Enter a ‘Lord of the Rings’ type bugs encounter

 

The Orchid Mantis is attractive and deadly. It is among the Field Museum's Fantastic Bug Encounters. (J Jacobs photo)
The Orchid Mantis is attractive and deadly. It is among the Field Museum’s Fantastic Bug Encounters. (J Jacobs photo)

 

You don’t have to be interested in entomology to enjoy and be fascinated by the new exhibit opened the end of June  at Chicago’s Field Museum. You are even likely to go home from the exhibit, called “Fantastic Bug Encounters!” with some interesting facts to pass along such as how one of the species, the jewel wasp, performs’ brain surgery” on cockroaches to turn them into zombies.

Meet the bees in their hive. (J Jacobs photo
Meet the bees in their hive. (J Jacobs photo

By the way, the word “fantastic” is a perfect description because the exhibition is on loan from New Zealand’s famed Te Papa Tongarewa museum where it developed the exhibition with the Academy Award-Winning Weta Workshop.

Think “Lord of the Rings” and you will walk in prepared for what you will encounter. The Weta Workshop produced sets, costumes, weapons, armour, and creatures for director Peter Jackson’s film trilogy. And Weta is the name of a giant, flightless prehistoric cricket group native to New Zealand.

So be warned, you walk into giant, pod-like homes of such real bug creatures as the Japanese honey bee and the jewel wasp. Take a selfie if you dare turn your back on one of them.

But for those visitors who would like to know more about the insects and some spiders, there are several interactive stations that tell about different creatures’ wing design, camouflage, speed, reflexes and superpowers.

Not all of insects will be dead. The exhibit includes a small Live Bug Zoo where a museum staffer will handle some of them so visitors can see them up close.

A Field Museum staffer holds a patent leather beetle for visitors from the Chicago Park district to see. (J Jacobs photo)
A Field Museum staffer holds a patent leather beetle for visitors from the Chicago Park district to see. (J Jacobs photo)

These encounters are on the hour from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. with a patent leather beetle, a lubber grasshopper, a death feigning beetle and a Madagascar hissing cockroach.

Plus, there are some live bugs in glass enclosures to see and not touch such as the emperor scorpion, a stick mantis and a pink-toed tarantula.

“Bugs are weird, beautiful, and fascinating creatures, and we’re proud to be able to share them with visitors of all ages in Fantastic Bug Encounters!” said Jaap Hoogstraten, Field Museum Exhibitions Director. “This exhibition is full of gorgeous larger-than-life models that show what these animals look like close-up and how they’ve perfectly adapted to the world around them—our visitors will never look at bugs the same way again.”

DETAILS: Fantastic Bug Encounters!” is at the Field Museum, 1400 S. Lake Shore Drive, on Chicago’s museum campus near Soldier Field, Chicago now through April 19, 2020. For hours and ticket information call (312) 922.9410 and visit Field Museum.

Jodie Jacobs

Cows return to Chicago

‘Holy Cow’
(Photo courtesy of Harry Carey’s Restaurant)

About 20 of the original herd of more than 300 cows are returning to downtown Chicago for the month of July. Look for them in the Jane Byrne Park abutting Chicago’s historic Water Tower. But who knows, a few may pop up elsewhere.

The bovines in the park mark the 20th anniversary of 1999’s “Cows on Parade,” thanks to the Magnificent Mile Association which is calling the return exhibit “Cows Come Home.

The cows lived mostly on Michigan Avenue and in the Loop from June 15 through Oct. 31 1999 until they were auctioned off (money went to different charities).

Mooving Eli. Eli, the cow, sports roller blades to keep on moovin' toward a big slice of cherry topped cheesecake! Eli is also carrying a large cherry cheesecake with a fork and cake server sculpture in case he runs into any other cows and wants to have a dessert party. Eli's spots are in the shape of the state of Illinois. (Photo courtesy of Magnificent Mile Asociation and Eli's Cheesecake.)
Mooving Eli. Eli, the cow, sports roller blades to keep on moovin’ toward a big slice of cherry topped cheesecake! Eli is also carrying a large cherry cheesecake with a fork and cake server sculpture in case he runs into any other cows and wants to have a dessert party. Eli’s spots are in the shape of the state of Illinois. (Photo courtesy of Magnificent Mile Asociation and Eli’s Cheesecake.)

