Sinebrychoff Art Museum

On Tuesday, I met with my friend Natasha, and she took me to the Sinebrychoff’s Art Museum.

As the museum site states, the private art collection gathered by Fanny and Paul Sinebyshoff was bequeathed to the Finnish state in 1921. All I can say is that the collection is really impressive; many of the items are real masterpieces. There are some Early Renaissance and Medieval Italian paintings, Dutch and Flemish art, Russian Icons as old as the 14th century, and many other art pieces. I wish there would be more information available in English and more information in general. Many artworks do not have an artist’s name, the origin, or both, or do not have the art school specified. For example, a 15th-century Russian icon can come from different parts of Russia, or an “anonymous artist” of the 18th century could come from different countries, and I would love to know about that :).

Here are some pictures I took in the museum:

We were wondering what this is and what it could be used for. Does anybody know?
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Love To Ukraine – an Art Exhibit

Our local Greenview Art Gallery opened a benefit exhibit featuring the works of Ukrainian artist Anatoliy Khmara with all proceeds going to support Ukraine. Khmara came to the US on a special visa for persons with Exceptional Abilities over 20 years ago. Many of his relatives are still in Ukraine, and the exhibit opens with their portraits.

He paints magical landscapes and blooming flowers, but I was immediately drawn to his Chicago pictures. The picture of Montrose Harbor made in the most unusual colors caught my attention.

It did not fit either in my budget, or on my wall, but I could not take my eyes off it. When Khmara asked me which picture I liked, I pointed to this picture but added that I can’t afford it either way. He said that he should have smaller prints of it, but Igor and I told him we had already gone through the bin and didn’t find any. Then he asked one of the staff to check in the back because he remembered he had a smaller print. She fetched one but said it was marked as sold. But, she added, we can other another one. Khmara said – why, we can give her that one, and order an additional print for that other customer :). I could not say “no.”

My “war budget” for April was long gone, but the staff offered to pay in installments, which I gladly accepted.

This is the actual painting
And that’s the print I got

The Art Institute

Saturday marked a return of the St. Patrick’s Day Parade, but it also marked a sharp temperature drop (down to 11F in the morning). Because of that (actually, because of both), I decided against any outings on that day. I attempted to go to escort (the last shift), but it turned out that we were not even needed, and I could leave an hour later.

My fellow escorts asked me how did I get there. I replied – “interestingly,” and they immediately suggested giving me a ride to any CTA station further North. For those who haven’t been on the CTA on St. Patrick’s Day – good for you! For those who took CTA on that day previously – it was twice worse than you ever saw!

But to compensate for it – Sunday was beautiful, quiet, and the weather was gorgeous! I thought I needed to do something together with mom, because then I will be gone for ten days, so I suggested we go to the Art Institute during the member’s hour. And it turned out to be a very nice outing. I was finally able to see the Egyptian Exhibit without the crowd.

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Cultural Activities

The Illinois indoor mask mandate will expire on February 28, and it looks like the city of Chicago will follow suit. Masks will still be required in the hospitals and such, in schools (if the legal battles will get to some resolution), and on public transport (thank goodness!!!)

I will monitor the situation, and I guess I will act as I feel comfortable. What makes me really happy is that pretty much all festivals and celebrations are returning. I still need to copy the schedule to my calendar, but I already know that summer will be busy in a good way!

That being said, there were a lot of cultural activities in the past two weeks, as much as I could fit with the amount of work I had!

I finally went to see a movie in the Siskel center with Igor (they are running so many interesting programs, and I can’t find time for any!) We went to see a 1971 movie from the “Bad Romance” series “The new leaf.’ Nothing special, but it was very entertaining. 

Then, there was a Hairspray production in the CIBC Theater. I tried to do a Broadway in Chicago subscription this year, and I am still unsure whether I like it and will do it in the future, but I am attending several performances this season. 

Official photo
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January 3

At first, I was unhappy that my company gave the US employees day off for January 1 on January 3, not December 31. Most of the US companies did the opposite. Since it was an entire workday on a client assignment, I had very little time to make a holiday dinner and all other preparations for the celebration. But boy, how happy I was on January 3!

I had an actual day off, not cooking or cleaning, but a day off just for myself! It felt incredibly good!

I went skating to Millennium Park, and despite the cold weather, I skated for almost an hour. It was sunny; very few people were on the skating rink at 9-30 AM on a workday; it was perfect!
Then I walked to the Art Institute, still before the general public, on my Member hours. I stopped at the front desk, where they finally fixed my app (I could not make it right after my recent membership upgrade plus address change). And then, I went to see a new photography exhibit and thoroughly enjoyed the beauty of the Modern Wing with almost nobody around.


And then I still had time at home to talk to Boris, make quiche, and assemble a standing mirror delivered from IKEA.

And I sat by my Christmas tree: it is still perfect, but I will put it down this weekend. The holidays are over.

The story behind the mural that got painted in Austin, Chicago last summer

I ended up doing this article because, back in November, a week before Thanksgiving, I was taking the bus past the intersection of Chicago and Laramie avenues and noticed a large, bright mural on the building at the northeast corner intersection that definitely wasn’t there back in June. I noticed the name of the artist – the iconic Chicago muralist Rahmaan “Statik” Barnes – and tried to reach out to him. It took a few weeks to successfully pitch the things and get in touch with Barnes, but I filed the article December 9.

