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Posts Tagged ‘Elmhurst Art Museum’

Rescuer of Once Loved Things:

The Art of Donna Castellanos

Dressed to the 9’s’

On a blustery Sunday, half past high noon, heading home from church, I found myself annoyed at the inclement weather which seemed bent on bending me away from my walks in the woods. On the spot (well, actually behind the wheel) I decided to take advantage of the time on my hands. I wrote Tom a text so he wouldn’t worry, and headed over to the Elmhurst Art Museum to see Donna Castellanos’ acclaimed exhibit.

The Elmhurst Art Museum sits steps away from the Elmhurst Public Library in Wilder Park. It is a small but remarkable gem in the western suburbs and hosts exciting, innovative artwork, community programs, experiential teaching, gatherings and more. The museum also houses one of only three remaining homes designed by Mies van der Rohe.

Using rescued items as varied as train tracks and typewriter keys, encyclopedia covers to sheet music, brass rings and old musical instruments, Donna Castellanos’s work invites visitors to not only enjoy her artistry, but, to imagine new ways to employ old things.

I wandered this small museum, amazed at the spectrum of Donna’s work and in awe of her vision. I felt the challenge of her art that implores the viewer to see everyday items in imaginative, fresh ways and dare to envision a renewed look in the “things” we have, we find, we toss away.

Rather than ramble on with my words, I invite you to click onto the photos – once, maybe twice – and look at the mixture of media employed by this remarkable woman. Her masterful marriage of  encyclopedia pages, old lace and Lionel train tracks, acrylic paint, fibers and tattered lace all make for a happily ever after in the innovative exhibit. This is a mere sampling of what this exciting exhibition holds.

I also invite you to head over to the Elmhurst Art Museum to experience Donna’s artwork on a personal level. Bring your kids or grandkid. The exhibit has several experiential areas for children to make artwork of their own.

 

 

https://www.elmhurstartmuseum.org/exhibitions/rescuer-once-loved-things-art-donna-castellanos

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DSCN6621Jennifer and I were enjoying the opening festivities of Autumn Splendor at the Elmhurst Art Museum, sipping on wine, nibbling on finger food, chatting with old friends and acquainting new. We wandered into the galleries and the Richard Koppe Exhibit.  As we entered the gallery, a display case caught my eye.  Actually, something in the display case caught my eye. A book.  It’s always a book with me, it seems, even in a renowned art museum.  The book, to be precise, was a cookbook.  I looked down and squealed “I have this book” .

As others were observing the large surrealistic works of Koppe, I was chewing on a cookbook.

Several years ago, I came across the very same cookbook in a second-hand store. “The Ford Treasury of Favorite Recipes from Famous Eating Places”.  A more charming than practical compilation of recipes from famous restaurants throughout the United States,  it is divided by regions, and illustrated with stylistic paintings of each restaurant, a recipe from the restaurant, and a short description.  The books were sold by the Ford Motor Company in the heyday of US road travel in big cars and fine dining along the way as many veterans returned home from war, bought houses that were springing up all across the country, bought their first car . . .

. . .  I snapped up the book faster than a filling station attendant once rushed out to fill up the tank, clean the windows, and check the oil!

In subsequent years, I came across several other printings of the book, with some new recipes and new restaurants as original ones closed. A small cookbook collection ensued. When in the mood for nostalgia, I’ll pull one of the Ford Treasury books out, then all of them, and browse through the regions, admire the illustrations, and reminisce over featured restaurants I have actually eaten in. As I looked into the display case at the EAM, I recognized one of the printings of “The Ford Treasury . . . ” .  The book was opened to page 159, with a painting depicting the interior of the once famous Well-of-the-Sea restaurant in the Sherman Hotel in Chicago. Neither the restaurant, nor the hotel, still exists,  but, the mural in the background of the illustration does. When I was though swooning over a cookbook, I looked up to see Koppe’s surrealistic mural generously covering a wall of the gallery.  While not my favorite artistic style, I could not help but be impressed at the “real deal” and the vibrancy of the colors and textures. Back home, I pulled out my treasury of mid-century finds, and there it was, page 159, in the North Central region. The Well-of the-Sea. I wandered about the pages of several Treasuries, finding restaurants I recognized, even some I have eaten in, across the country,  getting hungry for food – and for hitting the road. Here are a few I found that I have visited:  The Wayside Inn, MA;  Williamsburg Lodge, VA;  Antoine’s, LA;  New Salem Lodge, IL;  Plentywood Farm, IL;  Don the Beachcomber, HI. Do you have a dining “treasure” you would like me to look up in these books?  Let me know.  I would love do a future post showing a page of your remembered restaurants. DSCN6620

 This book jacket opens up to a map “. . . to decorate your kitchen or game room”. I think I’ll just keep this one on the book.

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