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”
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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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Field Museum Exhibit

On Sunday, Boris and I went to the Field Museum to see a relatively new exhibit, Death: Life’s Greatest Mystery

I wanted to go to this exhibit with Boris because the subject of the exhibit is uncomfortable to many people, and I knew for sure that it won’t be uncomfortable for him, and that our views on the subject of the exhibit are similar.

Did I see what I expected to see? Yes and no. I expected a little more comparison of different cultures, rituals, and religious views. It was all present, but less than I expected. On the other hand, more emphasis was on “what do you think?”

The model of ta dead whale sank to the bottom of the ocean becoming a foundation of a new ecosystem
I was not aware of that concept. It basically means you are dead (or is not born yet, I guess) until you are baptised
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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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MoMA

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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The Art Institute And Gelato

It was more for today’s day! After all of the morning /afternoon activities in Palatine, I returned to the city and met the youth from the shelter in the Art Institute.

We were there a month ago, and although some of the youth appeared interested, the field trip was pretty chaotic. I was unsure how things would turn up this time, but to my surprise, seven of the youth showed up, including a couple of folks who were there on our previous Art Institute outing. Another surprising thing was that everybody was very engaged, and we stayed in the museum until it was about to close. I had to answer the same questions they usually ask in Medieval art: where are people of color? And as usual, they shake their heads in disbelief when I tell them that people lived in one town or village throughout their entire lives, and they didn’t know: you mean, they didn’t know there were other places? They thought that people everywhere were like them? 

After the Art Institute, I took everybody to the new gelato place. Some people started to walk forward, and our volunteer coordinator told those still there that I was taking them for gelato. 

— What is gelato?

— It’s a kind of ice cream.

— Ice cream?! Hey, stoop! STOOOP! She is taking us for ice cream!!!!Β 

We got to the gelato place. When the youth realized they could try multiple flavors, one of the girls asked: can I try all of them?!

The staff of the gelato shop was super-patient, and when the youth got all the flavors they wanted, there was peace, quiet and eternal happiness. 

Chicago Adventures With Lena

Yesterday, my friend Lena from Ann Arbor came to visit me for the weekend, and today was a blast! Not even mentioning how much I enjoy Lena’s company, what a fun person she is, but we did tons of cool things together.

We started the day with the Millennium Art Fair on Michigan Avenue, where I bought two rings with flowers inside, and Lena bought a pair of earrings with butterfly wings (they explained to us that they collect the wings from dead butterflies).

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The Military Museum and The Prison Museum

There are two more museums in Hameenlinna, which are situated on the Hame Castle grounds: the Military museum, which is dedicated to the history of everything war-related in Finland, and the Prison museum, which is located in the building that served as a prison until 1993. Both of these museums are very educational, and I want to come there one more time, to learn more about Finnish history. When we were there, it was a sort of information overflow. I know that I can look up most of the topics which are covered by the museum exhibits, but it’s different.

Below are just some photos, to give an idea of the museums’ collections (and the Military museum has a huge outdoor exhibit, which was close to impossible to attend in the midday with +86 F.

The view of the Hame Castle from the Military museum
I was shocked to learn that using artillery against people was considered a sin!
The Prison museum
Solitary confinement
Force-feeding chair
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