A very truncated version of the article was published in print, in the December 15 issue of Austin Weekly News, but, as of this writing, it never showed up online. Since I thought that the print version lost some pretty interesting parts, and since it doesn’t officially exist online in any form, I decided to post the article as submitted.

A bit of a side note. When I was trying to take a picture below, the group of Black teens who were hanging out nearby weren’t exactly happy to see a white guy with a camera. But when I persuaded them that I wasn’t there to photograph them, they offered me weed.

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Lyric Opera Opens It’s Season: Verdi’s Macbeth

Almost all of my subscriptions start in September, and now I have a hard time fitting everything in :). When I subscribed, I hoped that at least something would work and wouldn’t get canceled, and now nothing is canceled, everything is happening, and it is so great and wonderful, but there are not enough hours in a day, and not enough days in life :). 

When I chose to attend Macbeth in the Lyric Opera on September 17, I did not realize that it would be both the opening night for this opera and the first live performance after 19 months. And let me tell you, it was something!!!

I tried to dress nicely, but most patrons have dressed ten levels of elegancy above me! I really enjoyed looking at all these ball gowns, opened backs, laces, etc., men in tuxedos and bow ties. 

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At The Art Institute

We’ve been to two museums with my granddaughters, and both museum visits went surprisingly well.
On Saturday afternoon, Anna suggested that Boris and I would take Nadia to the Art Institute. The Rayan Educational Center in the Art Institute is still closed, and I thought that that would be the biggest attraction, but Nadia said she wanted to go anyway. I asked whether she also wanted to splash in the Crown fountain, but she said no. Well, having the Maggie Daley Park as our backup plan, we headed to the Loop. It was a long way on the Red Line, but Nadia enjoyed peering out of the window, looking at the people, streets, and cars from the elevation of the L.

We entered the Art Institute from the Modern Wing Entrance, and I decided to take a shot at viewing the contemporary art. We ended up looking at one or two artworks in each room, and I answered Nadia’s questions about them and told her what I feel looking at these pieces, and she told me how they felt for her. I think we both enjoyed that experience, and just at the moment I thought that that was enough for one visit Nadia said that that was enough:)

Some pictures which caught our attention:

We talked about why the bodies are painted with different colors
We talked about two faces on one face
Nadia surprised me by asking why the woman in the picture looks so angry – I didn’t even notice it before she mentioned!
Nadia liked this Mardi Gras picture
And she really liked all the Buddhas!

On the way back, we took the Brown Line and later switched to the Red Line. I think, Boris enjoyed it more than Nadia:), but I agree it was a great idea – seen the Loop from above!

“Obama Portraits” Exhibit With ODS

On Thursday, I went to the Art Institute with the youth from the ODS for the first time since last summer. I was hoping that waiting for this to happen. Now, several things happened simultaneously: the Art Institute returned the evening hours (Thursdays and Fridays till August 15), the Obama portrait exhibit opened, and the Art Institute Council for public relations gave the Night Ministry two dozen tickets for this exhibit, which includes the full Art Institute admission.

The exhibit is very small: the portraits of Barak and Michelle, several related artworks, and how these portraits were painted.

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Loyola Beach Wall Paintings

Last Friday, I was so busy going things with Anna’s family that I completely ignored the event that was happening very close to my home: the Wall painting at Loyola Beach! Fortunately, Igor documented it pretty well, so I am going to use his photos and comments from his Flickr album, so I am copying his description here:

Rogers Park’s Loyola Beach has this structure right where the park ends and the beach starts. I’ve always called this structure “the steps,” because it looks more like a step on a staircase than a wall, but it is officially a sea wall.

Since 1993. Rogers Park residents have been invited to paint that wall. Loyola Park Advisory Council started the whole thing because they didn’t like the graffiti (gang and otherwise) that used to cover it. While I’ve heard it described as sort of pure expression of creativity, but because one has to pay for the right to paint at one of the 160 slots, the whole thing is really more a fundraiser for Loyola PAC that happens to involve making the wall look pretty.

Normally, the wall would get repainted once a year, but the COVID-19 obviously kiboshed the 2020 session. I honestly kind of assumed that Loyola PAC would leave the 2019 murals up until 2022, so I was surprised when I stopped by the beach three weeks ago and saw the wall completely bleached. I checked the Loyola PAC’s website and discovered that, yep, they will be repainting. While normally, it would all be done in one day, it was split over three days, on June 18-20, to give artists room to socially distance.

This isn’t a perfect before-and-after set, because I lost my photos of 2019 murals to a corrupted SD card, I kind of rushed through the beach on Friday and I didn’t check the past photos on Saturday and Sunday. But, at the very least, this will give you a view of this year’s painted murals and some of the behind-the-scenes stuff. I’ve been visiting Loyola Beach for the past 11 years or so, so I got to see many versions of the wall murals, but I never got to see it painted, so that was kind of neat.

As for me, my absolute favorite is that one:

And some other I liked:

But I will come back to see the rest!