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.]
9 hours 11 min 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.
11 hours 33 min ago The Art Institute of Chicago Chicago Stock Exchange Trading Room
$10 per member
Grab your yoga mat and come dressed to stretch. Only members get this unique opportunity to do yoga in the museum. All experience levels are welcome.
Please bring your own mat. Enter at the Columbus Drive Entrance, 230 S. Columbus Drive.
13 hours 23 sec ago The Art Institute of Chicago NOW OPEN—Natural Allusions
For Chinese painters, images of plants and animals could convey human aspirations, seasonal themes, or wishes for well-being and good fortune. This focused exhibition features 17th- and 18th-century handscrolls reflecting a variety of artistic traditions as well as a selection of round, handled fans made for wealthy and fashionable men and women of 19th-century Shanghai.