Archive for August, 2007

Farnsworth House mostly dry during recent floods


But a close call it was.

Well, I asked how the Farnsworth House did during the floods and I got my answer.

Photos courtesy of Landmarks Illinois


Days of rain
that I found beautiful.

Never had I seen so much water fall from the Chicago sky. Night after night we were woken by thunder. Each evening presented a beautiful show of bright white veins running across the sky. As revelatory as the cracks in a old world master painting. The most impressive day was Wednesday, thousands gathered under Frank Gehry’s trellis in Millennium Park to enjoy the first Chicago Dancing Festival. It began in such humidity that they had to mop the stage between acts (you think I’m kidding?) Then a light breeze from the lake joined us and cooled it down. Chilly winds blew by the time the extraordinary dancers of the San Francisco Ballet took everyone’s breath away. As the dance festival ended, the city started it’s Wednesday night fireworks over the lake; looking at all this and the colors and shapes of the city seen from Millennium Park, it was one of those “I’d rather be here than anywhere else” nights. And then, as the fireworks ended –

The Lord laid it on the line. “Ya wanna see a show?” The most terrible, wonderful, warm, enlightening rainstorm imaginable lit up the sky, poured down to earth, and soaked us warmly. The rest had been prelude. I got happily drenched just puddle jumping across one street to get the car, after stopping for coffee at Dunkin’ Donuts.

For nearly a week, each evening came a great skyborn movie, with deep bass thunder. I couldn’t believe there was any water left in the sky, so much fell on us.

And then, Thursday’s tornado. And many grand old trees knocked over. And the ranch house in the suburbs where I am staying as I wait to go to Boston flooded. A foot of water in the basement. Of course, just a couple of weeks earlier I’d put my things there, taken from my upper floor in the high-rise in the city!

Even today, five days later, still no power. We’ve been running a generator, to pump, have some light, oh and of course, to make coffee.

It’s kind of fun, the neighbors get closer, you see what people owned as they throw it out on the side of the road (I didn’t know that neighbor sold carpet – their driveway lined with multi-colored samples set out to dry looks like a Muslim prayer room.) And in the evening dusk has a weight, as it matters more. And we’ve been lucky, the moon is nearly full, and looks colorful and happy as we remember what she looks like, without streetlights and tv’s flashing .


(When it clears I’ll drive to Ohio to see Sanaa’s work at Toledo and Coop Himmel(blau) in Akron, then on to Richard Serra at MOMA in New York)

But – how bad is the water at the Farnsworth House?


Happy Birthday to Picasso’s gift to Chicago!

Forty years ago today.

At 40 we still don’t know what you are. But we love you.

Even though you’ve been superseded a bit by

Anish Kapoor’s Cloud Gate in Millennium Park.

Which came first, the monkey or the egg?

Picasso’s arrived when Chicago still had tinges of “rust-belt city.” (1967)
Kapoor’s “Cloud Gate” of 2006 shows off our new beaming optimism.

I love them both.
Two examples of public art that make one feel good to be in the place where they are.


On vacation.
Will post sporadically.
Thinking about what I’ve seen.
And you.


On the road. Looking at buildings. Will post as possible.
Enjoy the August weeks of summer. -E


Mies’ window frames

Coming soon, the scoop on what we’ll do to these window frames.


Back to Black
at Mies van der Rohe’s Lake Shore Drive Apartments

The first photo of a newly repainted portion of 880 Lake Shore Drive. Looking good. Now you see why I was so enthused about painting it.
We now see how very grey and faded the buildings are.

Below is the other sample, a more matte black, on the bottom left. To the left of the glossy black.

The original black paint went on glossy, but quickly faded. So if the center sample here faded quickly it might be allright. Or something in between. But the restoration architects are leaning towards the sample on the left.

Imagine how gorgeous it will be when the entire tower is painted.

As is Crown Hall after its recent renovation. We’re lucky to be living in modern times.



Transgendered Chicago ?

It’s not Frank Gehry (I mean the building.)

Do you know what and where is the building reflected here?

And can you tell me why once brawny, boxy, broken-nose,
broad-shouldered Chicago is growing curves?

More soon.