01 October 2012


Not the credit card. The other kind.

Pretty please?

This weekend I went to Spanish Consulate in Chicago to apply for one.

Happily the consulate is 10 minutes from the Art Institute and 15 from the Newberry Library. It was really hard to decide which to go to so I went to both. Then I went to the Chicago Cultural Center, which used to be a library. 

Nice typography in mosaics at the Cultural Center. 

The Newberry's holdings are incredible. And there's something downright beautiful about a world class research library like that being free and open to the public. 

A highlight at the Art Institute was seeing drawings by Marion Mahony Griffin for the first time. She was one of the first female architects in the US and also a brilliant draftsman (woman?). Her drawings were influenced by her study of Japanese woodblock prints. 

Seeing her work reminded me of this recent editorial. Graves says he is "fascinated not just by what architects choose to draw but also by what they choose not to draw." Griffin's drawings have just the right amount of information.

The show included two different lithographic reproductions of her drawings on silk, which she later colored by hand with gouache.The combination of silk and gouache is perfect for renderings of prairie school architecture. The monotone paintings help you visualize the building as an extension of the landscape.

Later in her career Griffin did a series of similar silk paintings of the Australian landscape:

You can actually look at the manuscript of Griffin's autobiography, the Magic of America, online. That's where these images are from:

Griffin as a young architect.

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