Monday, November 21, 2011

Art Institute: Thorne Miniatures & Modern Wing

English Entrance Hall, 1775 French Library, 1930s

I love the Thorne Miniature Room, in the basement of the Art Institute. It's a collection of miniature, dollhouse style, rooms from all over the world, and across time periods. I remember reading director Wes Anderson is also a fan. For the holidays they are decorated with tiny items appropriate to Christmas in each time and region:

Louisiana Bedroom & Christmas Ballgown English Drawing Room with Tree

The only room with a Christmas Tree was the English Drawing Room (on the right) while others, like the Louisiana Bedroom (on the left), had other types of accessories. This is a Christmas ballgown. There was also a New Mexican Feast, and a pair of clogs left in front of the fireplace in the French Provencial Bedroom.

Bertrand Goldberg Exhibit Modern Wing

There was also an extremely comprehensive exhibit on the works of Bertrand Goldberg in the Modern Wing. most famous for the Marina City Towers and several similar buildings here in Chicago. I wasn't able to take pictures in the exhibit, but a lot of them are available on the exhibition website, under selected works. It's was fascinating to learn of his early interest in mobileprefabricated structures, and very early use of computer modeling. It was mentioned as being used on a project completed in 1975. The exhibit even included some of his student work from his time at the Bauhaus. Lastly, there was also an exciting exhibit in the neighboring hall of photography taken of Marina City Residents in their homes; a few from that are also viewable online.

There's currently a 12 foot bronze sculpture in the main hall of the Modern Wing. It's called "Vatter Staat" by German artist Thomas Schutte. The title translates as "Father State." We also hung out a bit in the member's lounge and cafe, spent some time enjoying the recently re-installed Chagall "America Windows" and the Paperweight Collection, and quickly walked through the Alsdorf  Galleries (with Indian, Asian and Himalayan Art.) We saw a lot, but there's still tons more there to see could have spent another day there!

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