Originally uploaded by .Kerri..
After being Paul & Jenny's West Nile fallout shelter Sunday night-imagine coming home to an automated recording instructing you to stay indoors from dusk til dawn, close all windows, turn off all fans, wipe everything down you're likely to touch once outside, etc. and yet the FDA says the "Anvil" they're fogging neighborhoods with is perfectly safe (a.k.a. has been shown to cause breast and prostate cancers)...what to do but wrap your organic vegetable garden in plastic and evacuate? So it made a fun little pre-birthday eve for me to have them over.
So Monday to see the Toulouse-Lautrec exhibit at the Art Institute. Note: Making ticket reservations to be in first group of the day is not an advantage over the hordes. And once inside the exhibit the horde moves like one slow, single beast because everyone is following the audio tour. This is a special American, postmodern moment, in a gallery full of paintings hearing someone yell to a friend, "Where do I press play?" At least the audio tour was useful in giving me a split second of notice when I was about to get elbowed in the back or have my foot stepped on...moments before the flagrant foul the chattering electronic voice would come into focus, "...he would thin the paint to an almost watery consistency..." Ouch. Pardon me.
Seeing this exhibit made me decide that I need to know more painters. I'd love to be depicted as "A Poetess" or "The Hangover."
One of my favorite parts of the exhibition was a little film reel taken of Loie Fuller doing her flame-like dance with long, swirling, silk sleeves.
Took a long walk (from Art Institute to Wicker Park) thinking about the poetics of the flaneur. Have always been enamored of poetry that is made of highly referential language but resists easy certainties of aboutness...achieves abstraction via specific parts. Rod Smith's work comes to mind as an example. In walking through the Loop at lunchtime, experienced crowds of people on sidewalks with this in mind. Each is a stranger, yet a highly specific individual, an abstraction and a representation at once. Then there is what can be immediately deduced of a person (she is tall, he is fat, she is blonde...) versus what is hidden (most everything else). Here they all are in ever-shifting relation, walking down a sidewalk, juxtaposed against one another. And to compound the issue, they are not only in constant motion, but so is the viewer (instead of at a fixed, objective point). This sounds like I need to go read my Benjamin, but I really need a whole nother undergraduate life to assimilate the pomo theorists properly.
Caught the tail-end of an African dance troupe performing in Daly Plaza by the Picasso sculpture. I love the jutting movements of both.
And leaving the loop I walk into the cool shade and traffic breezes of an underpass, walking under trains pointed at both coasts.