My annualtrip through the galleries with Sophie—my favorite 8-year-old museum companion—is always a summer highlight. But I was especially excited this year to take her through Impressionism, Fashion, and Modernity. In the past, we’ve meandered through the Modern Wing and last year’s Lichtenstein exhibition and while Sophie is always game for exploring contemporary art, I knew all of the beautiful dresses and accessories—not to mention the paintings— in this exhibition would be right up her alley. I was not disappointed.
She proclaimed that she found “the prettiest dress ever” (see above) and “the coolest shoes” as we walked throughout. She’s a ballerina herself, so she loved the use of tulle and all of the volume in the garments. I didn’t take offense when she noticed that all of the dresses in the exhibition wouldn’t fit me (they wouldn’t), but did feel a little better when she added that they looked like they would be better suited for a big kid. In fact, all of the garments in the exhibition are for adults, but adults during this time were significantly shorter than adults today.
She was also quick to notice the different styles of the Impressionist artists. Tissot’s exacting style “looked more like a photo,” while Monet’s paintings were “a little brushier.” And she was right. Although Tissot’s paintings were exhibited at the Parisian Salons, his work is less identified with the Impressionist movement because his aesthetic differed so much from the sketchier brushwork of Renoir, Degas, and, of course, Monet.
She also appreciated the general theatricality of the exhibition. Her favorite gallery featured paintings set out of doors. She was happy she wore sandals so she could feel the grass and was a big fan of both the green park benches and the “comfy” circular sofas in later galleries in lieu of the standard wooden museum benches.
And while I think she did really love the glamour, she came to the (smart, I think) realization that she wouldn’t be interested in living in that time. She noted that a lot of the garments didn’t look particularly easy to wear (especially when you factor in corsets) and that even the dresses women wore just around the house seemed like a lot of work.
As always, it was illuminating to look at a familiar subject through a different lens. Thanks, Sophie!
3 hours 50 min ago The Art Institute of Chicago NOW ON VIEW—Kemang Wa Lehulere: In All My Wildest Dreams
Artist Kemang Wa Lehulere describes his work as a “protest against forgetting,” reenacting what he calls “deleted scenes” from South African history through a masterful conflation of personal and collective storytelling. See his first American museum show, In All My Wildest Dreams—on view through January 16.
8 hours 36 min ago The Art Institute of Chicago NOW ON VIEW—A new photography rotation showcases groundbreaking Contemporary works from artists like John Baldessari, Sally Mann, Chuck Close, Barbara Kruger, among others—on view in Gallery 10 through January 2.
Image: Richard Misrach. Untitled #696–05, from series On the Beach, 2005. Gift of the artist.
1 day 4 hours ago The Art Institute of Chicago Toulouse-Lautrec’s work increased the visibility of lesbians in 19th-century Paris, portraying them in a sympathetic light when prevailing perceptions were anything but favorable.