27 February 2007


I’m sure everyone has at least briefly considered what they would do if they won the lottery. Aren’t you just amazed at those folks who say they would still go to work every day? After winning millions of dollars, they would continue getting up at dawn, going to some crappy job, and coming home exhausted and miserable.

Well I sure as hell wouldn’t—and I don’t even have a crappy job. What would I do though? I think my post-lottery life would be a simple one. I would travel….and wherever I found myself, I would do the following:
--spend long hours in cafes reading and viewing the local people/culture
--sip coffee and drink Kir Royals
--eat expensive and exotic food
--go to art museums

* I would not wish to embark on these journeys without my lovely partner, who is a perfect travel companion
* I would also need some sort of radio to listen to New York Met games

Sounds decadent--
and that is just what I would be seeking. Helping my fellow man......well, I might get around to that at some point; but I think "self-indulgent" and/or "hedonistic" would serve me well for a while at least. The cafes, food, and coffee are self-explanatory. And if you are unfamiliar with a Kir Royal, you should really try it sometime.

But the art museums—yes, I simply adore art museums. This weekend, my lovely partner and I traveled to Chicago for a few days of rest and relaxation. While in the Windy City, we went to its wonderful art museum—and we were not disappointed.

I think the reason I love art is that I know little about it. I don’t have to understand or interpret it. I don’t have to take notes on what I see, nor do I have to give a lecture or explain it to someone. I can simply gaze at a painting and enjoy it. I could sit for hours looking at one work of art—which is something everyone should try (especially some of my students--many of whom cannot sit for five minutes without checking their cell phone, or laptop for instant messages. These caffeinated collegians ought to forced to sit before a Renoir for at least two hours, it would do them good).

And because I became interested in art later in life—I have lots to see.....lots of catching up to do. Currently, I am most enamored with 19th century art. In the U.S.—the Hudson River School and some later Gilded Age artists like John Singer Sargent. And in Europe, the Impressionists. So as a tribute to art--here are a few of my favorites from the Art Institute of Chicago.

It is this Renoir (Two Sisters) that I could gaze at for hours. Again, I am not sure what it is about this work--maybe the vibrant colors, or the brushstrokes....but I love the painting. Several other Renoir's also made their way onto my "favorite" list this weekend. Women at the Piano, and Young Woman Sewing both caught my attention. And as I mentioned earlier, I will not even attempt to explain these paintings--that would force me into some sort of teaching-mode. Suffice it to say, I like Renoir....I enjoy looking at his works....I am not sure why....and I don't care to figure it out.

There were several other Chicago prints that were memorable. Husking Bee by Eastman Johnson is a exquisite depiction of 19th century farm/rural life in New England.

And we were also lucky to catch this van Gogh, Starry Night over the Rhone River, which was included in a special exhibit.

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