Monday, March 20, 2006

Art Crawl

My friend Tim was in town this weekend from St. Paul, Minnesota and wanted to take a spin through the Art Institute, and Dolores said she was sick of hanging around the apartment, so on Saturday afternoon the three of us joined the throng at 111 South Michigan Avenue.

Our first stop was a temporary exhibition, Girodet: Romantic Rebel. In case you've not heard of him, which you probably haven't, Girodet was a student of David who has kept a rather low profile since his heyday in the years just on either side of 1800. There's considerable buzz around the show, which was the brainchild of the Cleveland Museum of Art and helped along by the Louvre. Girodet, so the gossip goes, is a master sadly neglected and now rediscovered.

Um, no.

There are about 100 pieces in the show, ranging from small prints and drawings to heroic canvasses. All of them are at least workmanlike, several have considerable bravura, and one–his take on the myth of Endymion–could not be improved upon, especially in its use of dramatic light. But a neglected master? No. If you plan on stopping by, Endymion is hanging in the second room, so you can duck in and duck out without missing anything.

(The show's signature image, The Burial of Atala, is hanging in the final room and it's typical eau sucré from the period. Pretty? Oh my word, yes. Why, the only thing missing is the basket of kittens!)

All the same, I'm pathetically grateful to the Art Institute for not mounting one effing Impressionist show after another. I had to deal with that during my years in Boston, and it was one of the things that drove me out of the city.

After Girodet, we wandered about the galleries with no fixed plan. My mind, which turns (ha, ha) very much on spinning just at present, kept spotting works I'd never given much notice before, such as La Filatrice:

La Filatrice

Ain't she a honey? Here's a close-up of the business end of her apparatus.

La Filatrice, Detail

Then, in the Thorne Rooms (an amazing collection of miniature tableaux that showcase the history of interior design), I found this:

Miniature Wheel, Thorne Rooms

In the photograph, it's just about actual size. Impressive, eh?

Everything was just dandy until we visited the Impressionist galleries. Tim and I were standing in front of a Monet water lily canvas of which he's fond when a guard came over, tapped me on the shoulder, and said, "Sir? Would you kindly tell your sheep to please stop licking the haystacks?"

I was going to deliver a stern lecture about the effects of ovine saliva on oil paint, but in Dolores's defense it was getting to be time for lunch so I let it go.

I shouldn't have. As were leaving, we passed a children's art class and Dolores, who feels strongly about art education (she's apparently just two credits shy of her MFA in the field) decided it would not do to have the little darlings working from a dreary bust by Horatio Greenough.

Dolores the Model

We were then asked if we would mind leaving the museum and never coming back again.

You'd think I'd have learned my lesson, but no. The next day, C wanted to check out the new Warhol exhibit at the Museum of Contemporary Art and there was simply no keeping her at home.

Dolores at the Warhol

It was all downhill from here. Apparently the nice people at the MCA don't care what Liz Taylor did to you at Andy's birthday party in 1963. They still expect you to leave her portrait right there on the wall where they put it.


Maggie said...

I have to chime in with everyone else who loves Dolores... she's a riot! She reminds me of my great-aunt Esther(except Esther was a flapper, but same personality...) Also the Thorne rooms are my favorite.... I could spend hours in there marveling at the perfect tiny rooms.

Cheryl:) said...

YES!!! You can do a DOLORES project like the FLAT STANLEY project!!!
I love it!!!
go here and check it out!!

Franklin -- you always make my day....
(Dolores too!)

Anonymous said...

What child wouldn't love to draw Doloris instead of a dreary bust??? I know I would rather have Doloris as a model..... I'm sure she would be rather easy to work with... lol.

dpaste said...

Is that the posterior view of C in the last photo? He looks quite fetching, at least from the back.

Aidan said...

A weekend of art museums...what could be more civilized? I hope mean Dolores had a good time.

Has Dolores ever made good on her promise of wool? I worry she might be taking advantage of you.

Anonymous said...

Some sheep - youjust can't take them anywhere!
Has Dolores ever been out west? Because I think she used to live next door to me in a trailer park in Utah.

Anonymous said...

I love this site:


Leslie said...

Dolores is just a bit short on her MFA, huh? Is that (in her case) Mistress of Fleece Arts??

If and when you compile Dolores' biography I will get on the amazon pre-order list, that's for sure.

--Deb said...

I think it's great that Dolores was posing for those kids, but, um, should she really have been smoking in front of them? Such a bad example, not to mention bad for the art . . .

Anonymous said...

Franklin, did Delores tell you about Saturday evening? She called me at the hotel when you were over at C's place, and she asked if I'd meet her for a cocktail. I naturally assumed she wanted to buy me a drink and apologize for getting us kicked out of the Art Institute that afternoon. (BTW, I've never been so embarrassed!)

