The summer is over and I can't help but notice that everyone is talking about barnstorming, slinging mud, and too-close-to-call dogfights. It's not a fight at a farm or zoo—it's an explosion of animal-related metaphors describing the election. Yep, the general election is here and donkeys and elephants are charging, but eagles (the American Independence Party) and bull moose (Theodore Roosevelt's Progressive Party) are sitting it out.
Horse racing seems to be the number one source of inspiration for political analysis. Just like a day at the horse races, in our first-past-the-post system, whoever comes in first takes it all.
For politicians, it's a long run from exploratory committee to election day. Some candidates can be slow out of the gate and never recover. Others simply don't have the stamina or staying power to remain in the lead.
Just like ponies, some politicians are closers—excellent at sealing the deal in the final days—while other, underrated candidates emerge as, you guessed it, dark horses that threaten to upset the odds-on favorite.
As we head down the home stretch, I'm sure we'll see and hear a flurry of negative ads. And, come November 6, we may see races end in a recount-worthy photo-finish.
So who's up and who's down in the polls? Who is going to cross the finish line first? Regardless of who wins and loses, it's a great time for handicappers, armchair analysts, and even art museums to trot out animal imagery to explain one of the most exciting processes in our democracy.
Edgar Degas. Horse with Jockey; Horse Galloping, Turning Head to the Right, Feet Not Touching the Ground, modeled mid-1870s (cast before 1951). Bequest of Brooks McCormick.
Édouard Manet. The Races, 1865–72. Through prior bequest of Mr. and Mrs. Martin A. Ryerson Collection.
Jacques Callot. The Horse Race at the Pitti Palace, in Florence, from The Caprices, c. 1622. Mary S. Adams Fund.
Winslow Homer. Our Watering Places—Horse-Racing at Saratoga, published in Harper's Weekly, August 26, 1865. Gift of Arthur and Hilda Wenig.
1 hour 58 min ago The Art Institute of Chicago COMING SOON—Provoke: Photography in Japan between Protest and Performance, 1960–75
The short-lived Tokyo magazine Provoke is now recognized as a major achievement in world photography of the last 50 years. A major international traveling show, which has Chicago as its only North American venue, this exhibition is the first survey of postwar Japanese art to be organized at the Art Institute and draws heavily on the the museum’s collection—more than 60% of the over 200 items on display belong to the Art Institute.
OPENING JANUARY 28—http://bit.ly/2jMlnUx
5 hours 10 min ago The Art Institute of Chicago NOW ON VIEW—The Italian–born American artist Josef Stella revisited his native Italy in 1922, where he became fascinated by Renaissance painting. Drawing inspiration from Sandro Botticelli, Stella began to produce decorative, detailed, symbolic compositions, such as A Vision (seen here). Stella was enthralled by the tropical plants he observed at the Bronx Botanical Garden in New York, and he imagined an iconic woman growing out of the earth like the towering flowers on either side of her.
The French–born American artist Gaston Lachaise found his own iconic inspiration for the sculpture, Woman (Elevation), in Isabel Dutaud Nagle, whom he later married, telling her, “I want to create a miracle with it… as great as you.” This sculpture represents Lachaise’s first full-scale expression of the idealized female form that would come to dominate his art. Modernists like Lachaise believed preclassical art possessed a primitive vitality absent from later art forms.
See Josef Stella’s A Vision (1925/26) and Gaston Lachaise’s Woman (Elevation) (1912–15; cast 1927)—on view in Gallery 271.
1 day 1 hour ago The Art Institute of Chicago NOW OPEN—Rodney McMillian: a great society
Our latest exhibition in the Modern Wing represents the last decade of the artist’s work in video. Grappling with the complexities of class, race, and place in America, Rodney McMillian employs elements of performance, public speaking, oral history—and his interest in the science fiction genre—to expose the social and psychological consequences of economic inequality, endemic racism, and the failed promise of freedom and prosperity for all of its citizens. While McMillian's work engages the often stark realities of history and contemporary culture, it is motivated by the potential for alternative realities and future transformation.
See Rodney McMillian: a great society on view in the Modern Wing through March 26.