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Chicago Diary July 2009 - Visual Art, Culinary Art

New modern wing of the Art InstituteMonday, July 20th - Day 2:  Visual Art, Culinary Art

We enjoyed a leisurely breakfast of  yogurt, homemade granola and berries, with coffee brewed in a very impressive looking Miele Coffee maker, and set off early on our explorations. First stop was McCormick Place, the largest convention centre in North America. This was the main site of the conference, although meetings and events were also scheduled in several of the downtown hotels. I had pre-registered but wanted to pick up my registration materials and programs to check out times and places of the events I planned to attend. 

This is probably my 5th time attending a meeting at McCormick  Place  and the third since 2001  and it seems larger and more impressive every time I come. Anyway I dashed in while my friend waited in the car. Luckily my last name starts with L because at that particular time, the G to L booth was the only one without a lineup. Within minutes the friendly people manning or perhaps one should say womanning the booth had got me my badge, conference bag and materials, and I was riding down the long steep escalators to the exit.


Lurie GardenOur next and main stop was the Art Institute of Chicago in Grant Park. It is known, among other things, for having a fantastic collection of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist art. On May 16, 2009, the Art Institute opened the 264,000 square foot addition of the Modern Wing, designed by Italian architect Renzo Piano. This makes the Art Institute the second-largest museum in the US, second only to New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art. It was almost noon when we got there so we decided we would have lunch in the new courtyard restaurant, Terzo Piano, named in honour of the architect.

We parked in the underground parking and then strolled through Millenium Park, enjoying the beauty of the Lurie Garden, a perennial paradise with grasses and wild flowers. Crossing the Nichols Bridgeway, we walked up to the third floor of the Art Institute and had lunch at the Terzo Piano restaurant.

Then we wandered around the modern wing and the original galleries of the Art Institute for a couple of hours. I was particularly fascinated by one exhibit which featured a projection of a spiderweb-like structure that was disrupted by movement detected by a sensor. Words were digitally projected onto the web.The movement distorted the web which reverted back to its normal design when movement stopped. I could not figure out exactly how it worked but it appealed to me.

When we got tired, we headed home for tea and a brief rest before dinner. The restaurant my friend had selected for the evening was called Perennial. We had reservations for 7:30 and I looked forward to yet another good meal.