Reviews, profiles and news about art in Chicago

Point of Origin: Mapping the Arts in Detroit

Architecture, Galleries & Museums, Installation, Multimedia, Outsider Art, Performance, Public Art, Sculpture No Comments »
Olayami Dabls, N'Kisi House, 2007, wood, glass, tile, bricks, paint, MBAD African Bead Museum in Detroit, MI. Photo credit: Charlene Uresy

Olayami Dabls, N’Kisi House, 2007,
wood, glass, tile, bricks, paint, MBAD African Bead Museum in Detroit/Photo: Charlene Uresy

By Allison Glenn

The twenty-first century has brought with it the re-emergence of contemporary conceptual artists engaged with penumbral zones. These artists are interested in site, positing new ideas for usage of once-inhabited homes and urban spaces. Whether the middle of the desert or the center of a blighted neighborhood, these sites exist on the theoretical—albeit times physical—margins of society. Artistic engagement with these interstitial spaces is on a material level, with art and architecture converging to create radical and experimental approaches to living. Positing ideas for architecture, technology, space and the body’s relation to it, artists are projecting utopic ideals for the future of the quotidian urban environment. What emerges from this are hybrid works of art and cultural production. Read the rest of this entry »

Review: David Hartt: Interval/Art Institute of Chicago

Installation, Loop, Michigan Avenue, Multimedia, Photography, Video No Comments »
David Hartt. "Interval V," 2014

David Hartt. “Interval V,” 2014

RECOMMENDED

David Hartt’s “Interval” is a visually stunning multimedia installation of photography, video, sculpture and sound that approximates distances—physical, temporal, historical and sonic—to examine uneven development among geographic and economic peripheries and the global forces that centralize capital accumulation. Set to a haunting score and evocatively documented in high-definition video and large-format photographs, Hartt’s camera records everyday moments in Sakhalin Island—a historically contested territory between mainland Russia and Japan—and the city of Whitehorse, the frontier capital of the Yukon Territory in Canada. With an ambivalent stillness that is neither voyeuristic nor detached, the videos and photographs portray these places as simultaneously restless and static as they are caught between an unhappy present and an uncertain future. Read the rest of this entry »

Review: Jillian Mayer/Aspect/Ratio

Digital Art, Multimedia, Photography, Video, West Loop No Comments »
Jillian mayer. Still from "Touchers," 2015  single channel video, 5:39 minutes, unique installation, dimensions variable

Jillian Mayer. Still from “Touchers,” 2015
single channel video, 5:39 minutes, unique installation, dimensions variable

RECOMMENDED

“Touchers” at Aspect/Ratio and Jillian Mayer’s first solo exhibition in Chicago, highlights the loneliness of seeking affection through a cold screen, the impossibility of human touch across monitors. The artist herself is present in each piece, her hands seen within photosensitive prints on plexiglass and fabric in the front of the gallery, while her image and words exist within the central piece, a video installation in the darkened back room. Read the rest of this entry »

Review: Ellen Rothenberg/Sector 2337

Installation, Logan Square, Multimedia No Comments »
Ellen Rothenberg. "elsetime," 2015 installation view, Sector 2337.  Photo by Clare Britt.

Ellen Rothenberg. “elsetime,” 2015 installation view, Sector 2337/Photo: Clare Britt

RECOMMENDED

At the entrance of Ellen Rothenberg’s solo exhibition, “elsetime,” at Sector 2337, is “Listening Station,” a turntable and pile of LPs to sift through on a bench. Of the thirty or so albums (all of them circa 1960-1970) to choose from, another gallery-goer put on an album by Detroit garage rockers Mitch Ryder & The Detroit Wheels. What songs were playing escape my memory and perhaps this was the point. Engaging in Rothenberg’s other works (inkjet prints, bag assemblages, photocopies in plastic folders, etc.) relegated the sonic addition to the exhibition as a kind of background noise, something present but easily ignored. Read the rest of this entry »

News: UIC to Create Chicago-centric Collection of Latin American Art

Digital Art, Multimedia, News etc. No Comments »
Ceramic artist Jesus Torres creates pottery at Hull-House in the early 1930s. Photo: Wallace Kirkland, UIC, Jane Addams Memorial Collection.

Ceramic artist Jesús Torres creates pottery at Hull-House in the early 1930s. Photo: Wallace Kirkland, UIC, Jane Addams Memorial Collection.

The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) has awarded a $20,000 grant to the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) to create a Chicago-focused online collection of Latin American and Latino art, which will be the Chicago Latino Art Now! Virtual Gallery. The UIC-based Inter-University Program for Latino Research, an association of universities nationwide committed to increasing Latino scholarship, will support this project.

