Murals–I love them in just about any setting. From big city boulevards to unnoticed corners of small towns, I will put it in park to admire a great mural. Especially one that incorporates bright colors. I was buzzing down Chicago Avenue in the West Town neighborhood last month and–BOOM–this.
Muralist Louise Jones aka Ouizi is responsible for this treasure titled “West Town in Bloom.” Developed in collaboration with Chicago Truborn Gallery, West Town Chamber of Commerce, and West Town Bakery and Diner, this mural has massive scale. It’s the most surprising experience to experience sunflowers that easily measure more than six feet tall. From any angle, this is a great mural. It’s sneaky delightful.
Ouizi is a Detroiter, so if you visit the Motor City, you’re in luck. Detroit is home to 40 of Ouizi’s murals, many of which are memorialized in photos here.
As a full-time job searcher, I stopped buying non-essential things many months ago. But experiences? I budget for those. Hiked my way north and east to #Evanston to visit the Halim Museum of Time and Glass yesterday. More than 70 pieces of stained glass window art and 1,100+ time pieces.
Stained glass window making is a precise art, from what I gathered. Colors are accomplished with different types of glass, silver stains, acid etching, intricate cutting, and plating. For example, striated glass is sometimes plated with nodular glass.
Some window colors sparkle so brightly.
In some windows, as in this one, the artist hand carved a heavy slab of orange glass to create a jewel-adorned appearance.
And types of glass–how many can there be? Bunches. This stained glass window, Spirit of the Revolution by Frederick Lamb (1863-1928), incorporates the following glass types: opalescent, drapery, herringbone, striated, mottled, nodular, hammered, fractured, and acid-etched flash glass.
Admission for this museum is $19 and some change. Marvel and enjoy.
#Chicago is a diverse quilt of a city. Interesting neighborhoods in all corners and in between. A Near West Side neighborhood gem is the Ukrainian Village, and a gem in this gem is the Ukrainian National Museum on W. Superior. Founded in 1952, this museum boasts a cool collection of fine and folk arts. This painting by Yuri Olishkevych draws the viewer in.
On the second floor is a huge collection of pysanka (Ukrainian easter eggs). These tiny decorative eggs take, on average, four hours each to paint.
There is a room devoted to portraits of Cossack military leaders. This is Yurii Khmelytnsky, who spent a portion of his life as a monk.
There are also instruments to admire.
And then the traditional Ukrainian embroidered items–shirts, dresses, coats, collars, you name it–are boldly colored and patterned. Much to learn and appreciate here, and admission is just $5.
In the heart of #Pilsen–on 19th Street between Wood and Wolcott–rests the National Museum of Mexican Art. If you’re a curious sort (I am) and love museums (I do), I would put this one on your map. It has permanent collections featuring ephemera, folk art, paintings, sculptures, prints, and textiles. Some items have significant age, dating back to periods from ancient Mexico. Others are more contemporary, and these captured my full attention this afternoon.
Santos Motoapohua de la Torre de Santiago created a large (10 feet wide by 8 feet tall) mural consisting of arranged chaquira beads in wax on plywood. Intricate design and bright colors. Love.
Rocío Caballero’s works are more figurative and symbolic. There is Leccion 19: La case de entomologia.
And also ¡ Yuppy Yuppy !
Painter Alfredo Arreguin accomplishes amazing layers and details with his oil paintings. There’s this 2009 canvas titled Adelita.
“You’re going to love this one,” my niece announced. She’s five years old and some change, and she was showing me her art collection–pieces she’d created this year. Decorated paper plates, drawing book pages, and even larger painted pieces like these two.
The occasion for my visit was kind of a sad one. I drove six hours to drop off one of my dogs with my parents because my apartment lease only allows two pets and, as of yesterday, I had three. Sigh. So the opportunity to see my niece’s artworks provided me with temporary respite. A needed distraction. And in fairness, I loved them all.
Every time I think I have the state of #Mississippi mostly figured out, I learn something new. Every time. As I’ve learned since moving here 2 1/2 years ago, Mississippi was home to more than a dozen Native American tribes–from the Pascagoula tribe on the Gulf Coast to the Tunica tribe in the Delta. The largest tribe was (and still is) the Choctaw. The second largest? The Chickasaw.
Before their forced removal in the 1830s, the Chickasaw occupied northeastern Mississippi, with villages located between the headwaters of the Yazoo and Tombigbee rivers. The Chickasaw were skilled war makers, hunters, and gatherers. They had highly developed ruling systems. The present-day Chickasaw Nation occupies 13 counties in south central Oklahoma, with its capital in Tishomingo, and its people, culture, and traditions thrive. Chickasaw artists also thrive, as I found out yesterday at the Mississippi Museum of Art. The MMA has an exhibition titled Visual Voices: Contemporary Chickasaw Art, and I loved what I learned.
Painter B.L. Hensley interprets Chickasaw leaders and peoples through a cool lens.
Designer Maya Stewart incorporates buckskin as part of her sculptural work.
Joanna Underwood Blackburn uses ochre-colored clay and steel to resurrect prayers with this installation, which throws some crazy cool shadows.
Erin Shaw conjures imagery from underneath the ancient sea.
Visual Voices: Contemporary Chickasaw Art is open through June 2. You can plan your visit here.
As the weather has cooled here in central Mississippi, I’ve been catching up on documentary films that I can download or stream as Jackson’s movie theaters mostly offer commercial/mainstream fare. Sniff sniff, sigh. Anyhow, one documentary I like very much is The Price of Everything by Nathaniel Kahn. This 2018 film parses where contemporary art and commerce collide. Or are manufactured–figuratively and literally. It’s sometimes uneasy stuff if you appreciate art, make art for a living, or know artists.
The uneasy part–there are many, actually. Some works fetch ridiculous amounts of money. (Gerhard Richter’s ABSTRAKTES BILD recently commanded a $32,000,000 purchase price at Sotheby’s.) Dealers who sell artists’ original works may collect up to 50% in commission. There are “financial interests of certain parties” that may influence the outcome of an auction sale, which seems a polite way of saying that some sales are gamed. Some art buyers purchase works not to appreciate them but on a speculative basis–to store and sell for a profit at a later point.
Kahn interviews artists, dealers, collectors, historians. There are interview moments I prefer to skip. There are others that cause pause. Stefan Edlis remarks of some art collectors:
There are a lot of people that know the price of everything and the value of nothing.