Every year Lindsay Mican Morgan, the caretaker of the Thorne Miniature Rooms, chooses a new room to add to our collection of rooms decorated with historically accurate holiday decorations. This year, she picked the Pennsylvania Dutch Kitchen from the 1750s and conducted extensive research on how the family that might have lived in this home would have celebrated the holidays.
She discovered that the people who lived in this house would likely have been Lutheran and would have celebrated the coming of the Christ-kindel, or Christ child. The Christ-kindel would bring small gifts for the children in the house and leave them in a rye basket filled with linen, which was meant to signify the manger and swaddling clothes. A bale of hay sits by the door to reference hay that the family would leave out for the old grey mule that would carry the Christkindl—another reference to the Mary and Joseph's journey to Bethlehem. It's also quite similar to how, in present day, some people leave out carrots for reindeer. Other holiday decorations in the room include a hand-carved wooden cookie mold, a turkey, and ice skates hung over the bannister.
But it doesn't stop there. Because you can see through the doors and windows "outside" the room, Morgan worked with a local artist to reproduce the landscape, but change it to a winter scene. She also changed the quality of the lighting in the warm to a bulb with a cooler tone that more accurately reflects the sun's light in colder months.
Stay tuned for more on the Thorne Rooms in the coming weeks!
15 hours 12 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
18 hours 24 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 14 hours 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.