Rachel Slotnick’s Logan Square mural in progress
There are three “Paint With Us” painting days scheduled this weekend when the community is invited to get involved in the completion of Rachel Slotnick’s mural in progress at Milwaukee and Kedzie in Logan Square. Adjoining the Logan Square Blue Line stop, this is the latest mural project to adopt two-year terms for the prominent wall space in the square. Lindsey Meyers, the director of the neighborhood’s Beauty & Brawn Gallery and longtime Logan Square resident, has coordinated the project with Slotnick after considering the wall’s potential over years. Meyers explains by email, “I pass that wall multiple times a day and it always spoke to me. I continued to see its size and scope and only saw beauty and potential.”
Painting days are scheduled for today, August 29, from 4pm-7pm; Sunday, August 31, from 1pm-3pm; and Monday, September 1, from 1pm-3pm. Interested participants need only show up; the gallery will provide all painting materials. Read the rest of this entry »
At the beginning of August, a striking new environmentalist campaign was launched by Milton Glaser, the indelible graphic designer responsible for such iconic works as the I heart NY logo. The stark new design of a black circle shaded a dimming green across its bottom edge connotes the earth’s present environmental changes and is accompanied by the tagline: “IT’S NOT WARMING, IT’S DYING.” Now the Chicago based Busy Beaver Button Co. has partnered with Glaser to create and widely distribute one-inch buttons of the logo through the website itsnotwarming.com. Read the rest of this entry »
Andersonville, Bronzeville, Collage, Drawings, Edgewater, Evanston, Fall Preview, Garfield Park, Installation, Lincoln Square, Logan Square, Multimedia, Painting, Photography, Prints, River North, Sculpture, Suburban, Ukrainian Village/East Village, Video, West Loop, Wicker Park/Bucktown
Thursday, September 4
Dan Ramirez, painting
Union League Club of Chicago, 65 West Jackson
Opening reception: 5:30pm-7pm, through September 30
(Members only opening, viewing by appointment only) Read the rest of this entry »
The Comfort Station in Logan Square
My first exposure to Comfort Station coincided with Matthew Hoffman’s 2013 exhibition “Independence.” A mysterious placard was erected in the shadow of the Illinois Centennial Monument. Like most of Hoffman’s work, it was aggressively present on social networks. In the background of some of the photos was a puzzling Tudor-style building that looked comically out of place in trendy Logan Square. The text read: “A motivational sign in a grassy field is nice and all, but it’s not going to do the hard work for you. That’s up to you.”
This wording resonates with the ethos and initiative of Comfort Station. It is a unique architectural landmark that places equal emphasis on both programming and exhibitions. In a recent conversation I had with both of the directors, Jordan Martins characterized their vision as such: “We identify as an ‘art space’ not just due to the exhibitions, but through all of our programs as a totality. The most important thing for us is the plurality, multiplicity and simultaneity of these events and programs and how they activate the space.” Read the rest of this entry »
Amie Sell’s “Home Sweet Home” installation on view at Kitchen Space in Logan Square
After Amie Sell’s photo installation “Home Sweet Home” was unceremoniously removed from the Milwaukee Avenue Arts Festival on June 27, she began to meet with other spaces and curators to find somewhere else to present the censored artworks. As Newcity reported at the time of the controversy, Sell’s works criticized gentrification in the Logan Square neighborhood, including real estate developer Mark Fishman, who is the owner of the building in which the works would have been exhibited.
When Traci Fowler and Trevor Schmutz heard about Sell’s work, they invited her to adapt the installation to be shown in Kitchen Space, their apartment gallery in Logan Square. On Sunday, August 3, the new installation of “Home Sweet Home” opened in the two artists’ home, where it will remain on view through August 24. On Sunday, August 17, Kitchen Space will host a lunchtime discussion (tentatively scheduled from 1pm to 3pm) about the issues of gentrification and affordable housing in Logan Square that Sell’s work has researched. Read the rest of this entry »
“Battleship Bay” from Irrational Games, digital art print, 39″ x 70″
When Chaz Evans and Jonathan Kinkley met while studying art history at UIC a few years ago, they embarked on a dream to start a gallery project that celebrated the work of artists who create the spectacular visual experiences in video games. On August 8, they will launch the new Video Game Art Gallery, with their first exhibition hosted by Galerie F in Logan Square. This initial foray into a physical show of fine art prints is part of VGA’s work across their online platform as well as through exhibition programming. In an email, Evans explains, “We are working with this hybrid model as it fits well with the media we are showing: it exists both as live software but also as framed images.” The gallery’s website is set up so that collectors can purchase prints that range in price from $75 to $400. Some of the games from which the inkjet prints have been drawn are widely popular, such as “BioShock: Infinite.” But Evans and Kinkley also hope to introduce audiences to visually stunning hidden gems like “MirrorMoon EP,” a first-person puzzler by Santa Ragione with concept art by Gabriele Brombin. Playable demos of these and other games will complement the prints on view at Galerie F in August. Other future pop-up exhibitions are currently in the works.