A check of the records show that Peter Hanig (think shoes) brought the idea to then Chicago Cultural Affairs Commissioner Lois Weisberg in 1998 after he spotted and liked a  Zurich, Switzerland cow display.

Chicago’s fiberglass cows were constructed in three poses (head down, up or prone body) by the same Swiss company, then offered by the Department of Cultural Affairs to various artists to decorate as a Public Art Project.

What followed was that Chicago’s cows achieved international coverage and spawned similar art projects in other cities using different shapes.

'Lady Bug' cow decorates the front of The Talbot Hotel on Chicago's Gold Coast. (Photo courtesy of The Talbott Hotel)
‘Lady Bug’ cow decorates the front of The Talbot Hotel on Chicago’s Gold Coast. (Photo courtesy of The Talbott Hotel)

Among the famous cows that have returned, look for “Holy Cow!” a nod to Hall of Fame Cubs broadcaster Harry Caray (which likely will return to Harry Caray’s 7th Inning Stretch Restaurant), the “Lady Bug” cow last seen climbing? up the front of the Talbott Hotel and “Mooving Eli,” which usually resides at Eli Cheesecake  World.

Take advantage of the cows’ temporary grazing location to go across Michigan Avenue to the other half of the park’s historic campus. Visitors can go into the Chicago Water Works across the street to view and photo its unusual interior and also find out what its resident Lookingglass Theatre is doing this summer and the rest of the season.

. “We are excited to see the artful, whimsical installations on display and hope our patrons will find as much joy in them as we do,”  said Lookingglass Theatre Artistic Director Heidi Stillman.

“As part of the Water Tower Arts District—a district filled with theatre, art, music and culture—Lookingglass Theatre Company is glad to welcome back the Cows on Parade to our neighborhood, ” Stillman said.

Visit the Mag Mile Assoc. blog for more info.

Jodie Jacobs

Museum of Science and Industry captures a World War Two anniversary story

 

German and American uniforms in the U-505 - 75 Stories exhibit at the museum of science and Industry. (J Jacobs photo)
German and American uniforms in the U-505 – 75 Stories exhibit at the museum of science and Industry. (J Jacobs photo)

Seventy five years after Allied troops landed on the beaches of Normandy France, on D Day, June 6, 1944, the seaborn invasion that would change the course of the fight against Nazi Germany was commemorated last week.

What some folks might not know is that there is another World War II 75th anniversary story that also bears telling.and commemorating.

A German submarine, the U 505, was searching for American and Allied ships in waters off the West African coast when it was captured on June 4, 1944 by United States Navy Task Group 22.3.

It was towed by the Guadalanal escort aircraft carrier to near then handed off to the Abnaki, the fleet’s tug to enter Bermuda waters in secret so the Germans wouldn’t know to change the code books and other important materials found on board.

In  Their Finest Hour, Winston Churchill had referred to the U-boat peril as “The only thing that really frightened me during the war…”

But the U boat capture did make a difference.

What the U-505 yielded was approximately 900 pounds of code books and documents, and two Enigma machines that saved the U.S Navy countless hours of decoding.

The U-505 was donated to the Museum of Science and Industry in 1954 where it resides in its own, specially built space and where numerous visitors have toured it or merely stopped to see it.

However, MSI has now pulled out materials and obtained more items for a temporary exhibit to commemorate the capture.

Photo of the U-505 making its way to Chicago in in an exhibit at the Museum of science and Industry. (J Jacobs photo)
Photo of the U-505 making its way to Chicago in in an exhibit at the Museum of science and Industry. (J Jacobs photo)

Opened early June 2019 in time for its own 75th anniversary, the exhibit is “The U-505 Submarine – 75 Stories.”

Housed in a small room on the ground level, it is packed with items from the German sub and items from the American perspective. Visitors should look for scrapbooks, journals, photos and a Marvel comic book about submarines and a book about Capt. Daniel Gallery who commanded the TG 22.3’s Guadalcanal escort aircraft carrier and the destroyer escorts commanded by Frederick S. Hall that were involved in the capture.

