When I was in school studying art history—wait, no I swear this is not THAT kind of story—I was as captivated by what I was learning outside of class as what I was learning in a dark slide lecture. A footnote or a random parenthetical comment would send me down a rabbit hole, which wasn’t easy to do in the days before the internet. If I read that Marcel Duchamp gave up art for chess, the next few days would find me at the photocopier so I could squirrel away diagrams of famous chess matches. A brief mention of the odd life of Joseph Cornell—who lived at home, worked in his garage, and dreamily read movie star magazines—had me buried in the library stacks flipping through bound issues of Look magazine and thinking about a world in which winter coats were advertised for $3.99 at department stores.
This weirdly curious frame of mind applied to all of us who worked on the Art Institute’s new app, “Closer,” which was launched last week. Did I mention the app was free? We know that music was integral to Kandinsky’s thinking, but what was he actually listening to? We’ve seen Picasso’s famous muse Marie-Thérèse Walter a million times in his paintings, but what did she really look like? What’s on the back of a Joseph Cornell box? The new app was fueled by these sorts of questions and gave us an opportunity to put some cool stuff in your hands.
You can read in the app that Duchamp said he considered “working for a living slightly imbecilic.” Some days we might be inclined to agree. But not the days we were working on the app, reading the transcripts of the famous Brancusi “Is it art?” trial or combing through our archives for pictures of the curators and collectors who laid the foundation of our modern collection. Download the free app—available only on iOS devices via the app store—and let us know what you think. Our verdict: not imbecilic at all!
[Ed. note: For all of you wondering about the title of this post, click here.]
7 hours 42 min ago The Art Institute of Chicago Take a look inside Saints & Heroes: Art of Medieval and Renaissance Europe with WTTW - Chicago PBS.
2 days 3 hours ago The Art Institute of Chicago Mary Cassatt was the only American artist to exhibit with the original Impressionist group. This sensitive portrayal of a mother and child reflects the most advanced 19th-century ideas about raising children. Scientists and physicians of the day encouraged mothers (instead of wet nurses and nannies) to care for their children and to include regular bathing in their hygiene practices to prevent disease. #5WomenArtists
See three paintings by Mary Cassatt now on view: http://bit.ly/2nl9Z68
Image: [Now on view in Gallery 273] Mary Cassatt. The Child's Bath, 1893. Robert A. Waller Fund.