As one might have predicted, the attitudes promoted in this exhibit are politically correct, projecting an exhausted despair concerning the fate of civilization and the planet. [Read more…]
Tucked into the cozy center of the Chicago Urban Art Society’s clean and cavernous new space in McKinley Park, Uriel Correa’s two-room installation of poppy neon paintings vibrate like radioactive renditions of relics of ancient Asian and South American cultures.
With a joyous palette reminiscent of traditional Peruvian Quechua clothing and graphic motifs inspired by Tibetan tapestries and retro book covers, the work dazzles enough that it does not necessitate context or explanation to be enjoyed. Highly decorative, the paintings undulate with vibrant geometric patterns that incorporate grids, stripes and spots. Stylized, wavy forms intersect with hard lines and crisp beams of color in a deeply satisfying dance of wiggly wisps and whimsical figures. [Read more…]
Though mostly an exhibition of current and former students of its curator, Ryan Shultz, several of these paintings would stand out in any selection of young Chicago painters. A Shultz oil painting typically applies a meticulous, flattened, Polaroid kind of photorealism to depict young adults, notably self-centered if not dissolute. One student, Sandra Stone, has got his intentions and techniques down so well that one might well believe Shultz had painted it himself. But most students have already taken their own directions.
Love of anything other than craft is absent from a Shultz portrait, but Elizabeth Claire has introduced a second figure to depict romantic angst in her stark “Turning Away.” Apparently a self-portrait with Shultz, it recalls Oskar Kokoschka’s painful depiction of himself beside Alma Mahler a hundred years ago. It’s raw, non-fantasy drama is rarely found in contemporary painting. [Read more…]
At the start of December, Chicago Urban Art Society (CUAS) completed its move from its location in the East Pilsen neighborhood to 3636 South Iron in McKinley Park. The move is seen as a homecoming for the exhibition gallery and creative-use space: executive director Lauren M. Pacheco and gallery co-founder and director Peter Kepha are siblings who grew up in nearby Brighton Park. In addition to changing locations for the opportunity at working with a larger space, the new spot interconnects areas that have large Latino communities such as Back of the Yards, Bridgeport, Brighton Park and McKinley Park, allowing CUAS to work in accord with their fundamental commitment to serving Southwest Side Latino communities. “The Southwest Side of Chicago is an art desert,” says Pacheco. “We hope to provide a much needed resource and to continue our advocacy work for more arts and cultural spaces that push innovative practice and discourse in Latino communities and the South Side.” Kepha seconds that notion saying, “In 2015, I am extremely excited to present a curatorial practice that involves new visual voices who are able to think differently about space, community and production.” [Read more…]
In a letter from Sixty Inches From Center’s executive director Tempestt Hazel, she admits that the nonprofit online arts magazine “has been pretty quiet since 2014 began.” But now they’ve launched a new website, announced their new home at the Zhou B Art Center in Bridgeport and embarked on the next chapter in their online magazine that shifts from the weekly publication of the last three years to a triannual format that builds content around selected themes with organized workshops, panel discussions and other events that aim to get at the tangible realities of art and its producers in Chicago. [Read more…]
This year’s Version Fest—which runs from Saturday, June 21 through Sunday, June 29—starts with a summit and mini market at the Mana Contemporary building in Pilsen (2233 South Throop). All the weekend’s activities are free and open to the public. This year’s festival is called The Placemakers and will showcase programming that examines how public and private spaces are being transformed, revitalized and animated by a lineup of creative workers, gardeners, pop-up urbanists, artists and activists. The summit will be from 12:30pm to 6pm on both Saturday and Sunday, with presentations on diverse topics such as contested territories, graffiti, tactical urbanism, neofuturist architectural movement, city development and urban farming. [Read more…]
Project Onward is “finally completely independent” from the City of Chicago’s cultural programming office, says Rob Lentz, executive director of the gallery and studio that supports adult artists with mental and developmental disabilities. Project Onward “deserves to have its own identity,” he says, after being housed on the first floor of the Chicago Cultural Center since 2004, and fully funded by a variety of city affiliates over those nine years.
Visitors to the first-floor studios and gallery at the Cultural Center could wander in and watch the artists at work in their open studios, get a portrait drawn by a resident artist, or buy some of their work in the shop. And they did, in droves. At the Cultural Center, “we had lots of foot traffic,” says Lentz; “tens and tens and tens of thousands” of visitors. Any artist would love that kind of exposure, but if it seemed like Project Onward were a zoo exhibit, then “the visitors were the animals,” says Lentz. [Read more…]