Reviews, profiles and news about art in Chicago

Review: So-called Utopias/Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts

Activist Art, Architecture, Design, Galleries & Museums, Hyde Park, Installation, Media & Genres, Multimedia, Photography, Prints, Sculpture, Video No Comments »
Melanie Smith. "Fordlandia ," 2014. Video still.

Melanie Smith. “Fordlandia ,” 2014. Video still.

RECOMMENDED

Utopias have vexed the art world of late. To name but one example: the first Summer Forum residency recently took place in New Harmony, a site of failed utopian living in Indiana. Meanwhile the critical currents of queer pessimism have forcefully militated against utopian longing, exemplified in the anti-futurity espoused by Lee Edelman. Utopias are dangerous and dreamy. Alluring and exclusionary. Read the rest of this entry »

Eye Exam: Politics of Representation

Activist Art, Collage, Digital Art, Evanston, Galleries & Museums, Hyde Park, Installation, Multimedia, Painting, Performance, Video No Comments »
"GERMONEY" banner at the German Pavilion, 56th Venice Biennale. /Photo: Hito Steyerl.

“GERMONEY” banner at the German Pavilion, 56th Venice Biennale./Photo: Hito Steyerl

By Elliot J. Reichert

If I were not dreading what comes next, I would be happy for this year to be over. Read the rest of this entry »

Review: ASSISTED/Kavi Gupta

Design, Drawings, Galleries & Museums, Installation, Media & Genres, Multimedia, Painting, Sculpture, Textiles, Video, West Loop, West Town No Comments »
Tony Tasset. "Cup (2)," 2013. Cast bronze and paint, 4 x 4 x 4.5 inches.

Tony Tasset. “Cup (2),” 2013. Cast bronze and paint, 4 x 4 x 4.5 inches.

RECOMMENDED

Jessica Stockholder’s solo show on the first floor of Kavi Gupta’s Washington Boulevard location features a new body of work which includes her “Assists,” a set of sculpted pieces that might hold up other art. In that show, Tony Tasset’s “Cup,” a cast bronze imitation of Styrofoam, makes a cameo appearance resting on one of them.

Tasset’s work is a stray object from “ASSISTED,” an insightful show occupying the gallery’s second floor that mingles Stockholder’s work with representative examples from artists who have inspired (“assisted”) her. Read the rest of this entry »

Review: Kendell Carter/Monique Meloche

Galleries & Museums, Installation, Media & Genres, Sculpture, Ukrainian Village/East Village 1 Comment »
Kendell Carter. "WE," 2012-2015. Bronze-plated shoes, aluminum dog tags, laminate shelves, installation dimensions variable. /Photo: "on the wall" at moniquemeloche.

Kendell Carter. “WE,” 2012-2015. Bronze-plated shoes, aluminum dog tags, laminate shelves, installation dimensions variable. /Photo: “on the wall” at Monique Meloche.

RECOMMENDED

The effective shut down of Chicago’s Magnificent Mile on Black Friday should be remembered as one of the city’s most conceptually beautiful protest actions. It was a recapitulation of the true forces which govern society, a recognition of the almighty greenback. The protestors cut the city’s jugular, drawing across Michigan Avenue like a righteous blade, lucre pooled in the pockets as blood, and for a frightening and glorious moment the commercial heart of Chicago stopped beating, its rhythms ceded to those of the marchers.  Read the rest of this entry »

Review: Kate O’Neill and Montgomery Perry Smith/Roots and Culture

Galleries & Museums, Installation, Media & Genres, Noble Square, Painting, Photography, Sculpture No Comments »
Montgomery Perry Smith. Installation view at Roots & Culture.

Montgomery Perry Smith. Installation view at Roots & Culture.

