Reviews, profiles and news about art in Chicago

News: Hebru Brantley Public Sculptures Vandalized

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clean up after vandalism of Hebru Brantley's "The Watch"

Clean-up after vandalism of Hebru Brantley’s “The Watch”

Last Sunday morning a series of sculptures installed along a sloping lawn near the Field Museum by Pilsen-based artist Hebru Brantley were found vandalized. The artwork titled “The Watch” is a multi-figure homage to the Tuskegee Airmen and features a series of young, black, superheroic characters that Brantley uses in his work. Last weekend, the Chicago Tribune reported that several of the figures had been knocked over, with one beheaded and several others sustaining multiple punctures and elements broken off. In an email, Chicago Park District’s director of communications Jessica Maxey-Faulkner said that the sculptures have been removed to be repaired by the artist. While no definite timeline for the repairs has been determined, the artworks will be returned to the park once they have been repaired. Read the rest of this entry »

News: Joan Harris to be Awarded National Medal of Arts

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joan harris

Chicago-based arts philanthropist Joan Harris will be among the twenty-one new recipients to receive medals for the 2013 National Medal of Arts and National Humanities from President Barack Obama on Monday, July 28. In Harris’ bio released from the White House she is being honored “for supporting creative expression in Chicago and across our country. Her decades of leadership and generosity have enriched our cultural life and helped countless artists, dancers, singers, and musicians bring their talents to center stage.” Harris and her late husband were major contributors to the Joan W. and Irving B. Harris Theater for Music and Dance in Millennium Park, now celebrating ten years of providing multi-arts performance programming in Chicago. Read the rest of this entry »

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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