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Grand Tour of the Art Institute

POSTED BY , ON December 04, 2009, 12 COMMENTS

Vesuviuslowres

The Art Institute’s modular architectural history—previously discussed by Erin Hogan—makes the building an excellent subject for a “traveling salesman” problem. So, for the benefit of any art-loving puzzle nerds reading ARTicle, I humbly submit the following.

Your mission is to find a continuous path in, through, and around the museum that visits all of the 21 objects listed below. The catch is that you may not use any door, threshold, elevator, or flight of stairs more than once. Detailed rules are listed below.

I promise that there is at least one solution, but I cannot promise that this will be an easy problem to solve. For your convenience, here is a floor plan with dots showing the locations of the objects. Please post your solutions, or any questions, in the comments below. Good luck!

RULES:

– Your path must start at one of the objects on the list. You can ignore your path into the museum and to your starting point. From the starting point, you must then visit all of the objects on the list (not necessarily in the order listed below).
– You may exit and reenter the building, if necessary. There are entrances/exits at the following locations: Michigan Avenue, Monroe Street, Columbus Drive (by the Rubloff Auditorium), and the Nichols Bridgeway (Millennium Park).
– You may not pass through any doorway or threshold more than one time. You may enter a particular gallery more than once, but only if you are able to do so via a different way than before. For example, if you leave Griffin Court of the Modern Wing through the glass doors leading toward the Rice building (housing the American Art collection), then you may reenter Griffin Court again, but not via the glass doors.
– You may not use any elevator, bridge, or a particular flight of stairs more than one time each. Note that each staircase may have more than one flight of stairs, e.g. using a flight of stairs from the lower level to the first floor does not preclude you from using the same staircase to take the flight of stairs from the first level to the second level.
– “Employees only” or “By appointment only” areas and passages are off-limits.
– In addition to the floor plan, you may wish to refer to the Art Institute’s online Pathfinder application (also available in the museum).

HINTS:

– An object in a dead-end gallery won’t work in the middle of your path.
– Elevators and entrances/exits are your friends.
– Draw your path before you try to walk it.

OBJECTS:

Joseph Cornell, Soap Bubble Set, 1948. (Gallery 397)
Chinese, Couch-Bed, late Ming/early Qing dynasty, 17th century. (Gallery 108)
Congo, Power Figure (Nkisi Nkondi), Early/mid-19th century. (Gallery 50A)
Frederic Edwin Church, View of Cotopaxi, 1857. (Gallery 171)
Gaston Lachaise, Woman (Elevation), Modeled 1912-15 (Cast 1927). (Gallery 271)
Jason Lazarus, Recordings (“Big Storm” January 30, 1967, Mom), 2009. (Gallery 188)
Bruce Nauman, Clown Torture, 1987. (Gallery 295C)
Frank Memkus, Whirligig, entitled “America”, c. 1938/42. (Gallery 227)
Berthe Morisot, Woman at Her Toilette, 1875/80. (Gallery 201)
Marie-Blanche-Hennelle Fournier, The Madame B Album, 1870s. (Gallery 1)
Auguste Rodin, Adam, modeled c. 1881. (Gallery 235)
Claude Monet, Stack of Wheat, 1890/91. (Gallery 243)
Scott Burton, Chaise Longue, 1983. (Bluhm Family Terrace / Terzo Piano)
India, Karttikeya, God of War, Seated on a Peacock, Ganga Period, c. 12th century. (Gallery 141)
Abraham Janssens, Jupiter Rebuked by Venus, c. 1612/13. (Gallery 208)
Buddhist Votive Stele, Western Wei dynasty (A.D. 535-557), dated A.D. 551. (Gallery 101)
James Castle, Untitled, 1950/77. (Gallery 124)
Greek, Attica, Funerary Stele (Grave Marker), c. 330 B.C. (Gallery 155)
Chinese, Horse, Tang dynasty, (A.D. 618-907), 1st half of 8th century. (Gallery 105)
Jackson Pollock, Greyed Rainbow, 1953. (Gallery 289)
Pierre-Jacques Volaire, The Eruption of Vesuvius, 1771. (Gallery 218 – and see above)

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12 Responses to “Grand Tour of the Art Institute”

  1. Troy Klyber says:

    The map appears slightly ambiguous, so let me clarify now that the Vesuvius painting in gallery 218 is NOT a dead-end. You can enter from the left (east) and exit to the top (south), or vice versa, without breaking the single-threshold-crossing rule.

  2. Frank G. says:

    One of the rules states the following:

    – You may not use any elevator, bridge, or a particular flight of stairs more than one time each. Note that each staircase may have more than one flight of stairs, e.g. using a flight of stairs from the lower level to the first floor does not preclude you from using the same staircase to take the flight of stairs from the first level to the second level.

