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.
A small girl in pink crocs flits past a tree that probably dates from colonial times. Over the centuries, its roots have painstakingly spread from its massive trunk, while generations of humans have beaten a path around it. A parade of humanity has intersected with this tree over time. Imagine the ghosts!
We seldom have fog, but yesterday we did. It lasted all day, making for a memorable evening. This is a view of the evening atmosphere along East Lake Shore Drive.
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.