A Night at the Art Institute

Thursday nights the Art Institute of Chicago is free to residents of Illinois. In an attempt to become more cultured I’ve started to take advantage of this perk. According to the website, there are nearly 300,000 works of art “in fields ranging from Chinese bronzes to contemporary design and from textiles to installation art.” Based on the rest of my research, it’s somewhere around a million square feet—but for some odd reason, sources are cagey on that one.

There are lots of fascinating people at an art museum.

Stop and Stare: Their family members go through an entire wing in the time it takes them to look at two paintings.

40,000 Feet: Some people say life isn’t about the destination, it’s about the journey. Others firmly believe that even if they’re not sure what the destination is, they should get there as fast as possible—besides, all the paintings start to look the same after a while.

Social Experience: If all your friends are going to the museum, you definitely don’t want to be the one who gets left out and doesn’t go! Even if you don’t actually ever look at anything while you’re there.

Art Student: A lot of people at the museum are taking pictures of art—but not many of them are wearing a leopard print trench coat, jeans cut off mid-calf, glittery black Keds, a thick gold necklace, massive black framed glasses, and a neon green baseball cap (perched jauntily atop bubble gum pink hair). Self-expression is a form of art . . . right?

Dinner Party: For a hike in the Andes, I’d wear boots and practical duds. For an elegant evening gala, I’d wear an elegant dress and pumps. One million square feet to cover sounds more like the hike in the Andes to me, but maybe that’s why I never get invited to banquets. Host is concerned I’d show up in hiking boots.

Trying to up my sophistication level but I really can’t tell you what the artist was feeling based on his brush strokes: ‘Nuff said.

Oblivious: Bumps the person beside them and look conveys varying levels of two prevalent emotions. 1) Surprise. When did they get there??? 2) Annoyance. Why are they standing so close to me? (Yes, you’re right. You’d think with 1,000,000 square feet of real estate, personal space wouldn’t be a problem).

First Date: Less awkward than spaghetti at an Italian place. As awkward as a high school basketball game. More awkward than snorkeling.

FINALLY, A BENCH: By the look of it, hasn’t sat down for at least a month. Maybe two.

* Typed this whole post with one hand while eating fresh popcorn with the other.