Sunday, November 20, 2011

Thinking about art

   This week we visited the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago. First stop was the restroom, where I found this flower arrangement in their very stylish facility. (Mr. Rududu reports that the mens room was without flowers. I would suggest that womens rooms should be furnished with more things of interest since we seem to spend so much time waiting in line in them. I digress. There was no line at the museum.)
 Both restrooms featured Louise Lawler’s Bird Calls, a sound recording of bird sounds. Most of them seemed to be of parrots saying or attempting to say words. It was a great addition to the room. Perhaps art should be installed in all museum restrooms.
   Most of the museum's current exhibits are about minimalist art and its heirs. I generally prefer art works that you don't need to read the info tag to begin to understand, but even with this cerebral approach to art, there were many pieces that I loved looking at. For example, there is something lovely and fascinating about the soil samples from below Chicago in Alan Sonfist's Earth Monument to Chicago, 1965-77.
The museum also has a solo exhibit of work by Ron Terada, a Vancouver-based artist. I found this wall-sized piece of advice thought provoking. Interestingly, by searching the internet I learned this sign (or one like it) was installed at one time on a building in a rather lonely looking place. In that location it looked considerably more sinister, more of a warning than friendly advice.
The nitty gritty: For those who wonder, the museum bans flash photography only and guards witnessed me taking photographs. If you visit the museum, I highly recommend its Wolfgang Puck restaurant.


Evelien said...

I totally agree. Most museums have boring toilets, like the ones you expect in any hotel or school. Here's an article about museum toilets I found while looking for a picture of the grass green toilet by Dutch artist Joep van Lieshout for the Centraal Museum in Utrecht. The only museum I know that has art installed that is the toilet itself, and can be used as well.
Couldn't find a picture, but will take one in time when we visit there again. No guards in there with you...

Carolina said...

Thank you Evelien for the lovely link. I'm happy to see that a featured museum at the Art Museum Toilet Museum is the John Michael Kohler Arts Center in Sheboygan, WI. The toilets are such an important part of the museum that the guards help ladies by making sure the mens room is empty so they can visit it or vice versa. They also have lots of interesting temporary exhibits, focusing on crafts and outsider art. I look forward to seeing your photo of the grass green toilet!