Reviews, profiles and news about art in Chicago

News: Performance at Daley Plaza to Raise Awareness of Maternal Mortality and Negligent Care

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The sewing machine that Hartney used to sew the gowns was originally owned by Hartney's grandmother. It was passed down through Hartney's mother, who also learned how to sew on this machine.

The sewing machine that Hartney used to sew the gowns was originally owned by Hartney’s grandmother. 2015.

In response to the increasing maternal mortality rate and instances of postpartum PTSD and obstetric abuse in the United States, artist Michelle Hartney has organized a performance entitled “Mother’s Right” to take place on September 7 in Daley Plaza. The performance is a part of a national day of rallies taking place on Labor Day across the nation, organized by the Improving Birth movement to call attention to problems and solutions in maternal health care.

Hartney has sewn 1,200 “hospital gowns,” one for every mother who died in childbirth in America in 2013. Made of fabric that has been silk-screened by artists Erin Chlaghmo, Andrew Reyes, Orr Gidon and Printed Chicago, the design is composed of tiny drawings of plants used to create drugs that have been used on laboring women for the past 150 years.

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News: 2nd Terrain Biennial Sprawls Far Beyond the Suburbs

Architecture, Design, Galleries & Museums, Installation, Media & Genres, Multimedia, News etc., Oak Park, Performance, Public Art, Sculpture 1 Comment »
"Night Terrain" by artist Kate McQuillen and curated by Claudine Ise for the 2nd Terrain Biennial. Located at 817 South Highland Avenue, Oak Park.

“Night Terrain” by artist Kate McQuillen and curated by Claudine Ise for the 2nd Terrain Biennial. Located at 817 South Highland Avenue, Oak Park.

Playfully eschewing stereotypes of pink flamingos and garden gnomes, the 2nd Terrain Biennial is dedicated to featuring interventions into the conventional landscape of front yards by emerging as well as established artists who have been invited to create site-specific works. Founded in 2011 by Chicago artist Sabina Ott, contributing artists are selected for their ability to challenge the space between public and private, function and decoration and figure and ground.

This year’s biennial takes an international scale, but remains centered in the Chicago suburb of Oak Park across from Longfellow Middle School on Highland Avenue. Unlike many alternative exhibitions, these public artworks will be accessible at all times. According to Ott, one of the goals of the exhibition was to engage pedestrians, visitors, teachers, students and neighbors with myriad forms of contemporary art. Another goal with “Terrain 2.0” was to expand the scope beyond Oak Park. Read the rest of this entry »

News: Janet Dees joins the Block Museum of Art

Evanston, Galleries & Museums, News etc. No Comments »
Janet Dees. Photo: Kate Russell.

Janet Dees/Photo: Kate Russell

After completing an international search, the Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art at Northwestern University has announced that Janet Dees will join the museum’s curatorial team. Dees, who is currently finishing her Ph.D. in 18th-20th century American art at the University of Delaware, brings to her appointment extensive knowledge of global contemporary art and museum practices, as well as and museum leadership experience, says Kathleen Bickford Berzock, Associate Director of Curatorial Affairs at the Block Museum.

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News: Luftwerk to Debut High Tech, Site-Specific Installations at Garfield Park Conservatory

Design, Digital Art, Garfield Park, Installation, Multimedia, News etc., Public Art, Sculpture No Comments »
Rendering of “Florescence," 2015. Luftwerk Studio.

Luftwerk Studio. Rendering of “Florescence,” 2015.

Five technology-infused and site-specific installations will populate the Garfield Park Conservatory in a year-long exhibition titled “solarise: a sea of all colors” debuting in September. Each immersive installation invites viewers to interact with nature, color and light while exploring the Conservatory grounds. “Garfield Park Conservatory has long been known as a Chicago cultural anchor,” remarked Mayor Rahm Emanuel, “and this interactive art installation will underscore the conservatory’s cultural legacy while engaging residents in new ways.”

Created by Luftwerk, an art practice co-founded by Petra Bachmaier and Sean Gallero, the installations respond to the philosophies of Jens Jensen, the landscape architect who designed the conservatory, who believed in the importance of public access to nature in the city. Each of the five installations—“The Beacon,” “Portal,” “Florescence,” “Seed of Light,” and “Prismatic”—emphasize and supplement the conservatory’s natural spaces. With the installations, Luftwerk aims “to instill in visitors an increased sense of wonder, while they roam the gardens and vegetation rooms. [We hope to] inspire visitors to take a closer look at how nature, art, and technology can interact.” Read the rest of this entry »

News: Hybrid Gallery Gallerique Opens in Fine Arts Building

Galleries & Museums, Michigan Avenue, News etc. Comments Off on News: Hybrid Gallery Gallerique Opens in Fine Arts Building
Maria Girgenti and Sam Khan of Gallerique.

Maria Girgenti and Sam Khan of Gallerique

The Fine Arts Building on South Michigan is the new home of Gallerique, a hybrid online and brick-and-mortar marketplace for fine art and designed objects. This new store will be right at home in this downtown architectural masterpiece, which is a work of art in and of itself.

The idea for Gallerique materialized when Sam Khan, founder and CEO, realized a need for an online gallery platform that maintains the high standards and expert curation of fine art galleries while harnessing the ease of online exchanges. Gallerique will offer a market that moves fluidly between an online and physical presence while facilitating multi-directional exchanges between collectors and makers. “Sam wanted to be instrumental in changing the collecting experience from an exclusive to a more inclusive model to accommodate the needs of both new and experienced collectors who are eager to engage with and acquire works in new ways,” explains Maria Girgenti, director of partner relations at Gallerique.

