24 February 2014

House Museums, Galleries, Potstickers, and Tunes

Hello Monday. And the aforementioned Monday would repeat, "Hello Sandy." Well Monday, I'm here, I've arrived, and now that the weekend is over, I have so much to tell you, my excitement is practically seeping from my pores. This weekend was one of "those" weekends, where everything you do and encounter seems to hold some hidden meaning. I spent most of Saturday in the West Loop wandering around the UIC campus, attending an artist talk, visiting the Jane Addams Hull-House Museum, attending an art opening, drinking free gallery wine, you know the usual stuff.

Jane Addams Hull House Museum library salon, can I live here, please?
Jane Addams Hull House Museum

The Jane Addams Hull-House Museum is quickly moving up my list of amazing spaces in Chicago. A building loaded with history, not just in the physical sense, but in the historical realm as well. Co-founded in 1889 by the house's namesake, Jane Addams, the space was created as a destination for newly arrived European immigrants to convene around the fundamental principle of community engagement. By 1911, the campus had grown to encompass 13 buildings, from an arts building, to a medical facility, and even a summer camp - the settlement embodied nurturing community and equality to its core. It's pretty amazing to imagine what this neighborhood looked like in it's heyday.

The Great Space in UIC's arts building. Blank walks, studio space, so much possibility!
After my visit to the Hull-House, I attended a lecture at Gallery 400 in which the artist Kendall Geers unveiled the mysticism and magic behind Marcel Duchamp. Bridging on conspiracy theory, Geers utilized art history and works of art from Da Vinci, Durer, Picabia, Poussin, and Maya Deren to point out underlying truths about the mystery of Duchamp's work, and imply that he might have been a spy in Europe during the first and second world wars. The presentation had over 200 slides, was loaded with names, dates, facts, and figures, referenced both the movie and historical event "Titanic," and had a complete sense of humor to it. I felt like I was listening to the plot of the next Dan Brown novel, only it was served up with wit and facts rather than paltry writing and fiction. Kendall, please finish writing your book so I can read it.

Jose Lerma show at Kavi Gupta
After the talk, I wandered around the West Loop with a new friend, and visited the Jose Lerma // Gloriosa Superba show at Kavi Gupta. Upon first glance, the large mirrored works looked like neon abstractions, but after closer or maybe further examination, we realized they were portraits in profile. It was one of those back-of-the-cereal-box aha! moments. We assumed the paintings were of famous presidents, one was clearly Abe Lincoln, another was obviously Washington. But in retrospect, and after speaking to a gallerist, we were proven wrong! In fact, the images were of the prominent Rothschild family. No matter, the wine was delicious, the show was fabulous, and my new friend and I had a wonderful conversation about the art market, galleries, employment in the art world, museum guards, Molly Soda, and quilting. Not too shabby.

Chinese feast with new like minded friends at Ed's Potsticker House on South Halsted
For dinner, we worked our way through plate after plate of delicious Chinese food at Ed's Potsticker House in Bridgeport. Two words: soup dumpling. Their xiao long bao are to-die-for. Hot and steamy, soupy and delicious, everything I wanted after an exhausting and chilly day in the city. Also, I went home with the world's best eggplant in tow. Must return soon.

Between Brains at Township
I ended my night at Township watching buds Between Brains play a fabulous albeit loud set, sipping Stiegel Radler and wishing it was summer. My ears might still be ringing, but they sounded super good. The banging of the drum felt like the beating of my heart - loud, proud, and full of promise. It was a great way to conclude a joy-filled day.

Seeing myself in a Jose Lerma painting at Kavi Gupta

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