Apparently, the thought of apologizing never entered that woolly head of hers. She just kept dropping hints about going back to the hotel with me. The more she drank the more inappropriate I felt her suggestions were becoming, so I insisted on bringing her back to your place. I didn't know if you were home or not and didn't want to be alone in your apt with her, so I asked the doorman to make sure she got up there ok. He very graciously said he'd be glad to, but I swear I heard him mutter something under his breath about "if this happens one more time . . . " I have a feeling she told you something happened between us, but don't you believe her.

It was so good to see you, and let's not wait so long to get together again. But next time I'm in town, please don't tell Ms. D.


P.S. She didn't even pay for the drinks!

Nik said...

I have tuned into your blog more often since the addition of Dolores. I can't wait to see what she does next.

Unknown said...

I LOVE the shadow you added to Dolores in the second picture. It almost diverted my eye away from a great back-pic.

Again, I picture you giggling to yourself as you work Photoshop with mastery.

the fiddlin' fool said...

They let sheep into the Art Institute? At the MCA it doesn't surprise me, as they might consider her to be an exhibit!

Anonymous said...

hey franklin-- dolores sure knows how to make her mark--i wonder what her comments would be in the greek statuary room--gotta love the gal (and her creator!)can't wait to get me shirt-- have a good night! bess

Lucia said...

Dolores apparently has a wonderful collection of eyeglasses and hair accessories, in addition to a shadow to call her own. What more could a girl, er, sheep need?

Yvonne said...

I love the Warhol stuff. I have yet to go to the Warhol museum, though. For shame, as I live nearby.

Anonymous said...

Delores reminds a bit of Dame Edna and Auntie Mame. Keep the stories coming and Tim certainly did have his hands full with her. You may need to get a tracking device to implant in her.

Unknown said...

I am coming to Chicago in May. If Dolores is still there, I would love to take her out and get drunk with her.

Zee said...

LOL! Just the art crawl I would've loved to tag along in! Most excellent!

Unknown said...

I am coming to Chicago in May. If Dolores is still there, I would love to take her out and get drunk with her.

dragon knitter said...

i noticed that when you were visiting the first museum, that dolores was wearing a purple bow and red glasses. is she a red-hatter? (if she remembers a party in '63, she's definitely old enough for it!)

and i think dolores needs her own t-shirt (i'll buy one, i promise)

marie in florida said...

i'm too tired to hunt up a better pix , but there's another spinner

Anonymous said...

Excuse me Mr. Habit, but what kind of blog are you running here? First a NAKED man and now look. That woman's NIPPLES are erect.
I'm pretty sure you're making some kind of perverted joke about that sheep too, but I don't get it.

FiberQat said...

If you do up Dolores as a t-shirt, I'd love to see the breakfast one. She's an absolute hoot! (And so are you, hon!)

Jean said...

I wouldn't have imagined that you could have had another excellence left to reveal by now, but there it is! You have spotted the tedium of Impressionism!

I don't know Girodet. I'll ask.

Love to you and Delores both. Jean

Anonymous said...

Franklin, hen, how pleased I am that your friend Tim is a conspirator in the funny tales department.

I recently attended a lecture at W&M by the director of the Dahesh Museum in NYC.
It was entitled "The Artists Monet Loved To Hate".
All Mannerist and chocolate box and quite endearing.

birdfarm said...

Ah, vintage Franklin... as a non-knitter I admit to a slight bias in favor of art museums over spindles, but please don't crucify me.

It's funny that Cheryl brought up Flat Stanley... the pix of Dolores were already reminding me of the time my little cousin Kelly sent me Flat Stanley while I lived in NYC... I spent a couple hours after work one night Photoshopping Flat Stanley into crowd scenes from every NYC tourist spot. Then I printed them out on the color laser printer (I was a graphic designer) and destroyed the evidence (all the files I had saved on the server at work--note to self--do not do this even if you're sure you'll be fired!).

So of course I immediately lost the prints and Flat Stanley and was absolutely broken-hearted for all my lost work, and as the weeks went on, totally wracked with guilt about my little cousin Kelly.

Several years later her mother visited and I told her this story, hoping her mother would say, "Oh, heavens, I'd forgotten all about that!" But no. Her mother said, "Oh, yes, she was the only one in her kindergarten class who didn't get Flat Stanley back from where she sent it. And she still asks me about it sometimes, to this day--'Mommy do you think Cousin [Birdfarm] still has my Flat Stanley?'"

I don't understand why I didn't immediately throw myself out the window.... but I didn't... and there you have the tragic story of Kelly, Flat Stanley, and Cousin Birdfarm the enormous fuckup.

I shouldn't write anything in public at 2 a.m., should I.

Anyway, love you, love the post, Franklin darling. Keep 'em coming.

Bevin said...

I heart Dolores.

I can't wait to see where she shows up next.

Does she knit or spin herself? Or does she just pimp herself out to the fiber arts community?

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