Reviews, profiles and news about art in Chicago

Review: Bring Your Own Body/Glass Curtain Gallery

Activist Art, Collage, Drawings, Galleries & Museums, Installation, Media & Genres, Multimedia, Performance, Photography, Sculpture, South Loop, Textiles, Video No Comments »
Zackary Drucker. "Southern for Pussy," 2015. Video still.

Zackary Drucker. “Southern for Pussy,” 2015. Video still.

RECOMMENDED

“Bring Your Own Body: Transgender Between Archives and Aesthetics,” currently on view at Glass Curtain Gallery at Columbia College, provides a multilayered experience by featuring works of contemporary transgender artists juxtaposed with archival materials to illustrate the multiplicity of transgender identities as they are represented in the art world, pop culture and institutional discourses. Named after an unpublished manuscript by intersex pioneer Lynn Harris, “Bring Your Own Body” blends historical documents and contemporary art to provide critical perspectives on the ongoing formation of transgender identities. Read the rest of this entry »

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.

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In Profile: Edra Soto

Artist Profiles, Galleries & Museums, Installation, Loop, Media & Genres, Performance, Textiles No Comments »
Edra Soto performing at "I IN THE SKY" opening, December 12, 2015. /Photo: Clare Britt.

Edra Soto performing at her “I IN THE SKY” opening, December 2, 2015/Photo: Clare Britt

“El que rie ultimo rie mejor” translates to “The one that laughs at the end, laughs the best.” 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 »

Eye Exam: Freedom From Information

Activist Art, Collage, Design, Digital Art, Galleries & Museums, Installation, Loop, Media & Genres, Multimedia, Painting, Performance, Photography, Prints, Sculpture, Video No Comments »
Dora Garcia. "Ulysses," since 1999. Trimmed book, unlimited edition.

Dora Garcia. “Ulysses,” since 1999. Trimmed book, unlimited edition.

By Elliot J. Reichert

It is difficult to think about art these days. Witnessing the world unravel in daily news reports makes questions of culture seem superfluous. Read the rest of this entry »

Review: Vacancy: Urban Interruption and (Re)generation/Glass Curtain Gallery

Activist Art, Architecture, Design, Drawings, Galleries & Museums, Installation, Media & Genres, Multimedia, Performance, Photography, Public Art, Sculpture, South Loop, Video No Comments »
Emmanuel Pratt in collaboration with Sweet Water Foundation. "Ecology of Absence?" Furniture, shelving and American flag made from reclaimed wooden pallets. /Photo: Rob Karlic.

Emmanuel Pratt in collaboration with Sweet Water Foundation. “Ecology of Absence?” Furniture, shelving and American flag made from reclaimed wooden pallets/Photo: Rob Karlic

RECOMMENDED

The Glass Curtain Gallery is a fitting venue for an exhibition about vacancy and regeneration. Its South Loop neighborhood is on the verge of a residential boom, while the nearby West Loop has been transitioning from a meatpacking district to a trendy area to live and dine.

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International Dispatch: Disproving Silence at the 2015 Istanbul Biennial

Activist Art, Architecture, Art Fairs, Ceramics, Collage, Design, Drawings, Galleries & Museums, Installation, Media & Genres, Multimedia, Painting, Performance, Photography, Prints, Public Art, Sculpture, Street Art, Textiles, Video No Comments »
Theaster Gates. "The Anthem of Mu," 2015. Performance on the Bosphorus for "Saltwater: A Theory of Forms." /Photo: Mehmet Girgin.

Theaster Gates. “The Anthem of Mu,” 2015.
Performance on the Bosphorus for “Saltwater: A Theory of Thought Forms”/Photo: Mehmet Girgin

By Mariam Al Askari

“Guglielmo Marconi said every sound we ever make is still out there. Once generated, it fades but never dies away completely.” This idea not only encapsulates the work by Susan Philipsz for which it was written—the work features sounds of dripping water and underwater beacons—but also the 2015 Istanbul Biennial as a whole, which features countless artists and other collaborators, several of which hail from Chicago. Read the rest of this entry »

Review: Irena Haiduk/The Renaissance Society

Activist Art, Design, Galleries & Museums, Hyde Park, Installation, Media & Genres, Performance, Sculpture No Comments »
Irena Haiduk. Installation view, "Seductive Exacting Realism," 2015/ Photo: The Renaissance Society.

