Reviews, profiles and news about art in Chicago

News: Mural in Logan Square Seeks Community Participation

Logan Square, News etc., Public Art, Street Art No Comments »
Rachel Slotnick's Logan Square mural in progress

Rachel Slotnick’s Logan Square mural in progress

There are three “Paint With Us” painting days scheduled this weekend when the community is invited to get involved in the completion of Rachel Slotnick’s mural in progress at Milwaukee and Kedzie in Logan Square. Adjoining the Logan Square Blue Line stop, this is the latest mural project to adopt two-year terms for the prominent wall space in the square. Lindsey Meyers, the director of the neighborhood’s Beauty & Brawn Gallery and longtime Logan Square resident, has coordinated the project with Slotnick after considering the wall’s potential over years. Meyers explains by email, “I pass that wall multiple times a day and it always spoke to me. I continued to see its size and scope and only saw beauty and potential.”

Painting days are scheduled for today, August 29, from 4pm-7pm; Sunday, August 31, from 1pm-3pm; and Monday, September 1, from 1pm-3pm. Interested participants need only show up; the gallery will provide all painting materials. Read the rest of this entry »

News: Milton Glaser’s Dying Planet Now Produced by Chicago Button Makers

Activist Art, Design, Logan Square, News etc. No Comments »


At the beginning of August, a striking new environmentalist campaign was launched by Milton Glaser, the indelible graphic designer responsible for such iconic works as the I heart NY logo. The stark new design of a black circle shaded a dimming green across its bottom edge connotes the earth’s present environmental changes and is accompanied by the tagline: “IT’S NOT WARMING, IT’S DYING.” Now the Chicago based Busy Beaver Button Co. has partnered with Glaser to create and widely distribute one-inch buttons of the logo through the website Read the rest of this entry »

News: Art Institute Begins Publishing Online Digital Catalogues

Galleries & Museums, News etc., Painting No Comments »
views of hidden labels, reverse sides and photomicrograph cross sections are included in the Monet and Renoir catalogues

Views of hidden labels, reverse sides and photomicrograph cross sections are included in the Monet and Renoir catalogues

Last week, the Art Institute of Chicago published the first two of their online scholarly catalogues. Monet: Paintings and Drawings at the Art Institute of Chicago and Renoir: Paintings and Drawings at the Art Institute of Chicago are densely informative, interactive, close studies of the works of the two Impressionists held in the Institute’s permanent collection. Over the past couple of days, I’ve explored the catalogues; certainly the powerfully detailed zoom options allow viewers to observe details at a closeness that would not be available standing before the paintings in the museum, as well as details of how canvases are stretched, views of their reverse sides and photomicrographs that cross section the paintings’ grounds to see exactly how gesso and paint sit on the surface of the weave of the canvas. Entries on each of the two painters’ work in the collection are accompanied by in-depth curatorial essays, as well as technical reports (very compelling stuff not only for conservationists but artists and others interested in exacting accounts of how an artwork was made) as well as exhaustive accounts of provenance and exhibition history. That such detailed information about even one work is now freely available to the public is astonishing, but collected in the two books are forty-seven works by Monet and twenty-five by Renoir—a massive amount of information about some of the most precious holdings in the Institute’s collection.

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News: Caroline Older Appointed Executive Director of Chicago Artists Coalition

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The Chicago Artists Coalition's newly appointed executive director Caroline Older

The Chicago Artists Coalition’s newly appointed executive director Caroline Older

The Chicago Artists Coalition (CAC) announced last Thursday that Caroline Older has been appointed as its new executive director, and will begin this new position on September 8. Older was selected from an intensive national search conducted by board members Nancy Herring, Katharine Schutta, Carmelita Tiu and CAC board chair Tony Karman. Karman is quoted in the CAC’s press release saying, “CAC is playing a critical role in shaping Chicago’s cultural community by building a creative marketplace through its arts programming, artist residencies, grants and overall service to the arts. Under Older’s leadership, I am confident that CAC will continue to innovate and produce new initiatives that will further the organization’s mission.”

In an email exchange, Older writes, “Chicago is an important arts hub and with the CAC’s staff and board, I look forward to fulfilling the organization’s mission to build a creative marketplace for artists of all disciplines. I think the focus on community is critical. Building strong communities of artists, collectors and art appreciators is important to the ongoing success and continued growth of Chicago’s dynamic arts and cultural sector.” Read the rest of this entry »

News: Free Month of Comic Illustration Classes in September

Comics, News etc. No Comments »
montage of artists' works from the International School of Comics

Montage of artists’ works from the International School of Comics

The International School of Comics (ISC) announced this week that, during the month of September, it will offer a series of workshops that are free and open to the public. Dubbed Freetember, the school will host classes in concept art, digital coloring, comic book cover design and watercolor, as well as introductions to techniques in building narratives, working methods and independent publishing. Many of the teachers of these free classes are also faculty in the ISC’s degree program, such as Robin McKay, who will be coaching participants through an After Effects Crash Course and Emma Rand, one of ISC’s adjunct professors, who has also organized the Freetember project. Guest artists are also on the Freetember roster, including Jenny Frison, who currently works as a Marvel cover artist and for Hasbro. For a full list of the classes offered visit ISC’s website, or see below. Read the rest of this entry »

