This is not my teaching blog (that's been on hiatus even longer than this one was), so I'm not going to tell you about the conference, other than to say, if you're an art teacher reading this, to try and go, if you ever have the chance. It was awesome. This IS, on the other hand, my travel blog, and seeing art is one of my raisons de voyage - it's kind of my thing (along with spirituality, culture, and one or two other things that I won't mention lest I scare off any new readers). So I watched with interest, as people on the facebook Art Teachers group I subscribe to started posting about different works of art you could see during the conference.
Now, there is a LOT of art in Chicago. One of the best art museums in the world is right there in the loop - the Art Institute. Less than a block away is the very famous Cloud Gate (so famous that I didn't even realize it was there and go look at it, which is a shame, because my students keep asking about it...oops). There are potholes filled in with mosaics and tons of other public art and art galleries and basically, a shit ton of art. In fact, it's way too much to see if you're going to take your art conference seriously and do any shopping at all (which I for SURE was). So I narrowed it down to 3 - the Art Institute, the Cultural Center, and the City Gallery. I'm not going to tell you anything about the Art Institute, which I visited Tuesday after I dropped my stuff at the hostel (which was my first legit hostel stay, and if I trusted that they'd all be that great, I'd never stay in anything else). It is big and amazing - there was a van Gogh exhibition that I got to see while I was at it - and although looking at its collection online is cheating and not the same thing as standing in front of its works of art in person, you can at least get an idea of what it was like without me attempting to wax poetic about it. But the other two...they had some unique opportunities.
Wednesday after my preconference workshop for secondary teachers on the national standards and AP (which I'll be teaching next year), I moved to the Chinatown Hotel (actual name, which was weird since it smelled like corned beef and cabbage on St. Pat's), then took the L north of the river to the Water Tower. I'm sure it is a historic piece of architecture, but I didn't read the plaque outside, because it was 6 by then and it closed at 6:30. The City Gallery, inside, was hosting an exhibition about Cards Against Humanity, and yes, that was the reason it made my list.
Now, I don't know if you love Cards or not. When I added my own post about this exhibit to the Art Teachers group, the first comment was that we should, "Boycott that racist, sexist game." It is true that it is NOT politically correct - unless you can argue that by embracing all stereotypes and being prejudiced against every race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, etc, you are, in fact, supremely egalitarian. I believe my Dark Lord and Master once made that argument, so that lends it some legitimacy. That said, if you took it seriously, it could be incredibly offensive. Fortunately, most people don't take it seriously. However, it would be equally easy to dismiss an art exhibit about the game, since, if you've ever played it, you know that it has a very basic black-and-white design. Surprisingly, though, it was a well-curated show - it had a lot of info about the typefaces and graphic design the makers used, and I took lots of photos to show my students the next time I talk to them about text as an element of art.
Theo Jansen's Strandbeests, which have fascinated me ever since I first came across them scrolling through my facebook feed.
youtube and watching some of the videos. Otherwise you won't get a proper idea of how plastic tubes and wind can make something that looks so organic (and possibly a little bit creepy, but you know what? Who cares!)