Irena Haiduk. Installation view, “Seductive Exacting Realism,” 2015/Photo: The Renaissance Society

RECOMMENDED

For the first thirty-five minutes of each hour, the gallery is cacophonous. Haiduk consigns the other twenty-five minutes to silence. For just less than half the day, “Seductive Exacting Realism” is absent. In “Waiting Rules,” Ivo Andric tells us that “the surest way to rule is to infect others with waiting.” Arrive too late, and it becomes clear that patience is a prison that springs from the self. Read the rest of this entry »

Eye Exam: Chicago is an Exquisite Corpse

Activist Art, Architecture, Art Fairs, Art Schools, Collage, Comics, Design, Digital Art, Drawings, Evanston, Fall Preview, Galleries & Museums, Garfield Park, Gold Coast/Old Town, Humboldt Park, Hyde Park, Installation, Little Village, Logan Square, Loop, Michigan Avenue, Multimedia, Museum Campus, Outsider Art, Painting, Performance, Photography, Pilsen, Prints, Public Art, River North, River West, Rogers Park, Sculpture, South Loop, Street Art, Streeterville, Suburban, Ukrainian Village/East Village, Uptown, Video, West Loop, West Town, Wicker Park/Bucktown No Comments »
The thing that was sent to me in it's intended but unsettling orientation.

The thing that was sent to me in its intended but unsettling orientation.

By Elliot J. Reichert

The above image was sent to me anonymously in the middle of the night. Shocking as it appears, I was relieved to receive it. You see, weeks ago I had contacted a few artist friends to ask them to reflect on the upcoming fall art season in Chicago and to ask one to “take over” the task of appraising it. To my surprise, they were reluctant to describe it, even those who had exhibitions of their work opening in the coming weeks. Later, I realized that their silence was my doing, having asked a question that could produce no coherent answer.

Much like the drawing game made famous by the Surrealists, Chicago’s 2015 fall art season is an exquisite corpse—a thing of grotesque beauty that is the dream of no one, but the creation of many. At first glance, it appears sinister, like the Block Museum’s solo show of newly commissioned works by Chicago artist Geof Oppenheimer. Rumor has it that the sculptor has filled the museum’s ample galleries with austere and foreboding installations resembling the cinderblock constructions of grim institutions, like prison, or perhaps your corporate office. Even more menacing, Irena Haiduk, also Chicago-based and also exhibiting new work, will haunt the eaves of the Renaissance Society’s transformed gallery with the Sirens of Greek mythology, luring visitors unexpectedly into a debate on the revolutionary possibilities of art and social change amidst current political upheaval worldwide. Read the rest of this entry »

News: 2nd Terrain Biennial Sprawls Far Beyond the Suburbs

Architecture, Design, Galleries & Museums, Installation, Media & Genres, Multimedia, News etc., Oak Park, Performance, Public Art, Sculpture 1 Comment »
"Night Terrain" by artist Kate McQuillen and curated by Claudine Ise for the 2nd Terrain Biennial. Located at 817 South Highland Avenue, Oak Park.

“Night Terrain” by artist Kate McQuillen and curated by Claudine Ise for the 2nd Terrain Biennial. Located at 817 South Highland Avenue, Oak Park.

Playfully eschewing stereotypes of pink flamingos and garden gnomes, the 2nd Terrain Biennial is dedicated to featuring interventions into the conventional landscape of front yards by emerging as well as established artists who have been invited to create site-specific works. Founded in 2011 by Chicago artist Sabina Ott, contributing artists are selected for their ability to challenge the space between public and private, function and decoration and figure and ground.

This year’s biennial takes an international scale, but remains centered in the Chicago suburb of Oak Park across from Longfellow Middle School on Highland Avenue. Unlike many alternative exhibitions, these public artworks will be accessible at all times. According to Ott, one of the goals of the exhibition was to engage pedestrians, visitors, teachers, students and neighbors with myriad forms of contemporary art. Another goal with “Terrain 2.0” was to expand the scope beyond Oak Park. Read the rest of this entry »