Reviews, profiles and news about art in Chicago

News: Sociologist Studies Art and Artists Produced by MFA Programs

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Sociologist Gary Fines (centered, with notepad) at a graduate critique in Northwestern University's Art Theory and Practice program

Sociologist Gary Fine (centered, with notepad) at a graduate critique in Northwestern University’s Art Theory and Practice program

Yesterday the Chronicle of Higher Education published an article that follows sociologist Gary Alan Fine through his ongoing research into the constitutive components and consequences of artists being trained in academia. Fine, a professor of sociology at Northwestern, has spent the past two years observing and studying the intricacies of MFA programs at his home institution as well as Illinois State University and UIC. These three schools are part of a huge number of MFA programs that have sprung up over the past half-century: the Chronicle reports Fine estimating there are around 300 such programs today. This research will eventually be put into a book about campus-based art worlds. Read the rest of this entry »

News: Changes in Chicago’s Arts Leadership [updated]

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Jessica Cochran has left her position as Curator of Exhibitions and Programs at the Center for Book & Paper Arts at Columbia College Chicago. She was there four years and curated group exhibitions such as “Social Paper” and “Structures for Reading.” Cochran is now curator of a private contemporary art collection.

Cortney Lederer has resigned as Director of Exhibitions and Residencies at the Chicago Artists Coalition, where she worked from 2011-2014. At the CAC, Lederer designed residency programs for artists and curators (called “Bolt” and “Hatch”). She is pursuing an independent art consulting and curating company, CNL Art Consulting.

Jamilee Polson Lacy has accepted a position as Director and Curator of Providence College Galleries, in Rhode Island. While working as an independent curator in Chicago for many years, Polson Lacy organized the nomadic Twelve Galleries Project (founded in 2008), and was managing editor of the Bad at Sports blog. She says that the Providence College Galleries is a new initiative supported by a capital campaign to exhibit contemporary art at the college, and is modeled on UIC’s Gallery 400. She will return to Chicago periodically with her husband, Stephen Lacy (of Academy Records), to complete forthcoming exhibitions at Western Exhibitions and Columbia College Chicago, among other projects.

Tempestt Hazel is the new Arts Program Manager at the Arts Incubator in Washington Park. She will work to grow their residency, exhibitions and public programs. Hazel was formerly the Professional Development Manager at the Chicago Artists Coalition (from 2012-2014), and continues to curate independently and administer the arts website Sixty Inches from Center. Read the rest of this entry »

News: Two Chicago Artists Confirmed for Crystal Bridges Museum Exhibition

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Alberto Aguilar, still from Sensitive Equipment (video), 2012, to be shown at the Crystal Bridges Museum

Alberto Aguilar, still from Sensitive Equipment (video), 2012, to be shown at the Crystal Bridges Museum

Chicago-based artists Alberto Aguilar and Alison Ruttan have been selected to show in “State of the Art: Discovering American Art Now,” a survey of contemporary art from the U.S. at the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, the private collection museum in Bentonville, Arkansas, founded by Alice Walton of Walmart. This is the museum’s first such survey, on a scale to rival the Whitney Museum’s biennial, and includes 102 total artists from all regions of the U.S. Read the rest of this entry »

News: Johalla Projects Curates Art at Pitchfork Music Festival

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"Geometric Village" being installed earlier this week

“Geometric Village” being installed earlier this week

The West Town gallery Johalla Projects returns to the Pitchfork Music Festival, held in Union Park, this weekend to present “Geometric Village,” an installation by Heather Gabel and Chad Kouri. Two A-frame architectural structures fifteen feet tall and nine feet wide are joined by an additional set of smaller chairs or stools scattered around these forms. The two triangular structures will house smaller works by the two artists that will be available for sale. Gabel will have packs of postcards available for $15 and Kouri will exhibit a set of prints he created with Tan & Loose Press which are available for $15 each. This installation will be accessible to festival attendees; tickets are currently $60 a day, or $110-$130 for a three-day pass. Read the rest of this entry »

News: Stephanie Cristello Appointed Senior Editor at ArtSlant

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Last month, writer and artist Stephanie Cristello was appointed as one of the senior editors for ArtSlant. In this new role, she will be overseeing coverage not only in Chicago, but also Toronto (Cristello’s hometown) and Santa Fe. This appointment follows her taking on the role of editor-in-chief for THE SEEN, the blog for EXPO Chicago, last October, where she will continue as well. Cristello graduated from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago with her BFA in 2013. Much of her art-making involves text and shares the lithe, curious approach in her writing.

