Reviews, profiles and news about art in Chicago

Breaking News: Douglas Druick, Art Institute of Chicago President and Director, to Retire

Curator Profiles, Galleries & Museums, Michigan Avenue, News etc. No Comments »
Douglas Druick, 2011.

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 »

Review: Gates of the Lord: The Tradition of Krishna Paintings/Art Institute of Chicago

Drawings, Galleries & Museums, Michigan Avenue, Painting, Sculpture No Comments »
"Dauji II Performing Arati on Sharada Purnima?," First quarter of the 19th century. Nathdwara, Rajasthan, India. Amit Ambalal Collection. / Photo: Anuj Ambalal.

“Dauji II Performing Arati on Sharada Purnima,” First quarter of the nineteenth century. Nathdwara, Rajasthan, India. Amit Ambalal Collection/Photo: Anuj Ambalal

RECOMMENDED

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 »

News: Exhibition of Rare Works by Camille Pissarro Closes Thursday

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Camille Pissaro. "‘Kew Gardens’ (London)", circa 1892. Watercolor on paper.

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 »

Eye Exam: Art’s Anxious Power

Art 50, Galleries & Museums, Michigan Avenue 1 Comment »
Andy Warhol. Mona Lisa Four Times, 1978. The Art Institute of Chicago, Gift of Edlis/Neeson Collection. © 2015 The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc./Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.

Andy Warhol. “Mona Lisa Four Times,” 1978. The Art Institute of Chicago, Gift of Edlis/Neeson Collection. © 2015 The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc./Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.

by Elliot J. Reichert

The hardest part was soon to come, Matt Morris warned me when we met this summer to discuss my transition into the role of Newcity’s Art Editor. Read the rest of this entry »

Eye Exam: Chicago is an Exquisite Corpse

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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: Hybrid Gallery Gallerique Opens in Fine Arts Building

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Maria Girgenti and Sam Khan of Gallerique.

Maria Girgenti and Sam Khan of Gallerique

The Fine Arts Building on South Michigan is the new home of Gallerique, a hybrid online and brick-and-mortar marketplace for fine art and designed objects. This new store will be right at home in this downtown architectural masterpiece, which is a work of art in and of itself.

The idea for Gallerique materialized when Sam Khan, founder and CEO, realized a need for an online gallery platform that maintains the high standards and expert curation of fine art galleries while harnessing the ease of online exchanges. Gallerique will offer a market that moves fluidly between an online and physical presence while facilitating multi-directional exchanges between collectors and makers. “Sam wanted to be instrumental in changing the collecting experience from an exclusive to a more inclusive model to accommodate the needs of both new and experienced collectors who are eager to engage with and acquire works in new ways,” explains Maria Girgenti, director of partner relations at Gallerique.

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Review: The Freedom Principle/Museum of Contemporary Art

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Nick Cave. "Speak Louder," 2011. Courtesy of the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery, New York. Photo: James Prinz Photography.

Nick Cave. “Speak Louder,” 2011.
Courtesy of the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery, New York. Photo: James Prinz Photography.

RECOMMENDED

The Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM), the Chicago-born kaleidoscope of experimental musicians, had a motto: “Ancient to Future.” That rallying call pervades the MCA’s “Freedom Principle: Experiments in Art and Music, 1965 to Now.” The show animates the dawn of the black American avant-garde, born out of the Civil Rights era and African anti-colonial movements, and its legacy in contemporary society.

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Review: Zack Whitford/Hilton Asmus Contemporary

Galleries & Museums, Media & Genres, Michigan Avenue, Photography No Comments »
Weinstein_IMG_1

Zack Whitford. “These Are Our Times.” Courtesy of Hilton Asmus Contemporary

RECOMMENDED

A gifted young street photographer, who just happens to be the son of Aerosmith’s rhythm guitarist, Brad Whitford, is set loose with the band. The result is a take on rock photography that blows through all the commercial conventions of hype-driven money shots.

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Eye Exam: What Good is Art?

Activist Art, Collage, Drawings, Galleries & Museums, Hyde Park, Installation, Michigan Avenue, Multimedia, Painting, Performance, Photography, Prints, Sculpture No Comments »
Installation view, "The Freedom Principle: Experiments in Art and Music, 1965 to Now," MCA Chicago. July 11-November 22, 2015. Glenn Ligon. Give us a Poem, 2007. Black PVC and white neon. 75 5/8 x 74 1/4 in. The Studio Museum in Harlem, gift of the artist. Photo: Nathan Keay, © MCA Chicago.

Installation view, “The Freedom Principle: Experiments in Art and Music, 1965 to Now,” MCA Chicago. July 11-November 22, 2015. Glenn Ligon. “Give us a Poem,” 2007. Black PVC and white neon. 75 5/8 x 74 1/4 in. The Studio Museum in Harlem, gift of the artist. Photo: Nathan Keay,  MCA Chicago.

By Elliot J. Reichert

Each time I venture deeper into the tangled economy of art making and its contingent endeavors, I ask myself: What good is art? I am not an artist, but I work with artists and artworks every day. By all accounts, I should believe deeply in art, and yet I routinely question its value. As such, when I go to look at art, I often search in it for signs of doubt, and I am usually comforted to know that I am not alone in my questioning. For if contemporary art can be united under one banner, it would be doubt itself: doubt about politics, about social relations, about economic and class structures, about the very importance of human life. Ironically, this might be why I gravitate toward art in the first place, despite my ambivalence toward its significance. Art turns my fears into forms; it makes real what I cannot, or do not want, to imagine.  Read the rest of this entry »

Review: Frances Stark/Art Institute of Chicago

Digital Art, Galleries & Museums, Installation, Michigan Avenue, Multimedia, Photography, Video 1 Comment »
Frances Stark. "From therealstarkiller #1298," 2015 Archival inkjet print, 7" x 7". Courtesy the artist.

Frances Stark. “From therealstarkiller #1298,” 2015
Archival inkjet print, 7″ x 7″. Courtesy the artist.

RECOMMENDED

Intimism, a term associated with paintings of domestic scenes filled with family and friends, expertly describes the video and digital offerings in this expansive, beautiful and playful show. Leave it to Stark, best known for “My Best Thing,” a video animation of a relationship formed on Chatroulette, to shed light on the contrast between private and public in our digitized lives.

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