Loving LUMA

May 27, 2011 at 10:25 am (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , , )


Tuesday night, our Northwestern class took a trip to the Loyola University Museum of Art (aka LUMA), which is off Michigan Avenue (and conveniently located next door to the Hershey Store, where I taste tested some products before entering the museum).  One of my favorite aspects of this Museum Studies course is that it exposes me to some of the smaller museums in Chicago that I’m not as aware of and gives me an opportunity to check them out.  That was the case with LUMA, where we were allowed to wander through their exhibits before and after meeting with two of their curators.  They were both kind enough to answer our questions and speak to us about working in such a unique space.  Their insights were informative and entertaining and it’s always interesting to hear about some of the behind-the-scenes aspects of any museum.  LUMA is a part of Loyola University, which is a “Jesuit Catholic university dedicated to knowledge in the service of humanity”.  While LUMA is funded primarily through the university, they are in fact an art museum in and of their own right.  And their collections really are worth your time.

LUMA

While LUMA features various temporary exhibits which rotate fairly often (including the current one on textiles), they have three rooms in their permanent collection as well.  The permanent collections showcase various pieces of religious art from hundreds of years ago.  Dozens of paintings, sculptures, wood and ivory carved pieces and much more adorn the halls and each piece is significant.  There are some items dating as far back as the 14th and 15th centuries and I found just standing in the presence of such art to be extremely meaningful.  The display of these collections is uncluttered and the gallery provides a nice flow from one room to another while still showcasing everything in a tasteful manner.  I looked in one ornate mirror that was hundreds of years old and all I could think about was how many sets of eyes have looked for their reflection in that glass over the last few centuries.  Not going to lie, it gave me goosebumps.

As someone who grew up attending Catholic schools and masses, I felt a bit deeper of a connection to many of these relics than what some of my other classmates might have had.  However, as you may or may not know, I don’t exactly consider myself a model Catholic any longer.  I do attend mass with some regularity (i.e. when I’m home visiting Mom) so I’m not entirely lapsed but affiliating myself with a specific religion isn’t something I worry too much about.  That being said, I’ll admit I felt more of a spiritual presence in the gallery at LUMA than I have in probably the last decade or so in a church.  There was a reverence surrounding these objects that I found humbling and being around items that people have worshiped and prayed over for so much of our history was enough to give me pause.  I actually sort of wished that I had been there on my own so I could have completely immersed myself in the experience.  Since our time there was unfortunately limited, I plan on going back soon to do just that.

At just $6, LUMA’s admission fee is hard to beat (especially given the hefty price tags at many other museums).  Tuesdays are even free every week, though it’s just my luck that that’s the evening I have my weekly class.  I won’t be in class forever though so until I can take advantage of the free days more often, I’ll be happy shell out six bucks to go back for more.

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