Looking forward to her new position at ArtSlant, Cristello described by email the interesting ways that their art coverage encourages drawing connections between projects happening throughout the world. “ArtSlant has this way of inadvertently forcing coincidence; it is the perfect environment for happenstances to occur on a more international scale. I am definitely interested in this idea of expanded connectivity,” she writes. Read the rest of this entry »

News: Chicago Cultural Center Launches Residency for Artists and Curators

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Applications became available on July 11 for the Chicago Cultural Center’s Studio Artist and Curatorial Residency Program. It is the first program of its kind administered by the city. Six artists will be given a studio for the three-month residencies in the Cultural Center and a $2,000 per month, restriction-free stipend. Applications are due July 31. Emerging curators selected for the fellowship will work with DCASE staff to produce exhibitions in the Cultural Center. “It’s very much an experiment and a new program for us,” says Daniel Schulman, director of visual art, when reached for comment by phone. “There are a few goals with the program,” says Schulman. “It’s a way of bringing artists to us, it increases our interaction with artists, and it allows the Cultural Center to be more of an active hub.”

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News: 96ACRES Seeks Art Proposals for Cook County Jail

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The Cook County Department of Corrections, sitting on ninety-six acres on the West Side, is one of the nation’s largest single site pre-detention facilities. The independent, grassroots, social justice organization 96ACRES is seeking artistic projects to generate what they call “alternative narratives reflecting on power and responsibility by presenting insightful and informed collective responses for the transformation of a space that occupied 96 acres, but has a much larger social footprint.” Projects may include visual art, audio pieces, performance, new media works, writing, photography, design, prints and installation with particular interest to works at the site of the jail in an allocated space along its north exterior wall. Proposals are due July 28, and approved projects would be realized this fall. Base grants of $2,500 or up to $5,000 are available, funded by the Chicago Community Trust, Special Service Area #25, the National Endowment for the Arts and the Field Foundation of Illinois.

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News: Video Game Art Gallery Opens in Chicago

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"Battleship Bay" from Irrational Games, digital art print, 39" x 70"

“Battleship Bay” from Irrational Games, digital art print, 39″ x 70″

When Chaz Evans and Jonathan Kinkley met while studying art history at UIC a few years ago, they embarked on a dream to start a gallery project that celebrated the work of artists who create the spectacular visual experiences in video games. On August 8, they will launch the new Video Game Art Gallery, with their first exhibition hosted by Galerie F in Logan Square. This initial foray into a physical show of fine art prints is part of VGA’s work across their online platform as well as through exhibition programming. In an email, Evans explains, “We are working with this hybrid model as it fits well with the media we are showing: it exists both as live software but also as framed images.” The gallery’s website is set up so that collectors can purchase prints that range in price from $75 to $400. Some of the games from which the inkjet prints have been drawn are widely popular, such as “BioShock: Infinite.” But Evans and Kinkley also hope to introduce audiences to visually stunning hidden gems like “MirrorMoon EP,” a first-person puzzler by Santa Ragione with concept art by Gabriele Brombin. Playable demos of these and other games will complement the prints on view at Galerie F in August. Other future pop-up exhibitions are currently in the works.

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News: Applications Open for Theaster Gates’ Dorchester Artist Housing

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Rendering of the Dorchester Artist Housing + Collaborative by Landon Bone Baker

Rendering of the Dorchester Artist Housing + Collaborative by Landon Bone Baker

Theaster Gates’ Dorchester Artist Housing has been completed in Greater Grand Crossing, a South Side neighborhood, and is open to applications. Thirty-two homes have been designed to function as a mixed-income artist community near Gates’ Dorchester Projects and other properties refurbished into a cultural hub by Gates over the past several years. The Artist Housing offers two-bedroom apartment homes for $722 to $910 per month and three-bedroom apartment homes for $869 to $1150. Residents will be responsible for gas, electric and air conditioning. Those interested are encouraged to contact the leasing office at (773)324-2270 for information about pre-applications and more specific information about Section 8 and minimum and maximum income restrictions.

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News: Makeovers for Sixty Inches From Center’s Magazine, Website and Headquarters

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:ast fall Sixty Inches from Center participated in Faheem Majeed's installation and event series "Shacks and Shanties."

Last fall, Sixty Inches from Center participated in Faheem Majeed’s installation and event series “Shacks and Shanties.”

In a letter from Sixty Inches From Center’s executive director Tempestt Hazel, she admits that the nonprofit online arts magazine “has been pretty quiet since 2014 began.” But now they’ve launched a new website, announced their new home at the Zhou B Art Center in Bridgeport and embarked on the next chapter in their online magazine that shifts from the weekly publication of the last three years to a triannual format that builds content around selected themes with organized workshops, panel discussions and other events that aim to get at the tangible realities of art and its producers in Chicago. Read the rest of this entry »