I had visited the museum years ago with my brother on another trip we made to Chicago and remembered really enjoying it. My partner had never been so we thought it would be as good a time as any to check it out.
After our metro train was delayed by twenty minutes we finally headed downtown from the nearby city of Oak Park. After getting off at our stop we confidently went in the complete opposite direction. On our way to the wrong location we got hungry and decided to eat at a famous local spot called Chipotle.
After realizing we were going the wrong way we turned around and headed to our destination. When we finally reached the lobby we had about thirty minutes left before we had to head back to Oak Park, pick up our bags, and catch our flight. We decided touring the museum wasn’t in the cards for us today. We stopped by the gift store and got a magnet commemorating our fruitful visit to the museum.
The first museum I remember going to was a field trip in the fifth grade when we went to the Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum down in San Jose. I remember being excited that we were going on a field trip, bored for the first couple hours, and then excited again when I got to see some old real life mummies.
The next time I remember going to a museum was actually the SF MOMA. I went there with a friend who was a designer in the beginning of 2017. To be completely honest, I don’t remember much from that visit. I do remember that there were entire floors of modern art which went completely over my head. I stared and stared at the pieces and didn’t feel anything.
The only other exhibit I remember was a picture series by a woman named Diane Arbus. She took black and white portraits centered around people she saw in Manhattan. Some of those pictures were beautiful and others were haunting.
Ironically, the last museum I visited was the Chicago Art Institute. Years ago when my brother was still in college I visited him in St. Louis and we drove up to Chicago. We were looking for things to do in the daytime and so booked tickets to the museum.
We ended up spending hours there. I remember seeing endless pieces of ancient art and marveling at how old they were. Again, there were entire floors of modern and contemporary art which continued to make no sense to me whatsoever.
The most memorable part of this visit was once again an artist who centered their pieces around the human experience. At the time the museum had an exhibition highlighting the work of Charles White. White grew up in Chicago around the Great Depression and focused his work on African American triumphs and struggles. He used charcoal to create these striking, rich black and white paintings.
Unlike abstract and landscape paintings his art felt real and striking. Those pieces really moved me, and I remember his drawing of a mother cradling her son while looking straight ahead to this day.
The most recent failed attempt at experiencing a gallery has motivated me to check out more local art around me. As Jeremy Walsh has recently highlighted, the Tri-Valley has a bustling art scene with its own share of artists. The Bankhead theater in particular rotates through art exhibitions on a regular basis. I’ll be on the lookout for a local show that catches my eye.