The Eyes

The Eyes

Monday, December 12, 2011

Hirshhorn 360-Degree Projection

Internationally renowned artist Doug Aitken will transform the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden's iconic circular building into “liquid architecture.” Using approximately eleven high-definition projectors, Aitken will seamlessly blend imagery to envelop the entire fa├žade of the Gordon Bunshaft-designed structure with a 360-degree panorama that will make the Museum recede into cinematic space—rotating, rising, and evolving into new forms. Exploding film conventions, the work cannot be viewed from any single perspective or at any single moment in time. Visitors must walk the perimeter of the building in order to experience the work more fully. 

This site-specific work will animate the Hirshhorn beginning in mid-March and remain on view each evening from March 22 to May 13, 2012, offering an unprecedented exhibition experience to the millions of visitors who will come to the National Mall during the 100th anniversary of the National Cherry Blossom Festival. A fully illustrated book about the work as well as a series of public programs—including lectures, dialogues, performances, and other events—will accompany the project. 

More than a temporary artwork, this truly original piece will also become part of the Hirshhorn’s permanent collection, enhancing its ever-expanding holdings of cutting-edge time-based media.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

I "Heart" the Art Institute of Chicago

I visited Chicago recently, staying at a kicky, new hotel, PUBLIC ChicagoA new venture by hotelier Ian Schrager, PUBLIC was an experience for a low-maintenance type of traveler, with an adorable staff, modern decor, and impeccable service. Minimalist furnishings, sleek lines, muted colors, and soft lighting carried through from the lobby and registration desk to the updated famous Pump Room restaurant and into the serene sleeping rooms. I found it to be a lovely retreat in the heart of the city on a quiet street in Chicago's Gold Coast neighborhood.

The purpose for my stay was a visit to the Art Institute of Chicago. Enamored by the Modern Wing and the nearby Millennium Park, I started my journey with Matisse's monumental masterpiece, Bathers by a River. Completed in several stages between 1909 and 1917, the immense canvas began as one of three panels commissioned for the residence of a Moscow collector. After the collector decided not to purchase the original painting, Matisse reworked the canvas again in 1913, obliterating one figure and altering the remaining nudes into abstract forms. He reworked the canvas again in 1916 and 1917 to how it is seen today. Another Art Institute treasure is the recently re-installed America Windows by Marc Chagall (seen below).  Completed in 1977, the windows commemorate the American Bicentennial in memory of the late Mayor Richard J. Daley.

No trip to the Art Institute is complete without a visit to the Thorne Miniature Rooms. Sixty-eight miniature rooms commissioned by Mrs. James Ward Thorne of Chicago were created between 1932 and 1940 according to her specifications and were painstakingly built to scale of one inch equal to one foot.  The rooms offer a glimpse of European interiors from the late 13th century to the 1930s and American furnishings from the 17th century to the 1930s.  A few of those rooms are now decked out for the holidays.  The Holiday Thorne Rooms are on view now until January 7, 2012. Add shopping on Michigan Avenue and lunch at the historic Marshall Field's (now Macy's) Walnut Room and I'm in heaven!