The four-hundredth anniversary of William Shakespeare’s death has seen an outpouring of commemorative efforts. This small show, comprised of three prints made after Henry Fuseli’s late eighteenth-century paintings, is the Art Institute’s contribution. They represent a particular moment of Shakespeare reception, a point where artists identified his proto-Romantic sensibilities and gravitated to the dark fantasies of “Macbeth” and “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” [Read more…]
Traditional masculinity was problematic for these two Mexican painters. Julio Galán (1958-2006) appears to have fled from it in these paintings that date from 1984 to 1991. Born to a wealthy family in the mining country of northeast Mexico, his quirky style of self-referential surrealism, which appears not unlike Frida Kahlo’s, brought him into the circle of Andy Warhol. [Read more…]
You’ve seen her work. She made that group of a hundred headless iron giants on the south edge of Grant Park, called “Agora” (2006). The Warsaw-based Abakanowicz (born 1930) is recognized internationally as an important postwar figural sculptor. She has a special relationship to Chicago, too, not just because of its enormous Polish population, but because her first North American retrospective was at the Museum of Contemporary Art in 1982. [Read more…]
George Kubler, one of the most prominent historians of Mesoamerican art, has enjoyed something of a renaissance in recent years thanks largely to his methodological polemic “The Shape of Time.” Published in 1962, the book has been used to describe the sixties’ obsessive imagining of new futurities (see Pamela Lee’s “Chronophobia”) as well as to rethink art’s relation to time more broadly. This group show collects five artists under the sign of Kubler’s thought, taking its title from one of his characteristically pithy turns of phrase, his invocation of an instant between a watch’s ticks, “a void interval slipping through time.” Interpreting this metaphor as an injunction to doubt, curator (and executive director of the Renaissance Society) Solveig Øvstebø presents five quite different bodies of work as emblematic of doubt’s praxis. [Read more…]
By Sanaz Sohrabi
“We were never more free than under the German Occupation,” writes Sartre at the start of “The Republic of Silence.” This paradoxical sentiment aptly describes the state-imposed conditions under which freedom and access to understanding images has been ironically more available within Iran in the years after the 1979 revolution and the establishment of the Islamic Republic. Of course, the state has understood the power of images and has long been an image machine, but what is less obvious is that the state’s image machine not only operates within itself but also influences conditions of visuality, image production and circulation outside its realm of control, access and power. Ironically, the current exhibitions on view at the Museum of Contemporary Photography, “Burnt Generation: Contemporary Iranian Photography” and “Midwest Photographers Project: Hossein Fatemi,” prove the persistence of this state image machine. [Read more…]
By Kerry Cardoza
“It is our duty to fight for our freedom. It is our duty to win,” writes Assata Shakur in her autobiography. This exhibition runs with Shakur’s words, offering both a chilling view of police violence in our city and a vision of hope for the future. Organized by Black Lives Matter Chicago, the show’s main gallery displays documentation of several successful campaigns the movement has run in Chicago, from voting out State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez to helping to secure reparations for police torture victims. Three smaller rooms off this gallery are devoted to new artworks, most of them made in collaboration with families who have lost loved ones to state violence.
Layers upon layers—Dear Lord! The endless procession, white and sharp as sugar, of Sabina Ott’s work, is practice as jawbreaker. The constant re-contextualization of mediums, concepts and the concepts which are intrinsic to mediums, raise old Marshall McLuhan—she so often works in cream, shades of the Valley of Dry bones—to venerate and destroy. Mediums and messages are playfully expounded upon, cut, draped, carved out, camouflaged and manipulated in such a way as to seem alchemical. It’s nothing less than fucking magic, transmutations physical and mental. Ott’s ability to tease brilliance from mediums banal—and this is the right word, tease, her genius fun—extends even to the conceptual.