    Is the same true of elevators? Can I take the Modern elevator for 3 to 2 and then 2 to 1?

    Thanks.

  3. Frank G. says:

    Here’s what I came up with. Apologies for the length. I tried editing the floor plan images, but it got too messy moving between floors. I walked all of the path except the Nichols Bridgeway around to Columbus, since I didn’t have a coat.

    Start in 105 (1 – Chinese, Horse, Tang dynasty) → 106 → 107 → 108 (2 – Chinese, Couch-Bed) → 134 → 135, up the stairs to 235 → 235 (3 – Auguste Rodin, Adam) → 234 → 207 → 208 (4 – Abraham Janssens, Jupiter Rebuked by Venus) → take hallway west and north to 218 → (5 – Pierre-Jacques Volaire, The Eruption of Vesuvius) → take hallway east and south to 201 → 201 (6 – Berthe Morisot, Woman at Her Toilette) → 230 → 240 → 242 → 243 (7 – Claude Monet, Stack of Wheat) → 244 → 246 → 247 → 249 → through the glass doors to 286 → Balcony Cafe → 289 (8 – Jackson Pollock, Greyed Rainbow – In through the south doors, out the north doors) → north through 288 and through the glass doors into 297 → 296 → 295 (9 – Bruce Nauman, Clown Torture – in through the north entrance, out through the south entrance) → 294 → 293 → 292 → 291 → through the glass doors and up the stairs → through the glass doors into 398 → 396 → 397 (10 – Joseph Cornell, Soap Bubble Set – in through the west entrance, out the east entrance) → 396 → 395 → 394 → 393 → 392 → 391 → 389 → take the elevator down to the first floor → Griffin Court → 188 (11 – Jason Lazarus, Recordings (”Big Storm” January 30, 1967, Mom) – in through the north doors, out the south doors) → Griffin Court → into coat check, take elevator to third floor → Bluhm Family Terrace, through north doors (12 – Scott Burton, Chaise Lounge) → through south doors to the Nichols Bridgeway, down bridge and around to Columbus entrance → Columbus Lobby → 153 → 154 → 155 (13 – Greek, Attica, Funerary Stele (Grave Marker)) → 156 → 157 → 158 → 159 → 150 → down the stairs into 161 → 166 → 167 → 171 (14 – Frederic Edwin Church, View of Cotopaxi) → 170 → 161 → up the east stairs to second floor → 272 → 271 (15 – Gaston Lachaise, Woman (Elevation)) → 261 → take the elevator to lower level → 61 → 50A (16 – Congo, Power Figure (Nkisi Nkondi)) → up the south stairs to 142 → 141 (17 – India, Karttikeya, God of War, Seated on a Peacock) → 140 → 130 → 101A → take elevator down to lower level → 1 (18 – Marie-Blanche-Hennelle Fournier, The Madame B Album) → through glass doors into 10 → up the Grand Staircase to the second floor → 227 (19 – Frank Memkus, Whirligig, entitled “America” – enter through the east doors, exit through west doors) → 200, take the elevator down to first floor → 100 → through glass doors into 101 → 101 (20 – Buddhist Votive Stele, Western Wei dynasty) → 125 → 124 (21 – James Castle, Untitled)

  4. Troy Klyber says:

    Well done, Frank! You are the first to submit a correct solution, and I’ll have to find a suitable reward.

    Now that you’ve cut your teeth on this problem, I have a harder one. Can you find a path with just one more object added to the list?

    European, Toothing Plane c. 1720 (Gallery 69) — The European Decorative Arts galleries on the lower level are being reinstalled, so if this dead-end gallery happens to be closed when you visit, just pretend that you have access.

    To answer your question about the rules: You can ride an elevator twice only if you are able to enter and exit the elevator through different door/thresholds. Although your solution does not do this, it is NOT legal to exit and then reenter the Modern Wing elevator on the second floor, because you would be passing through the same second floor elevator threshold twice.

  5. Frank Gill says:

    Troy,

    Based on the rules as they exist, I do not believe that is possible because there are now two dead end galleries, 69 and 124. Now if I could access the Monroe Dock, it would be a different story. If I’m missing something, give me a hint.

    Thanks,
    Frank

  6. Troy Klyber says:

    Frank, I promise that it is possible. You have to start at one dead-end gallery (Gallery 69) and end at the other (Gallery 124), or the other way around. I believe that you must use all four entrances/exits, but Monroe Dock is an “employees only” area and is off limits.

  7. Frank Gill says:

    Troy,

    Disregard my last comment. I realized my mistake and will see what I can do.

  8. Frank G. says:

    Troy,

    I believe I’ve got it. Let me know how it looks. I haven’t had a chance to walk the path yet, but will down at the museum tomorrow. If I’ve made a mistake, let me know and I will give it another shot.

