I intended to meditate, journal, spend quality family time and take in the sights and the art of Chicago. Family time was swell but the sights were a feast for the eyes!
As I prepared to take the train to Union Station every morning, I packed my journal, my book, my camera and my water. Every day I started my trek at a small and quaint cafe on Adams St, a few blocks away from The Art Institute of Chicago and every night while my sister and I walked to the train station and she asked how I spent my day, my reply was always the same, I feasted my eyes!
The first day I spent it at The Art Institute, only coming up for air to share lunch with my sister who works nearby. Each exhibit was inspiring, and some quite provoking, as the Charles Ray sculpture Huck and Jim, originally commissioned by the Whitney Museum for their new plaza in New York City . Each work was a feast for the eyes.
Inspired by The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Charles Ray created a hyper-realist 9-foot figure of a nude “Jim” and a bending over “Huck” that proved to be too controversial for the Whitney’s Plaza. When the museum director offered to display it inside the museum, Ray declined and the sculpture sat in the artist’ studio until the Art Institute offered a prominent place in the new contemporary wing to display the work. It is indeed provocative in its stark whiteness and super realism and profoundly poignant against the backdrop of luscious Millennium Park and the magnificently sculptural skyscrapers of the city outside the museum.
It is precisely the confluence of amazing art, exquisitely displayed everywhere, and the panoply of seemingly perfectly poised buildings no matter where I viewed them that kept me from seating in a quiet corner to journal or write a blog, let alone meditate. I could only see and breathe it all in. In fact, I did not want to talk with anyone….only feast my eyes.
One day I simply walked for hours star struck at the wealth of art, the texture that each building harmoniously offered and the riotous beauty of the landscape, sporting deep and light greens, marvelous pinks, reds, yellows, and many tints of violet. I sat on a bench to record my thoughts, but I could not take my eyes off the scenery. In front of me stood a 39 foot head of a woman, her eyes closed and a Buddha-like demeanor. The journal and the book were safely tucked inside my backpack and it continued that way as I visited the Museum of Contemporary Art. By then I began to feast all my senses with the experience and felt as I do when I paint, as if guided by the hands of Spirit.
At the end of my last day, I took a river taxi to Union Station and I wept at the sheer beauty I was experiencing. I was exhilarated, happy and filled with joy. I felt grateful for being alive and witnessing so much beauty, creativity, skilfulness and foresight. I am glad I did not do anything but see through Spirit’s eyes and partake in this veritable feast!
Have you ever experienced wanting to write or talk and being mesmerized instead by what you were seeing? Please share your experiences. Where? In Chicago? Elsewhere? Post your thoughts; I love to read them!