May 11, 2012 § Leave a comment
I was recently in Chicago and just knew that aside from catching up with my good friend and getting a massage, I needed to do two things:
(1) Visit The Art Institute of Chicago and
(2) See Anish Kapoor’s “Cloud Walk”, which I like to think of as The Giant Silver Bean.*
In spite of a very early flight, my friend and I did a good bit of walking on Day 1, but alas, no Bean. We did however have a wonderful meal at MK that evening, which included a homemade gnocchi with fava beans and a poached egg that we were both still thinking about during lunch the next day. I also had truly memorable carrot soup — and how often does that happen? Do visit: https://www.mkchicago.com/index.swf
The next day was a little work focused and I didn’t have time to visit The Institute or the Bean. But I did make sure to perk up my room while working, and the hotel did their part as well:
Flowers on my desk, courtesy of me. And chocolate, which I did not eat, courtesy of the fine people at the Peninsula. An excellent massage was also to be had at their spa. All work and no play makes Mrs. H a grumpy lady.
That evening, my friend and I went to Sepia which reminded me of some of my favorite restaurants in Brooklyn: Food and wine focused, with a mellow vibe and a delightful interior. (Another must: http://www.sepiachicago.com) And it should be said: Chicago has that Big City thing going on at night…
Finally, on a rainy Wednesday and in spite the early signs of a migraine, I ventured out in search of both The Institute (as I am told it is referred to) and the Bean. I hit the museum first:
The steps outside…not quite as grand as the Met, but I would still eat yogurt on them if I went to school nearby. (No headband, though.)
And it must be said that the brand guidelines are meticulously followed throughout the museum…not a napkin or sign wasn’t set in this typeface above. As a marketing type, this pleases me. But enough about branding…
Recall that I am really into pottery, and imagine my delight at finding such an interesting and beautiful collection on view toward the entrance. What really caught my eye was a number of pieces that looked positively mid-century Danish, and turned out to be from the 1600’s and made in Korea. Obviously, I still have tons to learn about pottery. But that keeps Life interesting, no?
Since post-war and contemporary work are two of my favorites, after my time with the pots, I made my way straight into the modern wing, which had a wonderful, airy staircase…
It looks out onto the Pritzker garden, over which Ellsworth Kelly’s “White Curve” presides, even in the rain…
The Institute also had one of the most beautiful Clyfford Still paintings that I have even seen (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clyfford_Still), a wonderful, smaller Pollack and a very nice Motherwell. I just love when I happen upon things that send me, so this was a real treat. (Less of a treat was the increased migraine pain brought about by a Bruce Nauman flashing neon work…love him, but that was not a good idea for me at that moment.)
In addition to the art, I also enjoyed some lovely views from the inside the museum, looking out onto Millennium Park, also know as Home of The Giant Silver Bean.
With the head beginning to go Full Migraine, I decided I best get myself to that view before it was too late. You can read all about Millennium Park on Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Millennium_Park) and on their own website (http://explorechicago.org/city/en/millennium.html). As far as public spaces go, this is a good one…beginning with “Crown Fountain”:
It is actually an interactive work of public art and video sculpture, and made of glass bricks. There are two of them as you can see in the photo below, and one of their highlights is that they feature video of local residents. (Hopefully not while they are doing anything embarrassing.)
If you keep going, you will come across a delightful trio of sculptures. (The blue is barely visible at the end of the line…but I swear it it there.) Even though they are white, yellow and blue, I could not help but be reminded of “Who’s Afraid of Red, Yellow and Blue?”, by Barnett Newman. But that is probably just me.
I kept going, and finally, pay dirt: my first view of the Bean…
I swear I didn’t run, since I am an adult, but I did get to see the Full Bean pretty quickly…
It is pretty thrilling up close…
Especially when you get to see the reflection of the sky and cityscape on it. As for how if felt to walk under it, I cannot tell you. The only time it occurred to me to do that — in spite of that fact that everyone else was doing it — was when Mr. H asked what it was like underneath. Yeah…this was not my A Game. The head was really beginning to become a problem. But at least I did get to admire the Jay Pritzker Pavilion, which was just cool to look at from the side…
So the next time I am in Chicago, I will make a point of seeing more if it.
With both missions accomplished, it was time to get back to the hotel to gather my things and head back to New York. And getting back home was made much easier courtesy of this fantastic service:
You give them your flight info and they check you in and print out the boarding pass. Since I always have trouble using Business Center computers (I am a mac girl), this option neared Miraculous in my book. Needless to say, a most civilized way to begin the uncivilized experience of Air Travel.
And that is all I have for now. Thank you, Chicago, for a most lovely visit.
* My research on the internet tells me that I am not alone in referring to it as The Bean. That said, if I were ever in the company of Mr. Kapoor, I would call it Cloud Walk….he looks awfully serious.
(Photos: Some Cozy Night)
April 22, 2011 § Leave a comment
No, this isn’t a made up place. It is in Holland and according to Wikipedia it is the world’s largest flower garden, with over 700,000 bulbs planted each year.
That’s a lot of bulbs. An irresistible amount by my standards. So on a rainy April morning, Mr. H and I left our cozy hotel room in Amsterdam to see what we could see. And even though it was early in the season, which lasts about five weeks, we saw quite a bit.
First, we wandered into what I can only describe as a “Fairy Princess Garden”. While it wasn’t yet in full bloom, I could not help but imagine myself wandering around this place in one of those purple velvet princess dresses and the pointy hat with coordinating chiffon flowing from the top…
After the wandering and looking up wistfully at the sky, I would jump over this lovely rose-covered wall to meet, oh, I don’t know, some kind of Prince disguised as a Beast or something. But let’s face it, I don’t jump over walls and I have Mr. H, who I wouldn’t trade for anything. But if you get your Princess Head on, I am sure you get where I am going here.
See? These roses are right out of a story book. Total Princess Flowers.
Onward we walked, and found ourselves in a little petting zoo. There were adorable rabbits, fabulous guinea pigs, a pony (!), that cool pig from the post below and several lovely lambs. I haven’t a clue as to where these animals spend the other 47 weeks of the year, but they seemed to be having a fine time while we were visiting.
I have to say, these two have some seriously chic coloration going on. The photo does not really capture it, but trust me, they are beautiful.
At this point, Mr. H and I were beginning to wonder if maybe we were going to miss the insanity that is 700,000 bulbs in bloom. While I don’t think we got the Total Bulb Experience, the fine keepers of The Keukenhof managed to deliver on some serious floral viewing in their rather extraordinary greenhouse.
One bloom in a sea of tulips.
This is a real tulip, not CGI trickery.
These were almost iridescent.
And these reminded me of some Van Gogh paintings I saw earlier in the week. They are also oh-so-lusty-and-gorgeous, no?
Seriously, how do they get that red outline on these yellow tulips? They were stunning.
Get me a flowing summer dress in this print, pronto!
Once we left the greenhouse, we were able to wander around the rest of the garden where the cherry blossoms were showing off their stuff and the winding trails promised days and days of blooms ahead…
(With my Princess Head on, I was seeing swans here.)
Aside from the amazing plantings, what I loved most about The Keukenhof (which I can now type without checking the spelling!) is the notion of the enormous effort taken to create something ephemeral simply because it is beautiful and makes people happy. There were many moments on our trip where I found myself marveling at experiences just like this one, where the care and pride taken in each and every endeavor made me sit up, put down my iPhone and appreciate real, live Life.
(Photos: Some Cozy Night, with my most excellent new camera. Thanks, Mr. H!)