Tag Archives: Art Institute of Chicago

Visiting van Gogh’s Bedrooms

Chicago, IL–Vincent van Gogh loved his yellow house in Arles though he lived there only a few months in 1888. He created three paintings of his tiny bedroom there, one while he lived in the house and two after he was institutionalized for mental health issues. Until May 10, 2016, all three versions are on exhibit at The Art Institute of Chicago, in a compelling show that helps inform visitors of his complicated life and fascination with Arles.

The final painting of The Bedroom by Vincent Van Gogh

The final painting of The Bedroom by Vincent Van Gogh

Through letters to his brother Theo, side-by-side detailed video comparisons of the three paintings, a digitally enhanced replica of the bedroom and the entire layout of the small house, as well as many van Gogh masterpieces, the exhibit gives an in-depth study of these famous paintings as well as the troubled life of the painter who killed himself at age 37 in  July 1890.

The original bedroom painting belongs to the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, the second bedroom painting is on permanent display at The Art Institute of Chicago, and the smallest painting, which he created for his mother, is on loan from the Musee d’Orsay in Paris. While lines are inevitably long and time slots limited, the opportunity to see all the paintings in one place side by side, is worth the wait.

And if you’re so enamored with the bedrooms that you want to spend the night, check out Vincent’s bedroom on airbnb.com for just $10 a night. Yes, you can really stay there.

The second painting of The Bedroom by Vincent van Gogh

The second painting of The Bedroom by Vincent van Gogh


A Goldberg Day at the Art Institute of Chicago

Marina City. By Corydalus' Photostream/flickr

Chicago, IL–Fans of Chicago architecture, time is running out on the Bertrand Goldberg exhibit at the Art Institute of Chicago. It ends on January 15. The architect of Marina City (those iconic tubular towers built from 1959-1967), Goldberg designed hospitals, housing projects, schools, houses, and even chairs and tables during his lifetime. While there are several of his designs in Chicago–the Raymond Hilliard Center elderly housing, Prentice Women’s Hospital, and River City–his work can be found from Washington to New York, and beyond, to Turkey and Yemen.

Chicago fans will love seeing the original drawings and promotional literature for Marina City, which touted parking for 900 cars, boat slips, an ice skating rink, bowling alley, and theatre. A 1965 video from Portland Cement shows the towers being built, scarely another tall building in site.

The exhibit includes more than 100 architectural drawings, photos and architectural models, as well as chairs, tables, and lamps designed by Goldberg.

Inside Marina City: A Project by Iker Gil and Andreas E.G. Larsson, features photos of residents and their apartments in Marina City. It’s a little like taking a Sunday house tour and seeing all the fun furniture, spaces, and ways people have adapted to the uniquely shaped units. Don’t miss the pink kitchen, with the original electric push-button range and metal cabinets.

Of course, you’re welcome to stay at the Art Institute and see Rembrandts, Picassos, Van Goghs, Renoirs, and perhaps Degas’ little dancer sculpture. But if you’re looking for Goldberg, tick tock!


Chicago, Land of the Free

Jay Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park

Chicago, IL–The Windy City could be called the Land of the Free this summer. Free music, free museum and attractions admissions, free dance shows, free festivals. OK, no free lunch, but with all the other free things happening in Chicago this summer, you can spring for food.

Here are my five top tips for finding and seeing free stuff to see and do in Chicago this summer:

1. Go to ExploreChicago.org. The city’s official tourism site offers information on all the top events in the city, plus loads of other information. The insightful neighborhood information was written by former Chicago Tribune travel writer Alan Solomon. Sign up for the city’s Twitter feed at www.Twitter/ExploreChicago, which promotes daily events and deals.

2. Visit the Chicago Cultural Center at the corner of Randolph and Michigan Ave. Get a gander at the world’s largest Tiffany glass dome, plus Chicago artwork and photos on display. The city’s visitor center is here, and you can sign up for a free Chicago Greeter Tour.

3. Take advantage of free admission to the Art Institute of Chicago on first and second Wednesdays of each month, June through December. With the new Modern Wing and old favorites, what’s not to like here? Don’t overlook the miniature rooms in the lower level, or the incredible collection of impressionist paintings.

4. Enjoy free fun at Millennium Park, Lincoln Park, and Garfield Park. Millennium Park, on Michigan Ave. offers free concerts in the Jay Pritzker Pavilion, splashing in the Crown Fountain, sniffing flowers of Lurie Garden, family festivals, and other free events all summer long. Lincoln Park beckons with the free admission Lincoln Park Zoo, and Garfield Park Conservatory boasts a beautiful palm room designed by famed landscape architect Jens Jensen, among other treasures.

5. Check out some of the 6,000 objects in one of the largest collections of Mexican art in the U.S. at the National Museum of Mexican Art. Admission is free and the museum features performing as well as visual arts. A great opportunity to see this vibrant Mexican neighborhood, too.

Now go and be free!