Omaha was a cool little city. The day began with a walk across the Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge in Heartland of America Park into Iowa.
At the bottom of the hill, we stumbled upon a bike rental kiosk. I wish they had these everywhere! Why is this the first time I have ever seen this?!
Challenge accepted, and we saw a good four miles of Iowa on our rented bikes. After a coffee fuel up, we strolled through the Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts, which was featuring Mary Mattingly’s Flock House Project: Omaha, as shown below:
According to her brochure, she is using the center as an active research lab for the “future of urban space.” It very well could be that I just don’t get it, but what this looked like to me was the glorification of tent living and homeless/transient communes. I’m not a fan of that. I don’t believe that we as a society should accept the idea that an alternative healthy living arrangement is to give up our normal-sized homes and downgrade to 300 square foot apartments or tents. Recently, there has been some sort of weird trend that it is somehow cool to live in a shed in a random parking lot. I am here to tell you that that is NOT cool.
Another thing I didn’t get was Miki Baird’s The Chronicles:
It’s a pile of shredded paper that she compiled from the junk mail sent to her father. This is supposed to be some kind of statement about waste. Maybe I am desensitized to the vast amounts of paper waste since I have worked in litigation for so long. Now, to be fair, I did look up her website, and I do like what she is doing with the zippers: http://www.mikibaird.com/zip/zip01.html
After taking in all this controversial art I was in need of something that I could stare at without having to wonder what it meant about the state of the world.
Luckily, the Joslyn Art Museum had a Chihuly installation, so I was able to vegetate for a few minutes. I smiled and soothed myself, muttering “You’re pretty,” to the installation:
The Gene Leahy Pedestrian Mall is a beautiful urban space. Who doesn’t love a pair of giant slides smack dab in the middle of the park? The best thing about the slides is that I happened upon them by surprise. I walked up a short set of stairs, thinking I was entering a small bridge or something to take me down the hill. When lo and behold, there was an impromptu chance at some free fun. By this time, I’m thinking to myself that Omaha is some sort of heaven as far as parks go, with little golden nuggets popping up all over the place. Bicycles and slides for all!
I loved the Old Market area downtown. The city has done a fantastic job with preserving the old railroad warehouses, and this was a bustling center of galleries, shops, and restaurants. Omaha, Nebraska. Who knew you were so awesome?
Our trip is indexed within our “Play” journal from Stealth Journals. The relevant page is pictured below: