I travel too much for work. Sometimes, it’s not very healthy.

I am trying to develop better habits, which is why I’m killing time at art museums instead of bars. This past week, I went to Chicago. I stopped by the Museum of Contemporary Art to check out two exhibits: one on surrealism, the other on pop art.

The surrealism show was fantastic and grotesque at the same time. I usually avoid distorted images of the body, but I couldn’t look away. I felt sweaty and uncomfortable, so I stuck with it. I tried to learn more about the artists and their motivations, too. I found out that Chicago has deep ties to the surrealist movement. There were a lot of local patrons back in the 1960s who supported the community and preserved the best pieces of art.

Here’s an example of sculpture from the exhibit.

Then I went over to the pop art exhibition, which showcased paintings from Warhol to Rauschenberg. There were vintage Eames chairs and old Coke machines on display, too.

No photography was allowed, which was frustrating for a guy in the museum who kept trying to pose for photos. He wore a colorful suit and had a few friends who seemed overly eager to take his picture. What do I care? Well, I did care. He kept stepping in front of art that I wanted to see.

You ever have that experience at a museum? You walk away from someone only to keep bumping into that person again and again? What made it a little annoying was that he was like — “Look at me look at me look at me! I’m art.”

You can’t be art, but that’s another tirade for another day. I was annoyed, but I’ve been that guy. Super excited about my first trip to the big city. Operating without a filter. I thought he was an eager undergraduate student from Iowa, which is why I offered him my atheist version of Grace.

That was this guy.

pop art

Turns out, this is no corn-chip Midwestern kid from a state school. He is the husband of Dan Savage.

Look at this guy.

Day at the museum. #MCAChicago #CongdonTurkCollab suiting by @MrTurk #? ? by @jtylerwhitmer A photo posted by Terry Miller (@terrysphots) on

When a friend pointed out that I had a brush with micro-celebrity, I began a sanctimonious tirade about how this dude ruined my experience at the art museum. Thankfully, I shut myself down. There are a lot of reasons to be mad at the world, and some guy creating a mini-whirlwind at the MCA isn’t one of them.

And, honestly, it’s all good. I had a clandestine brush with the spouse of someone who is famous. And this guy had a brush with a self-righteous HR blogger. If that’s not a 21st-century extension of surrealism and pop art, I’m not sure what is.


  1. I love this story. And I love that you’re visiting art museums. Everyone needs to do more of that.

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