Gerhard Richter at the Art Institute of Chicago
One of the most moving paintings to grace the walls of the Art Institute could be found at the end of this comprehensive flood of artifacts from the 70-year-old German artist. “Reading,” from 1994, is a smallish canvas, oil on linen. If you stand close, the painting seems hardly there, implausible that such illumination could come from such minimal matter. The texture of the fine fabric soaks up the numinous, blatant homage to Vermeer, shimmering with technical fastidiousness. It has a photo-realist edge yet it is incandescent with mystery. Light falls onto the neck, hair and hands of his wife, the woman he loves, as she reads a newspaper while standing in profile. Simple mastery, as if mastery is ever simple. Simple sentiment: the wisdom of age.
111 South Michigan (312)443-3600
Audience choice: (Tie)Chihuly in the Park: A Garden of Glass at Garfield Park Conservatory through November 4/Van Gogh and Gaugin: The Studio of the South at the Art Institute of Chicago
Garfield Park Conservatory, 300 North Central Park Avenue
Best of Chicago 2002