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Eye Exam: Cutting Back, Dropping Out

Activist Art, Art Schools, Design, Galleries & Museums, Media & Genres, News etc., Suburban No Comments »
Illinois State Museum in Springfield. Photo by Mike Linksvayer.

Illinois State Museum in Springfield/Photo: Mike Linksvayer

By Elliot J. Reichert

Last week, a bipartisan Illinois legislative commission rejected Governor Bruce Rauner’s proposal to close the Illinois State Museum system. The vote of the Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability is a non-binding but weighty gesture against the efforts of the state’s Executive Office to reduce Illinois’ massive budget deficit through severe and uneven cuts in public spending. The Illinois State Museum is a network of five sites that serve distinct but complementary purposes in the preservation and cultivation of Illinois history and culture: a natural history and art museum in Springfield, an on-site archaeological museum of Native American history at Dickson Mounds, a contemporary art museum inside of a repurposed riverfront warehouse in Lockport, a gallery and artisan shop in downtown Chicago, and a museum and gallery in the southern community of Rend Lake. The cuts would reduce the projected $6.29 million annual operating budget of the museum system to $1.5 million, saving Illinois approximately $4.8 million in the next fiscal year. The retained funds would be spent maintaining the facilities and collections of nearly 13.5 million objects housed by the museums during their indefinite closure. Illinois will continue to keep rare and precious artworks and artifacts related to the heritage and history of the state, but the taxpayers who pay for the care of these things will no longer be able to access them. Read the rest of this entry »

News: David Wallace Haskins’ “Skycube” Premieres at the Elmhurst Art Museum

Galleries & Museums, Media & Genres, News etc., Public Art, Sculpture, Suburban No Comments »
David Wallace Haskins. Rendering of “Skycube.” Copyright 2015.

David Wallace Haskins. Rendering of “Skycube.” Copyright 2015.

David Wallace Haskins’ “Skycube,” an outdoor installation that reflects and focuses the ever-changing three-dimensional sky, will debut on August 11 outside of the Elmhurst Art Museum. This three-ton cube (eight by eight by eight feet) will include a square aperture that brings the sky to a viewer’s eye level.

Haskins, a Chicago-based artist, works with a team of experts in various fields, including physics, ecology and psychology, to investigate and experiment with sound, time, light and space. Artists such as J.M.W. Turner and René Magritte have grappled with the sky in artwork, Haskins acknowledges in a phone interview, but with “Skycube,” Haskins invites viewers to participate in a phenomenological experience. Read the rest of this entry »

News: Comfort Station’s First Annual Vernacular Photography Festival Begins Today

Galleries & Museums, Logan Square, News etc., Outsider Art, Photography, Video No Comments »
An anonymous photograph from the Slattery collection.

An anonymous photograph from the Slattery collection

Comfort Station, the Logan Square multidisciplinary art space, will present an unprecedented twenty-three-day “Vernacular Photography Festival,” a rotating show celebrating the art of everyday and commonplace images throughout the month of August. The festival is curated by Ron Slattery, known as one of the three original collectors of the work of the late Vivian Maier. Maier was a noted street photographer who took more than 150,000 photographs of everyday people and architecture in Chicago and New York. Her work was not widely recognized until after her death in 2009, when Slattery and two other collectors began to circulate images from portions of her archive that they had purchased at auction. Read the rest of this entry »

News: Chicago Artists Coalition’s “The Annual: An Exhibition of New Chicago Art” to Run Concurrently with EXPO Chicago

Art Fairs, Fall Preview, News etc., West Loop No Comments »
Alfredo Salazar-Caro. "Untitled (for Panther Modern)," 2015. Digital print, dimensions variable.

Alfredo Salazar-Caro. “Untitled (for Panther Modern),” 2015.
Digital print, dimensions variable.

The Chicago Artists Coalition has announced that it will launch a yearly exhibition of new Chicago art to run concurrently with EXPO Chicago, the International Exposition of Contemporary & Modern Art. “The Annual: An Exhibition of New Chicago Art” will be an unique opportunity for art enthusiasts and collectors to learn more about the work of young and upcoming Chicago artists and collect new works. Each year, the show will be arranged by two guest curators with intimate knowledge of Chicago’s most relevant and rising art makers.

“The Annual will offer a fresh, of-the-moment look at the concerns and practices of today’s emerging generation of Chicago artists and makers,” said Claudine Isé, lead curator of the inaugural exhibition. Artists featured include Kiam Marcelo Junio, Alfredo Salazar-Caro, Susy Bielak, Noël Morical, Macon Reed and Michelle Anne Harris. A comprehensive list of participating artists will be made available in early August. Read the rest of this entry »

News: Graphic Designer Jason Pickleman Opens Collection-based Gallery Lawrence & Clark

Curator Profiles, Design, Installation, Multimedia, News etc., Painting, Photography, Ravenswood No Comments »
Pickleman amidst some of his collection.

Pickleman amidst some of his collection.

Graphic designer Jason Pickleman has opened up a gallery at 4755 North Clark that he is calling Lawrence & Clark (L&C). Pickleman is no stranger to the arts, as a practicing artist and a graphic designer who has created iconic logos for Avec, the Wit Hotel and many more. A rare breed in these times, L&C will be a collection-based gallery, showcasing work that Pickleman owns, the majority of which he purchased in Chicago over more than thirty years of living and working here. Read the rest of this entry »