I was a very lucky girl to grow up in Chicago. Summers filled with trips to Wrigley field, afternoons in Grant Park and fireworks at Navy Peir. Autumns visiting the Aquarium and the Museum of Science and Industry. Winters with Christmas shopping on Michigan Avenue and seeing plays at the Ford Center. Springs filled with Jazz concerts near Buckingham Fountain and the occasional fishing trip or day at North Ave Beach. Chicago: a city with infinite culture.
Among this gem of a city is a remarkable place.
And it is one of my favorite places in the world.
The Art Institute.
It has some of my favorite art pieces in the world.
I remember my mom would take me down there as a little girl, for girl's day out. She has always had a passion for the arts and my love of theater, painting, photography, and sculpture can all be credited back to her. She would whisk me from room to room showing me all of her favorites, and pointing out what made each piece unique. It was her who taught me to appreciate what went into each painting, and helped me to see the artist and the stories behind it. Each trip would be dedicated to a specific era and we would spend all day in that wing of the museum.
Her favorites were the Renaissance paintings. We would take turns picking one out, and then sit and tell each other a story about the painting. With each trip, I began to develop my own favorite sections and works.
There is of course the obvious. One of the most famous exhibits by the father of pointillism, George Seurat. Who, funny enough, turned out to be the main character of one of my favorite musicals,: Sundays in the Park with George.
Sunday Afternoon on the Island of LaGrande Jatte
I'm sure you know the one I'm talking about. The one of all the Victorian people standing on the shore of the lake and the picture, if you look closely, is composed entirely of small dots. Hence, pointillism.
Another favorite room I would beg to run to as soon as we arrived, was the room with the Dega's. All the beautiful Ballerina paintings from Edgar Dega always captivated me. I was also lucky to grow up with the grand niece of one of my favorite artists that was featured at the Institute. Georgia O'keefe, who was actually native to the midwest and ended up settling in the deserts of the southwest, painted the beautiful "Sky above clouds" that covers an entire wall. We would stare up at it and try to pick out shapes, as if the fluffy clouds were real and tangible.
The point of this is, that when we left Chicago this was something that I missed greatly. I wasn't sure that San Francisco (as artsy as it is) would offer me the same kind of experience that I found at the Art Institute. A kind of peace comes over me when I am able to be near my favorite paintings. There is something so calming about the quiet, white halls and the windows bursting with sunlight onto oil and canvas.
I was lucky as to return there, for the first time in years, last summer. I was saddened to see that the Seurat painting was now behind a box of glass, and was roped off so far away that you could barely even see the "dots" that made it so famous.
But again, the point of this story, is that I have recently discovered the De Young museum. While it is no Art Institute, it has a special feel all of its own. Very San Franciscoan, if you will. It is hidden away in Golden Gate Park (which is Amazing of its self), and nestled in a court with other museums of science and learning. Amazing!
My first trip there was to see an exhibit I had been waiting to see since last year. In 2008 the great designer, Yves Saint Laurent passed away. He is the creator of one of the greatest fashion houses in Paris, and spent decades revolutionizing Haute Couture for women. His works can be seen as great pieces of art. Some of his most well know dresses were crafted after other great artists like Andy Warhol, or Picasso. Truly, this man was an innovator. If you need to know anything about him, he studied under Christian Dior, and that should say enough right there.
Since his passing, his most reknowned pieces of fashion have been traveling the world, and have finally, finally come to San Francisco. The exhibit it there through April and for anyone interested in fashion, it is a MUST see.
When I walked upstairs through those doors, it was like I had died and went to fashion heaven. As if the different ensembles weren't enough, the collection housed his sketch books and had monitors running on the walls of his runway shows. The pics up top are a few pictures that I managed to sneak in the first room, before I was yelled at....
that is all
ciao for now