Reviews, profiles and news about art in Chicago

In Profile: Robert Burnier

Artist Profiles, Design, Digital Art, Logan Square, Sculpture No Comments »
Robert Burnier. /Photo: Paul Germanos.

Robert Burnier/Photo: Paul Germanos

In his fourth-floor studio at Mana Contemporary, Robert Burnier sits easily with one leg crossed over the other. A small, neon-orange traffic cone protrudes from the wall behind him, politely framed by carefully arranged clippings of paint swatches. Much of Burnier’s recent work has left his studio for “The Ship’s Carpenter,” his current exhibition at Elastic Arts. Small photographs of the works litter the walls, neatly arranged as they might be curated. Read the rest of this entry »

In Profile: Edra Soto

Artist Profiles, Galleries & Museums, Installation, Loop, Media & Genres, Performance, Textiles No Comments »
Edra Soto performing at "I IN THE SKY" opening, December 12, 2015. /Photo: Clare Britt.

Edra Soto performing at her “I IN THE SKY” opening, December 2, 2015/Photo: Clare Britt

“El que rie ultimo rie mejor” translates to “The one that laughs at the end, laughs the best.” Read the rest of this entry »

Portrait of the Artist: William J. O’Brien

Artist Profiles, Ceramics, Collage, Drawings, Galleries & Museums, Lincoln Park, Media & Genres, Multimedia, Painting, Sculpture No Comments »
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Portrait of William J. O’Brien in his studio, circa, 2013. /Photo: Robert Chase Heishman.

Weaving his way gracefully around shelves brimming with colorful sculptures and past an in-progress colored pencil drawing tacked onto the wall, William J. O’Brien guides me into the ceramics section of his large, ground-floor studio. The room smells of clay and incense, and three large tables are packed with drying clay bodies draped in fogged plastic. Read the rest of this entry »

Portrait of the Artist: John Stezaker

Artist Profiles, Collage, Galleries & Museums, Media & Genres, Michigan Avenue, Photography No Comments »
Stezaker, Ghosts I, 2013 (0915031)

John Stezaker. “Ghosts I,” 2013. Collage, 13 3/4 x 8 1/4 inches. /Photo: Michael Tropea.

High on the thirty-eighth floor of the Hancock Building, John Stezaker and I stand amidst the clean white walls of Richard Gray Gallery. Read the rest of this entry »

Portrait of the Artist: Barbara Kasten

Artist Profiles, Galleries & Museums, Gold Coast/Old Town No Comments »
Photo-documentation of Barbara Kasten installing the exhibition "Centric 2: Barbara Kasten, Installation/Photographs," University Art Museum, California State University Long Beach, 1982. Courtesy of the artist and the University Art Museum, California State University Long Beach.

Photo-documentation of Barbara Kasten installing the exhibition “Centric 2: Barbara Kasten, Installation/Photographs,” University Art Museum, California State University Long Beach, 1982. Courtesy of the artist and the University Art Museum, California State University Long Beach.

The best shows at the Graham Foundation’s Madlener House communicate with the architecture of the Prairie-style Gold Coast mansion. “Barbara Kasten: Stages” uses the space to the fullest, from the brightly colored photographs in the stairwells to archival materials in the library to a gigantic video installation inspired by the building’s architecture. Read the rest of this entry »

Portrait of the Artist: Jessica Stockholder

Artist Profiles, Galleries & Museums, Installation, Multimedia, Sculpture, West Loop No Comments »
Portrait of Jessica Stockholder by Steven Rosofsky.

Jessica Stockholder/Photo: Steven Rosofsky

Jessica Stockholder’s work greets me before she does. Colorful and vibrant, it illuminates the dark gray exterior of Kavi Gupta Gallery’s Elizabeth Street location. Read the rest of this entry »

Portrait of a Gallery: Emanuel Aguilar and Julia Fischbach, Patron Gallery

Gallerist profile, River West No Comments »
Julia Fischbach and Emanuel Aguilar. / Photo: Sara Pooley.

Julia Fischbach and Emanuel Aguilar/Photo: Sara Pooley

As I stroll slowly into Patron Gallery, Emanuel Aguilar walks briskly up to greet me. With partially unpacked artworks leaning against the walls and the smell of fresh paint lingering in the air, the storefront gallery reeks of transition and anticipation. Read the rest of this entry »

Eye Exam: Art’s Anxious Power

Art 50, Galleries & Museums, Michigan Avenue 1 Comment »
Andy Warhol. Mona Lisa Four Times, 1978. The Art Institute of Chicago, Gift of Edlis/Neeson Collection. © 2015 The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc./Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.

Andy Warhol. “Mona Lisa Four Times,” 1978. The Art Institute of Chicago, Gift of Edlis/Neeson Collection. © 2015 The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc./Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.

by Elliot J. Reichert

The hardest part was soon to come, Matt Morris warned me when we met this summer to discuss my transition into the role of Newcity’s Art Editor. Read the rest of this entry »

Art 50 2015: Chicago’s Visual Vanguard

Art 50 1 Comment »

Group_joe-mazza-brave-lux-chicago-newcity-art-50-2015-0739

Long heralded as a mecca for alternative practices, collectivity and socially engaged art, Chicago increasingly finds itself among the most visible international art destinations precisely because of its distinct character and openness to change and growth. What makes this city fertile ground for launching new talent and sustaining confirmed genius? A complex and ever-changing network of curators, collectors, administrators, critics, dealers, educators and other enthusiasts cultivate Chicago’s artistic vitality and diversity. The Art 50 is Newcity’s annual snapshot of Chicago’s art ecosystem. This year, we track the power players who shape the terrain in which we thrive.

The Art 50 was written by Elliot J. Reichert, Maria Girgenti, Abraham Ritchie, Kate Sierzputowski and B. David Zarley.

Cover and interior photos by Joe Mazza/Brave Lux on location at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago Read the rest of this entry »

Art Leader of the Moment: Naomi Beckwith, Curator of the Museum of Contemporary Art

Art 50, Curator Profiles, Galleries & Museums, Streeterville No Comments »

Photo: Joe Mazza/Brave Lux

By Elliot J. Reichert

In this year’s Art 50, we focus on the power players who shape Chicago’s art landscape. Naomi Beckwith, a Hyde Park native, brings an insider’s knowledge of the city to her role as the Marilyn and Larry Fields Curator at the Museum of Contemporary Art. In just over four years, she’s crafted some of the museum’s most timely exhibitions, including a major outdoor sculptural commission by Yinka Shonibare MBE and the MCA’s current headliner, “The Freedom Principle,” which she co-curated with Dieter Roelstraete. I spoke with her about the art of research, what it means to be a nerd in the art world and what’s next for this rising Chicago art star.

Being born and raised in Chicago, how has this city influenced your work as a curator?
Many people know that I had initially considered a career in the sciences. For my first twenty years, I was academically focused on those disciplines, but two signifiant things changed all that. One was the ethos of this city and its commitment to public spaces, which always included art: festivals, programs, art fairs and museums. I am a very proud child of Chicago Public Schools, which has an amazing field trip program that includes these destinations. This early access to both the formal art space of museums and also informal spaces, like the Hyde Park [57th Street] Art Fair or the African Festival of the Arts in Washington Park, left deep imprints on me. Read the rest of this entry »