In “Double Take,” Newcity Art commissions two or more critics to consider a single topic or exhibition in order to offer multiple perspectives on complex, timely matters in Chicago’s visual arts.
The ancient Greeks originated that rigorous cult of rationality that formed the basis of Western philosophies of knowledge. But they were also attracted to its uninhibited antithesis: the cult of Dionysos. Although Bacchanalian festivals were later suppressed by stern Roman patriarchs, images of Dionysos and his half-human crew of maenads and satyrs persisted in response to those powerful, primal urges that likewise never seem to go away. Read the rest of this entry »
In the beginning there was Ivan Albright. Over-ripening the human figure, collapsing its surrounding space and removing it from social context, he prepared the way for the angry contortions of the “Monster Roster” and eventually for the rebellious pranks of the Imagists. And the School of the Art Institute of Chicago was right in the thick of it, with visionary instructors like Ray Yoshida and Whitney Halstead and artist collaborations like the Hairy Who. That’s the story of postwar Chicago art as told by this exhibition of alumni works on paper mounted in celebration of the school’s 150th anniversary. Read the rest of this entry »
The Art Institute has one of the world’s finest holdings of photographs by Stieglitz and his circle—a gift from his wife Georgia O’Keeffe no less—and little excuse is needed to bring them out from time to time. Read the rest of this entry »
High on the thirty-eighth floor of the Hancock Building, John Stezaker and I stand amidst the clean white walls of Richard Gray Gallery. Read the rest of this entry »
The further we get from twentieth-century America, the more bizarre its normalized gender identities now appear to us. Read the rest of this entry »
The title of this dossier exhibition is misleading. There is nothing here about voyages: no ships, disembarkations, or conquistadores. It should instead be called: “An Assemblage of Colonial Andean Paintings, Mostly Religious, that Occlude Matters of Racism and Slavery.” Read the rest of this entry »
Sometimes, discipline is the basis of freedom. The sonnet is a fourteen-line poem in iambic pentameter. The haiku is a three-line poem with seventeen syllables. The sonata form demands exposition, development and recapitulation. Shakespeare, Basho and Beethoven thrived within these constraints.
The kesa, the outer garment worn by Japanese Buddhist monks, imposes on its maker many restrictions. It must be quadrilateral, composed of cloth or paper (recalling the shreds and patches worn by the historical Buddha), and composed in columns (usually seven), framed by a border with mitered corners. There are often six additional blocks placed here and there, ostensibly to strengthen the garment, but really because another rule creates another opportunity for beauty. Read the rest of this entry »
For a man surrounded his whole life by women and horses, Degas was astonishingly unresponsive to both. Read the rest of this entry »
Deana Lawson’s found and staged images embody photography’s contradictory nature. Her scenes are filled with black bodies in predominately black places around the world, from Africa and the Caribbean to U.S. locales including New Orleans, Detroit and the Flatbush, Brownsville and Canarsie neighborhoods in Brooklyn. For Lawson, her subjects are like extended family, though when she first encounters them, they are strangers. Read the rest of this entry »