I arrived in Chicago at 9:30 am to realize I had the day off (Veterans Day). Yeah, I’m really that busy that these things slip by. So what did I do in lieu of working and attending a conference that hadn’t started? I went on a search for my favorite artist – Mark Rothko. I did some research and discovered the Art Institute of Chicago had Untitled (Purple, White, and Red) 1953 on display. This is a big deal to me. I spent a year and a half of my life studying Abstract Expressionism. Rothko, Kline, Pollock, de Kooning, Hoffman, Motherwell, De Niro Sr…I was (and still am) obsessed with these guys. It was quite a treat to see and experience their work.
But, I didn’t focus solely on my guys…I checked out my favorites pre-Abstract Expressionism. I was equally obsessed with the Impressionists, but they’ve taken a back seat for the last several years and look to stay there. Here’s one of my favorite van Gogh’s. I wasn’t expecting to see this exact painting…to say I was overwhelmed doesn’t accurately describe my response. To stand inches away from a masterpiece yields a feeling I aim to replicate the rest of my life.
Ok, so here was the piece de resistance – a room full of Monet’s. Haystacks EVERYWHERE! You gotta understand, at the High Museum in Atlanta we have one Monet on display and I’ve seen it a thousand times. I love it dearly, but there’s only one. So when I walked into the Monet room and saw four walls stacked with his work my jaw dropped – literally. I slowly spun in circles taking it in…borderline Stendhal syndrome.
Afterwards I walked down Michigan Ave to check out the Ralph Lauren store (the largest in the world). It is far and away the nicest store I have ever been to. And, by the way, being a former haberdasher, I check out a TON of clothing stores when I travel. This one takes the cake and there isn’t a close second.
Staircase from the first to second floor…amazing.
My journeys took me unexpectedly to the 4th Presbyterian Church. I happened to walk by and notice it was open to the public. Being an explorer (both urban and natural) I had to check it out.
I was overwhelmed YET AGAIN! So much beauty in one day. I sat in a pew and prayed. And I prayed big time. Life is infinitely more fulfilling when you know you’re on a mission bestowed upon you by God.
I capped off the day with a cup of coffee at the Ritz. So you may be wondering, who does business travel like this? Good question. Like I said, technically I had the day off, as did my entire company, so I took in as much of Chicago as I could in twelve hours. I did a ton of other things too…like dinner at Giordano’s, Millennium Park, and the Sears Tower. Here’s the tradeoff – I have to attend a banking conference all week. Yeah, not ideal…I know. But, I had a great time acting like a 35-year-old Ferris Bueller.
Sincerely, The Graduate (at Brown)