Manet at the Chicago art institute, shake shack/Chicago Athletic Association /mon ami Gabi/rain — Chicago

Some of my favorite Manet paintings are not in the new show at the Art Institute of Chicago but that’s okay because 1) I look at them all the time (the poster versions of Olympia and The Balcony) 2) there was so much else to see. The show is small, much smaller than the Bonnard show at The Tate Modern in London that I went to in March. But the lovely colorful portraits of elegantly dressed women and still lives of flowers bounced off the walls. Being in rooms full of these paintings made me happy, although they were painted during a sad period in Manet’s life, when he was sick and nearing death.

We also popped into a nearby room full of American painter’s work including Grant Wood’s American Gothic, a famous Edward Hopper and other great works by Georgia O’keefe, Diego Rivera and Thomas Hart Benton. A few user tips: I was glad we bought fast pass tickets online a few hours before we arrived. Saved us from standing in a long line. What I should have done was bought a membership for $70, rather than tix to the museum/special exhibit which cost $84 for two of us. (I need to do the math to see what it costs to bring a guest as a member.) Members also get discounts at the museum store which has some gear stuff, including jewelry by Chicago artists. And of course members can keep coming back without further payment.

Inside The Chicago Athletic Club

After lunch we went to the Shake Shack across from the museum to accommodate pregnant Emma, who was craving a burger. I had a small “smoke shack” burger with bacon and some sort of sauce with hot peppers. Spicy and delicious. We roamed around the spectacular old world elegant Chicago Athletic Association. (A retro-looking Shake Shack is on the ground floor) which is now a very cool hotel and took in the glorious Chicago view from the balcony on the top floor restaurant Cindy’s. (Note to self: Go on a free 2 pm tour of the building.)

Dinner (yet another birthday fete) was steak frites and Cesar salad at Mon Ami Gabi, followed by a driving tour in the rain by a friend of MAT’s of the gardend and zoo in Lincoln Park, which somehow I have not yet managed to visit. The lily Pond there comes much recommended.

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