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“Milshire SRO Blanket,” fleece blanket printed with original photography and memorial statement, 80″ x 60.” Part of Amie Sell’s “Home Sweet Home” project that was removed from MAAF without her consent.
This year’s Milwaukee Avenue Arts Festival (MAAF) became a site for controversy when Amie Sell’s site-specific installation dealing with affordable housing and displacement through neighborhood development was taken down without the artist’s consent the day the show was meant to open. In a thorough account on Sell’s website, she states that it was Mark Fishman, a real estate developer who owns the building in which her work was to be shown, who was responsible for shutting down the exhibition. Fishman is directly criticized in “Home Sweet Home,” the ongoing project Sell intended to exhibit, and also sits on the I Am Logan Square board, the nonprofit organization that sponsors MAAF along with other cultural events and career development opportunities for artists.
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“Alexandra,” black-and-white archival inkjet print on metal
On a mission of social enlightenment, Andy Karol’s project “Eden: Expressions in Gender” seeks to create a photographic “human space” by taking small-format black-and-white “fine art nude portraits” in wooded areas around Chicago. The people depicted represent all conceivable variations on gender identity, and there are many more of those than the uninitiated might think. Read the rest of this entry »
Adult Contemporary, a new artist-run apartment gallery (formerly Murdertown) in Logan Square, recently kicked off their programming with a two-person show. “Stranger Danger” features a site-specific installation comprised of several sculptural artworks, from hanging tapestries to strategically placed trinkets made, some collaboratively, by Karolina Gnatowski and Judith Brotman.
The work is delicately constructed and placed around the relatively large, creamy-walled apartment, which features no shortage of wood trim and peculiar, decorative architectural details. There are a lot of individual pieces in the show but they have plenty of breathing room in the space, which is split into three rooms. And breathe they do—their organic shapes and wispy construction gives them the sense that they are alive, gently humming, sighing, whistling, whispering—like Gnatowski’s “Badge,” a woven leather piece adorned with childlike jewelry and beads spelling out a Kid Cudi lyric: “Pretty Green Bud / All In My Blunt / Oh I Need It / We Can Take Off Now / Oooh I Wanna / Marijuana.” Read the rest of this entry »
Emiliano Cerna-Rios, “Colorchartness”
In retrospect, antagonisms are reconciled and oppositions are synthesized, so that Stalin and Hitler were pretty much the same thing. Ditto Romans and Christians, astrophysics and particle physics, ballet and tap, tomato to-mah-toe. But what if, asks Slavoj Zizek, we could “enact a parallax shift” in order to perceive antagonisms in their “positive” role?
Such tensions are massaged quite satisfyingly in “Colorchartness,” Emiliano Cerna-Rios’ agglomeration of twenty-eight canvases on view at The Storefront, which has emerged rehabilitated from a major fire this past summer. Painted with acrylic, oil and house paint, the canvases lean in the gallery’s several odd corners. Each painting is masked off with eight rectangles of varying hue, mostly framed in dull silver, evoking Gerhard Richter’s color grids and Sol LeWitt’s wall paintings—but only loosely. The measurements are eyeballed, the masking is approximate, and the color swatches themselves are far from uniform, with streaks of contrasting tones, clumps of medium, and ceramic fragments disrupting the depthlessness of pure chroma. The bravura is so pronounced, even erupting at one spot into a representational tree branch that translucently transgresses the grid’s boundaries, making the gridded seriality seem like a premise for gesture and process, or an attempt to organize a studio experiment. The composite artwork commands the room with intensity and autonomy. Its image easily overflows through the picture window onto California Avenue passersby. Read the rest of this entry »