Archive for the ‘Carson’s’ Category

09/03/2006

Mr. Sullivan, thank you for your gifts.

Walking around today on this, Louis Sullivan’s 150th birthday.

I ducked into his

to say hello.

Carson’s department store entrance looks like the entryway to a modern middle ages cathedral, doesn’t it?

The light through those quatrefoil shaped windows above, changed my mood.
Took me on a trip, at least to France, if not beyond.
Like the German expression, I felt as comfortable “as G-d in France!”

I looked through the glass and felt the generations of urbanistic thought filtered through one artist – Louis Sullivan. His French ancestry came through, as did the nature-based spirit of his contemporaries from Transcendentalist New England.

Blues and yellows penetrated the glass,
the ornament was alive and curved sinuously, like

Jane Avril dancing at the Moulin Rouge

I danced, back outside, to State Street.
Chicago in the late summer air
but only along Louis Sullivan’s building,

felt very Parisian. State Street, ‘Boulevard de l’Etat’.

A street musician blew jazz into the air.
The notes swirled around Louis’ facade.

I gave him a dollar, and asked him to play ‘Happy Birthday.’

-Edoardo

Advertisements

09/03/2006

Mr. Sullivan, thank you for your gifts.

Walking around today on this, Louis Sullivan’s 150th birthday.

I ducked into his

to say hello.

Carson’s department store entrance looks like the entryway to a modern middle ages cathedral, doesn’t it?

The light through those quatrefoil shaped windows above, changed my mood.
Took me on a trip, at least to France, if not beyond.
Like the German expression, I felt as comfortable “as G-d in France!”

I looked through the glass and felt the generations of urbanistic thought filtered through one artist – Louis Sullivan. His French ancestry came through, as did the nature-based spirit of his contemporaries from Transcendentalist New England.

Blues and yellows penetrated the glass,
the ornament was alive and curved sinuously, like

Jane Avril dancing at the Moulin Rouge

I danced, back outside, to State Street.
Chicago in the late summer air
but only along Louis Sullivan’s building,

felt very Parisian. State Street, ‘Boulevard de l’Etat’.

A street musician blew jazz into the air.
The notes swirled around Louis’ facade.

I gave him a dollar, and asked him to play ‘Happy Birthday.’

-Edoardo

02/02/2006

Unexpected Encounters with Art

Have you ever had a totally unexpected encounter with great art? You know, you’re walking down the street and then boom! There it is. A work you didn’t know was there. And it just knocks you out. And your experience is far more visceral and I think it even goes in a different part of the brain because – you’re not prepared for it. You’re not thinking about what you’re supposed to be thinking about this work of art. You’re not thinking about what you’ve read about it. (If it has plot you haven’t heard the end- so much of so-called criticism these days is little more than just telling you the entire story in advance, including the denouement! Thanks, critics. How self-indulgent of you. A self-indulgent art critic? ‘ nevah met one!) And when you run into great art unexpectedly, you’re happy, because you think you’re smart because you put yourself in the right place at the right time.

So when has this happened to you? Could be a movie you heard nothing about, went, and couldn’t even blink for fear of missing a frame. When I was a kid, “Walkabout” did that to me.

Or I remember, in sixth grade, AV wheeled a big old metal TV on a rolling stand into our math class so we could watch the World Series. Flipping through the five channels that existed, looking for the game, the AV kid happened for just a moment
on Miriam Makeba singing “the Click song.” He knew that wasn’t what he wanted but he paused ever so lightly, because I think he was touched by it. But then, he turned the channel and found the ball game and we listened to that. For hours. I don’t remember a single sound from it. But the unexpected single moment of Makeba changed my life forever. I had never heard a sound so beautiful. I had never heard language used so sensually, so gorgeously. I had never heard English spoken with such soft rolling letters, like rolling hills. The warmth in her tone melted something in me, took me back to when all was soft. Maybe it was more powerful for having been a snippet, just an elusive * moment, and then it was gone. I had to hang on to it if I wanted it to last.

