Reviews, profiles and news about art in Chicago

Review: James Krone/Kavi Gupta Gallery

Galleries & Museums, Media & Genres, Painting, Prints, Sculpture, Video, West Loop No Comments »
James Krone. Installation view of "An Ornithology for Birds," 2016.

James Krone. Installation view of “An Ornithology for Birds,” 2016.

RECOMMENDED

In 1952, the painter Barnett Newman dismissed philosophical aesthetics by saying: “Even if aesthetics is established as a science, it doesn’t affect me as an artist. I’ve done quite a bit of work in ornithology; I have never met an ornithologist who ever thought that ornithology was for the birds.” Newman later turned his quip into a simple analogy “Aesthetics is for the artist as ornithology is for the birds.” Read the rest of this entry »

Review: Morley/Beauty & Brawn

Logan Square, Street Art No Comments »
Morley surveying his mural at the Wabash Arts Corridor. /Photo: Sanda Steinbrecher.

Morley surveying his mural at the Wabash Arts Corridor /Photo: Sandra Steinbrecher

Street art contains, at its core, something of the re-appropriation of space; public places for public missives, private spaces for public works. It is this living, often violent relationship with the environment in which it is born that separates street art from its more gallery-, museum- and pedestal-inclined cousins. Read the rest of this entry »

Review: Bring Your Own Body/Glass Curtain Gallery

Activist Art, Collage, Drawings, Galleries & Museums, Installation, Media & Genres, Multimedia, Performance, Photography, Sculpture, South Loop, Textiles, Video No Comments »
Zackary Drucker. "Southern for Pussy," 2015. Video still.

Zackary Drucker. “Southern for Pussy,” 2015. Video still.

RECOMMENDED

“Bring Your Own Body: Transgender Between Archives and Aesthetics,” currently on view at Glass Curtain Gallery at Columbia College, provides a multilayered experience by featuring works of contemporary transgender artists juxtaposed with archival materials to illustrate the multiplicity of transgender identities as they are represented in the art world, pop culture and institutional discourses. Named after an unpublished manuscript by intersex pioneer Lynn Harris, “Bring Your Own Body” blends historical documents and contemporary art to provide critical perspectives on the ongoing formation of transgender identities. Read the rest of this entry »

Review: Kathryn Andrews/Museum of Contemporary Art

Galleries & Museums, Installation, Multimedia, Photography, Prints, Sculpture, Streeterville No Comments »
Installation view of "Kathryn Andrews: Run for President" at the MCA Chicago. /Photo: Nathan Keay.

Installation view of “Kathryn Andrews: Run for President” at the MCA Chicago/Photo: Nathan Keay

A nineteenth-century general sits atop a mound of skulls. Set against overlapping neon pink and yellow backgrounds (the aluminum support adding an incongruous sheen), the general and his sword, plumed helmet and squat pose summed up a satirical critique of Whig politics in the 1848 Currier & Ives print from which Kathryn Andrews worked. A plexiglass panel along the piece’s right edge reveals the folded costume of the Joker, worn by Jack Nicholson in Tim Burton’s “Batman.” American politics has long been the province of murderous fools, but what, precisely, does Andrews offer in her argot of visual culture? What does it mean to repurpose old satire as new satire?

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Review: Phases of Faces/Jean Albano Gallery

Digital Art, Drawings, Multimedia, Painting, Photography, Prints, River North, Video No Comments »
Joe Tallarico. "Marold and Haude," 2014. Watercolor, ink and colored pencil, 11 x 15 inches.

Joe Tallarico. “Marold and Haude,” 2014. Watercolor and ink, 11 x 15 inches.

Five decades of the Chicago Imagists tradition are alive and well in “Faces,” the first exhibit of the new year at Jean Albano Gallery. Whether the human face is directly engaging the viewer or part of an entire figure, these faces are far removed from a Rembrandt self-portrait. They evince no naturalism, no idealism, no profound drama, no soul. These are not the faces of people on life’s journey. Read the rest of this entry »

Eye Exam: Two Rules of Bad Mixtapes

Ceramics, Collage, Craft Work, Design, Drawings, Galleries & Museums, Installation, Media & Genres, Multimedia, Outsider Art, Painting, Performance, Photography, Prints, Sculpture, Streeterville, Textiles No Comments »
Installation view of "Pop Art Design" at the MCA Chicago. /Photo: Nathan Keay.

Installation view of “Pop Art Design” at the MCA Chicago/Photo: Nathan Keay

By Ruslana Lichtzier

I enjoy thinking about the structure of the museum as a mixtape. Within an expanded taste, different exhibitions are organized with loose connections in an evolving tempo, hopefully with a mutual understanding regarding the role of the institution. Back in the day, mixtapes were a tool of courting; in making one, the mixtape-maker demonstrated how cool they were, how broad, complex, versatile and surprising was their taste. The danger was, and still is, in them exposing themselves as being…well, not cool.

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Review: Intention to Know/Stony Island Arts Bank

Art Books, Collage, Greater Grand Crossing, Painting, Sculpture No Comments »
Installation view of "Intention to Know: The Thought Forms of Annie Besant" at the Rebuild Foundation's Stony Island Arts Bank." /Photo: Habib Bolat.

Installation view of “Intention to Know: The Thought Forms of Annie Besant” at the Rebuild Foundation’s Stony Island Arts Bank.”/Photo: Habib Bolat

RECOMMENDED

This isn’t another review of Theaster Gates’ Stony Island Arts Bank, part of his broader Rebuild Foundation. But what a lot more there is to say about his ambitious, inspiring and paradoxical project, part community center and part colonial outpost of the multinational avant-garde. This is only a review of the latest exhibition at the Arts Bank, “Intention to Know: The Thought Forms of Annie Besant.”

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News: Threewalls in Transition

News etc., West Loop No Comments »
Installation view of Brandon Alvendia's exhibition "The Great Good Place" at Threewalls, November 11 - December 12, 2015.

Installation view of Brandon Alvendia’s exhibition “The Great Good Place” at Threewalls, November 7 – December 12, 2015.

Days after Jeffreen Hayes, newly appointed executive director of Threewalls, announced that the nonprofit arts organization would vacate its longtime West Loop space and lay off its operating staff, questions still remain about the fate of Chicago’s beloved alternative arts space. In an email addressed to the Chicago art community, Hayes cited financial challenges, including rising rents in the West Loop neighborhood, as the reason for these drastic measures. While shocking, the announcement is a chilling reminder that the well-being of even the strongest and most successful nonprofit arts organizations are not guaranteed in the current political and economic environment. Read the rest of this entry »

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 »

Review: Winter Experiment: SAIC at MMG/Monique Meloche Gallery

Collage, Drawings, Galleries & Museums, Installation, Media & Genres, Multimedia, Painting, Photography, Sculpture, Wicker Park/Bucktown No Comments »
Cheryl Pope. " I ONLY NOTICE YOU WHEN I SEE YOU," 2015. Printed nylon banner, 36 x 60 inches.

Cheryl Pope. “I ONLY NOTICE YOU WHEN I SEE YOU,” 2015. Printed nylon banner, 36 x 60 inches.

RECOMMENDED

The exhibition begins outside on Division Street. There, the ruby red glow of Michelle Grabner’s painting “Untitled” from “Chicago Gingham” emanates outward through the street window and across the snow-covered sidewalk, enticing warmth and springtime nostalgia. Read the rest of this entry »