Reviews, profiles and news about art in Chicago

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 »

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 »

Holiday Gift Guide: The Art Edition

Galleries & Museums, Garfield Park, Logan Square, West Loop No Comments »
Ceramics by Noah Signer. Threewalls Seasonal Shop Showcase.

Ceramics by Noah Singer. Threewalls Seasonal Shop Showcase.

If the “buy local” consumer ethos has improved the environment and kickstarted local economies, Chicago’s art collectors would do better to build their collections the same way they fill their fridges. For aspiring and seasoned connoisseurs alike, Chicago is rife with opportunities to purchase affordable, beautiful work by emerging and established local artists. Read the rest of this entry »

Portrait of the Artist: Chances Dances

Artist Profiles, Galleries & Museums, Hyde Park, Logan Square, Noble Square, West Town, Wicker Park/Bucktown No Comments »
Chances Dances/Photo: Dan Paz.

Chances Dances/Photo: Dan Paz

The Chances Dances collective has been hosting queer dance parties in Chicago since 2005. What began as an inclusive dance night has since grown into multiple monthly events and an organizing body that runs a grant program for queer artists.

Latham Zearfoss and Bruce Wiest founded Chances Dances because they could not find anything like it in Chicago at the time: a safe place for the queer community to be able to go out and have fun. It was originally hosted in the back of Big Horse Lounge, a now-defunct taqueria in Wicker Park. In support of wanting to have a night for what Zearfoss calls “a lot of different bodies and dispositions,” the two intentionally chose a straight venue so the gathering did not come with preconceived notions.

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Eye Exam: Chicago is an Exquisite Corpse

Activist Art, Architecture, Art Fairs, Art Schools, Collage, Comics, Design, Digital Art, Drawings, Evanston, Fall Preview, Galleries & Museums, Garfield Park, Gold Coast/Old Town, Humboldt Park, Hyde Park, Installation, Little Village, Logan Square, Loop, Michigan Avenue, Multimedia, Museum Campus, Outsider Art, Painting, Performance, Photography, Pilsen, Prints, Public Art, River North, River West, Rogers Park, Sculpture, South Loop, Street Art, Streeterville, Suburban, Ukrainian Village/East Village, Uptown, Video, West Loop, West Town, Wicker Park/Bucktown No Comments »
The thing that was sent to me in it's intended but unsettling orientation.

The thing that was sent to me in its intended but unsettling orientation.

By Elliot J. Reichert

The above image was sent to me anonymously in the middle of the night. Shocking as it appears, I was relieved to receive it. You see, weeks ago I had contacted a few artist friends to ask them to reflect on the upcoming fall art season in Chicago and to ask one to “take over” the task of appraising it. To my surprise, they were reluctant to describe it, even those who had exhibitions of their work opening in the coming weeks. Later, I realized that their silence was my doing, having asked a question that could produce no coherent answer.

Much like the drawing game made famous by the Surrealists, Chicago’s 2015 fall art season is an exquisite corpse—a thing of grotesque beauty that is the dream of no one, but the creation of many. At first glance, it appears sinister, like the Block Museum’s solo show of newly commissioned works by Chicago artist Geof Oppenheimer. Rumor has it that the sculptor has filled the museum’s ample galleries with austere and foreboding installations resembling the cinderblock constructions of grim institutions, like prison, or perhaps your corporate office. Even more menacing, Irena Haiduk, also Chicago-based and also exhibiting new work, will haunt the eaves of the Renaissance Society’s transformed gallery with the Sirens of Greek mythology, luring visitors unexpectedly into a debate on the revolutionary possibilities of art and social change amidst current political upheaval worldwide. Read the rest of this entry »

News: Comfort Station’s First Annual Vernacular Photography Festival Begins Today

Galleries & Museums, Logan Square, News etc., Outsider Art, Photography, Video No Comments »
An anonymous photograph from the Slattery collection.