“The Chicago Latino Art Now! Virtual Gallery is a permanent digital space for art that will showcase a survey of Chicago art and visual culture since the 1930s,” says Olga Herrera, the principal project investigator, in an email interview with Newcity. For instance, artists closely associated with the Hull-House Kilns such as Jesús Torres, Miguel Juárez and José Ruiz will be featured on the gallery. Additional examples include Mario Castillo, Ray Patlan and Marcos Raya, among others linked with the 1970s mural movement. Read the rest of this entry »

Review: Feminism (n.): Plural/Woman Made Gallery

Multimedia, Photography, Textiles, West Loop No Comments »
Frances F. Denny. "Friendship,"  archival pigment print, 32" × 21"

Frances F. Denny. “Across the Universe,”
archival pigment print, 32″ × 21″

RECOMMENDED

“We can all be feminists,” is the emerging motto of today’s feminism, and it rings clear in “Feminism (n.): Plural,” curated by recently appointed director Claudine Isé. The exhibition was inspired by Roxane Gay’s 2014 book “Bad Feminist.” She proclaims, “When feminism falls short of our expectations, we decide the problem is with feminism rather than with the flawed people who act in the name of the movement.” The exhibition displays a range of issues pertinent to women today, across borders, race, age and personal experience. Read the rest of this entry »

Review: Salvage Art Institute/Neubauer Collegium for Culture and Society

Hyde Park, Installation, Multimedia No Comments »
No Longer Art: Salvage Art Institute. Installation view, Neubauer Collegium for Culture and Society, 2015

No Longer Art: Salvage Art Institute. Installation view, Neubauer Collegium for Culture and Society, 2015

RECOMMENDED

The claim that any object may be a work of art by way of the subjective declaration of the artist has been fraught with discord since Marcel Duchamp proposed a readymade urinal as his entry to a group exhibition in New York City in 1917. In many ways, the ongoing project of the Salvage Art Institute (SAI), now on view at the Neubauer Collegium, is the logical retort to nearly a century of debate over the question of “What Is Art?” Considering the vast expansion of both artistic production and its attending market, the SAI grapples with a terrain that has shifted drastically since the status of art was radically—and yet merely—defined as anything deemed as such by the artist. Even the question itself has changed: It is now: “What Is No Longer Art?” And the answer comes not from the artist, but the insurance company that determines whether or not a damaged work has fallen into the category of “total loss,” at which point its status as an art object, herein assessed in terms of its monetary value, is beyond repair. Read the rest of this entry »

Review: Luftwerk/Silent Funny

Humboldt Park, Installation, Multimedia, Video No Comments »
Luftwerk's "FLOW" installation at Silent Funny video projected onto water and interior architecture photo by Marc Perlish

Luftwerk’s “FLOW” installation at Silent Funny
video projected onto water and interior architecture
photo by Marc Perlish

RECOMMENDED

For their current installations at budding arts space Silent Funny in West Humboldt Park, Luftwerk—the collaborative comprised of Petra Bachmaier and Sean Gallero—were inspired by how light travels through water to create visceral connections for viewers, working with excerpts from previous outdoor projects reimagined for the space’s cavernous interior.

Read the rest of this entry »

Review: A History of Coal/Corner

Art Books, Avondale, Installation, Multimedia, Video No Comments »
Philip Hartigan. "Diorama,"  paper, cardboard, clay, acrylic, paper-litho transfers, electric motors. Photo by Adam Liam Rose

Philip Hartigan. “Diorama,”
paper, cardboard, clay, acrylic, paper-litho transfers, electric motors.
Photo by Adam Liam Rose

RECOMMENDED

That coal is extracted from veins speaks to its intractable relationship with modern civilization, of which it provided for no small part of the modernization; it is the precious dead resource, requisite for (what we now deem to be) life, and one imagines the jugular running within the rugose hillside, a lacing through tellurian viscera, the ancient refuse of violent nascence and convection-driven tumult, a black line drawn hard through bone and hewed through blood and running right up the sides into the head of Philip Hartigan’s grandfather. Corrugated as his environs, the head crowns a dioramic vignette, in one of Corner’s welcoming windows, which comprises the sculptural component of Hartigan’s installation concerning the coal running through his own veins. Read the rest of this entry »

News: Hyde Park Art Center Breaks Ground on New Wing Sunday April 19

Architecture, Hyde Park, Multimedia, News etc. No Comments »
Hyde Park Art Center - Guida Family Creative Wing Schematic Detail.

Hyde Park Art Center – Guida Family Creative Wing Schematic Detail

The new Guida Family Creative Wing at the Hyde Park Art Center (HPAC) will open in fall 2015, thanks to a successful 75th Anniversary Campaign in 2014 and $750,000 gift from John, Julie and Angelina Guida. On Sunday, April 19, celebration of their groundbreaking will coincide with a reception with multiple exhibitions on view, including resident artist Susan Giles’ exhibition, “Scenic Overlook” and Nancy Lu Rosenheim’s “Swallow City.” Read the rest of this entry »