Reviews, profiles and news about art in Chicago

Review: Kathryn Andrews/Museum of Contemporary Art

Galleries & Museums, Installation, Multimedia, Photography, Prints, Sculpture, Streeterville No Comments »
Installation view of "Kathryn Andrews: Run for President" at the MCA Chicago. /Photo: Nathan Keay.

Installation view of “Kathryn Andrews: Run for President” at the MCA Chicago/Photo: Nathan Keay

A nineteenth-century general sits atop a mound of skulls. Set against overlapping neon pink and yellow backgrounds (the aluminum support adding an incongruous sheen), the general and his sword, plumed helmet and squat pose summed up a satirical critique of Whig politics in the 1848 Currier & Ives print from which Kathryn Andrews worked. A plexiglass panel along the piece’s right edge reveals the folded costume of the Joker, worn by Jack Nicholson in Tim Burton’s “Batman.” American politics has long been the province of murderous fools, but what, precisely, does Andrews offer in her argot of visual culture? What does it mean to repurpose old satire as new satire?

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Eye Exam: Two Rules of Bad Mixtapes

Ceramics, Collage, Craft Work, Design, Drawings, Galleries & Museums, Installation, Media & Genres, Multimedia, Outsider Art, Painting, Performance, Photography, Prints, Sculpture, Streeterville, Textiles No Comments »
Installation view of "Pop Art Design" at the MCA Chicago. /Photo: Nathan Keay.

Installation view of “Pop Art Design” at the MCA Chicago/Photo: Nathan Keay

By Ruslana Lichtzier

I enjoy thinking about the structure of the museum as a mixtape. Within an expanded taste, different exhibitions are organized with loose connections in an evolving tempo, hopefully with a mutual understanding regarding the role of the institution. Back in the day, mixtapes were a tool of courting; in making one, the mixtape-maker demonstrated how cool they were, how broad, complex, versatile and surprising was their taste. The danger was, and still is, in them exposing themselves as being…well, not cool.

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Review: Surrealism: The Conjured Life/Museum of Contemporary Art

Galleries & Museums, Installation, Media & Genres, Multimedia, Painting, Sculpture, Streeterville No Comments »
Installation view, "Surrealism: The Conjured Life," MCA Chicago. /Photo: Nathan Keay.

Installation view, “Surrealism: The Conjured Life,” MCA Chicago /Photo: Nathan Keay

RECOMMENDED

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 »

Review: The Street, the Store, and the Silver Screen: Pop Art from the MCA Collection/Museum of Contemporary Art

Galleries & Museums, Installation, Media & Genres, Multimedia, Painting, Sculpture, Streeterville No Comments »
Claes Oldenburg. "Green Beans," 1964. /Photo: Joe Ziolkowski.

Claes Oldenburg. “Green Beans,” 1964 /Photo: Joe Ziolkowski

RECOMMENDED

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 »

Review: Pop Art Design/Museum of Contemporary Art

Design, Galleries & Museums, Media & Genres, Streeterville No Comments »
George Nelson. "Marshmallow Sofa," 1956. Collection Vitra Design Museum.

George Nelson. “Marshmallow Sofa,” 1956/Collection Vitra Design Museum

RECOMMENDED

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 »

Don’t Call Us An Art Museum: Pitchfork at the MCA

Galleries & Museums, News etc., Streeterville No Comments »
Jessica Hopper and Carrie Brownstein. /Photo: Nathan Keay, © MCA Chicago

Jessica Hopper and Carrie Brownstein/Photo: Nathan Keay

Have you been to the Museum of Contemporary Art lately? It’s like the Experience Music Project in there! Read the rest of this entry »

Review: Kerstin Brätsch/Arts Club of Chicago

Craft Work, Design, Digital Art, Drawings, Galleries & Museums, Installation, Media & Genres, Multimedia, Painting, Sculpture, Streeterville No Comments »

Kerstin Brätsch. "[PELE'S CURSE]," Installation view, Arts Club of Chicago. /Photo: Michael Tropea.

Kerstin Brätsch. “[PELE’S CURSE],” Installation view, Arts Club of Chicago/Photo: Michael Tropea

RECOMMENDED

In order to understand what Kerstin Brätsch and her collaborators are up to it is useful to think about another group of Germans from a hundred years ago. The artists of the Blue Rider (Kandinsky, Münter and Marc) painted on glass, canvas and paper. They sought inspiration in naïve, folk and children’s art. Read the rest of this entry »

Review: Claire Pentecost/Arts Club of Chicago

Activist Art, Galleries & Museums, Installation, Media & Genres, Public Art, Sculpture, Streeterville No Comments »
Claire Pentecost. "the force that through the fossil drives utopia drives my greased age," Installation view. The Arts Club of Chicago Garden. /Photo: Michael Tropea.

Claire Pentecost. “the force that through the fossil drives utopia drives my greased age,” Installation view. The Arts Club of Chicago Garden /Photo: Michael Tropea

RECOMMENDED

Claire Pentecost’s new site-specific installation titled “the force that through the fossil drives utopia drives my greased age” is a peculiar hybrid: a rectified readymade and a political allegory. As a genre it is nonsensical, but as an individual work of art it is not too bad. Read the rest of this entry »

News: MCA Benefit Auction Returns with Big Names, New Works

Galleries & Museums, News etc., Streeterville No Comments »
Hugh Scott-Douglas. "Untitled," 2015. Courtesy of the artist and Jessica Silverman Gallery.

Hugh Scott-Douglas. “Untitled,” 2015. Courtesy of the artist and Jessica Silverman Gallery.

After several years hiatus, the Museum of Contemporary Art will host a benefit auction on Friday, October 23. The event will feature more than 100 works of art by well-known and emerging artists, many of whom have worked with the MCA throughout its history or whose work has been exhibited at the museum in recent years, including Olafur Eliasson, Takashi Murakami, James Welling, Isa Genzken, Doris Salcedo and Sanford Biggers. Read the rest of this entry »

Review: Ania Jaworska/Museum of Contemporary Art

Architecture, Design, Drawings, Galleries & Museums, Installation, Prints, Sculpture, Streeterville No Comments »
Ania Jaworska. "Saint," 2015. Screen print on folio paper; 30 x 22 inches.

Ania Jaworska. “Saint,” 2015.
Screen print on folio paper; 30 x 22 inches.

RECOMMENDED

Chicago, priapic King-Hell capital of exceptionalist, heaven-penetrating architecture; birthplace of The Reach, there could be no better place—and no better museum—for Ania Jaworska’s exploration of how our monuments commune with ourselves. Read the rest of this entry »