Once in Berlin, I was riding my bicycle, I had no idea which part of town I was in, and I turned a corner, and then BOOM! It knocked off my bike. I had to throw my foot out to the side and stop cold to keep from falling over. Right there, right in front of me, was Peter Behrens’ AEG Turbine Factory. It’s a monolith, it’s a monster, it’s a heavyweight fighter. ‘Nuff said.

I guess often a pretty moon or snow in the park, or icicles make me stop and take notice, and nature is supreme, I agree, but the effect unexpected art has on one is what we’re talking here.

It happens often to me at the Old Town School of Folk Music when I go to see one band, and the warm-up band, previously unknown, are as terrific. (Most recently with Old School Freight Train. They warmed up for bluegrass maestro David Grisman; Grisman’s great, but you know what you get. He’s been doing it for years. This other group came from out of nowhere – at least for me – with a talent and freshness that just hushed the crowd until it was over. More on them soon, they’re coming back to Chicago fairly soon. I’ll let you know.)

The other day I was rushing down State Street to buy some flowers and I looked up as I always do and BOOM! The new cornice going up on Carson’s took my breath away and made my heart beat fast at the same time! You see, because no one had told me -“go see Carson’s new facade,” you experience miraculous moments of creation, in which the brain is trying to process what it sees, and it creates an original response to a powerful stimulus. What fun! The brain are the body and the soul create an original, purely you, unmitigated response. You put the new experience where your previous experiences tell you to put it. That is exhilarating. Because you add to your own self.

So why did I tell you to go see Carson’s cornice and lessen what could have been a potentially powerful experience for you? “Oops!”

-Edward

1. Isn’t this why we don’t like people to tell us the end of movies before we’ve seen them?

2. Walking down the street in Chicago is the best movie of all.

3. Times Have Changed: The Surrealists had these fleeting experiences on the street
with beautiful women. I had mine in a suburban classroom with a woman on TV!

01/26/2006

Nothing can prepare you for seeing the new cornice on Louis Sullivan’s Carson Pirie Scott building.

Some good Louis Sullivan news, (after the destruction of the temple.)

Nothing can prepare you for seeing the cornice.

Nothing.


The way the building now makes the corner, the way the west and north planes unfold like a book, and especially the way the solid building now meets the gaseous sky with such joy!


cor-nice
(kôr’nis) n.
1. A horizontal molded projection that crowns or completes a building.
2. “Why I oughta crown you!” – the Three Stooges!

The building is now bracketed, top and bottom. Now that it’s getting its cornice back – the upward thrust is even stronger than before. Since it has weight on top, and counter-thrust. And because the cornice is a flat straight horizontal line, we feel more strongly than before the rhythm of the windows in between the sidewalk and the sky. And the mid-section of the building, in its rhythm and its beauty, mimics man’s role between earth and the heavens.

Without a cornice, looking at the building was like hearing a jazz quartet with one of the instruments missing; say, the drums. Now they’re all there. You can hear what the parts are trying to do, how they mesh together into a whole. They solo and they blend, and in the cornice riff, Mr. Sullivan sings the perfect resolution of building to sky.

Along the big curve of the building, at the corner of Madison and State (one of the greatest corners on any building in Chicago,) now, along the big curve, six cylinders rise up in rhythm. They culminate in capitals, like treetops, which were not there before. The corner is such a bold statement and has such import, that these capitals seem to hold up the sky.

Before, what Sullivan was trying to say, was cut off in mid-sentence. He had something to say to us, across the decades, even during the bad city decades of the sixties and seventies, but he was cut off. No one would listen. You know that feeling? When you’re trying to tell someone a story, and they cut you off before you can get your complete thought out or finish your story. That was the feeling of the ol’ CornicelessCarson’s. And because most people didn’t want to listen to the story that building had to tell, when those who did stopped to look at it, the top just stuttered. It couldn’t complete its thought. The final chapter up there was missing. But hallelu! now we can see and hear and feel Louis Sullivan’s integrity. So stop by State and Madison and look and listen. You’ll be glad you did.

Hey Macy’s, you wanna do something for the people of Chicago? Put the cornice back on the State Street Marshall Field’s!

-Eduardo