Reviews, profiles and news about art in Chicago

Review: Grace of Intention/Museum of Contemporary Photography

Architecture, Galleries & Museums, Media & Genres, Photography, Public Art, Sculpture, South Loop No Comments »
Nadav Kander. "Fengine III (Monument to Progress and Prosperity), Chongqing Municipality," 2007.

Nadav Kander. “Fengine III (Monument to Progress and Prosperity), Chongqing Municipality,” 2007.

RECOMMENDED

Frank Gehry said that “architecture should speak of its time and place, but yearn for timelessness.” 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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Review: Claire Pentecost/Arts Club of Chicago

Activist Art, Galleries & Museums, Installation, Media & Genres, Public Art, Sculpture, Streeterville No Comments »
Claire Pentecost. "the force that through the fossil drives utopia drives my greased age," Installation view. The Arts Club of Chicago Garden. /Photo: Michael Tropea.

Claire Pentecost. “the force that through the fossil drives utopia drives my greased age,” Installation view. The Arts Club of Chicago Garden /Photo: Michael Tropea

RECOMMENDED

Claire Pentecost’s new site-specific installation titled “the force that through the fossil drives utopia drives my greased age” is a peculiar hybrid: a rectified readymade and a political allegory. As a genre it is nonsensical, but as an individual work of art it is not too bad. Read the rest of this entry »

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 »

Eye Exam: Design Within Reach

Activist Art, Architecture, Art Schools, Design, Galleries & Museums, Installation, Loop, Multimedia, Public Art, Sculpture No Comments »
Kunlé Adeyemi. "Makoko Floating School, Lagos, Nigeria, " 2012. Image by NLÉ.

Kunlé Adeyemi. “Makoko Floating School, Lagos, Nigeria, ” 2012. Image by NLÉ.

By Elliot J. Reichert

Amid all the hoopla surrounding the inaugural Chicago Architecture Biennial, I will admit that the whole thing makes me a bit nervous. Read the rest of this entry »

Review: David Schalliol/Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum

Architecture, Design, Galleries & Museums, Lincoln Park, Photography, Public Art No Comments »
David Schalliol. "The Rise of the 606 and its Bloomingdale Trail," 2015.

David Schalliol. “The Rise of the 606 and its Bloomingdale Trail,” 2015.

RECOMMENDED

One of the most inspired recent additions to Chicago’s public spaces is The 606, a trail that follows the tracks of the once-abandoned elevated Bloomingdale train line that runs in a straight line through Humboldt Park, Logan Square, Wicker Park and Bucktown. To be on the trail is to be transported to a world that is apart from and above the city, yet is immersed in it, as the tops of buildings at times form walls on both sides. The experience is invigorating and empowering, especially because the line has been left in a partly rough state. It is a place where people can jog, stroll and walk down to several ground-level parks that dot the route. 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 »

News: Luftwerk to Debut High Tech, Site-Specific Installations at Garfield Park Conservatory

Design, Digital Art, Garfield Park, Installation, Multimedia, News etc., Public Art, Sculpture No Comments »
Rendering of “Florescence," 2015. Luftwerk Studio.

Luftwerk Studio. Rendering of “Florescence,” 2015.

Five technology-infused and site-specific installations will populate the Garfield Park Conservatory in a year-long exhibition titled “solarise: a sea of all colors” debuting in September. Each immersive installation invites viewers to interact with nature, color and light while exploring the Conservatory grounds. “Garfield Park Conservatory has long been known as a Chicago cultural anchor,” remarked Mayor Rahm Emanuel, “and this interactive art installation will underscore the conservatory’s cultural legacy while engaging residents in new ways.”

Created by Luftwerk, an art practice co-founded by Petra Bachmaier and Sean Gallero, the installations respond to the philosophies of Jens Jensen, the landscape architect who designed the conservatory, who believed in the importance of public access to nature in the city. Each of the five installations—“The Beacon,” “Portal,” “Florescence,” “Seed of Light,” and “Prismatic”—emphasize and supplement the conservatory’s natural spaces. With the installations, Luftwerk aims “to instill in visitors an increased sense of wonder, while they roam the gardens and vegetation rooms. [We hope to] inspire visitors to take a closer look at how nature, art, and technology can interact.” Read the rest of this entry »

News: David Wallace Haskins’ “Skycube” Premieres at the Elmhurst Art Museum

Galleries & Museums, Media & Genres, News etc., Public Art, Sculpture, Suburban No Comments »
David Wallace Haskins. Rendering of “Skycube.” Copyright 2015.

David Wallace Haskins. Rendering of “Skycube.” Copyright 2015.

David Wallace Haskins’ “Skycube,” an outdoor installation that reflects and focuses the ever-changing three-dimensional sky, will debut on August 11 outside of the Elmhurst Art Museum. This three-ton cube (eight by eight by eight feet) will include a square aperture that brings the sky to a viewer’s eye level.

Haskins, a Chicago-based artist, works with a team of experts in various fields, including physics, ecology and psychology, to investigate and experiment with sound, time, light and space. Artists such as J.M.W. Turner and René Magritte have grappled with the sky in artwork, Haskins acknowledges in a phone interview, but with “Skycube,” Haskins invites viewers to participate in a phenomenological experience. Read the rest of this entry »