Among the exhibit’s FAQS, is that Daniel Gallery’s brother, Father John Ireland Gallery, thought the U-505 should go to Chicago as a war memorial. A photo of the U-505 going under the Michigan Avenue bridge is in the exhibit.

“The exhibit has rarely seen things from our collection,” said MSI Director of Collections  Kathleen McCarthy, the museum’s head curator.

For more exhibit information visit U505 Submarine/75 stories.

The exhibit and viewing of the submarine are included in the admission (submarine tour is extra). For admission and hours see MSI/Visit.

 

Jodie Jacobs

Three stylish blockbuster exhibits

Off-White™ c/o Virgil Abloh, Spring/Summer 2018, Look 11; courtesy of Off-White™ c/o Virgil Abloh. Photo: Fabien Montique.
Off-White™ c/o Virgil Abloh, Spring/Summer 2018, Look 11; courtesy of Off-White™ c/o Virgil Abloh. Photo: Fabien Montique.

 

If thinking about the fashions of tomorrow, head to the Museum of Science and Industry near the Hyde Park neighborhood for “Wired to Wear.”

If anyone in the household is wondering how people break into the fashion industry, go over to the Museum of Contemporary Art for Virgil Abloh’s “Figures of Speech.”

If curious how a famed 19th century artist dresses his models and sees  1870s-1880s Parisian apparel, visit “Manet and Modern Beauty” at the Art Institute of Chicago.

 

 

Microsoft design Smart tattoo of gold and metal leaf. (Photo courtesy of the Museum of Science and Industry.)
Microsoft design Smart tattoo of gold and metal leaf. (Photo courtesy of the Museum of Science and Industry.)

“Wired to Wear”

Some day, probably sooner than you expect, your what-to-wear question will be which of your wired apparel would best suit the day’s activities.

Choices could range from Nike’s Self-Lacing Shoes because of time constraints to a D-Air Racing suit with a cushion that inflates before your crash to prevent injury such as when racing a motorcycle.  Or the choice might range from an Iridescence collar that will detect the mood of people encountered to a Smart Tattoo on the arm that interfaces with your mobile device and makes a personal style statement.

Designed by Microsoft, the tattoo in the exhibit allows visitors to create notes on an instrument and even control lighting. To hear more about it go to Duoskin.

Similar to the Coal Mine, visitors need a special ticket in addition to museum entry. Opened in Mid-Mach 2019, the exhibit continues to May 2020. MSI is at 5700 S. Lake Shore Dr., Chicago. For hours and other information see Visit.

 

Virgil Abloh: “Figures of Speech”, MCA Chicago June 10 – September 22, (2019 Photo: Nathan Keay, © MCA Chicago.)
Virgil Abloh: “Figures of Speech”, MCA Chicago June 10 – September 22, (2019 Photo: Nathan Keay, © MCA Chicago.)

“Figures of Speech”

Engineer, architect, artist, fashion designer, Virgil Abloh is a 30-seomthing, black male from Rockford, Il whose creativity and determination has taken him from t-shirt designs to founding “Off-White,” his own line in Milan, and becoming Louis Vuitton Men’s Artistic Director.

But what the MCA exhibit which opens to the public June 10 does, is more than highlight Abloh’s career to date. It also offers the artist’s sense of astonishment that he has been successful in an industry not exactly populated by blacks.

So race is an underlying theme. However, Abloh also hopes the exhibit will inspire youngsters to go for their dreams undeterred by obstacles. There is an accompanying store, called “Church and State,” that is on the same 4th floor as the exhibit. It has Abloh items and a catalogue that further explains the theme and the “go-for-it philosophy.

The exhibit goes to Sept. 22, 2019. MCA is at 220 E. Chicago Ave., Chicago. Admission is by timed tickets. For more information or tickets call 312-397-4010.or see Visit and Events.

