Reviews, profiles and news about art in Chicago

News: Makeovers for Sixty Inches From Center’s Magazine, Website and Headquarters

Bridgeport, News etc. No Comments »
:ast fall Sixty Inches from Center participated in Faheem Majeed's installation and event series "Shacks and Shanties."

Last fall, Sixty Inches from Center participated in Faheem Majeed’s installation and event series “Shacks and Shanties.”

In a letter from Sixty Inches From Center’s executive director Tempestt Hazel, she admits that the nonprofit online arts magazine “has been pretty quiet since 2014 began.” But now they’ve launched a new website, announced their new home at the Zhou B Art Center in Bridgeport and embarked on the next chapter in their online magazine that shifts from the weekly publication of the last three years to a triannual format that builds content around selected themes with organized workshops, panel discussions and other events that aim to get at the tangible realities of art and its producers in Chicago. Read the rest of this entry »

Review: We do what we like and we like what we do/Western Exhibitions

Drawings, Installation, Painting, Sculpture, West Loop No Comments »
nicholas frank1

Nicholas Frank. “Nicholas Frank Biography, page 302 (First Edition),” printed book page, 6 ¼ x 4 ½ inches, custom-milled walnut frame, 10 x 8 inches, 2014

RECOMMENDED

This rambling celebration on the occasion of the gallery’s ten-year anniversary as a bricks-and-mortar space is cheekily titled after the eponymous Andrew W.K. anthem, “Party Hard.” The moniker adds both an air of revelry and defiance to the works exhibited, implying that director Scott Speh and the artists on his roster are fueled by passion and vision rather than a pursuit of conventional success.

The show is an exercise in polarity, oscillating between extremes in scale and tone. Upon entering the gallery, the viewer is confronted by the first of two sigil paintings by Elijah Burgher. Fresh from the Whitney Biennial, these painted drop cloths are installed back to back, dominating the initial visual field. Situated in the corner of the same room are two bongs, “Uncle Sam/Old Yeller” by Ben Stone. They seem slightly out of place in an area otherwise devoted to minimalist and conceptual works but add levity while reiterating the rebellious tone set by the title. Read the rest of this entry »

News: Censorship Accusations after Artwork Ousted from Exhibition

Logan Square, News etc., Photography No Comments »
"Milshire SRO Blanket," fleece blanket printed with original photography and memorial statement, 80" x 60". Part of Amie Sell's "Home Sweet Home" project that was removed from MAAF without her consent.

“Milshire SRO Blanket,” fleece blanket printed with original photography and memorial statement, 80″ x 60.” Part of Amie Sell’s “Home Sweet Home” project that was removed from MAAF without her consent.

This year’s Milwaukee Avenue Arts Festival (MAAF) became a site for controversy when Amie Sell’s site-specific installation dealing with affordable housing and displacement through neighborhood development was taken down without the artist’s consent the day the show was meant to open. In a thorough account on Sell’s website, she states that it was Mark Fishman, a real estate developer who owns the building in which her work was to be shown, who was responsible for shutting down the exhibition. Fishman is directly criticized in “Home Sweet Home,” the ongoing project Sell intended to exhibit, and also sits on the I Am Logan Square board, the nonprofit organization that sponsors MAAF along with other cultural events and career development opportunities for artists.

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Review: Susan Giles and Jeroen Nelemans/Aspect Ratio

Sculpture, Video, West Loop No Comments »
Susan Giles. "Untitled (Humayun’s with Cultures)," drawing paper, 2013

Susan Giles. “Untitled (Humayun’s with Cultures),” drawing paper, 2013

RECOMMENDED

In both Susan Giles and Jeroen Nelemans’ practices, video and sculptural works borrow content from tourism and art history as the basis for re-imagining the material representations of place.

Susan Giles’ video “Pulling Out the Words,” 2011, is a series of interviews with five subjects about favorite landscapes in which all of their spoken descriptions have been cut. Landscapes are conveyed only through the speakers’ gestures, stutters and breaths, with Giles’ camera tracking the speakers’ hands, upper body or face.

The perceptual shifts afforded by lacunae continues into the next small room with Nelemans’ Flavin-esque “from the Postcard Series, Untitled #3,” 2012. An enlarged postcard of Dutch tulip fields is sliced vertically and wrapped around slender fluorescent tubes. Colored diagonal lines illuminate the space in between the rows, neatly continuing the image as light spilling onto the wall. Nelemans, Dutch but Chicago-based, is interested in cultural pilfering: tulips originate from Turkey but are a national representation of The Netherlands. Read the rest of this entry »

News: Intelligentsia Curates Public Art

News etc., Public Art, Wicker Park/Bucktown No Comments »
Antonia Contro's "Scorza" installed on the corner of the 1611 West Division building. Photo by Luke Grimm.

Antonia Contro’s “Scorza” installed on the corner of the 1611 West Division building. Photo: Luke Grimm

Last night was the official unveiling of Antonia Contro’s artwork “Scorza” on the façade of the 1611 West Division condo building at the corner of Division and Ashland. The ninety-two-foot-tall, twenty-seven-foot-wide digital print is the first “art wall” sponsored by Intelligentsia coffee bar, which will be opening a new location in the building on July 17.

