Scott Wolniak. “Tablet: Vision Phase 2,” 2014 – 2015. Ink, watercolor, acrylic, gouache, chalk on plaster with steel mesh on panel, 24 x 21 inches.
For most artists, the stream of production isn’t steady and the output isn’t homogenous. “To Break is to Build,” a collection of works by multimedia artist Scott Wolniak, is inspired by the minutiae of studio activity: struggles with materials and other less acutely productive moments. Read the rest of this entry »
Installation view of “Documents for the Past-Present-Future” featuring “Future Reliquaries” by Kayla Anderson
This group show at Efrain Lopez Gallery questions humanity’s relationship with our environment. Through the scientific lenses of anthropology and archaeology, these artists transform geographical content. Read the rest of this entry »
Erin Washington. “Ruin and cosmic dust,” 2015. 34.5 x 30 inches.
Composed primarily with white chalk—a material not renowned for its durability—the eight drawings in Erin Washington’s arresting new show “Useful Knowledge” arouse searching questions about why some images and ideas last, while others are erased by time. These modestly sized, almost achromatic works are complex in spite of their relative formal simplicity, and contemplative despite a single off-pitch nod to spectacle.
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Installation view, “Surrealism: The Conjured Life,” MCA Chicago /Photo: Nathan Keay
In his 1951 Arts Club of Chicago talk, Jean Dubuffet decried Western humanist culture, advocating for “primitive” values of “instinct, passion, mood, violence, madness.” That same year Dubuffet painted the raw, densely textured portrait of a hat-donning gentleman, an uncanny prefiguration of Leon Golub’s heads, both currently on view in the Museum of Contemporary Art’s “Surrealism: The Conjured Life.” Read the rest of this entry »
Bust of Alexander the Great/Photo: Archaeological Museum of Pella
“This exhibition is not your typical art-historical display of pretty vases and statues,” states curator William Parkinson. “It gives the visitor an opportunity to see the evolution of Greek culture, politics and economics over the long-term.” Read the rest of this entry »
Collage, Design, Drawings, Galleries & Museums, Installation, Michigan Avenue, Multimedia, Outsider Art, Painting, Photography, Prints, Sculpture, Video
Andy Warhol. “Big Electric Chair,” 1967-68
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.
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Claes Oldenburg. “Green Beans,” 1964 /Photo: Joe Ziolkowski
Andy Warhol’s “Troy Diptych” typifies his interest in celebrity culture. The silkscreen image shows repeated headshots of Troy Donahue, an American actor and singer: one canvas of multicolored headshots is paired with black-and-white ones on a larger canvas. The repetition causes Donahue to lose his charm as a pop star; the image becomes banal, and viewers cannot see past the flat surface of the painting. Read the rest of this entry »
Gordon Parks. “Untitled, Mobile, Alabama,” 1956. Archival pigment print, 16 x 20 inches. /Photograph by Gordon Parks, courtesy of and copyright The Gordon Parks Foundation.
I am conflicted about the classification of a photograph as fine art or photojournalism; more often than not the distinction of fine art is assigned in hindsight after the documented event has been deemed culturally significant. Read the rest of this entry »
George Nelson. “Marshmallow Sofa,” 1956/Collection Vitra Design Museum
There have been moments in history when the fine and applied arts were closely aligned. Neoclassicism and Art Nouveau are two examples. In the 1920s, Russian Constructivism, as the art historian Christina Kiaer has shown, was a unified style in painting, sculpture and the decorative arts. The same is true about Pop as revealed by “Pop Art Design.” Read the rest of this entry »
Statue of Young Dionysos, 100 B.C.-A.D. 100. On anonymous loan to the Art Institute /Photo: Richard Valencia
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 »