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 Named after an unpublished manuscript by intersex pioneer Lynn Harris, “Bring Your Own Body” blends historical documents and contemporary art to provide critical perspectives on the ongoing formation of transgender identities.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 »

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: La Muerte Niña: Day of the Dead/National Museum of Mexican Art

Activist Art, Collage, Craft Work, Design, Galleries & Museums, Installation, Media & Genres, Multimedia, Painting, Photography, Pilsen, Sculpture, Textiles No Comments »
Rocío Caballero. “On the Threshold of Silence/En el umbral del silencio,” 2014. Mixed media on canvas.

Rocío Caballero. “On the Threshold of Silence/En el umbral del silencio,” 2014. Mixed media on canvas.

RECOMMENDED

Including over ninety artists from both the United States and Mexico, “La Muerte Niña: Day of the Dead” is an exhibition in which the private becomes public. The space is awash with orange and yellow marigolds, sequins, skeletons and religious iconography, but beyond this visually stunning assembly of cultural symbols are carefully constructed personal stories. Read the rest of this entry »

Review: Cecilia Vicuña and Dianna Frid/Poetry Foundation

Art Books, Craft Work, Galleries & Museums, Installation, Multimedia, Near North Side, Textiles No Comments »
Cecelia Vicuña. "The Origin of Weaving," 2015. Mixed Media.

Cecilia Vicuña. “The Origin of Weaving,” 2015. Mixed media. /Photo: Jason Branscum

RECOMMENDED

Poetry demands to be read aloud, to be experienced as a multi-sensory form. Read the rest of this entry »

Review: Kesa: Japanese Buddhist Monks’ Vestments/Art Institute of Chicago

Craft Work, Design, Galleries & Museums, Media & Genres, Michigan Avenue, Textiles No Comments »
Kesa, Edo period (1603–1868), mid-/late 18th century. Japan. Gift of Gaylord Donnelley in memory of Frances Gaylord Smith.

Kesa, Edo period (1603–1868), mid-/late eighteenth century. Japan. Gift of Gaylord Donnelley in memory of Frances Gaylord Smith.

RECOMMENDED

Sometimes, discipline is the basis of freedom. The sonnet is a fourteen-line poem in iambic pentameter. The haiku is a three-line poem with seventeen syllables. The sonata form demands exposition, development and recapitulation. Shakespeare, Basho and Beethoven thrived within these constraints.

The kesa, the outer garment worn by Japanese Buddhist monks, imposes on its maker many restrictions. It must be quadrilateral, composed of cloth or paper (recalling the shreds and patches worn by the historical Buddha), and composed in columns (usually seven), framed by a border with mitered corners. There are often six additional blocks placed here and there, ostensibly to strengthen the garment, but really because another rule creates another opportunity for beauty. 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 »

Review: Manish Nai/Kavi Gupta Gallery

Architecture, Collage, Craft Work, Digital Art, Galleries & Museums, Installation, Multimedia, Sculpture, Textiles, West Loop No Comments »
Manish Nai. "Untitled," 2015 Dyed burlap, 90" x 4"

Manish Nai. “Untitled,” 2015
Dyed burlap, 90″ x 4″

RECOMMENDED

The work of Mumbai-based Manish Nai makes a viewer reconsider the limits of an artistic medium. He doesn’t use traditional media, such as heavy metals and wood, oil or acrylic. Instead, Nai uses everyday materials—cardboard, jute, newspaper and even his family’s used clothing—to sculpt, mark and render.

For his first solo exhibition in the United States, Nai has created wall hangings, photographic prints, sculptures and four site-specific works, including a gallery pillar wrapped in jute, a burlap-like material that is abundant in India, and a heat-transferred mural that will slowly disappear during the course of the exhibition. His use of traditional artistic processes, such as weaving or drawing and sculpting by hand, in conjunction with contemporary rendering techniques borrowed from digital and new media art, design and architecture give these objects a surprising new dynamism. By combining the old and the new, Nai’s work is thoroughly international even as it remains fully Indian.
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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 »