An anonymous photograph from the Slattery collection

Comfort Station, the Logan Square multidisciplinary art space, will present an unprecedented twenty-three-day “Vernacular Photography Festival,” a rotating show celebrating the art of everyday and commonplace images throughout the month of August. The festival is curated by Ron Slattery, known as one of the three original collectors of the work of the late Vivian Maier. Maier was a noted street photographer who took more than 150,000 photographs of everyday people and architecture in Chicago and New York. Her work was not widely recognized until after her death in 2009, when Slattery and two other collectors began to circulate images from portions of her archive that they had purchased at auction. Read the rest of this entry »

News: Visual Art Projects Now Open Along the 606

Humboldt Park, Logan Square, News etc., Performance, Public Art, Wicker Park/Bucktown No Comments »
A stampede of horses by Opera-Matic charge the 606 path on opening day

A stampede of horses by Opera-Matic charge the 606 path on opening day

“People were very curious, and they wanted to know what it meant…,” said Rob Lentz, executive director of Project Onward and liaison for artist Louis DeMarco, in an interview with Newcity about the public response to the temporary installation of “Cloud Chart” along the newly opened 606 trail, the 2.8-mile elevated parkway connecting four northwestern Chicago neighborhoods. DeMarco’s artworks are among the new installations that will be on view through June 2016. Read the rest of this entry »

Review: Ellen Rothenberg/Sector 2337

Installation, Logan Square, Multimedia No Comments »
Ellen Rothenberg. "elsetime," 2015 installation view, Sector 2337.  Photo by Clare Britt.

Ellen Rothenberg. “elsetime,” 2015 installation view, Sector 2337/Photo: Clare Britt


At the entrance of Ellen Rothenberg’s solo exhibition, “elsetime,” at Sector 2337, is “Listening Station,” a turntable and pile of LPs to sift through on a bench. Of the thirty or so albums (all of them circa 1960-1970) to choose from, another gallery-goer put on an album by Detroit garage rockers Mitch Ryder & The Detroit Wheels. What songs were playing escape my memory and perhaps this was the point. Engaging in Rothenberg’s other works (inkjet prints, bag assemblages, photocopies in plastic folders, etc.) relegated the sonic addition to the exhibition as a kind of background noise, something present but easily ignored. Read the rest of this entry »

Portrait of the Artist: Esau McGhee

Collage, Garfield Park, Logan Square, Photography No Comments »
Esau McGhee in his East Garfield Park studio

Esau McGhee in his East Garfield Park studio

“My collage work is about this collective experience that we all share with public spaces,” explains Esau McGhee. “It doesn’t matter, you could be a fifty-year-old white Jewish chick or a young Latino male. It’s not my space, it’s not your space, it’s really ours, and it’s going through an evolution as dictated by us and our shared experience with it.”

As an African-American man who grew up as a self-proclaimed “ghetto kid” and ended up a professional artist by way of high-end, private fine art programs at SAIC and Northwestern, McGhee thinks a lot about how people from different races and economic classes relate to one another. He believes that people from different backgrounds can connect with one another through their shared visual experiences. With a studio based in the quintessentially urban East Garfield Park, McGhee’s practice intuitively incorporates the patterns of city landscapes, evoking a mood that city dwellers from all backgrounds could relate to—and with his most recent exhibitions being in the very different Elastic Arts, Union League Club and the Hyde Park Art Center, people from all different backgrounds have had a chance to.
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News: Gallery 2506 Opens in Logan Square

Galleries & Museums, Logan Square, News etc. No Comments »
The recently opened Gallery 2506, located in Logan Square.

The recently opened Gallery 2506, located in Logan Square

Last week, longtime friends Kathleen Burnett and Teresa Grammatke opened the doors to Gallery 2506, a commercial gallery in Logan Square. The launch of their “Perception” exhibition, which runs through May 29, marked its grand opening. This show, and those that follow, focuses on beauty—a key component of Gallery 2506’s mission.

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