Reviews, profiles and news about art in Chicago

Review: Jefferson Pinder/Hyde Park Art Center

Activist Art, Galleries & Museums, Hyde Park, Installation, Media & Genres, Sculpture, Video No Comments »
Jefferson Pinder. "Overture (Star of Ethiopia)," 2015. Two-channel HD video, 8 minutes.

Jefferson Pinder, “Overture (Star of Ethiopia),” 2015. Two-channel HD video, 8 minutes

RECOMMENDED

It is customary to begin a review of Jefferson Pinder’s work with a generalization about blackness, then to quote the artist’s goals for transforming the scene of American race relations. It is customary to note his debt to the Black Arts Movement, to marvel at his multidisciplinary expertise and to place him in relation to other artists—usually Glenn Ligon or William Pope.L—who likewise treat race through elliptical objects and performances. It is customary to mull the difficulty of de-racializing the racialized work of racialized artists. It is usually customary to do so with a twinge of white guilt. Read the rest of this entry »

Review: So-called Utopias/Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts

Activist Art, Architecture, Design, Galleries & Museums, Hyde Park, Installation, Media & Genres, Multimedia, Photography, Prints, Sculpture, Video No Comments »
Melanie Smith. "Fordlandia ," 2014. Video still.

Melanie Smith. “Fordlandia ,” 2014. Video still.

RECOMMENDED

Utopias have vexed the art world of late. To name but one example: the first Summer Forum residency recently took place in New Harmony, a site of failed utopian living in Indiana. Meanwhile the critical currents of queer pessimism have forcefully militated against utopian longing, exemplified in the anti-futurity espoused by Lee Edelman. Utopias are dangerous and dreamy. Alluring and exclusionary. Read the rest of this entry »

Eye Exam: Politics of Representation

Activist Art, Collage, Digital Art, Evanston, Galleries & Museums, Hyde Park, Installation, Multimedia, Painting, Performance, Video No Comments »
"GERMONEY" banner at the German Pavilion, 56th Venice Biennale. /Photo: Hito Steyerl.

“GERMONEY” banner at the German Pavilion, 56th Venice Biennale./Photo: Hito Steyerl

By Elliot J. Reichert

If I were not dreading what comes next, I would be happy for this year to be over. Read the rest of this entry »

Review: Paul McCarthy/The Renaissance Society

Drawings, Galleries & Museums, Hyde Park, Media & Genres No Comments »
Paul McCarthy. "Drawings," installation view at the Renaissance Society, 2015.

Paul McCarthy. “Drawings,” installation view at the Renaissance Society, 2015/Photo: Tom Van Eynde

Do we still need Paul McCarthy? Once a criminally overlooked provocateur whose performances carried a powerful urgency in the late sixties and seventies, he is now firmly entrenched in both the art-historical canon and the global network of high-end art institutions. Read the rest of this entry »

Review: Daniel Bruttig/Hyde Park Art Center

Galleries & Museums, Hyde Park, Installation, Media & Genres, Sculpture No Comments »
Daniel Bruttig. "Tree House Taffy," 2013. Hot glue, inks, crayons, acrylic paint, wood, clock cases,14 x 13 x 6 inches.

Daniel Bruttig. “Tree House Taffy,” 2014. Hot glue, inks, crayons, paint, wood, clock cases, 14 x 13 x 6 inches.

The failure of the modernist enterprise brought about an injunction to rethink the shape of time. Time was once linear, logical and homogenous. Now it’s gloopy, viscous and prone to pooling in weird ways. Read the rest of this entry »

Review: To See in Black and White/Smart Museum of Art

Galleries & Museums, Hyde Park, Media & Genres, Photography No Comments »
Václav Zykmund. "Untitled, Woman with dangling hair," probably 1944. Gelatin silver print, vintage impression. Smart Museum of Art, The University of Chicago.

Václav Zykmund. “Untitled, Woman with dangling hair,” probably 1944. Gelatin silver print, vintage impression. Smart Museum of Art, The University of Chicago.

