Art Books

The Language of Beauty in African Art

Another exhibition at the Art Institute of Chicago. We went on the 31st of December. It was nice to end the year doing something I like.

250 sculptures from dozens of distinct cultures across the African continent. The exhibition focuses on the perspective of the communities and artists who created the works, instead of the westernized vision that ignored how it was locally valued and appreciated.

I didn’t know (still don’t) much about African art, so I watched these two talks before going to the museum.

One talk about the exhibition, from Constantine Petridis, chair and curator of Arts of Africa:

And another from Babatunde Lawal, professor of African, African American, and African Diaspora Art, about the concept of beauty among The Yòrùba.

I loved the exhibition. I took some pictures but not being a good photographer, you’d better go see it, if you can.

And one more with Inés outside of the Art Institute.

Other Random Things

Y ahora en español:

Otra exposición en el Instituto del Arte de Chicago.. Fuimos el 31 de Diciembre y me gustó acabar el año con una de mis actividades favoritas.

La exposición tiene 250 esculturas de diferentes culturas del continente africano. El objetivo es mostrar las obras desde la perspectiva de los artesanos y las comunidades que las crearon, en vez de la visión occidentalizada que ignoraba los baremos con los que los locales las valoraban y las apreciaban.

Cómo soy una ignorante del arte africano, vi un par de charlas sobre ello antes de ir al museo.

Una charla de Constantine Petridis, el conservador y director del arte africano y otra de Babatunde Lawal, doctor en arte africano y afro-americano, sobre el concepto de la belleza entre los Yòrùba. (videos arriba)

Me encantó la exposición. Hice algunas fotos (arriba) pero no soy buena fotógrafa, lo mejor es ir si puedes.

Otras cosillas que no vienen al cuento


My Birthday Present

The screenprint The Feeling, Jimmy Cauty x Stuart Semple. Number 36. Last of the lot, pure coincidence that makes it a bit more special.

Here it is, framed and ready to hang.

It is behind me while I am working, I see it whenever I have a call: The Feeling.

Other Random Things I liked

Drop The Ball and let your partner pick it up.

Making granola overnight. Bake it before bed, ten minutes at 350F, stop the oven and leave it in the oven until breakfast.

Stromae: Tiny Desk Concert.

Y ahora en español:

Mi regalo de cumpleaños

La serigrafía The Feeling, Jimmy Cauty x Stuart Semple. Número 36. El último del lote, pura coincidencia que lo hace un poquito más especial.

En la foto está enmarcado y listo para colgar.

Lo tengo detrás de mí mientras trabajo, lo veo cada vez que tengo una video llamada: El Sentimiento.

Otras cosas que me gustaron

Drop The Ball y que se ocupe tu pareja.

Hacer granola por la noche. Por la noche la pones 10 minutos en el horno a 175C, apagas el horno y te vas a dormir, por la mañana tienes el desayuno listo.

Este concierto de Stromae en Tiny Desk.


Art Institute of Chicago: David Hockney

David Hockney moved to Normandy at the beginning of the pandemic in 2020. He painted outdoors, on his iPad, from February till July, capturing the changing landscape and the arrival of spring.

The exhibition at the Art Institute of Chicago, The Arrival of Spring, shows big prints of his work and two videos with animations.

We visited with my daughter Inés that likes to draw with Procreate. She enjoyed it and noticed some details that escaped my eye.

My favorites were the animations at the entrance of the exhibit. One was a blossoming tree and another a landscape with rain. The rain one really captures Normandy in Spring and the purple color of the path seemed very “Hockney” to me.

I didn’t like that you couldn’t take pictures inside. I didn’t understand why. Maybe it is a way to make you buy the book of the exhibition. Anyways, if you want to check what the exhibition looks like, you can take a peek on this video.

On the way out we stopped to look at a beautiful buddha in meditation from the Chola period.

For more Chola beauty, The Art Institute of Chicago just published this talk where Vidya Dehejia discusses her book, The Thief Who Stole My Heart: The Material Life of Sacred Bronzes from Chola India, 855–1280.

Other Random Things I Liked

Halloween with good weather. Much better than taking the kids trick or treat under the snow.

A recipe made song

Stuart Semple back with his quest to free the colors. “Very Kapoorish squares”.

My new green Full Focus planner.

The 5th book in The Murderbot series: Network Effect.


The Met: Chroma

The exhibition shows reconstructions of ancient greek and roman sculptures in color.

My mind kept coming to the restoration of the Ecce Homo. Probably not a fair comparison, there is a lot of research behind the exhibition and maybe it was just the strangeness of it.

One of the reconstructions was a side of a sarcophagus, the colors make the details stand out but not necessarily in a good way. The colors look so rudimentary compared to the intricacy of the sculpture. It made me think of the story of the Golden Buddha.

Some statues were reconstructed with a different technique. They were realistic, and a bit disturbing.

There were some questionable fashion choices

And a portrait of Caligula that my kids confused with Mark Zuckerberg.

I enjoyed the exhibition. It was playful and made you question assumptions and look at things from a different perspective. The polychromatic research is also interesting.

The botch restoration of the Ecce Homo gave a new life to the village in Spain (or so they say). If the technicolor statues bring more people to the museum, that’s not a bad thing.

This is just my personal opinion, go see for yourself. Chroma is open till March 23rd, 2023.

Other Random Things I liked

The book Papyrus: the invention of books in the ancient world by Irene Vallejo. This is a great book, well written, well researched, and so refreshing to read non-fiction in Spanish. I highly recommend it.

A simple recipe for frozen broccoli.

High Speed Wit beer with cheese curds at Café Hollander

The Lake House movie with Keanu Reeves. Ok, this is very cheesy but it has Chicago, Keanu, and references to Jane Austen.

For the over-controller


Art Institute of Chicago: Cezanne

It was a full career retrospective with paintings from multiple museums and private collections. I can’t imaging the work needed to curate the exhibition (It was a four year project).

It was grouped by subjects instead of chronologically: portraits, still lifes, landscapes. You could see the evolution of the artist, common subjects, patterns.

There were paintings, watercolors, sketches, sketch books, watercolor palettes, reviews from other artists, insights about his process.

It was beautiful.

It has now moved from The Art Institute of Chicago to the Tate Modern in London, if you have the chance to go see it (until march 2023).

If you want to know more, from people that know what they are talking about, you can listen to this lecture from the museum co-curators.

Other Things I Liked

Pumpkin muffins with white chocolate chip cookies from The Joy of Cooking cookbook.

The movie The Greatest Beer Run Ever and the real story it is based on.

The music video from the latest song of the Arctic Monkeys, video directed by Brook Linder

A website from the Getty museum that takes you to ancient Persia (shared by @ritap)