Due to a series of miscommunication of whether or not I had a meeting to go to, I ended up going to the Art Institute to see the Hopper exhibit yesterday. By mistake, I accidentally bought a ticket to the Dennis Hopper exhibit. Just a guy sitting in a room huffing nitrous oxide, waving a gun, asking me pop quizzes about my retirement plan. Not really worth the twenty bucks.
However, the Edward Hopper exhibit is definitely worth it. I have seen most of his work on-line and in prints. The only painting of his I recall seeing in person over the years is the iconic Nighthawks. I was shocked to see how many of the prints I was familiar with were watercolors. I have never seen anyone paint in watercolor with so much detail, texture and clarity. And while many of his paintings seem quietly sad, I also saw a lot more humor and tension. One painting, Sea Watchers, actually made me laugh when I saw it in its full glory. It's a middle-aged couple sitting on a bench on a sunny, but windy beach. They are both in their own worlds looking out at the water. It was the first time I noticed the woman was all decked out in a swimsuit, complete with a rubber cap, ready for the water, but just sitting there. The man, as well, is in a swimsuit. It's as if they were at the beach because they heard it was a relaxing thing to do and they are waiting for the relaxation to hit them.
I took the audio tour, read everything that was posted, and watched the documentary they had running. It was interesting to me when the art experts said stuff like "this is where Hopper explored the blah-blah-blah..." I wonder, as artists, how much conscious exploring is done. In Hopper's mind, maybe he just wanted to paint a house and this is what came out. Considering Hopper didn't kick it in professionally until he was in his forties and had considerable training, he probably did have goals to explore light or contrast or nature, etc. It made me realize that, as a writer, my goals tend to not be much deeper than "trying not to suck here." Or my goals don't extend much beyond just trying out a different genre. I'll have to explore this exploring thing.
It closes May 10th. Go see it. It's a rare treat to see so much of his work gathered together in one place.
NO ROBOWRITERS TOMORROW - COME SEE THE GREATEST STORIES NEVER TOLD...TOLD!
This Saturday and Sunday mark the second weekend of Robot vs Dinosaur's first production. 4pm at Gorilla Tango, 1919 North Milwaukee. $10. I'll be up in the booth trying to keep up with the actors on the lights and sound. Wave "hi"!
THE BS NEWS QUIZ OF THE DAY
Yesterday, I asked...
"Julieta Clinton, a bus driver in Huntley, IL, is in trouble with the police because she punished kids on her bus by doing what?"
40% said "Playing Michael Bolton Cd's really loud"
- This has been scientifically proven to destroy brain cells.
Nobody said "Speeding Up" or "Swerving"
60% got it right with "Slamming the brakes"
According to the Chicago Sun-Times, Clinton allegedly became angry with several students on the ride to Leggee and intentionally made two abrupt stops throwing students from their seats. Eighteen of 54 students on the bus, ages 5 to 10, were treated and released at the scene for minor injuries, and one was taken to Provena St. Joseph Hospital in Elgin, according to reports.
When I was a kid, we had Mr. Russell as our bus driver. He was an old, fat guy with slicked back gray hair and he chomped on a wet cigar. And, looking back, I am now suspicious of the "coffee" he had in his aluminum thermos. His weapon of choice for disciplining you was just looking intimidating. You didn't fuck with Mr. Russel.