Reviews, profiles and news about art in Chicago

News: Artist David Hartt Appointed to MCA Board of Trustees

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David Hartt, artist and new member to the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago's Board of Trustees. Courtesy of Braxton Black.

David Hartt, artist and new member to the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago’s Board of Trustees/Photo: Braxton Black

In mid-December, chair of the Board of Trustees at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago (MCA) King Harris announced the addition of artist David Hartt to the MCA’s Board of Trustees. Hartt is the first artist on the MCA’s board since the new building at 220 East Chicago was constructed, which officially opened to the public in June 1996. Sculptor Richard Hunt, whom the MCA is honoring for his eightieth birthday with a special exhibition currently on view, was the first artist trustee in the 1970s. Joining Hartt as members of the board are current Norway-based telecommunications equipment company, Eltek, ASA board member Dia Weil, director of Graff Diamonds Eve Rogers and board member of the Whitney Museum of American Art and Colgate University in New York, Nancy Crown. Their appointment coincides with Teresa Samala de Guzman’s appointment as the MCA’s chief operating officer, a duty she assumed responsibility of on December 8, 2014.

In an email exchange, MCA director Madeleine Grynsztejn explains that the museum is very much artist-activated and audience-engaged, saying, “Artists are central to everything we do and the artist’s presence assures integrity at the governance level around our artist-activated commitment in particular.” When selecting board members, they take into account the expertise and wisdom each individual can bring to the MCA currently, as well as how their knowledge can work with the MCA’s future aspirations. Read the rest of this entry »

News: Maria Gaspar and Jennifer Reeder among 2015 Creative Capital Awardees

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Moving Image artist and filmmaker, Jennifer Reeder

Moving Image artist and filmmaker, Jennifer Reeder

Earlier this month, Creative Capital (CC) announced the forty-six 2015 awardees in the categories of Moving Image and Visual Arts, two of which are Chicago-based artists: filmmaker Jennifer Reeder and visual artist Maria Gaspar. The selected artists were chosen out of a countrywide pool consisting of more than 3,700 proposals. Each funded project receives up to $50,000 in direct funding with the addition of CC’s career-development services that the artists receive at no cost to them, bringing their 2015 investment total to more than $4,370,000. Ruby Lerner, CC’s executive director, says about this year’s awardees, “This is one of our most diverse rosters ever—the range in form and subject matter is thrilling.” Read the rest of this entry »

News: Lion VS Gorilla to Host New Group Show and Mini-Exposition about Utopia

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spotlight_lvg
In the crux of our present-day political and social troubles, where food famine exists all around us and threats loom in the air over something as common as a controversial American movie, it isn’t farfetched to wish for a utopia. Here is your escape. Gallery concept Lion VS Gorilla (LVG) has partnered with the Hairpin Arts Center for “Crystal Palaces in Cockaigne,” an art show and mini-exposition on utopias centered on the medieval myth of Cockaigne, an ideal land of endless ease, hedonism, health and luxury. For those who, like myself, hadn’t yet heard about Cockaigne, it is a land where it rains cheese and roasted pigs saunter by with cleavers in their back among other fascinating occurrences. Read the rest of this entry »

News: Upcoming Free Days at Twenty-one Chicago Museums

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George Bellows. "Love of Winter," 1914.  Collection of the Art Institute of Chicago

George Bellows. “Love of Winter,” 1914.
Collection of the Art Institute of Chicago

Winter can be a dreary month, with all its slushy snow, bitter cold, and flamboyantly merry couples. So if the skating rink in Millennium Park is causing your seasonal affective disorder to spike you and the various coffee shops around the city are filled to capacity, why not warm those frozen paws by taking advantage of the free admission days at our splendid museums? Here is a compilation of free museum days at twenty-one art, cultural and history museums to keep your brain active, eyes mesmerized, and your seasonal affective disorder at bay. (Mahjabeen Syed) Read the rest of this entry »

News: Museum of Contemporary Photography Now Accepting Submissions for Third Year of Snider Prize

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Hyounsang Yoo. "The Celebration," 2013

Hyounsang Yoo. “The Celebration,” 2013

The Museum of Contemporary Photography (MoCP) has begun accepting submissions for the third iteration of the Snider Prize. Sponsored by MoCP patrons Lawrence K. and Maxine Snider, the Snider Prize is a purchase award given to emerging artists who are on the cusp of leaving graduate school and is open to MFA students who are currently in their final year of study at an accredited program in the US. One artist is awarded a sum of $2,000, the funds of which will be used toward purchasing pieces of work that will be supplemented to MoCP’s permanent collection. Additionally, two honorable mentions will receive $500 each. Submissions for the 2015 Snider Prize will be accepted from January 15 through April 1, 2015. Read the rest of this entry »

News: Kruger Gallery Chicago Reopens in New Lakeview Location

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Installation view of Heather Green's upcoming exhibition in Kruger Gallery Chicago's new location

Installation view of Heather Green’s upcoming exhibition in Kruger Gallery Chicago’s new location