RECOMMENDED

Over forty photographs from the Smart’s own collection prove that a small exhibition can be a unique and wide-ranging survey. This show, related to the larger exhibition of Expressionism on display in other galleries, represents what is increasingly becoming known as a golden age of modernist European photography. Read the rest of this entry »

Review: Agnès Varda/Logan Center Exhibitions

Galleries & Museums, Hyde Park, Installation, Media & Genres, Multimedia, Photography, Video No Comments »
Installation view of Agnès Varda: Photographs Get Moving (potatoes and shells, too). Artworks pictured: "The Potato Chimney," 2003, digital print; "Walking Pictures," 1956-58, silver photographs, digital print; "Self-Portrait," 1949, photograph, silver print on Baryte paper; "Agnès Varda In Venice in front of a Bellini Painting," 1962, photograph, silver print on Baryte paper; "Fractured Self-Portrait," 2009, photograph, digital print.

Installation view of “Agnès Varda: Photographs Get Moving (potatoes and shells, too),” 2015/Photo: Nabiha Khan

RECOMMENDED

Agnès Varda’s small but mighty exhibition blurs media and spans nearly sixty years of her artistic production, with the humble potato at the root of it all. Read the rest of this entry »

Review: Expressionist Impulses/Smart Museum of Art

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Hans Hofmann. "House on the Hill," 1943. Ink and watercolor on wove paper. Smart Museum of Art, The University of Chicago, from the collection of Janice and Henri Lazarof, 2000.35.

Hans Hofmann. “House on the Hill,” 1943.
Ink and watercolor on wove paper. Smart Museum of Art, The University of Chicago, from the collection of Janice and Henri Lazarof, 2000.35.

RECOMMENDED

Raw, emotional and distorted, the Expressionist movement brought a subjective perspective of the world to the surface of the canvas. Although this style of art has historically been seen as a German and Austrian movement, “Expressionist Impulses” surveys the work of artists from surrounding countries such as Poland, Romania and the former Czechoslovakia, which simultaneously critiqued political and social concerns. By exhibiting artists from outside of Germany, the Smart Museum has elevated countries involved in the Expressionist style and tendencies that are often overlooked. Read the rest of this entry »

Review: Conversations with the Collection: Memory/Smart Museum of Art

Design, Digital Art, Drawings, Galleries & Museums, Hyde Park, Installation, Multimedia, Painting, Photography, Prints, Sculpture No Comments »
Antony Gormley, After an idea by Gabriel Mitchel, "Infinite Cube," 2014. Mirrored glass with internal copper wire matrix of 1,000 hand-soldered omnidirectional LED lights.

Antony Gormley, After an idea by Gabriel Mitchell, “Infinite Cube,” 2014.
Mirrored glass with internal copper wire matrix of 1,000 hand-soldered omnidirectional LED lights.

RECOMMENDED

On the occasion of the University of Chicago’s 125th anniversary, the Smart Museum of Art has compiled an exhibition of objects from its collection spanning three millennia that explore the multifaceted nature of memory. Works such as Zdenek Tmej’s “Broken Glasses, Breslau” and Arthur Amiotte’s “Wounded Knee III” capture violent moments of the past—burdensome memories to carry that are nonetheless worthy of preservation. Read the rest of this entry »

Review: Irena Haiduk/The Renaissance Society

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Irena Haiduk. Installation view, "Seductive Exacting Realism," 2015/ Photo: The Renaissance Society.

Irena Haiduk. Installation view, “Seductive Exacting Realism,” 2015/Photo: The Renaissance Society

RECOMMENDED

For the first thirty-five minutes of each hour, the gallery is cacophonous. Haiduk consigns the other twenty-five minutes to silence. For just less than half the day, “Seductive Exacting Realism” is absent. In “Waiting Rules,” Ivo Andric tells us that “the surest way to rule is to infect others with waiting.” Arrive too late, and it becomes clear that patience is a prison that springs from the self. Read the rest of this entry »