Which one of these things is not like the others? That would be my husband, Alan Carmichael, posing with sculptures from a gallery called Marlborough, which has locations in New York, London, Barcelona and Madrid. This was at Expo Chicago.
If you see 16 people walking the streets of K-town looking dazed and disoriented, it will be the group who just returned from the Knoxville Museum of Art’s Collectors Circle trip to Chicago.
We saw so much art in such a short period of time that it was impossible to process. The core of the trip was a visit to Expo Chicago, the International Exposition of Contemporary & Modern Art, an annual event held at Chicago’s historic Navy Pier. The expo featured 145 of the world’s leading art galleries from 22 countries and 53 cities and included works by more than 3,000 artists.
Additionally, the Knoxville group visited The Arts Club of Chicago, the Art Institute of Chicago, two galleries and the homes of two collectors. (Plus, we went to all those restaurants you saw on the previous Blue Streak post!)
The purpose of the trip was to look at modern and contemporary art, some of which is coming to Knoxville next year and some of which the museum is looking to acquire. Of particular interest were works by Knoxville native Beauford Delaney.
Home base for our trip was The Godfrey Hotel, a four-star boutique hotel at 127 W. Huron St. Here’s its lovely lobby.
A restful sitting area just off the main lobby.
The first morning brought us to The Arts Club of Chicago for a bounteous continental breakfast buffet.
Since its founding in 1916, The Arts Club of Chicago has been a preeminent exhibitor of international art, a forum for both established and emerging artists and a celebrated venue for performers from around the world.
Terry and Donna Wertz admiring a sculpture by Alexander Calder, who was the originator of the mobile.
Donna Wertz, left, and Molly Joy intently studying the collection.
John Cotham, left, and Terry Wertz in front of a headdress in the form of an antelope.
This headdress titled “Adone” from the 1920s was owned by Elizabeth “Bobsy” Goodspeed, a significant tastemaker of the city of Chicago who also was president of The Arts Club of Chicago from 1932 to 1940.
This 1922 piece, “Head of a Woman,” by Pablo Picasso was the inaugural work in the Arts Club’s permanent collection.
The Arts Club of Chicago is located at 201 E. Ontario St. That’s Alan chatting with Pandy Anderson, left, and Lane Hays.
We headed over to Navy Pier where Expo Chicago was set to open at noon.
It felt weird to see a Margaritaville and hear Kenny Chesney blaring over the sound system. We thought we were in Pigeon Forge for a minute there.
There’s a giant Ferris wheel in both places.
But you don’t see this in Pigeon Forge. Maybe next time, we’ll book a dinner cruise on the Odyssey II.
These are not just letters and numbers. They spell WBEZ 91.5 FM, the public radio station in Chicago. Cool.
The Navy Pier Beer Garden featured Moxley Carmichael’s beer of choice!
The view of Chicago from the Navy Pier.
Pandy Anderson with one big anchor! The anchor weighs eight tons and was from the third warship named after the city of Chicago.
Pandy and I soon saw some other members of our group approaching. That’s, from left, Lane Hays, John Cotham and Alan Carmichael.
Here’s Alan with a tall ship behind him.
Here’s a better view.
The end of the pier, which is 100 years old.
Killing time until Expo Chicago opens at noon. From left, Pandy Anderson, Lane Hays, John Cotham, Molly Joy, Stephen Wicks and Alan Carmichael.
We were among the first ones in the door! These menacing life-sized characters were from the Efrain Lopez Gallery in Chicago.
I loved this cactus piece from Nina Menocal in Mexico City. Notice the faces in the clouds.
From the Paul Kasmin Gallery in New York.
Loved this chandelier from R & Company in New York.
Very nice horse piece from Anglim Gilbert Gallery in San Francisco.
The Natural Resources Defense Council sponsored an exhibit by artist Sipho Mabona called “Crease Patterns.”
This piece of student work from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago spoke to me! (I can’t stand snakes.)
Later that evening, more than 8,000 people attended an opening night reception. We had little patience for standing in line for food and drinks, so we left and headed to one of those fabulous restaurants in the previous Blue Streak post.
The next morning, we headed to a breakfast at The Art Institute of Chicago.
From left, Myron and Jayne Ely with Donna and Terry Wertz.
Robin Turner, left, and Barbara Apking grabbed a cozy spot.
The Art Institute has a number of Andy Warhol pieces like this one called “Liz #3” created in 1963.
Here’s “Twelve Jackies” from 1964. I love a famous Warhol quote that was on display, “I’m a deeply superficial person.” Ha.
Here’s “Four Mona Lisas” from 1978.
I guess this Warhol was an early version of the selfie. It’s a self-portrait from 1964.