 

Édouard Manet. Letter to Madame Jules Guillemet, Decorated with a Portrait and a Still Life of a Bag and a Parasol, July 1880. Private Collection. (Credit: Saint Honoré Art Consulting, Paris.)
Édouard Manet. Letter to Madame Jules Guillemet, Decorated with a Portrait and a Still Life of a Bag and a Parasol, July 1880. Private Collection. (Credit: Saint Honoré Art Consulting, Paris.)

 

“Manet and Modern Beauty”

In his early years, 19th century French artist Édouard Manet had primarily focused on historical and religious subjects. But in his later years when he transitioned to Impressionism he became interested in modern life and ladies’ fashionable apparel and leisure activities. The exhibit features more than 90 works from paintings to letters.

The audio devise that accompanies the exhibit and some of the wall descriptions explain clothing choices and mention the stylish apparel of men and women.

The Art Institute of Chicago is at 111 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago. The exhibit is only up this summer and ends Sept. 8, 2019.  For admission and hours see AIC/visit.

 

These exhibits deserve to be on the summer do list.

Jodie Jacobs

 

June art shows and gallery exhibits

 

Outdoor art fairs are a summer activity in suburbs and Chicago. (J Jacobs photo)
Outdoor art fairs are a summer activity in suburbs and Chicago. (J Jacobs photo)

Whether seeing art shows outside or exhibits inside, summer is a great time to check on what artists have been doing in their studios. Also, it’s a chance to find just the right piece for over the mantle or to spark conversation in a sitting area. Here are a few shows tovisit in June or until they disappear.

 

Chicago Artists Coalition is sponsoring “Far from the distance we see,” an exhibition of new works by Mev Luna. Opening May 31 with a reception from 5 to 8 p.m., the exhibit continues through July 11, 2019 at 2130 W. Fulton St., Chicago. For more information visit Chicago Artists Coalition/events.

 

Gold Coast Art Fair, a huge annual show that attracts 300 exhibitors, moved to June 1-2 this year at Butler Field in Grant Park at South Lake shore Drive and Monroe Street behind the Art Institute of Chicago. Hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. For more information visit Amdur Productions/Gold Coast.

 

57th Street Art Fair in Chicago’s  Hyde Park neighborhood, near 5631 S. Kimbark June 1-2.. Hours: Saturday 11 a.m. – 6 p.m., Sunday 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Considered the oldest Midwest juried art fair it has about 250 exhibitors. For more information visit 57th Street Art Fair.

 

MoniqueMeloche a fine art gallery at 451 N. Paulina St. is showing “Basking Never Hurt No One” by artist Cheryl Pope, June 6 through Aug. 17, 2019. He opening reception is June 6 from 5 to 8 p.m. For more information visit Moniquemeloche.

 

Old Town Art Fair runs June 8-9 this year. Hours are 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. June 8 and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. June 9. The main entry is at Lincoln Avenue at Wisconsin in the Old Town triangle District. Suggested donation is $10. More information is at Old Town Art Fair.

 

The Art Center (TAC) summer exhibits are “Undercurrents” and “Inside/Outside,” June 14 through Aug. 3, 2019. TAC is at 1957 Sheridan Rd., Highland Park. The artists reception is June 14 at  5:30 p.m. For more information visit The Art Center/Exhibits.

 

North Shore Art League’s “Art in the Village” is June 22 – 23, 2019 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. both days in Hubbard Woods Park, 939 Green Bay Rd., Winnetka. For more information visit North Shore Art League.

 

Festival of Fine Arts takes place June 22-23 on Sheridan Road on the north east side of downtown Highland Park. Hours are 10 a.m.-5 p.m. For more information visit Amdur Productions/Highland Park.

Jodie Jacobs

 

Art Institute turns spotlight on Édouard Manet

 

Jeanne (Spring); Édouard Manet (French, 1832 - 1883); France; 1881; Oil on canvas; 74 × 51.5 cm (29 1/8 × 20 1/4 in.); 2014.62 (Photo courtesy of Art Institute of Chicago)
Jeanne (Spring); Édouard Manet (French, 1832 – 1883); France; 1881; Oil on canvas; 74 × 51.5 cm (29 1/8 × 20 1/4 in.); 2014.62
(Photo courtesy of Art Institute of Chicago)

If you are only familiar with 19th century French artist Édouard Manet’s early and middle period styles you are likely to find quite a few surprises in  “Manet and Modern Beauty,” a wonderfully extensive, new exhibit at the Art Institute of Chicago that showcases his later works.

