Saturday – As Planned!

That’s the most amazing fact about today – I did pretty much everything I wanted, and som more!

Long (ish) bike ride in the morning:

My cleaning lady came to wash the windows, and this year, we were also to open all of them. While she was washing the windows, I did a big portion of my emails and started my submissions to PG Conf NYC. Then I went down to Jarvis square fair and bought a lot of plants for my balcony and for our courtyard vegetable garden. Then I hung out for a little bit at the fair, chatted with the neighbors who also went down there, bought a crazy artisan doughnut

and hurried to the Abortion Protection rally (and finished my conference submissions on the CTA)

After the rally was over, I went straight to the Switch on Summer event (Switching on the Buckingham fountain). Last year, I came there too early and as a result, didn’t stay till the actual turning on the fountain (it was too hot). This time, I came at about 1-15, and it was perfect!

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A Weekend Of Cultural Activities

I had my girls over this weekend, and that was the most cultural activities we ever had in one and a half days!

We went to the CSO for Kids concert, which was the first time for Kira. Straight from there, we went to the Art Institute and saw the Dali exhibit (Nadia actually liked it, and even Kira showed some interest). Fortunately, the Art Institute recently reopened its cafe, so we had lunch there and then headed to the Ryan educational center, where Nadia made a collage on the Salvador Dali theme. As always, we spent a really long time there and started to head out only when they were about to close.

We then walked to the Bean and then to the Chicago Cultural Center and stopped there to see a Tiffany Dome.

On Sunday, Nadia and I went to Joffrey Ballet to see “The Little Mermaid,” a ballet composed by Lera Auerbach. Everything about this piece is amazing: the music, the choreography, the instruments, the costumes, and most importantly, how the fairy tale is interpreted.

I read the synopsis to Nadia while we were waiting for the train, and while I was reading, I thought: well, this does not look like a ballet for kids. When I finished reading and said: so that’s a very sad story, Nadia asked: why is it sad? And then I thought that probably she is right because at the end, both the Poet and the Little Mermaid found new meaning in their lives.

I found a very interesting link where Lera Auerbach talks about the score and how she chose the instrument for the Mermaid’s voice.

Here are a couple of pictures I found. I do not think they convey how amazing this ballet is, but it is at least something!

This promotional video gives at least some impression of how it feels – imagine 2.5 hours of such intensity!

And imagine Nadia sitting through it, watching!

First Kings Of Europe

This Field Museums exhibit tells the story of the first kingdoms on the Balkan peninsular.

The international group of museum curators and historians started to work on putting it together back in 2015. Everybody knows what happened next, but this exhibit faced more challenges than any other, including expiring grants. Now, the exhibit is finally here, at the Field Museum, showing the historical objects from ten different museums in different countries, 700 objects which were never displayed together,

The whole exhibit is set up like a giant book, so that you walk through and turn the pages.

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Almost three years after Anna’s family moved to Milwaukee, we finally had our first day in Milwaukee Downtown!
The reason for my travel was Nadia’s first recital, but the whole day was amazing!
I used the Milwaukee streetcar for the first time. These streetcars look a lot like trams in Helsinki; even the buttons which open the doors look the same!

They are nice and clean, and they are free!

Robert Burns monument


I liked the recital; it reminded me of the ones Anna’s piano teacher had, where the students of all different skill levels had a chance to participate. Nadia did great, and I think listening to more advanced students perform inspired her.

Milwaukee Conservatory

And then, I finally visited the Milwaukee Art museum. Many people toladme how awesome this museum is. My neighbor sometimes goes to Milwaukee just to see a new exhibit.

FInally, I made it there! The building architecture is breathtaking! Lots of interesting exhibits, and they have an educational center, too!

Thaitian Art
Still need to figure this out – see description below
leaving the Art Museum after closing

While we were at the Art Museum, I received a notification on my Amtrak app, that my train was canceled “due to equipment problems,” so I had to rebook for two hours later. On the bright side, we had dinner together 9and the girls seriously discussed the idea to go to Chicago with me :))

The African Exhibit At The Art Institute p.3

I still want to show the remaining pictures, and I even didn’t see the whole exhibit, so I am sure more posts will follow.