Here’s one from 1966.
They had some Picassos, too. Like “The Old Guitarist” from 1904.
Another Picasso: “Nude with Pitcher” from 1906.
Here’s Picasso’s famous “Man with a Pipe” from 1915.
We saw this very nice Henri Matisse called “Girl in Yellow and Blue with a Guitar” from 1939. (The titles weren’t very catchy, were they?)
My favorite surrealist is Rene Magritte, and they had a couple of his works. Here’s “The White Race” from 1937.
And “On the Threshold of Liberty,” also from 1937.
This one cracked me up a little bit. “Walking Hourglass” by Laurie Simmons was produced in 1989.
We said farewell to the Art Institute and headed to the historic Gold Coast section of Chicago to visit the estate of Ellen and Richard Sandor, major collectors who own more than 2,000 pieces of artwork.
Here we are!
Here’s their living room. A bit overwhelming, don’t you think?
Richard Sandor, left, and Ellen Sandor, in back wearing black, collect works from the 1840s to the present. Many are famous photographs.
Like this iconic picture of James Dean.
Isn’t this one of Veronica Lake lovely?
Here’s a Rodin piece: “Man with the Broken Nose.”
Richard Sandor explaining that each portion of the collection has a story. Things are grouped together for a reason.
The patriot wall, as he calls it.
The Sandors also have a great sense of humor, as exemplified by this piece. It’s chickens in a TV hatching eggs while watching a TV show of chickens hatching eggs!
When we left the Sandors’, our heads were spinning. We headed to lunch at Blackbird, which you can see in the previous post.
Aaron Galleries was our next destination. There we saw some art we had our sights on: paintings by Knoxville’s own Beauford and Joseph Delaney.
Director Lynne Schillaci welcomed us with refreshments.
Ashley Addair, a member of our group, poses with a Beauford Delaney painting selling for $1 million. Ironically, Delaney was destitute for much of his life.
This Beauford Delaney is offered for $350,000.
They even had some prints by Beauford Delaney.
Beauford Delaney loved the color yellow. Some say it was because he often battled dark demons in his mind, and the yellow was a way to combat that.
This big piece is called “Yankee Parade” and is by Beauford’s brother, Joseph Delaney. Painted in honor of a New York Yankees victory, it features images of baseball notables and New York City politicians among the crowd scene.
The other director of Aaron Galleries, Patrick Albano, was a great storyteller for us.
Whew. We were bushed and headed back to our hotel to recuperate.
But we were ready to hit it again in the morning when we headed to a warehouse called The Orange Door. Proprietor Carl Thoma let us in.
Carl and Marilynn Thoma have a vast collection, much of it digital art. That’s what they are lending the Knoxville Museum of Art for its 2017 exhibtion, Virtual Views: Digital Art from the Thoma Foundation.
Lane Hays captures an image.
Mimosas hit the spot.
Stephen Wicks, right, introduced Carl Thoma.
This piece by Sarah Frost caught my eye. I thought it was a mosaic made of little tiles.
Closer inspection revealed it actually was made of discarded keyboard keys!
Our final official stop of the trip was at the home of art collectors Goran and Marianne Strokirk. Located in the Lincoln Park section of Chicago, the home itself is a work of art. Built in 1982, it is a 5,000-square-foot steel and glass structure designed by noted architect Ron Krueck. The most striking feature is the amount of light it allows to flow throughout the home. The art, collected over the past 30 years, is eclectic, as you would expect.
Goran Strokirk welcoming us to his home. That’s our leader, Stephen Wicks, at left.
Wow. The living room makes a statement!
So does the dining room.
Strokirk was a delightful host, answering questions and sharing stories.
I noticed this little sculpture of a woman because Alan and I have one almost like it, but ours is an angel that we bring out for Christmas. “It’s a European store mannequin,” Strokirk explained. “It’s worthless, but we like it.” Of course it is. My luck.
The home has been featured in many books and magazines. Lane Hays, left, and Robin Turner were perusing a few.
I really liked the patio.
He invited us to touch his “moss people.”
It was a very interesting conclusion of our visit.
So, there you have it. You can see why we are so dazed — but happy. Thanks so much to Stephen Wicks of the Knoxville Museum of Art who led us on our adventure. And to John Cotham and Donna and Terry Wertz who planned everything as co-chairs of the committee.
I’m sure you’ve heard that Chicago is the murder capital of America right now. During the four days we were there, 12 gun murders occurred, and a severed head was found in McKinley Park. One of the murders happened near the Art Institute that we had visited. The police said one man shot a stranger in the head after they got into an argument about “politics.” I decided to keep my mouth shut.