RECOMMENDED

Walking into the gallery, visitors first encounter the project room, a small space to the left past the entrance. It is here that the work of O’Neill and Smith are most cohesive. Read the rest of this entry »

Review: Larassa Kabel/The Mission

Drawings, Galleries & Museums, Installation, Media & Genres, West Town No Comments »
Larassa Kabel. "Scatter," 2015. Fleece blanket, 60 x 80 inches.

Larassa Kabel. “Scatter,” 2015. Fleece blanket, 60 x 80 inches.

This is the rare exhibition of photorealist drawing that requires explanatory text. Without it, the pieces do not appear to be drawings at all. Usually, an artist’s joy in image-making cannot help but emerge in line, tone and design. But surprisingly, not here, and absent any explanation, the partial portraits of young women are annoying. Why have their mouths been cropped off? So much identity and self-expression have been concealed. Read the rest of this entry »

Review: Laura Owens/Soccer Club Club

Belmont Cragin, Galleries & Museums, Installation, Media & Genres, Painting, Sculpture No Comments »
Laura Owens. Installation view at Soccer Club Club, Drag City.

Laura Owens. Installation view at Soccer Club Club, Drag City

RECOMMENDED

Recently shortlisted for the prestigious Hugo Boss Prize, Los Angeles-based artist Laura Owens debuts a new body of paintings, sculpture and ceramics at Soccer Club Club, the unlikely exhibition space of Drag City, a West Side independent music label. A prolific painter, Chicagoans might recall her mammoth 168-inch-by-132-inch work “Untitled,” a fixture of the Museum of Contemporary Art’s permanent collection. In her painting, Owens consistently deploys a range of tropes including grids, thick hovering lines that double as brushstrokes, gratuitous drop shadows and Peanuts-like cartoon characters wielding tennis racquets. Read the rest of this entry »

Review: Matt Siber/DePaul Art Museum

Architecture, Galleries & Museums, Installation, Media & Genres, Multimedia, Photography, Sculpture No Comments »
Matt Sibler. "Lighted Shelter," 2015. Aluminum, plexiglas and florescent lights.

Matt Siber. “Lighted Shelter,” 2015. Aluminum, plexiglas and fluorescent lights.

RECOMMENDED

The subject of “Idol Structures” is the infrastructure of signs. Not the term in linguistics that defines the marriage of signifier and signified, but actual signs—billboards and roadside advertisements. Siber is interested in the configurations of steel, neon and vinyl that comprise signs but not in the messages they convey: think Mark di Suvero rather than William Eggleston. Read the rest of this entry »

Review: Jacob Hashimoto/Rhona Hoffman Gallery

Galleries & Museums, Installation, Media & Genres, Multimedia, Painting, West Loop No Comments »
Jacob Hashimoto. “The Scale of Worlds,” 2015. Wood, acrylic, bamboo, paper, and Dacron, 54 x 47 x 8 inches. /Image: RCH l EKH.

Jacob Hashimoto. “The Scale of Worlds,” 2015. Wood, acrylic, bamboo, paper, and Dacron, 54 x 47 x 8 inches/Photo: RCH l EKH

RECOMMENDED

“The Scale of Worlds” typifies Jacob Hashimoto’s “kite” works. Vertical layers of “kites”—multi-sized, circular-shaped pieces made of paper and bamboo—are threaded together and suspended between two rows of pegs, filling a square space on the wall. From afar, the “kites” resemble a patriotic-colored target. Nearing the piece reveals a contained, visual dance of individually painted and decorated circles. Read the rest of this entry »

Review: Karsten Lund/The Franklin

Collage, Galleries & Museums, Garfield Park, Installation, Media & Genres, Photography No Comments »
Karsten Lund. "Distal Zone, installation view at the Franklin, 2015.

Karsten Lund. “Distal Zone,” installation view at the Franklin, 2015.

RECOMMENDED

Hannah Hoch once said that “[t]he process of remounting, cutting up, sticking down, activating—that is to say, alienating—took hold in all different forms of art.” The technique of combining and reshaping media spans music, literature, poetry and quite particularly, collage. Read the rest of this entry »