Before he died in 1883 at age 51 from complications from syphilis and rheumatism, Manet was influencing other painters as he moved from a transgressive style in the 1860s to Impressionism in the 1870s and from historical and religious subjects to modern life and what he could capture “plein air” as influenced by Berthe Morisot.

Now, get to know his late 70’s and early 80’s works plus see some earlier, important Impressionism pieces. “Manet and Modern Beauty” is the first Art Institute show to focus just on Manet in more than 50 years.

Read More

A ‘Marvelocity’ of Alex Ross and superheroes

'Marvelocity" has original artwork by Alex Ross and superhero figures and busts. (J Jacobs photo)
‘Marvelocity” has original artwork by Alex Ross and superhero figures and busts. (J Jacobs photo)

If you follow superhero adventures or appreciate comic-book art should check out the Marvelocity Exhibit at Lake County Forest Preserves’ Dunn Museum.

Walk in and you see a life-size figure of Captain America surrounded by life-size busts of the Hulk, Nightcrawler, Wolverine, Silver Sureer, Spider-Man Green Goblin, Iron Man, Dr. Doom. These superheroes and others have been revitalized by famed comic book artist Alex Ross.

The walls are covered with his original artwork. A movie talks about Ross and a board explains how Ross and collaborator Kurt Busiek put together a project tying Marvel heroes to historic events from 1939 to 73 that became “Marvels.” Also highlighted is his “Kingdom Come”project with DC.

But the exhibit also goes back to PBS’ “Spidey Super Stories” that inspired Ross as early as age 5.

Now, Ross and the folks at the LCFP want to encourage future comic book artists with the “Comic Book Cover Contest.” Teens age 13-18 may submit original artwork no larger than 18 by 24 inches that could be used for a comic book cover by June 1. The winner gets a free guided tour of the exhibit with Ross.  See Contest for more information and entry form.

Poster for Marvelocity. (J Jacobs of the Lake County Forest Preserves Dunn Museum photo)
Poster for Marvelocity. (J Jacobs of the Lake County Forest Preserves Dunn Museum photo)

In addition there is a poster with a $1 off coupon, shown here as a photo that can be copied and cut, for visiting the exhibit which is up through Sept. 8, 2019

The Dunn Museum is in the Lake County Forest Preserves General Offices building at 1899 W. Winchester Rd, Libertyville, IL 60048. The building is in a corporate center on the south east side of Technology Way. Admission is $6 for adults; $3 for seniors and youth ages 4-17; free for children ages 3 and under.  Visit Dunn Museum for more information.

Jodie Jacobs

Hamilton: The Exhibition opens

Hamilton The Exhibition opens on Northerly Island (Photo courtesy of Broadway In Chicago)
Hamilton The Exhibition opens on Northerly Island (Photo courtesy of Broadway In Chicago)

Heads up “Hamilton” lovers and anyone interested in Alexander Hamilton’s life.

“Hamilton: The Exhibition” (also called “Ham”), situated in an all-weather structure on Northerly Island, opens April 27. The island stretches south of the Museum Campus just west of the Adler Planetarium. The exhibition is at 1536 S. Linn White Drive.

“Hamilton” creator Lin-Manuel Miranda narrates the audio tour with the musical’s original Broadway actors, Phillipa Soo (Eliza Schuyler) and Christopher Jackson (George Washington).

Go to learn more about Hamilton’s early years and the start up of the United States of America through multi-media and historical artifacts that take visitors to St. Croix, New York of 1776 and George Washington’s war tent.

To learn more visit Hamilton Exhibition.

To hear Creative Director David Konins talk about the exhibition visit YouTube.

For tickets visit TicketMaster/HamiltonExhibition.  And for CPS and groups go to BroadwayInChicago/Groups.

Jodie Jacobs