Art Institute

Sun and thorns

Sun and thorns, © 2013 Celia Her City

Another, truer photograph of the Art Institute’s South Garden.

I’ve learned more about the garden since posting a photo of it the other day.  It was designed in the 1960s by modernist landscape architect Dan Kiley and is considered to be one of the better surviving examples of his work.  Kiley died in 2004.  You can read more about his life and work here.

Nature and civilization

Michigan Avenue from the North Garden of the Art Institute, Chicago © 2013 Celia Her City

Why, you may wonder, is Celia angry about the city’s decision to fell a few old trees?  Here, in the north garden of the Art Institute, we may find an answer.

For, on one side of the garden—just steps from Michigan Avenue—, are two improbably aged, enormous, gnarly, overreaching trees.  They are not decorous, they are not over-managed; they are awesome, merely.

In a town incessantly straining against its nature to be great, these trees are possibly the most cultured things around, because they are dignified, and because their stewards have accorded them the respect and even reverence necessary for them to survive.  Though the garden they’re situated in has been remade several times, they have been left alone to achieve the majesty and character that is the work of time.

Next time you are at the museum, be sure to take a moment out for these glorious trees.

Summer Flashed Past

Summer Flashed Past

Yes, I’m one of those people who saw summer from a city bus.  Sure, I grabbed a few nice country days, but I missed so much!  As my bus crept down the Avenue the other day, I admired the beautiful planters, and thought longingly of the Lichtenstein exhibit at the Art Institute, which I had yet to see.  (And didn’t see—it ended Monday.)

The idealist in me wishes to walk all around the city photographing the mature planters.  It would probably take days, but the wish is there, the wish to pay homage to the beauty of summer.

This photograph has been photoshopped using the “watercolor” effect.
It was a way to dignify a photo taken through the window of a city bus.