Morbidly Curious

Freshly back from the Chicago Cultural Center and an exhibit I’ve been meaning to see for weeks: Morbid Curiosity.

I’m in love with all things boney (snicker). Of the skulls and skeletons persuasion, mostly. (Ironic considering my intense aversion and fear of corpses. It’s different without the flesh, OK?) So imagine my excitement when the Cultural Center began hosting an exhibit featuring more than 500 fantastically macabre works of art from this independent collector, Richard Harris. Now it only occurred to me after visiting the exhibit that Harris is an independent collector of this shit. Like he just decided to buy kooky death-related art for kicks one day. He began collecting antique illustrated books, then moved onto prints by master artists, then felt like moving on to death-related objects in 2001. Since then, he’s accumulated more that 1500 pieces focusing on death and bodies. Oh, hobbies.

Now, I need to mention: Before going to the exhibit I stopped for coffee at this adorable little joint, Toni Patisserie and Cafe. They had the most beautiful cakes, macaroons, and gorgeous little cookies. It was all very French-feeling. And they served Metropolis, had soy milk and Truvia: successful.

Cute, no? Via their website

And the inimitable Mr. Tony greeted my late ass with his winning smile and the following written on the sidewalk:

Le sigh...

So yes. Many cool things happening at the Cultural Center. Very cool ceilings and ornately decorated rooms. Exhibits with tragically beautiful dilapidated spaces and a very neat typography and letterforms display. That’s where the top picture came from. And this one:

It looks like it would show up on Pinterest. In fact, I think I’ll pin it right now.

Morbid Curiosity: lots of very cute skellie illustrations I wouldn’t mind owning, and a couple truly disturbing pieces. John Issac’s “Are You Still Mad at Me?” evoked a very visceral reaction from me, as did The War Room, especially a piece modeled after La Pieta with limbless fatigues as Jesus and the Virgin. It covered a wide range of themes involving death, mirroring the complex spectrum of associations that we ourselves hold with death. Dia de los Muertos, with its calaveras and haughty, clothed bones, pokes fun at death and the bourgeoisie; war memorials pay homage to the very real tragedy of lives lost violently and unnecessarily; an image of two lovers kissing making up a larger skull serves as a momento mori–“et in Arcadia ego.” All in all the exhibit was so thought-provoking, and amazing considering it was free and open to the public. Definitely rivaled some of the exhibits I’ve peeped at the MCA or Art Institute. Another reason Chicago is awesome.

Whilst flipping through an errant copy of the latest CS left on a bench at the Cultural Center, T found a rad wide-angle picture of the Lincoln Park Zoo’s South Pond Pavilion. So we went there and it was voluptuous and beautiful.

South Pond Pavilion via Inhabitat

Today was a good day.


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