Reviews, profiles and news about art in Chicago

News: Humanities Without Walls Announces Global Midwest Grant Awardees

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Lane Relyea of Northwestern University's Art Theory + Practice program, one of five academics awarded the new Humanities Without Walls Global Midwest Grant

Lane Relyea of Northwestern University’s Art Theory + Practice program, one of five academics awarded the new Humanities Without Walls Global Midwest Grant. Photo by Paul Germanos.

The newly initiated Humanities Without Walls Global Midwest Grant has been awarded to the forthcoming There There: A Journal of Global Contemporary Art in the Midwest, a collaboration among Elise Archias from the University of Illinois at Chicago, Kevin Hamilton from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Tung-Hui Hu from the University of Michigan, Lane Relyea from Northwestern University’s Art Theory and Practice program and Kris Paulsen from Ohio State University. The Humanities Without Walls consortium is funded by a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and administered by the Illinois Program for Research in the Humanities (IPRH) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign explains Dianne Harris, IPRH director and principal investigator.

Three million dollars in total was awarded to IPRH by the Mellon Foundation so as to fund the first two years of an all-encompassing association of fifteen humanities institutes in and beyond the Midwest. There There was awarded a $27,000 grant, which the collaborators intend to use for the production of an online arts journal. “The first issue of which is slated for October 2015. I am helping the main editor Kris Paulsen, who is assistant professor in the art history department at Ohio State,” briefs Relyea by email. Read the rest of this entry »

News: Illinois Arts Council Suspends Funding Decisions for Fiscal Year 2015

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Jeremiah Hulsebos-Spofford. “Anachronic Objects: Tower and Wall,” 2014. Glass Curtain Gallery. Supported by the 2014 Illinois Arts Council Agency fellowship. Photo: courtesy of the artist.

Daniel Eisenberg. “The Unstable Object -2,” work in progress. Supported by the 2014 Illinois Arts Council Agency fellowship. Image from production room at Ottobock Factory in Germany. Photo: courtesy of the artist.

Shirley Madigan, Illinois Arts Council Agency (IACA) chairman and spokesperson, recently informed IACA grantees and applicants that fiscal year 2015 funding decisions for current, pending and future applicants is suspended. But why?

Madigan’s concise letter describes “circumstances beyond our control” and expresses “regret [for] any hardships that are caused.” This news follows Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner’s February 18 release of his proposed budget plan for the upcoming fiscal year. Given Illinois’ state-level financial struggles, part of his proposed budget includes $6.7 billion in cuts; IACA itself has a recommended budget reduction of 18.2 percent for the upcoming fiscal year. The budget reduction as the cause of IACA’s funding suspension decision is speculative. IACA informed Newcity that Madigan was unable to provide a response at the time of publication. Read the rest of this entry »

News: Corner Art Gallery Opens in Avondale Neighborhood

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Artist Lynn Basa standing outside her new Avondale project space Corner. Photo by Doug VanderHoof.

Artist Lynn Basa standing outside her new Avondale project space Corner/Photo: Doug VanderHoof

Painter and School of the Art Institute of Chicago MFA candidate Lynn Basa has opened Corner, a new art gallery in the Avondale neighborhood located at 2912 North Milwaukee. Basa has owned the building at the corner of Drake and Milwaukee since 2008 where her studio also resides. Because she can only work on one painting at a time, Basa wanted to make use of the remaining 400-square-foot space by doing something she found meaningful. We met for an interview in which she says, “I just felt like I could bring more value to my life by creating a connection with the community. Studio work is notoriously isolating and so I wanted to not only start connecting with other artists, but also experiment because I feel like the whole language of gallery space is to keep people out and I started thinking about how this very building was designed to bring people in.” Read the rest of this entry »

News: ThingStead Press Releases New Publication on February 26

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Chris Reeves and Aaron Walker's ThingStead press on view at UIC's Gallery 400 lobby

Chris Reeves and Aaron Walker’s ThingStead press on view at UIC’s Gallery 400 lobby

Next time you’re on or near the UIC campus, stop into Gallery 400 and pick up a copy of ThingStead, PhD art history candidate Chris Reeves and MFA candidate Aaron Walker’s small-press print installation project in the lobby. The two took over the space, which is already bustling with daily foot traffic, and turned it into a checkout lane where patrons can peruse and “take-away” a copy of their latest publication. Each booklet is composed of “reimagined drafts and excerpts” from artists and writers on a specific topic, theme or work to create an amalgamation of ideas or “excursus,” as they like to call it.

“Legend and History,” by Columbus, Ohio-based artist, Ryland Wharton is released today, February 26. Reeves describes the book as “mystical concrete poetry,” as it is a reproduction of passages from M. Caron and S. Hutin’s “The Alchemists.”
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News: Christie’s to Auction Ruth Horwich’s Collection

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Ruth Horwich’s collection of Alexander Calder jewelry to be offered at auction. Photo: Christie’s Images Ltd. 2015.

Ruth Horwich’s collection of Alexander Calder jewelry to be offered at auction. Photo: Christie’s Images Ltd. 2015.

