Reviews, profiles and news about art in Chicago

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Review: Michael Genovese/Paris, London, Hong Kong

RECOMMENDED Michael Genovese’s linear wall reliefs mimic the everyday cracks in pavement, walls and other human structures that surround us; they also serve as traces and indexes of the less tangible fractures around us. His current exhibition at Paris, London, Hong Kong (the new gallery’s second show), “Joliet,” references the city that brands itself the […]

Portrait of the Artist: John Wehmer

“It was all Melissa’s doing,” eighty-five-year-old John Wehmer says by way of explanation, referring to Columbia, Missouri gallerist Melissa Williams. Last spring Williams visited Wehmer in his home on a hunch and eventually convinced him to unearth a body of two dozen large abstract paintings, many of which had been unseen in storage for decades, […]

Review: Johanna Drucker/Center for Book and Paper Arts

RECOMMENDED Book artist extraordinaire Johanna Drucker, who has done more than perhaps any other contemporary artist to increase the critical recognition of book as art form, is often most closely associated with language/concrete poetry and the avant-garde of the Bay Area scene in the 1970s and eighties; but her retrospective, “Druckworks,” at Columbia College’s Center […]

Art 50: Chicago’s Artists’ Artists

“A friend recently confessed to me that he secretly ranks the participants in Chicago’s art world according to their importance,” wrote artist Molly Zuckerman-Hartung in this publication. Molly’s friend doesn’t work at Newcity; although we annually rank half-a-hundred scenesters of the stage and page, this is our first line-up of visual artists. But everyone intimately […]

Ivory Towers and Glass Boxes: New Art Spaces Around Chicago

The New Ivory Tower in Town The new Logan Center tower is most assuredly an ivory tower—clad, however, in ashlar patterned stone. The building, designed by Tod Williams and Billie Tsien, is not magnificent as much as beautifully planned, logical but unpredictable enough to be full of light-drenched corners where University of Chicago students can […]

Review: Matthew Hoffman/Public Works Gallery

RECOMMENDED The question at the heart of Matthew Hoffman’s exhibition, “I Made This For You,” is what, exactly, is the artist’s relationship to his messages? These include “It’s OK” and “Go Easy On Life” and “Be a Human Being,” as well as flowcharts of romantic relationships and twee Venn diagrams—the funniest has the word “it” […]

Review: Global Cities, Model Worlds, and The World Finder Pocket Guide to Hell/Gallery 400

RECOMMENDED Gallery 400’s double exhibition of “Global Cities, Model Worlds” and “The World Finder Pocket Guide to Hell” is a heavy-handed but nonetheless powerful pair of explorations of mega-events and their unplanned impacts. “Global Cities, Model Worlds,” the more striking of the pair, is more tongue-in-cheek than it first appears. Referencing children’s and science museums, with […]

Eye Exam: Illuminating Conceptual Art

By Monica Westin In my notes for the exhibition “Light Years,” I scrawled to myself that of the multitude of photographs and other lens-based work in the Art Institute’s ambitious show of photo-conceptualism, half a dozen or more involve scenes of beaches. Jan Dibbets’ careful formal studies of tides and waves in photography and film […]

Review: The Language of Less (Then and Now)/Museum of Contemporary Art & Reduction or Something Less/LVL3 Gallery

After a year that’s been rich in lively shows and discussion about the relevance and legacy of Minimalism—the Gerard Byrne show and accompanying panels at the Renaissance Society, for one—this fall’s big Minimalism-then-and-now show at the MCA is a bit of a theoretical letdown. The first major show by chief curator Michael Darling, who joined […]

Eye Exam: The Gray Center: Brave New Interdiscipline?

By Monica Westin There are few words in either the arts or academia that are used as often, and occasionally mean so little, as “interdisciplinary.” The overwhelming surge in interdisciplinary work over the past decade ranges from a variety of motivations and understandings of what exactly it is and should do. At best, this work […]