Our Art Institute of Chicago Tour, Gallery 6: Very Contemporary

Woman III!

Roy Lichtenstein. Woman III, 1982. Lichtenstein has fascinated me since high school Many comics fans deride him for his comic-book art swipes as if he were a plagiarist aspiring to launch his own line of romance titles. Kinda misses the point of Pop Art.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover: as part of my 47th birthday celebration, my wife Anne and I drove from Indianapolis up to the Art Institute of Chicago and spent four hours with our eyes wide, heads tilted, curiosities aroused, and cameras and phones at the ready. We barely saw half the museum and will have to return someday for more.

Finished with the old standards of the early-20th-century Americana, we moved on to the second-floor galleries under the broad umbrella title “Contemporary Art”. Among the movements and styles encompassed were abstract expressionism, postminimal sculpture, photomontage, Chicago Imagists, and one of my personal favorites, Pop Art. Some were Chicago natives; some were big names you’re likely to recognize without Googling. A significant portion of their collection were gifted from two donors a few years ago. So much of it was a surprising delight to behold in person.

We went a bit enthusiastic with our cameras in this section. For the sake of time and space conservation, I’ve limited myself to one painting per artist in this entry. If demand or mood dictate, additional outtake collections are possible and entirely likely.

Four Mona Lisas!

Andy Warhol, Four Mona Lisas, 1978. More Ms. Lisas for your money’s worth than the Louvre’s single edition.

Rauschenberg untitled!

Robert Rauschenberg untitled, 1955. Media used in this composition include a sock and a small parachute.


Willem de Kooning, Excavation, 1950. One of several paintings to inspire visiting artists to hang out and contemplate technique.

Corpse and Mirror II!

Jasper Johns, Corpse and Mirror II, 1974-75. Bonus points for crosshatching, which used to be a thing in comics but isn’t so much nowadays.

Untitled (Bolsena)!

Cy Twombly, Untitled (Bolsena), 1969. One in a series of fourteen nonidentical. painted in a two-month stint outside Rome.

Bare Shouldered Beauty and the Pink Creature!

Suellen Rocca, Bare Shouldered Beauty and the Pink Creature, 1965. Rocca found success as part of a collective of AIC grads who called themselves Hairy Who.

Hang Up!

Eva Hesse, Hang Up, 1966. It’s supposed to be absurd. Meta-art, as it were.

Hunting Party!

Gerhard Richter, Jagdgesellschaft (“Hunting Party”), , 1966. The blurring is inherent in the work, not the fault of our cameras for once.


Albert Oehlen, Pon-Wee-Line, 2018, making it the newest work we saw on exhibit. Oehlen has also played in a band called Red Krayola, whose psychedelic career date back to the 1960s.


Jacqueline Humphries, i\Omega…, 2017. That should actually be an omega symbol, but I ran into technical issues while trying to make it look right and cool.


An i\Omega… closeup for the curious.

Africa Restored!

Kerry James Marshall, Africa Restored (Cheryl as Cleopatra), 2003. A living work of sorts, Marshall drops by from time to time and changes up a few elements.

Martha Rosler, House Beautiful: Bringing the War Home, 1967-72. One of a series of ten for which Rosler took images from House Beautiful and inserted Vietnam War photos from Life Magazine.

Dilapidarian Tower!

Richard Hawkins, Dilapidarian Tower, 2010. It’s like someone turned The Raid into a doll house.

Empathy Displacement!

Sue Williams, Empathy Displacement/Loopy in Blue and Orange, 1997. Arguably the most Rorschachian piece here.

The Annunciation!

Jay DeFeo, The Annunciation, 1957-59. She was an official Beat artist.

Mr. Pointy!

Takashi Murakami, Mr. Pointy, 2011. The anime flourishes are unmistakable. This was impossible to capture without reflections, effectively making no two photos of it alike.

City Landscape!

Joan Mitchell, City Landscape, 1955. She shared Pollock’s approach to the canvas in a few ways, but with an intent all her own.

Number 17A!

Jackson Pollock, Number 17A, 1948. Because of course they have a Pollock.

More to come! But first, there was lunch…

Other chapters in this very special MCC maxiseries:

Gallery 1: The Grounds Alone
Gallery 2: The Old Modern Americans
Gallery 3: Georgia on Her Mind
Gallery 4: Two Americans Abroad
Gallery 5: Ye Olde Tyme America
Gallery 7: Monet Growing on Trees
Gallery 8: Posting Post-Impressionist Impressions
Gallery 9: Picasso and the Surreal
Gallery 10: The Last of the Famous International
Gallery 11: Caveat Sculptor
Gallery 12: An Omnibus of Outtakes

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