    Start in 124 (1 – James Castle, Untitled) → 125→ 101 (2 – Buddhist Votive Stele, Western Wei dynasty) → 102 → 103 → 105 (3 – Chinese, Horse, Tang dynasty) → 106 → 107 → 108 (4 – Chinese, Couch-Bed) → 134 → 135, up the stairs to 235 → 235 (5 – Auguste Rodin, Adam) → 234 → 206 → 207 → 208 (6 – Abraham Janssens, Jupiter Rebuked by Venus) → take hallway west and north to 218 → (7 – Pierre-Jacques Volaire, The Eruption of Vesuvius) → take hallway east and south to 201 → 201 (8 – Berthe Morisot, Woman at Her Toilette) → 230 → 240 → 242 → 243 (9 – Claude Monet, Stack of Wheat) → 244 → 246 → 247 → 249 → Down stairs into 142 → 141 (10 – India, Karttikeya, God of War, Seated on a Peacock) → 140 → 130 → 101A → take elevator down to lower level → 1 (11 – Marie-Blanche-Hennelle Fournier, The Madame B Album) → through glass doors into 10 → up the Grand Staircase to 200 → 227 (12 – Frank Memkus, Whirligig, entitled “America” – enter through the east doors, exit through west doors) → 200, take the elevator down to first floor → 100 → Out the Michigan Avenue exit, walk up the Nichols Bridgeway → Bluhm Family Terrace, through north doors (13 – Scott Burton, Chaise Lounge) → Through south doors, elevator down to first floor → Griffin Court → 188 (14 – Jason Lazarus, Recordings (”Big Storm” January 30, 1967, Mom) – in through the north doors, out the south doors) → Griffin Court → Up the stairs to 288 → 289 (15 – Jackson Pollock, Greyed Rainbow – In through the south doors, out the north doors) → north through 288 and through the glass doors into 297 → 296 → 295 (16 – Bruce Nauman, Clown Torture – in through the north entrance, out through the south entrance) → 294 → 293 → 292 → 291 → through the glass doors into 288 and up the stairs → through the glass doors into 398 → 396 → 397 (17 – Joseph Cornell, Soap Bubble Set – in through the west entrance, out the east entrance) → 396 → 395 → 394 → 393 → 392 → 391 → 389 → take the elevator down to the first floor → Griffin Court → Through glass doors into 150 → 151 → 152 → 153 → 154 → 155 (18 – Greek, Attica, Funerary Stele (Grave Marker)) → 156 → 157 → 158 → 159 → 150 → Take elevator down to 50A → 50A (19 – Congo, Power Figure (Nkisi Nkondi)) → up the stairs into 142 → 150 → Down the stairs into 161 → 166 → 167 → 171 (20 – Frederic Edwin Church, View of Cotopaxi) → 170 → 161 → up the east stairs to second floor → 272 → 271 (21 – Gaston Lachaise, Woman (Elevation)) → 261→ Down elevator to 61 → 69 (22 European, Toothing Plane)

  9. Troy Klyber says:

    Frank, I’ll also have to walk your path, to make sure that everything works out in and around Gallery 150, but on paper it looks like your solution is correct! If so, congratulations! You are awesome, and I’ll e-mail you soon about your reward.

    Did you find the puzzle much more challenging with the addition of the extra object?

    BONUS CHALLENGE (for anyone who is interested): Find a path, connecting all 22 objects, which uses all four entrance/exists listed in the rules above.

  10. Frank G. says:

    Troy,

    Once I figured out that I needed to use the dead ends as the first and last galleries, the biggest challenge was including galleries 50 and 69. My initial solution used the doors connecting 150 to Rice Building more than once.

    I think I’ve got a solution to the bonus challenge, but I’ll wait until I can confirm it by walking it before I post it. Thanks much fun the challenges.

    Frank

  11. Troy Klyber says:

    Frank: I’m glad that you have enjoyed working on these.

    Math people: On the Art Institute’s Facebook wall, someone noted that this puzzle requires finding an Euler path through the graph that describes the Art Institute’s galleries. This is an area of math that relates to all sorts of common and interesting things like the structure of the Internet, Facebook friend networks, and the practice of walking through art museums without passing through any threshold more than once.

  12. Frank G. says:

    Troy,

    I walked my path on Saturday and believe that it fulfills all of the rules. Regarding the bonus challenge, it can be solved with one change to my latest path. When returning to Griffin Court after visiting the Cornell box in 397, exit through the Monroe doors and walk around to the Columbus entrance rather than through the glass doors into 150, continuing on to the Greek Funerary Stele in 155.

    Let me know if this checks out and thank you again for the interesting challenges.

    Frank