Reviews, profiles and news about art in Chicago

Review: James Krone/Kavi Gupta Gallery

Galleries & Museums, Media & Genres, Painting, Prints, Sculpture, Video, West Loop No Comments »
James Krone. Installation view of "An Ornithology for Birds," 2016.

James Krone. Installation view of “An Ornithology for Birds,” 2016.

RECOMMENDED

In 1952, the painter Barnett Newman dismissed philosophical aesthetics by saying: “Even if aesthetics is established as a science, it doesn’t affect me as an artist. I’ve done quite a bit of work in ornithology; I have never met an ornithologist who ever thought that ornithology was for the birds.” Newman later turned his quip into a simple analogy “Aesthetics is for the artist as ornithology is for the birds.” Read the rest of this entry »

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 Named after an unpublished manuscript by intersex pioneer Lynn Harris, “Bring Your Own Body” blends historical documents and contemporary art to provide critical perspectives on the ongoing formation of transgender identities.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

Review: Phases of Faces/Jean Albano Gallery

Digital Art, Drawings, Multimedia, Painting, Photography, Prints, River North, Video No Comments »
Joe Tallarico. "Marold and Haude," 2014. Watercolor, ink and colored pencil, 11 x 15 inches.

Joe Tallarico. “Marold and Haude,” 2014. Watercolor and ink, 11 x 15 inches.

Five decades of the Chicago Imagists tradition are alive and well in “Faces,” the first exhibit of the new year at Jean Albano Gallery. Whether the human face is directly engaging the viewer or part of an entire figure, these faces are far removed from a Rembrandt self-portrait. They evince no naturalism, no idealism, no profound drama, no soul. These are not the faces of people on life’s journey. Read the rest of this entry »

Review: Scott Wolniak and John Phillip Abbott/Devening Projects + Editions

Galleries & Museums, Garfield Park, Media & Genres, Multimedia, Painting, Prints, Sculpture, Video No Comments »
Scott Wolniak. "Tablet: Vision Phase 2," 2014 - 2015. Ink, watercolor, acrylic, gouache, chalk on plaster with steel mesh on panel, 24 x 21 inches.

Scott Wolniak. “Tablet: Vision Phase 2,” 2014 – 2015. Ink, watercolor, acrylic, gouache, chalk on plaster with steel mesh on panel, 24 x 21 inches.

RECOMMENDED

For most artists, the stream of production isn’t steady and the output isn’t homogenous. “To Break is to Build,” a collection of works by multimedia artist Scott Wolniak, is inspired by the minutiae of studio activity: struggles with materials and other less acutely productive moments.  Read the rest of this entry »

Double Take: The “New Contemporary” at the Art Institute

Collage, Design, Drawings, Galleries & Museums, Installation, Michigan Avenue, Multimedia, Outsider Art, Painting, Photography, Prints, Sculpture, Video 1 Comment »
Andy Warhol. "Big Electric Chair," 1967-68.

Andy Warhol. “Big Electric Chair,” 1967-68

In “Double Take,” Newcity Art commissions two or more critics to consider a single topic or exhibition in order to offer multiple perspectives on complex, timely matters in Chicago’s visual arts.

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Review: Jefferson Pinder/Hyde Park Art Center

Activist Art, Galleries & Museums, Hyde Park, Installation, Media & Genres, Sculpture, Video No Comments »
Jefferson Pinder. "Overture (Star of Ethiopia)," 2015. Two-channel HD video, 8 minutes.

Jefferson Pinder, “Overture (Star of Ethiopia),” 2015. Two-channel HD video, 8 minutes

RECOMMENDED

It is customary to begin a review of Jefferson Pinder’s work with a generalization about blackness, then to quote the artist’s goals for transforming the scene of American race relations. It is customary to note his debt to the Black Arts Movement, to marvel at his multidisciplinary expertise and to place him in relation to other artists—usually Glenn Ligon or William Pope.L—who likewise treat race through elliptical objects and performances. It is customary to mull the difficulty of de-racializing the racialized work of racialized artists. It is usually customary to do so with a twinge of white guilt. Read the rest of this entry »

Review: So-called Utopias/Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts

Activist Art, Architecture, Design, Galleries & Museums, Hyde Park, Installation, Media & Genres, Multimedia, Photography, Prints, Sculpture, Video No Comments »
Melanie Smith. "Fordlandia ," 2014. Video still.

Melanie Smith. “Fordlandia ,” 2014. Video still.

RECOMMENDED

Utopias have vexed the art world of late. To name but one example: the first Summer Forum residency recently took place in New Harmony, a site of failed utopian living in Indiana. Meanwhile the critical currents of queer pessimism have forcefully militated against utopian longing, exemplified in the anti-futurity espoused by Lee Edelman. Utopias are dangerous and dreamy. Alluring and exclusionary. 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 »

Review: Michael Robinson/Carrie Secrist Gallery

Collage, Galleries & Museums, Media & Genres, Multimedia, Video, West Loop No Comments »
Michael Robinson. "Mad Ladders," 2015. High Definition film, stereo sound, 16 x 9 aspect ratio, 10 minutes.

Michael Robinson. “Mad Ladders,” 2015. High Definition film, stereo sound, 16 x 9 aspect ratio, 10 minutes.

RECOMMENDED

Presented as a large-scale projection in a blacked-out, custom-built room that converts the gallery into a black-box space, Michael Robinson’s most recent film, “Mad Ladders” transforms the Carrie Secrist gallery floor, and with it, the cinematic landscape. 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 »