & loved it. I wanna go. :)

jenni said...

And Camilla Engman! I just ordered her 2008 wall calendar.

Anonymous said...

Great weekend, great art, wonderful people. yer art junkie friend, chris

denise said...

Finally, news of pizza. Finally a pix of blazing foilage. Thank you for the link to Engman. I especially like her paper art, in particular, "The sound a teapot makes." wonderful whimsy.

ryan said...

Hey--I was working the Chicago Gallery News desk at the front entrance of SOFA pretty much the whole weekend. We must've been like two ships passing through Navy Pier, as it were. :)