Reviews, profiles and news about art in Chicago

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.

Read the rest of this entry »

Review: Art and Faith of the Crèche/Loyola Museum of Art

Ceramics, Craft Work, Galleries & Museums, Gold Coast/Old Town, Media & Genres, Multimedia, Outsider Art, Sculpture No Comments »
Photos of the Creche sculptures and/or figurines in the LUMA Creche exhibit. (Photo by Mark Patton)

Rachel Quinn. “Ireland (Sligo),” 2010 /Photo: Loyola University Chicago, Mark Patton

RECOMMENDED

The crèche—a display of figures portraying the Nativity, Christ’s birth—is a common holiday feature across cultures, as “Art and Faith of the Crèche: The Collection of James and Emilia Govan” shows. A LUMA tradition for the past eight years, this year’s exhibition reveals the Govan family’s vast crèche collection from around the world, including a gallery devoted to crèches from Latin America. Read the rest of this entry »

Review: Keysook Geum/Andrew Bae Gallery

Craft Work, Galleries & Museums, Media & Genres, Multimedia, River North, Sculpture No Comments »
Keysook Geum. “Red Jangot,” 2015. Black wire with red beads, 65 x 53 x 10 inches.

Keysook Geum. “Red Jangot,” 2015. Black wire with red beads, 65 x 53 x 10 inches.

RECOMMENDED

Keysook Geum’s exhibition, “Dream Weaver,” at Andrew Bae Gallery is exquisite. Even before entering the gallery, elegant wire structures in the shape of women’s dresses are visible from outside, luring me in with only a sample of what was to come.   Read the rest of this entry »

Review: La Muerte Niña: Day of the Dead/National Museum of Mexican Art

Activist Art, Collage, Craft Work, Design, Galleries & Museums, Installation, Media & Genres, Multimedia, Painting, Photography, Pilsen, Sculpture, Textiles No Comments »
Rocío Caballero. “On the Threshold of Silence/En el umbral del silencio,” 2014. Mixed media on canvas.

Rocío Caballero. “On the Threshold of Silence/En el umbral del silencio,” 2014. Mixed media on canvas.

RECOMMENDED

Including over ninety artists from both the United States and Mexico, “La Muerte Niña: Day of the Dead” is an exhibition in which the private becomes public. The space is awash with orange and yellow marigolds, sequins, skeletons and religious iconography, but beyond this visually stunning assembly of cultural symbols are carefully constructed personal stories. Read the rest of this entry »

Review: Cecilia Vicuña and Dianna Frid/Poetry Foundation

Art Books, Craft Work, Galleries & Museums, Installation, Multimedia, Near North Side, Textiles No Comments »
Cecelia Vicuña. "The Origin of Weaving," 2015. Mixed Media.

Cecilia Vicuña. “The Origin of Weaving,” 2015. Mixed media. /Photo: Jason Branscum

RECOMMENDED

Poetry demands to be read aloud, to be experienced as a multi-sensory form. 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: Kesa: Japanese Buddhist Monks’ Vestments/Art Institute of Chicago

Craft Work, Design, Galleries & Museums, Media & Genres, Michigan Avenue, Textiles No Comments »
Kesa, Edo period (1603–1868), mid-/late 18th century. Japan. Gift of Gaylord Donnelley in memory of Frances Gaylord Smith.

Kesa, Edo period (1603–1868), mid-/late eighteenth century. Japan. Gift of Gaylord Donnelley in memory of Frances Gaylord Smith.

RECOMMENDED

Sometimes, discipline is the basis of freedom. The sonnet is a fourteen-line poem in iambic pentameter. The haiku is a three-line poem with seventeen syllables. The sonata form demands exposition, development and recapitulation. Shakespeare, Basho and Beethoven thrived within these constraints.

The kesa, the outer garment worn by Japanese Buddhist monks, imposes on its maker many restrictions. It must be quadrilateral, composed of cloth or paper (recalling the shreds and patches worn by the historical Buddha), and composed in columns (usually seven), framed by a border with mitered corners. There are often six additional blocks placed here and there, ostensibly to strengthen the garment, but really because another rule creates another opportunity for beauty. Read the rest of this entry »

Review: LUMA at 10: Greatest Hits/Loyola University Museum of Art

Activist Art, Art Books, Ceramics, Collage, Craft Work, Design, Digital Art, Drawings, Galleries & Museums, Installation, Multimedia, Painting, Photography, Prints, Sculpture, Streeterville, Video No Comments »
"LUMA At Ten: Greatest Hits, "Installation view, including “Silver Clouds” by Andy Warhol and "Paranirvana (Self Portrait)" by Lewis deSoto. / Photo: Loyola University Chicago.

“LUMA At Ten: Greatest Hits,” Installation view, including “Silver Clouds” by Andy Warhol and “Paranirvana (Self Portrait)” by Lewis deSoto./Photo: Loyola University Chicago

RECOMMENDED

Religion is often the apparent culprit in today’s war-torn world, so an exhibition with a spiritual undertone may seem unnerving. Read the rest of this entry »

Review: Cyrus Tang Hall of China/Field Museum of Natural History

Ceramics, Craft Work, Design, Galleries & Museums, Museum Campus, Sculpture No Comments »

Statue of Wei Tuo/The Field Museum

RECOMMENDED

Museums such as the Field face significant challenges in their efforts to liven up old collections while accounting for significant developments in historical and anthropological scholarship. The 9,000 square feet of exhibition space in the newly opened Cyrus Tang Hall of China is entertaining enough to captivate visitors of all ages, but it can only provide a cursory introduction to 5,000 years of Chinese civilization, though a much more serious and informative story about earth and its creatures might be told online, where there is infinite space for interactive audios, visuals and texts. Read the rest of this entry »

Review: Kera MacKenzie and Andrew Mausert-Mooney/Roman Susan Gallery

Craft Work, Design, Drawings, Galleries & Museums, Installation, Media & Genres, Performance, Rogers Park No Comments »
Kera MacKenzie and Andrew Mausert-Mooney, Installation view, "Havoc and Tumbled, 2015. Courtesy of Roman Susan.

Kera MacKenzie and Andrew Mausert-Mooney, Installation view, “Havoc and Tumbled,” 2015.
Courtesy of Roman Susan.

RECOMMENDED

In “Havoc and Tumbled,” collaborators Kera MacKenzie and Andrew Mausert-Mooney packed Roman Susan’s little room with TVs and plants. Each monitor is different, ranging from 1970s-style sets to slick, hi-def screens. While each video has its own content, bits of scenes and clips bleed into other TVs, establishing them as parts of the same filmic project. Each screen is different, so things shift in quality, creating a fluctuation in visual textures in this glimpse of wildlife in this Rogers Park gallery.

Read the rest of this entry »