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Sunday, October 28, 2007

Life in the Big City

When you live in a big city like Chicago, you have a tendency (or at least I have a tendency) to become overwhelmed by all of the options to see and do, and you (or I) end up missing a lot of great events and exhibits. This weekend, I was determined to get to two different shows that are closing soon, Niki in the Garden at the Garfield Park Conservatory and the Dia de Los Muertos exhibit at the National Museum of Mexican Art.
Garfield Park Conservatory is a huge greenhouse and garden on the city's west side. A few years ago, they had a fabulous Chihuly exhibit that I loved so much I went twice. This summer, they featured Niki de Saint Phalle's mammoth sculptures both inside and outside. My favorite was a monumental skull. (I love whimsical Day of the Dead-style skulls, so much so that I have several knitting and project bags with skull motifs.)

So that you get a sense of scale, this is the 6'5" husband inside of it.

The attention to detail was incredible. Each area featured a different material, from stained glass to flat marbles to stones to mirrors.

It was amazing from every angle, including the inside, which was covered in mirror and had a built-in bench so that you could enjoy the reflective surfaces and the moon mosaic in the ceiling.
There were many other installations, including these cavorting women.

On Saturday, the Conservatory was also hosting Halloween events for families. There were games, activities, food, music, and "spooky" animals. SOAR was there with a Barn Owl and a Great Horned Owl. I was really taken by the intricacy of the markings.

There was also a bat lady.

She had two Argentinian Fruit Bats hanging from her shirt. That's Bruce with his wings spread and Stellaluna is behind him. They were very, very cute. Apparently, they enjoy having their heads and ears rubbed just as cats do. (I was told quite firmly by the husband not to get any fancy ideas about having any fruit bats as pets.)

In addition to the animals and sculptures, there were exotic, beautiful flowers and plants everywhere. This cactus flower struck me because of its resemblance to a starfish.

There are no pictures from the Day of the Dead exhibit. Photos of the ofrendas were prohibited, but there were some beautiful, moving tributes, including one dedicated to the 31 Chicago public schoolchildren that have been killed this year.

I am nearing the deadline to have my sweater finished for the big gala at work. It's not been a complicated or time consuming project, but I haven't had a lot of dedicated, concentrated time to work on it. The back, front, and sleeves are finished, the shoulder seams are bound, and it has been blocked. Now to sew up the sides, pick up and knit the neckline and armholes, and graft the handkerchief sleeves on. I've got until the 7th, so that shouldn't be a problem. I just hope that it looks good...


sophanne said...

Thanks for the morning art. I love those mammoth sculptures.

The_Add_Knitter said...

I love sculpture gardens so much, what a fun outing!

lynette said...

those are wonderful photos. thanks for sharing with us, and reminding me about the Garfield Conservatory exhibit. i'll try to get there very, very soon.

La Cabeza Grande said...

I love art that invites you to become a part of it. Chicago does a great job of showcasing such wonderful pieces.