Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Grand Spaces


Sketches from a lunch time concert in Chicago
 The Tiffany Dome at Chicago cultural Center
Chicago Cultural Center interior

I had ducked into the Chicago Cultural Center to warm myself up on my way to the Chicago Art Institute from my hotel on that bitterly cold morning last month but ended up spending most of the day there exploring the art that hung in the galleries and corridors and stayed on to listen to a lunch time concert of Jazz songs. The impressive building completed in 1897 was originally the public library as well as a memorial to Civil War Union Army Veterans. The rare imported marbles, polished brass, gorgeous hardwoods, and sparkling mosaics of Favrile glass, mother of pearl, gold leaf, and colored precious stones bring to mind palaces but themes relating to books, printing and authors in various vast light filled spacious rooms remind you that this was really built as a temple of knowledge! I was also dazzled by the third floor - most dramatic place with walls covered by sparkling mosaics and topped with the world's largest  Tiffany Dome of 30,000 pieces of glass! 

The exhibits that were showcased there for December were impressive too. Polaridad Complementaria: Recent works from Cuba had cutting edge paintings, drawings, sculptures, video etc from Cuba's contemporary artscene. Another exhibit by Chicago artist  Jeff Zimmermann : God particle   was large scale murals of pop culture and dramatic portraits. The artist had spent a month publicly painting the murals on the walls of the Gallery!   

It doesn't take much for me to plunge into existential angst about my art and after seeing all the creativity there I had a hard time opening my sketch book but I did and filled a few pages with my humble drawings.

8 comments:

Susan Roux said...

This place looks amazing. Thanks for the glimpse into it. Your drawings are not so humble. I really like the top one. Merry Christmas.

Katherine Thomas said...

I was in Chicago last week for a conference, and didn't go to the art museum! Now I'm kicking myself, after seeing your pictures here. I had a depressing visit once to the Cincinnati Art Museum, and have avoided art museums since then. But now I wish I'd gone to the Chicago museum! Some day...
Your sketches are great! I admire you for being able to quickly sketch what you see like that! It's not easy to do!

jyothisethu said...

meera,

very much interested by the words you posted...

art museums are actually treasure houses...

your sketches are also great...

congratulations...

Crystal Cook said...

I think your 'humble' sketches are fabulous meera. :) They are filled with life! I hope you have a great Christmas! SO glad I got to know you meera.

And 30,000 pieces of glass?? WHOA. That's a lot.

meera said...

Thank you Susan! You made my day :)

Katherine, thank you! I am sorry you had a depressing visit to the Cincinnati Museum. This is the Chicago cultural Center which is always buzzing with activities. It used to be the chicago public Library until recently and still maintains a publishers' room full of books for people to just come in to browse and read with cozy chairs, tables and even wifi! Besides all the art, now it also houses a art center for 'special' kids as well as an art center for senior citizens with some amazing art and creativity all around!. We have been visiting Chicago often and I love going to the cultural center and to the Chicago Art Institute :) Hope you will check out the museums again soon !

meera said...

Jyothisetu, Thank you - I really really appreciate your words of encouragement :) You are right -art museums are such treasure houses.

Crystal, you all made my day today :) Thank you for a wonderful shot in the arm. Like you I am so very grateful to all my art blog friends -- I always look forward to hearing from you :)
And yes, 30,000 pieces of glass is what the information sheet said! And interestingly most of the room's decorative features, including the dome, mosaics and lighting fixtures were done by a mostly female labor force!!!

padmaja said...

You took me there Meera! Thanks for this showcase.. loved the first sketch a lot! Happy new year!

meera said...

Thank you Padmaja :) I am happy you found it interesting too.

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