• Can’t touch this!

    n A few months ago, I interviewed a person who touched this painting. That’s right. He put his finger right on it in order to point something out to me. More about this transgressive act later. n Today I watched as the painting handlers (those hardy young men who drill holes in museum walls, pick…


  • John Updike said…

    n This morning I listened to Terry Gross’ interviews with John Updike and since I’ve been mulling over the nature of portraits and what draws us to them, I was struck by this comment he made about faces: n “The whole idea of a face is slightly funny, isn’t it? If you can put yourself…


  • Here’s looking at you

    There’s no question about it – I’m a “people person”. How else could I spend my days in a museum approaching total strangers and engaging them in conversation? So, when I walk through a gallery I’m most often struck by paintings that look back at me, that is to say, by portraits. n What makes…


  • White

    n Two days ago at a press conference in Millennium Park, Mayor Daley warned residents about this week’s dangerously cold temperatures while at the same time announcing a new campaign to attract tourists from around the world to Chicago in the winter. In his cavalier way, Mayor Daley mocked the media for sounding the alarm…


  • …chose plus amusante, il a neigé

    n «Le temps est abominable ici. Chaque matin quand je me réveille, je regarde par les vitres le temps qu’il fait : il pleut ou il neige ou, pour varier, il neige ou il pleut ou bien, chose plus amusante, il a neigé. Alors il y a sur ma fenêtre, qui est horizontale, un ou…


  • The best day ever

    n Okay, I’m going to do something I’ve never done before and would like your indulgence: I’m going to journal. I won’t burden you with what I’m eating or knitting or wearing, but I will tell you all about my day at the ‘stute because it was uplifting, stimulating, and just plain ol’ fun. n…


  • Happy New Year!

    n I’m slowly coming out of my holiday coma of sleep, food, and liquor and would like to extend an apology to all those who wanted to read something new during the holidays, only to see Méry Laurent’s (Olympia’s) blasé countenance challenging them to a staring match each time they logged on. I just read…


  • Emotion, or lack thereof

    n …”arguably the least love-struck woman in all Western painting.” – Michael Fried n In his book Pictures and Tears James Elkins explores the act of crying in front of painting, an act that if one is to believe him (and I do) strikes most academics to be as shameful as farting during an inopportune…


  • My first museum dream…

    n Last night I had my first museum dream! I was a giant, dark red protean-like blob hovering in the sky, much like the castles do in Miyazaki’s Castle in the Sky (the dark red was the same color as the beads worn by the Young Woman at an Open Half Door). Thousands of black…


  • Gabrielle, part two

    n Drats! Blasted 19th century infant mortality! Yesterday, I went back to the Ryerson library to finish reading Roger Bonniot’s Gustave Courbet en Saintonge in the hopes of finding some clues about Gabrielle’s descendants. The news was sobering. Let’s start out with her mother, Laure. She had five children: Louise Corinne, Louise Laure, Gabrielle (not…