Saturday, January 28, 2017

A Friday in Chicago + Trump's Shadow

A forlorn, freezing fellow paced about across the street from Grant Park in the bitter cold yesterday with a placard that read "Stop Sexism/Stop Trump." In addition to the day's extreme temperature difference (last Saturday, it was in the 60s and sunny compared to a barely-reached, raw 30), his lone presence made a striking contrast in light of the Women's March on Chicago, which drew 250,000 people in support. A friend showed me a great photo she'd taken of the crowd that day, the Trump Tower rising in the background. The protest in Chicago was said to have been the largest in the city's history.

Earlier, this same friend and I visited the nearby Art Institute. Many Chicago museums are free to Illinois residents at this time of year and it was certainly a treat to wander the warm halls gratis. Our timing was slightly off because some exhibitions had been either recently deinstalled or were under installation. So we eavesdropped on a docent lecture about how northern light inspired certain painters. We also browsed a textile/tapestry show, the new Islamic Art gallery, and the museum's collection of Modern chairs created by such famed designers as Charles and Ray Eames and Eero Saarinen.

At the Cultural Center, only two shows were up; others were similarly being installed or deinstalled. In the Sydney R. Yates Gallery (my personal favorite room in the whole place), they had the marvelous doors Eugene Eda had painted for Malcolm X College. I wonder if the Trump protester had a chance to visit this exhibition, whether to get warm or get inspired.

We liked Dutch artist Viviane Sassen's just-opened show, Umbra, at Columbia College's Museum of Contemporary Photography. Many of the images were startling, requiring a second or third look to determine what it was we were actually seeing. The artist played with light and shadow (umbra) in order to draw attention to Jung's views on the shadow aspect of our psyches.

It made me wonder about President Trump's shadow side. Is he really just a complete shadow? According to Jung, "where there is light, there must also be shadow." To the extent that he is aware of this dichotomy, Trump gleefully embraces his shadow. But I fear that his is a shadow with no hint of light.

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