Some of the cultures presented at the exhibit are well-researched, and there was a lot of interesting information explaining how the languages reflected some important concepts and beliefs. For example, many languages had the same word for “good” and “beautiful,” meaning the being good is an equivalent of being beautiful.

Also, I learned about the purpose and meaning of body scarsing in African cultures. The people wanted to distinctuate themselves in the eyes of gods from the “wild life,” and from their point of view, an intelligent creature can be identified by their ability to alter their natural appearance.

A choker with leopard teeth
Almost a “Thinker”
Continue reading “The African Exhibit At The Art Institute p.3”

The African Exhibit At The Art Institute p.1

On my actual birthday, Boris and I went to see the exhibit in the Art Institute called “The Language of Beauty in African Art”

That was one of the most astonishing discoveries for me! The only thing I knew about African Art was the art of Benin. Even though I saw some artworks in the Art Institute’s permanent exhibit, I didn’t explore them deeply enough.

Before I explode with a million pictures, let me summarize what was so astonishing. We know how Ancient Greek art was taken away en mass and how greeks thought for returning many of the artworks. We know about a similar struggle in Egypt. However, Greek and Egyptian art were at least studied and carefully preserved, and all the circumstances of when and where objects were found were recorded.

With African art, the situation is different. When Europeans arrived to Africa (specifically, when Germans arrived to West Africa at the end of the 19th century), they saw a “primitive” art, which looked cool, and they just took the objects of art and brought them to Europe! I am not even talking about asking for permission, or paying in some way, but they didn’t even asked what these objects meant!!!!

Looking at the exhibit, you can see that some research followed, and in many cases, you can read about language, beliefs, gods, etc. But in many cases, it’s “the purpose is unknown”, and “16 – 19 th century”, and “Southern or Western Africa”. And that’s it!

And look at all these amazing artworks! Can you see why German artists were so fascinated? Can you see how this art influenced German Expressionism and Cubism? Do you see Picaso’s big feet and Modigliani’s women?

We had to leave after almost two hours because of emotional and informational overload, and we haven’t see about a third of this exhibit. And as I said, I have tons of photos. Posting some here, and hopefully more later.

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Art Institute

Since mom started to have difficulties climbing the stairs and walking, I stopped taking her to any cultural activities. I knew this was not the ideal situation, and I was trying to find a way to resume them. Mom said that taking a bus to the Loop would be worse because the bus takes longer, she would have to sit for longer, and it would be even harder for her to get up. I started to contemplate how I could convince her to take Uber, but then she said she wanted to try to climb the stair at Morse CTA.

One thing I knew won’t be working anymore – she won’t be able to take CTA by herself and meet me in the Loop, so whenever we would go for any cultural activities, I would have to be a weekend so that I could pick her up from home.

This Saturday, I planned to go to the Art Institute with her – there are three exhibits that I still didn’t have a chance to see, and two of them are closing in January.

Overall it was a success. Mom was so tired of sitting at home that she didn’t have time to complain about anything during our field trip. She said I ordered too much gelato for her at Amorino, but then she finished everything :).

Here are the exhibits we saw:

David Hockney

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Two meetings I planned for Saturday morning before leaving for Chicago got canceled, but I already knew what I was going to do: The Museum of Modern Art was less than a 20-minute walk from my hotel. The last time I was at MoMA was with Igor’s friends’ family, and it turned out that I completely missed some paintings. I can’t say that we didn’t visit these rooms, because I remembered some paintings very well.

As I often do when I have limited time in a huge museum, I decided not to rush and see just a part of the museum but to pay close attention to each painting. The room with WWI and WWII-inspired art immediately caught my attention. It is possible that I saw these paintings last time as well, but they didn’t feel so timely back then. Unfortunately, I just realized that most of my photos from that room are very blourry, so there s almost nothing to show.

Collective suicide
Beckmann- “Hell”
Beckmann – Family picture
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