Tuesday, October 29, 2013

I Do, I Do

The location of a wedding is almost as critical as the bride's dress or the flowers, setting the mood and reflecting the couple's personalities.

What better place to exchange your vows, if you love the Impressionists, than in front of one of Chicago's most iconic paintings? And make it fast, please. The Art Institute is not actually open to weddings in the galleries during visiting hours and even if it were it wouldn't be free.

Sunday Afteroon On The Island Of La Grande Jatte
John Poole has been a member of the Art Institute for years, and like so many others, he was taken by the Geoge Seurat work that is one of Chicago's treasures. He wanted this paiting to be the backdrop of his civil ceremony when he married Stacy Alan. It was Ms. Alan who had the religious ceremony organized. Mr. Poole was given the task of selecting the best place for the other part, and naturally he chose the Art Institute.

People will stand for a long time in front of the painting, studying the points of paint and marvelling at the artist's technique. They stand close, they move back, side to side, but "Sunday Afternnon" requires more than a passing glance.

That twenty people would gather around the painting would be cause for alarm among the guards, you would expect. It would take twenty people to carry the thing, to begin with, and what can two people do against a mob bent on confiscating a priceless work of art?

Given those limitations, Mr. Poole and Ms. Alan decided that they would have to move fast. I do, I do, and out the door before someone called the cops.

It is being called a guerilla wedding, a three minute rush to tie the knot.

As it turned out, no one was arrested. Patrons in the gallery either watched or ignored the wedding. The guards let it go, perhaps because the attendees looked as harmless as they were.

For Mr. Poole and Ms. Alan, it was a wedding to remember, one that could not be memorialized because there is no flash photography and a lover of art would never do anything to harm the object of his affection.

In future, however, the Art Institute will likely crack down on the sure-to-catch-on guerilla weddings. You can stage your wedding at the museum, of course, but if you don't want to get booted out before you can say "I do", you'll want to go through normal channels and hire the appropriate room like everyone else who plans an event at the Art Institute. No more free rides.

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