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Review: Morris Barazani/Ukrainian Institute of Modern Art

Collage, Painting, Ukrainian Village/East Village No Comments »
"Pinwheel, oil on canvas, 2009-10

“Pinwheel, oil on canvas, 2009-10

RECOMMENDED

Morris Barazani’s kaleidoscopic painting retrospective at the Ukrainian Institute of Modern Art reveals an individual acutely sensitive to new artistic directions. Spanning the past six decades, the thirty-one selections on view run the gamut from raucous painterly surfaces to nuanced forays into collage and color-field abstraction. In an age where stylistic homogenization is a prerequisite for mainstream success, it’s clear from the outset that the persistent theme of Barazani’s career is openness to change. Read the rest of this entry »

Review: Andy Karol/Beauty & Brawn

Logan Square, Photography No Comments »
"Alexandra," black-and-white archival inkjet print on metal

“Alexandra,” black-and-white archival inkjet print on metal

RECOMMENDED

On a mission of social enlightenment, Andy Karol’s project “Eden: Expressions in Gender” seeks to create a photographic “human space” by taking small-format black-and-white “fine art nude portraits” in wooded areas around Chicago. The people depicted represent all conceivable variations on gender identity, and there are many more of those than the uninitiated might think. Read the rest of this entry »

Review: Nicholas Gottlund/Paris London Hong Kong

Installation, Prints, West Loop No Comments »
Nicholas Gottlund. "Always," installation view

Nicholas Gottlund. “Always,” installation view

RECOMMENDED

Featuring both screen-prints and sculptures, Pennsylvania native Nicholas Gottlund’s “Always” is a sixth-generation printmaker and publisher’s examination of the nature of reproduction. The seven large-scale screen-prints that dominate the diminutive space are enlargements from the pages of Gottlund’s 2013 self-published book “Printing Always Printing,” which is itself comprised of images culled from H. Winslow Fegley’s 1972 photo-essay on the Pennsylvania Dutch titled “Farming, Always Farming.” Read the rest of this entry »

Review: Michael Dinges, Victoria Fuller, Geoffry Smalley and Karen Savage/Packer Schopf Gallery

Collage, Painting, Sculpture, West Loop No Comments »
Geoffry Smalley. "Catskill Creek, Citi Field," acrylic on inkjet print, 2012

Geoffry Smalley. “Catskill Creek, Citi Field,” acrylic on inkjet print, 2012

RECOMMENDED

The group of shows at Packer Schopf Gallery ruminates on intrusion. There is technological and environmental encroachment, and the intrusive mythos of masculine and feminine ideals.

Michael Dinges’ “Lifeboat: The Wreck of the Invisible Hand” hangs center stage as a retired boat and a lesson. Made with vinyl siding, the scrimshaw declarations ring around this dramatic piece as if conversing with Victoria Fuller’s work across the room. Her piece, “Deep Down,” meditates on the inherent commingling in nature: a snake, an earthworm, and roots rise from the dirt to touch the air. At the same time, some of her materials, like gas pipe and metal tubing, interrupt the state of the nature she presents. Read the rest of this entry »

News: Three New Gallery Programs Start This Summer While Humboldt Park Art Hub Loses Its Lease

Galleries & Museums, Humboldt Park, Hyde Park, News etc., Ukrainian Village/East Village No Comments »
centered: Allison Reimus. "Yellow Rectangle," acrylic on wood, 2012. Hung above a teak sideboard by Hans Wegner for Ry Mobler Denmark, with other furnishings by Charles and Ray Eames, Eero Sarrinen and Jens Quistgaard.

Centered: Allison Reimus. “Yellow Rectangle,” acrylic on wood, 2012. Hung above a teak sideboard by Hans Wegner for Ry Mobler Denmark, with other furnishings by Charles and Ray Eames, Eero Sarrinen and Jens Quistgaard.

Earlier this week, Peanut Gallery, an exhibition space and art studio collective located in Humboldt Park announced that its lease would not be renewed in October. Peanut is one of several businesses at the corner of California Avenue and Augusta Boulevard that will be closing or relocating to make way for new developments being planned by landlord Gio Battaglia. Peanut Gallery co-owners Charlie Megna and Kelly Reaves took to the space’s Facebook page with a public explanation of their situation and future plans, “We ARE NOT CLOSING, just want to make that clear. But we are going to have to move come October and we may be taking some time off during the winter to figure out our game plan.  We will still be active in the arts community and will continue on.” In advance of shuttering their current location, several exhibitions are scheduled: opening July 13, “Ugly Smile” is a group show curated by Mike Rea and Geoffrey Todd Smith, then opening in August will be an exhibition of work by David Krofta. Peanut Gallery, 1000 North California.

Earlier this month, 4th Ward Project Space was opened by three SAIC graduates, Mika Horibuchi, James Kao and Valentina Zamfirescu. As the gallery’s name suggests, it is located in Chicago’s Fourth Ward—Hyde Park, in other words. 4WPS is a decidedly non-commercial venture with goals toward creating more opportunities for artists to explore their practices without the pressures of the marketplace. When reached for comment, Kao spoke to their motivations in starting an alternative gallery, “We understand the importance of community for artists, but we also understand how the attendant privileges of wealth, whiteness and patriarchy often steer the art community away from what matters most—namely, excellent art. 4WPS aims to provide a platform for artists who may be underrepresented or typically overseen to create and exhibit works that provoke critical discourse rather than monetary gain.” Their current exhibition of video installation by Greyson Hong is on view until July 4. 4WPS, 5338 South Kimbark. Read the rest of this entry »