Chicago and Picasso

I have to admit, I’ve had a bit of a crush on Chicago for a long time. Not because it’s cold or windy, or for any of its sports teams. I’m not a fan of deep dish pizza; hot dogs gross me out for the most part. Al Capone is pretty big to speak of, I suppose, but mob ‘outfits’ strike me as excessive and silly. One positive note thus far: I’ve heard amazing things about O’Hare International. Oh, and since the Chicago Fire of 1871, the city rightfully boasts superior urban planning.

Image
Pablo Picasso, Woman with a Helmet of Hair, 1904.
Gouache on tan wood pulp board, 42.7 x 31.3 cm.
The Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago.

So what is it that has me perpetually itching to check out this mid-western city for an indeterminable period of time? I’m pretty keen on the people – they’re all kind and witty, they don’t take themselves too seriously, and they seem to hold the mid-western charm sans dopey accent. And perhaps the entire east coast could stand to have a bit of that rubbed off on them.

Image
Pablo Picasso, Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler, 1910.
Oil on canvas, 100.4 x 72.4 cm.
The Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago.

More, most importantly, really, the art and cultural scene hold their own when it comes to other large American cities, which I will not specifically name, but I’m sure you can guess which I mean. Chicago was the first to open its arms to exhibitions of Cubism, Surrealism, and all of their strange yet beautiful friends. Even Pablo Picasso, who never once even stepped foot the United States, dedicated a statue, one of his last I might add, to the city of Chicago. The Art Institute of Chicago is responsible for 350 of Picasso’s pieces. I wouldn’t call myself a Picasso enthusiast, but that’s a rather serious collection to speak of.

Image
Pablo Picasso, Man with a Pipe, 1915.
Oil on canvas, 130.2 x 89.5 cm.
The Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago.

Anyone interested in catching the next flight to Chicago? We can rendezvous in O’Hare and split a Chicago-style hotdog. Who knows, maybe the Cubs will be spectacular this year. While we wait for that to happen, we can visit The Art Institute of Chicago’s Picasso and Chicago exhibit, on through 12 May 2013. If the flight is too much of a change for you, dig into Picasso by Victoria Charles for a parallel look at his life and artworks.

-Le Lorrain Andrews