This Friday, January 16, Kruger Gallery Chicago (KGC) reopens in its new 1,300-square-foot space in Lakeview at 3709 North Southport with a solo exhibition of new work by Chicago-based artist Heather Green. Kruger was previously located in River North where, owner and director Mikelle Kruger explains, it has been dedicated to an avant-garde model that art can be a mediator for political and social change and showcasing emerging artists working with an array of design and media. After an initial six-month run in 2011 as a sort of pop-up gallery in the River North arts district, Kruger took three years off to focus on siting a more permanent home. Read the rest of this entry »

News: Arts + Public Life Initiative Seeks Furniture Designs and Community Involvement in New Public Space Project

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Rendering of the Summer Pavilion at the new public space, courtesy of MAS Studio

Rendering of the Summer Pavilion at the new public space, courtesy of MAS Studio

The University of Chicago’s Arts + Public Life (APL) initiative’s call for proposals regarding the design and production of an assemblage of outdoor furniture for their new public space will soon be coming to a close on January 18, 2015. Particular that this will be not so much a park as a more open ended, multi-use site for the neighborhood, the new public space will be in the Washington Park neighborhood located at 265 East Garfield Boulevard. The structure, previously known as the Summer Pavilion located in Millennium Park, was secured by the University of Chicago’s (U of C) Office of Civic Engagement in 2014 by donation and according to the press release, is said to be a main feature of the new public space that is to make its debut in May 2015. The pavilion created by MAS Studio was initially envisioned to be used for installation work and was an outpost for the exhibition “Spontaneous Interventions: Design Actions for the Common Good.” Read the rest of this entry »

News: Hamza Walker Named Co-curator for Made in L.A. 2016

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Hamza Walker at the Renaissance Society's benefit gala in October 2014, courtesy of Fadeout Foto.

Hamza Walker at the Renaissance Society’s benefit gala in October 2014, courtesy of Fadeout Foto.

In December, the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles, California announced that the associate curator for The Renaissance Society, Hamza Walker, will co-curate the third iteration of Los Angeles’ biennial Made in L.A. (MILA) 2016 alongside Hammer curator Aram Moshayedi. Walker will be taking a leave of absence from The Ren starting February 1, for the two year focus he will be putting into MILA.

Walker was chosen to co-curate the next iteration of the Hammer’s ongoing exhibition series featuring artwork created in the Los Angeles area when the museum’s director Annie Philbin requested that Moshayedi make a wish list of potential curatorial partners. “The minute we saw [Walker’s] name,” says Philbin, “We knew he was the one. Hamza is a widely respected curator and we wanted someone from outside of L.A. this time—someone with a global view but also with a knowledge and understanding of what is going on in L.A. Hamza fit the bill and it seemed like a good moment for him to pursue something like this. Aram and Hamza will balance each other beautifully I think.” Read the rest of this entry »

News: Art Institute’s Classroom Learning Collaboration with CPS Announces Team of Teachers

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The TEAM program brings selected classes of CPS students into the museum twice a year for tours with specially trained docents.

The TEAM program brings selected classes of CPS students into the museum twice a year for tours with specially trained docents.

On December 12, the Art Institute of Chicago (AIC) announced the seventeen schools that will be participating in TEAM: Thinking Experiences in the Art Museum, an educational collaboration between the museum and Chicago Public Schools (CPS) that will run from 2014 through 2016. The program is designed to empower CPS fourth and fifth grade teachers and their students to not only use critical and creative thinking skills but also to further develop them with the observation of artwork in both the classroom and the museum.

During this two-year program, a group of twenty-five teachers from the selected seventeen schools will participate in a total of ninety hours of professional development at AIC. The first year is primarily dedicated to educating the teachers about thinking skills and how to use them as well as how to transfer that knowledge onto their students when returning to the classroom. During this time, museum educators visit the TEAM classrooms numerous times, working directly with the fourth and fifth graders after which the teachers receive follow-up emails with tips and thoughts on how they can translate the approaches used when studying the artwork to core subjects like language arts, math, science and social studies. Each class will also visit the museum twice per school year for TEAM tours led by specially trained Art Institute docents who use genuine pieces of art to reinforce the thinking skills previously used in the classrooms. Read the rest of this entry »

Newcity’s Top 5 of Everything 2014: Art

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Top 5 Trends of 2014
Casts of body parts
Cultural appropriation
Parenting
Bricolage
Glam
—Matt Morris

Top 5 Controversies
Joe Scanlan’s Donelle Woolford
Terry Dowd’s art handlers struggling to unionize
George Lucas’ proposed Museum of Narrative Art on the lakeshore
David Bowie at the MCA rather than a more appropriate venue
Hebru Brantley’s Tuskegee Airmen sculptures vandalized
—Matt Morris

Top 5 Solo Exhibitions at the Art Institute that Kicked Ass This Year
Christopher Williams
Lucy McKenzie
Ethel Stein
René Magritte
Sarah Charlesworth
—Matt Morris

Top 5 Exhibitions in Alternative Galleries
Gordon Hall at Night Club
Tony Greene at Iceberg Projects
Sebastian Black and India Donaldson at Queer Thoughts
Doug Ischar at peregrineprogram
Edra Soto at Lloyd Dobler
—Matt Morris Read the rest of this entry »