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Lynne works at the same school I do and two years ago we were at a conference with a group of other teachers from our district. Most of the others were much younger than us so we found ourselves socializing at different locations than the others and we really hit it off. Since then we’ve been saying “we need to get together again” but we haven’t. We arrive to school around the same time each morning so the extent of our social time is limited to the five minutes we each have before we need to prep for the day.

So, I was really pleased when one morning, last week, I got a text from her asking if I was available the next day to meet her downtown. It was a beautiful Friday afternoon and being downtown on these days sometimes makes me feel like a tourist in my own city. We met at the Monroe street entrance so we could head to the Education Center and renew our free passes. Lynne wasn’t familiar with Rene Magritte but she was all for paying more for a ticket to get in to see the show.

Magritte was a surrealist and probably one of the more creepy ones. Surrealists were influenced by the ideas and theories of Sigmund Freud and the artists tried to tap into the subconscious to create their work. Magritte repeats the use of several images; one being emotionless men in dark suits and bowler hats. Most of the figures in his work seem to be devoid of emotion and identity. The colors are all very dull and the painting technique very precise. The gallery the show was exhibited in was very dimly lit. I’m not sure if that was done to decrease damage to the colors of the paint but, if so, it also made the experience that much more surreal. It also kinda made me sleepy, I yawned through the whole gallery.

Photos inside the exhibit were not allowed but I was happy to see in person many works I’ve only studied in books along with so many others that I’d never seen before. Lynne remarked, “this would be a cool project for your students,” when she saw a piece that used words in it. I repilied, “it would be a cool project for your kids too!” Later, I saw her jotting ideas down in a notebook.

Like my other non-artist freinds, Lynne was ready to leave before I was and I was certainly hungry, so we left to get some lunch and live the tourist life for a couple hours. We went to Park Grill at Millennium Park and sat at the bar for some lunch and a glass of wine. Days like this I do not take for granted as a teacher.

The Art Institute of Chicago
Millenium Park Grill