Julia Margaret Cameron. “Thomas Carlyle,” 1867, printed 1875. The Art Institute of Chicago. Alfred Stieglitz Collection.
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 »
John Stezaker. “Ghosts I,” 2013. Collage, 13 3/4 x 8 1/4 inches. /Photo: Michael Tropea.
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 »
Gertrude Abercrombie (1909-1977). “Black Hat.” Oil on canvas, 20 x 24 inches.
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 »
Unidentified Artist. “Our Lady of the Rosary of Chiquinquirá with Female Donor,” late-seventeeth/early-eighteenth century.
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 »
Kesa, Edo period (1603–1868), mid-/late eighteenth century. Japan. Gift of Gaylord Donnelley in memory of Frances Gaylord Smith.
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 »
Edgar Degas. “Little Dancer Aged Fourteen,” c. 1879-1881. Private Collection.
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. “Mama Goma, Gemena, DR Congo,” 2014. Courtesy of Rhona Hoffman Gallery, Chicago.
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 »
Douglas Druick, 2011.
Douglas Druick, President and Eloise W. Martin Director of the Art Institute of Chicago, announced his intention to retire late Tuesday evening. Druick has been at the helm of the Art Institute since 2011 and has served for a total of thirty years at Chicago’s mainstay art museum. In nearly five years, Druick oversaw the Art Institute through major growth and change, including the acquisition of the largest gift of art in the museum’s history, given by Stefan Edlis and Gael Neeson earlier this year, record high attendance and recognition as being among the best museums in the world. For these specific achievements and his overall leadership of the institution, Druick topped Newcity’s list of Chicago’s 50 most powerful art figures in 2015.
“It has been my honor to serve as the Art Institute’s president and director,” said Druick. “I have been deeply proud to lead one of the finest museums in the world, and to work for three decades with an exceptional cadre of remarkably talented museum colleagues.” Read the rest of this entry »
“Dauji II Performing Arati on Sharada Purnima,” First quarter of the nineteenth century. Nathdwara, Rajasthan, India. Amit Ambalal Collection/Photo: Anuj Ambalal
Every encyclopedic collection of world art has at least one depiction of Krishna, the most lovable god of the Hindu pantheon. Read the rest of this entry »
Camille Pissarro. “‘Kew Gardens’ (London)”, circa 1892.
Watercolor on paper.
Fall is a vibrant and busy season for art in the city. With EXPO Chicago just behind us, enticing exhibitions can be spotted at many galleries and L’Alliance Française de Chicago (AFC) is in on the festivities. The cultural institution is currently hosting a one-week-only exhibition featuring rare works on paper by French Impressionist Camille Pissarro. Read the rest of this entry »