We just renewed our annual membership in the Art Institute of Chicago. It is an endless source of inspiration, escape, and comfort for me and my wife. We go there so often the membership fee pays for itself within one month. It feels like my second home.
Today, as I was reading the latest Member Magazine, a story caught my eye about the original building on Michigan Avenue. “Built (after the Chicago Fire of 1871) in concert with the World’s Columbian Exposition, which was tasked with presenting the new, rebuilt Chicago as a great modern city, the building served as a hall for the World’s Congresses. Following the close of the fair, the galleries were filled with artworks and reproductions that included Old Master paintings, sculpture, textiles, photographs, musical instruments, and antiquities acquired or loaned by local collectors. And on December 8, 1893, the Art Institute of Chicago opened its doors. Its solid Beaux-Arts structure appeared then almost as a frontier outpost of culture among railroad yards and an industrial lakefront.”
That was 125 years ago. A few weeks from now, on December 23, there will be a spotlight talk about the building. It brought back the memory of a montage I made of the Michigan Avenue entrance to that building in 2007. Here it is, full of life, a combination of the best of both old and new ideas.