Saturday, November 28, 2015

Big moose


     I can't honestly say I miss the Saturday Fun Activity—for any newcomers, a perennial contest where I try to stump readers with a photo of an enigmatic location, inevitably fail and then have to send somebody a prize. But when I saw this enormous painting my first thought was: Wow, that would be a fun Fun Activity.
  Except of course for the Internet, where plugging "Big Chicago moose blowing bubble painting" into Google leads you, immediately, to discover that this is Moose Bubblegum Bubble, a work from the "We Are Animals" series by Chicago photo-illustrator Jacob Watts. The image won an artistic competition last year, and is on display on a wall at Columbia College, 33 E. Congress. 
    At which point I was going to shrug and do something else. But then I realized that the gigantic moose is in itself interesting, if you haven't seen it before, which I hadn't. No contest necessary.  It is an example of the rare piece of public art that I actually like, which sets Jacob Watts apart from such artists as Jean Dubuffet and Alexander Calder. The thing has whimsy, and there just isn't enough whimsy to go around, particularly not of late. Self-importance we've got up the ying-yang, and the aforementioned Dubuffet and Calder have cornered the market on twee lumpish pointlessness. But surprise, charm, and I suppose a certain placidity? That deserves note. The moose is not an especially placid animal compared to, say, a cow. Perhaps that's a result of the big pink bubble. Anyway, if you haven't seen it before, now you have.  



8 comments:

  1. yes, that is different

    The ST states you are on vacation, in the Fri. paper.

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    1. And so I am, in theory. But the blog knows no vacation, insanely. And I ended up spending five hours yesterday in the city watching people prepare an apartment for Syrian refugees. And today, in theory the weekend, I'm about to toddle off to watch a group get ready for Burmese refugees. Being a journalist is a calling, like being a priest, and you can't ignore your duty just because you aren't on the clock.

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    2. Read that some Burmese Muslim minority was attacked by some Buddhists there. So much for Buddhists being peaceful.

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  2. If you go on the internet you can find a number of poems about moose, an odd word in that the plural is the same as the singular -- not meese, for instance. None are particularly remarkable but the most charming is by Francis King.

    "The elk is just an eastern moose,
    Or else a western Caribou.
    But if you chance to meet one
    He will be polite and nod to you."

    I thought the conflation of moose and elk confusing until I realized that King was a Brit. There the moose and elk are the same animal. Somewhat like an African variant celebrated in a ditty by Flanders and Swan.

    "I h'aint an elk
    I'm a Gnu."

    Tom Evans

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  3. I am going downtown next week and thanks to your blog, NS, I will make a detour to see Mr. Moose. Thanks, and thanks to TE for the fun post above, with the cool little poem.

    NW Pat Carey

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    1. If you're unacquainted with the song about a Gnu I find it can be found on U Tube, along with other Flanders and Swann delicacies.

      TE

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  4. Moose was a very honorable nickname back in my day - I knew at least two guys tagged with that and "Moose" seemed to suit each of them. I am a born and bred Cubs fan, but I did have the opportunity to go to some Senior Bingo games in the Sox Park Patio called by none other than the great Moose Scowron. A superb ballplayer, a true character, and an altogether uplifting and fun experience to be there with the older bingo crew and enjoy him and the whole day. He was a true Chicagoan - he had an old buddy from HS sitting with him there, and they were in their 80's.
    NW Pat Carey

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