“Hanging on the railcars/Of this iron beast/Migrants go as cattle/To the slaughterhouse,” singer Eddie Ganz croons in “La Bestia,” a popular corrido ballad played on Central American radio. The song is meant to discourage people from migrating to the United States, which makes sense considering it was commissioned by U.S. Customs and Border Protection. This piece of contemporary propaganda is a perfect example of the subjects taken up by the work in “Northern Triangle,” a Threewalls-organized exhibition by the Texas-based Borderland Collective hosted at Rational Park. [Read more…]
“Endnote, Ledoux” is Ian Kiaer’s most recent investigation of the utopian architectural projects that litter the long history of modernity, taking its lead from the work of the French neoclassicist Claude Nicolas Ledoux (particularly his speculative Maison des gardes agricoles). Although Ledoux designed a variety of buildings for wealthy patrons before the Revolution, he is better known for a series of theories and designs toward ideal cities and unbuilt dwellings. To revisit Ledoux is to reckon with nascent forms of utopian ambition that problematically reprise the power structures of the Ancien régime. [Read more…]
In her solo exhibition titled “Sing A Funeral Song,” Jessica Caponigro continues her exploration of the concept of restriction, fluidly translating between her material- and poetry-based practices. A diamond grid handpainted upon the gallery’s storefront window greets visitors, resembling wallpaper but functioning more like a fence as light streams through it and casts a slowly shifting pattern on the gallery walls. As daylight moves across the floor and onto the painting on the adjacent wall, the pattern marks the passage of time and creates an evolving experience. This same work also includes a collection of crafted and found objects, including a row of identical bud vases each with a snapdragon cutting resting in ink. As these slowly fading flowers soak up the dark liquid they wither away, a phenomenon made quicker by placing them in the direct light of a southern facing window.
I immediately inhale the scent of foam when entering Sabina Ott’s exhibition “who cares for the sky?” at the Hyde Park Art Center. Perching atop the indoor mountain made of wood, artificial greenery and polystyrene is like living inside of an extravagant world that oozes gaudiness and relishes in the magic of nooks, crannies and caves. Ott’s Californian spirit and color envelop the entirety of the mountain in all of its 8,000-cubic-foot glory.
Ott’s mountainous exhibition is the result of her first few months in the year-long Jackman Goldwasser Residency at HPAC. According to Ott, she will continue to work and rework the installation throughout the year. “The mountain is a kind of living thing to me,” she says, adding that the “project is an open, and endless, work.” [Read more…]
Bell Hooks’ seminal essay “The Oppositional Gaze” argues zealously that the black female gaze has been historically oppressed in the U.S., causing it to become an inherently “oppositional gaze.” Zoe Leonard, Cindy Sherman and Lorna Simpson, three female artists (one black, two white) control the camera with such confidence, dexterity and skill that they complicate Hooks’ assertions. [Read more…]
Demanding the viewer’s full attention, Leonard Suryajaya’s work pushes social, emotional and creative boundaries as the artist walks a thin line between the self and the other. A current BOLT resident at the Chicago Artists Coalition, Suryajaya showcases his work in his solo exhibition “Don’t Hold On to Your Bones,” a vibrant, immersive installation ignited by his upbringing as a second-generation Chinese Indonesian now living in the United States. Finding himself at the intersection of cultures and identities, the artist seeks his place within them by exploring identity, family, gender and sexuality. “Don’t Hold On to Your Bones” proves that for Suryajaya, this journey has been more than a way out of his home country, it has been a path toward self-realization and acceptance. [Read more…]
Sanford Biggers’ first solo exhibition at Monique Meloche, “the pasts they brought with them,” situates the viewer to think about tradition and culture syncretically, reflecting cultural traits that are shared but also pointing to the disjuncture of embodied experience. [Read more…]