News: Richard Hunt and Lois Weisberg Among Fifth Star Awards Recipients Announced Today

Loop, News etc. No Comments »
Sculptor Richard Hunt, one of the Fifth Star Awards honorees

Sculptor Richard Hunt, one of the Fifth Star Awards honorees

Today the City of Chicago announced the recipients of the inaugural Fifth Star Awards in a press conference at the Chicago Cultural Center. Five Chicago artists, arts advocates and cultural institutions will be honored by Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) in a free live show at the Pritkzer Pavilion in Millennium Park on Wednesday, September 17 at 7pm. The honorees are as follows: Lou Conte, Richard Hunt, Ramsey Lewis, Lois Weisberg and The Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University. The event has been scheduled in the same week as EXPO Chicago and the accompanying EXPO Art Week, when the city is a major destination for art lovers, dealers and collectors. A full roster of performers and schedule of events for the September 17 show will be released soon.

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News: Shaquille O’Neal to Curate Booth at Expo Chicago 2014

Art Fairs, News etc. No Comments »
Shaquille O'Neal standing in "SIZE DOES MATTER," an exhibition he curated for the FLAG Art Foundation in 2010

Shaquille O’Neal standing in “SIZE DOES MATTER,” an exhibition he curated for the FLAG Art Foundation in 2010

Yesterday EXPO Chicago announced that Shaquille O’Neal will be curating a booth for the FLAG Art Foundation in this fall’s iteration of the art fair. Entitled “SHAQ LOVES PEOPLE,” the project will consist of portraits produced by emerging and established artists of people across various races, cultures and ethnic backgrounds. This is the second curatorial project at FLAG by the fifteen-time NBA all-star turned entrepreneur whose other cultural work includes rap albums, reality television shows and film acting. In 2010 he curated “SIZE DOES MATTER” at FLAG’s gallery in Chelsea, which included artists such as Fred Wilson, Cathy de Monchaux, Kehinde Wiley, Lisa Yuskavage and Jeff Koons. Read the rest of this entry »

News: Artist and Teacher Barbara DeGenevieve Has Passed Away

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Barbara DeGenevieve. "Oh Yeah Oh God," part of the mixed media "Large Scale Stretched Fabric and Macaroni" series from 1991–95

Barbara DeGenevieve. “Oh Yeah Oh God,” part of the mixed media “Large Scale Stretched Fabric and Macaroni” series from 1991-95

Barbara DeGenevieve passed away on Saturday, August 9, from complications of cervical cancer. DeGenevieve was a professor in the department of photography at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, where she had been teaching since 1985, following a faculty position at the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana. From the late 1970s onward, her photography, video and performance work has explored issues around human sexuality, pornography, gender and ethics. She has also written and lectured extensively on these and other topics. DeGenevieve received her MFA in photography from the University of New Mexico in 1980. She was awarded two National Endowment for the Arts Visual Artists Fellowships and three Illinois Arts Council grants among many other honors. Major exhibitions of her work have been shown in the San Jose Institute of Contemporary Art, the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography and Frankfurt Kunstverein. Read the rest of this entry »

News: Medium Cool Book Fair Returns This Weekend

Art Books, Design, News etc., Prints, West Loop No Comments »
Andrew Holmquist.  Ten books in the conXion box set, offset printed books, 2014

Andrew Holmquist.
Ten books in the conXion box set, offset printed books, 2014

Now in its second year, Chicago’s young art book fair has expanded for its latest iteration this weekend, spread across two days, at two sites, with two different focuses. Founded by designer Ria Roberts, Medium Cool is one of the most recent additions to Chicago’s literati culture of fairs, independent presses and book-minded artist projects. Read the rest of this entry »

News: Brain Frame Ends After Three Years

Comics, News etc., Performance, Pilsen No Comments »


Jo Dery performing at Brain Frame 17

Jo Dery performing at Brain Frame 17

This Saturday, August 9, Thalia Hall in Pilsen will host the nineteenth and final Brain Frame, a bimonthly show self-described as “performative comix readings.” Three years ago, cartoonist and filmmaker Lyra Hill began Brain Frame as an experimental space for comics-based works to be performed for live audiences. Projected slide shows, music, puppetry and other zany forms of theater have been the staples with which comic artists and authors have expanded on their illustrative universes into dynamic live events. In an email to Newcity, Hill writes, “These past three years of Brain Frame have been hugely influential to the underground scene (particularly the alt-comics scene) in Chicago, and an exhausting whirlwind for me. I’m really looking forward to celebrating Brain Frame’s success and calling for the community to sustain itself moving forward.” Read the rest of this entry »