Activist Art, Collage, Craft Work, Design, Galleries & Museums, Installation, Media & Genres, Multimedia, Painting, Photography, Pilsen, Sculpture, Textiles
Rocío Caballero. “On the Threshold of Silence/En el umbral del silencio,” 2014. Mixed media on canvas.
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 »
Cecilia Vicuña. “The Origin of Weaving,” 2015. Mixed Media. /Photo: Jason Branscum
Poetry demands to be read aloud, to be experienced as a multi-sensory form. Read the rest of this entry »
Craft Work, Design, Digital Art, Drawings, Galleries & Museums, Installation, Media & Genres, Multimedia, Painting, Sculpture, Streeterville
Kerstin Brätsch. “[PELE’S CURSE],” Installation view, Arts Club of Chicago/Photo: Michael Tropea
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 »
Kesa, Edo period (1603–1868), mid-/late eighteenth century. Japan. Gift of Gaylord Donnelley in memory of Frances Gaylord Smith.
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 »
Activist Art, Art Books, Ceramics, Collage, Craft Work, Design, Digital Art, Drawings, Galleries & Museums, Installation, Multimedia, Painting, Photography, Prints, Sculpture, Streeterville, Video
“LUMA At Ten: Greatest Hits,” Installation view, including “Silver Clouds” by Andy Warhol and “Paranirvana (Self Portrait)” by Lewis deSoto./Photo: Loyola University Chicago
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 »
Statue of Wei Tuo/The Field Museum
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 »
Kera MacKenzie and Andrew Mausert-Mooney, Installation view, “Havoc and Tumbled,” 2015.
Courtesy of Roman Susan.
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.
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Manish Nai. “Untitled,” 2015
Dyed burlap, 90″ x 4″
The work of Mumbai-based Manish Nai makes a viewer reconsider the limits of an artistic medium. He doesn’t use traditional media, such as heavy metals and wood, oil or acrylic. Instead, Nai uses everyday materials—cardboard, jute, newspaper and even his family’s used clothing—to sculpt, mark and render.
For his first solo exhibition in the United States, Nai has created wall hangings, photographic prints, sculptures and four site-specific works, including a gallery pillar wrapped in jute, a burlap-like material that is abundant in India, and a heat-transferred mural that will slowly disappear during the course of the exhibition. His use of traditional artistic processes, such as weaving or drawing and sculpting by hand, in conjunction with contemporary rendering techniques borrowed from digital and new media art, design and architecture give these objects a surprising new dynamism. By combining the old and the new, Nai’s work is thoroughly international even as it remains fully Indian.
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Installation view of mixed media work in Motor Row Gallery’s inaugural group exhibition
The new Motor Row Gallery (MRG) has emerged on Chicago’s historic Near South Side in the heart of what is known as the Motor Row District. The fact that the gallery is sheltered in the unsuspecting venue of a U-Haul rental facility, well, that’s just the kind of inimitable type of beauty you’d expect to find in Chicago.
The gallery is cozily embedded inside of a Motor Row Lofts building owned by Suzanne Weaver, who has also been running a U-Haul business with her husband from there for the past two and a half years. Motor Row Gallery is an alternative gallery space curated by Weaver’s friend of thirteen years Pamela Staker with a special focus on pop-up art exhibitions and special events. For instance, Staker and Weaver have future plans to hold art expositions outdoors in the warmer months, making use of the extra U-Haul vans that aren’t rented out. Artists would rent a truck where they could display anything from paintings and sculptures to functional and installation work. Since the space would ultimately belong to the artists, they would have free reign on how they chose to present their work in their creative space.
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“You will live each day in Springtime,” potter’s wheel, wood, paper, papier-mâché, nylon, gold thread, linen cord, iridescent paint, song, 2014
Mindy Rose Schwartz’s recent exhibition of sculptures at Pilsen’s Queer Thoughts walks the messy border between the fine arts and craft. Schwartz, who teaches the Extreme Craft course at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, has a history of complicating this border, teasing exciting formal, historical and affective possibilities out of parallel craft and fine arts practice. “Windsong stays on my mind,” a dream catcher in which one spies the outlines of birds, faces, evil-eyes and popsicle-stick musings is dotted with costume jewelry, rhinestones and false flowers. Read the rest of this entry »