Alexander Calder, Andy Warhol and John Chamberlain are a few names from Ruth Horwich’s collection featured in the upcoming First Open sale of Post-War and Contemporary Art at Christie’s in New York on March 6, 2015.

Influential leaders and one of Chicago’s resident power couples, Ruth and her late husband Leonard impacted our region’s art scene not only with loaned and gifted artworks to many of our prominent local institutions—including the Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA) and the Smart Museum of Art—but also as two of MCA’s founders and champions for major public artworks such as Jean Dubuffet’s “Monument with Standing Beast” outside the Thompson Center. Leonard died in 1983, and given Ruth’s death in July 2014, twenty-four pieces from their collection will be offered for sale. An exhibition will precede the auction at Christie’s Rockefeller Center Galleries, from February 28 to March 3, 2015. Read the rest of this entry »

News: The Ed Paschke Art Center Launches Artist Residency Program

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Erin M. Chlaghmo, participant in the 2015 Ed Paschke Art Center’s Artist Residency program.

Erin M. Chlaghmo, participant in the 2015 Ed Paschke Art Center’s Artist Residency program

The Ed Paschke Art Center (EPAC), in collaboration with the Luminarts Cultural Foundation at the Union League Club of Chicago, recently announced the launch of an artist residency program, commencing with Erin M. Chlaghmo and John Metido, this year’s participants. Beginning in March and continuing through April 26, 2015, both artists will have access to studio space at the center, where they will produce and exhibit work in an open studio that invites visitors to observe their entire working processes, from conception to completion.

Community, a theme reflected in the residency program, is a critical attribute of both organizations. The Luminarts Cultural Foundation advocates art education and appreciation through competitions for young artists in the Chicago area; EPAC also emphasizes the community, reflecting Paschke’s legacy.

Ed Paschke (1939-2004), a Chicago born and educated artist, mentored artists throughout his lifetime. EPAC continues this tradition: it preserves and provides public access to Paschke’s work; functions as an educational source for people of all ages; and provides a means to exhibit art. Although EPAC aims to bring Paschke’s artwork to the public, the artist residency program underscores another aspect of EPAC: supporting local artists, like their first two residents.

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News: CTA Unveils Hebru Brantley Artwork in New Green Line Station

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Hebru Brantley's original artworks installed as two of the eight panels on view at the new green line McCormick Place station

Hebru Brantley’s original artworks installed as two of the eight panels on view at the new CTA Green Line McCormick Place station

Between studio time, gallery shows and public projects, rising Chicago-based artist Hebru Brantley is quite the busy fellow. His latest project is in conjunction with the city’s brand new CTA Green Line Station at McCormick Place. Using transit investment funds and tax-increment-financing funds, the fifty-million-dollar new station will include the Motor Row entertainment district, a convention center and hotels, and showcases eight public art panels of Brantley’s work. Read the rest of this entry »

News: Donelle Woolford comes to Logan Center for the Arts [UPDATED]

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Joe Scanlan (left) and Jennifer Kidwell (right/ Ian Douglas 2012).

Joe Scanlan (left) and Jennifer Kidwell (right/ Ian Douglas 2012).

The University of Chicago’s (UChicago) department of visual arts (DoVA) will bring Joe Scanlan and his controversial fictional character Donelle Woolford, who will be depicted by Jennifer Kidwell, to the Logan Center for the Arts this Thursday, February 19, at 7pm. Scanlan received a lot of heat during and after the 2014 Whitney Biennial for his Donelle Woolford project for which he, a white male Princeton professor, invented a black female artist character to assume responsibility for a body of work he created. Scanlan’s creation raises a multitude of convoluted questions, with words like “white male privilege,” and “conceptual black face” representing just a few of the issues raised in the uproar. In an email to Newcity, Scanlan writes, “Jennifer Kidwell and I let everyone else have their say about this project last year, from the United States to London to Capetown to Aukland. So now we’ll take a turn responding to our critics.” Read the rest of this entry »

News: Art Institute Appoints Rebecca Long as Curator of Italian and Spanish Art

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Rebecca Long, the Art Institute's newly appointed Patrick G. and Shirley W. Ryan associate curator in the department of medieval to modern European painting and sculpture

Rebecca Long, the Art Institute’s newly appointed Patrick G. and Shirley W. Ryan associate curator in the department of medieval to modern European painting and sculpture

In early January, The Art Institute of Chicago (AIC) announced that Rebecca Long has been appointed as their new Patrick G. and Shirley W. Ryan associate curator in the department of medieval to modern European painting and sculpture. Long, who was associate curator of European painting and sculpture before 1800 at the Indianapolis Museum of Art (IMA) for the last six years prior to her new appointment, will be responsible for Italian and Spanish painting and sculpture before 1750 at AIC and will assume her position on February 27.

In the midst of moving to Chicago, Long writes via email, “I’m eagerly looking forward to working with such an amazing collection, to everything from research and gallery installation projects to thinking about creative and meaningful ways to expand the collection in order to broaden and augment its already formidable strengths. I’m also excited about joining the Art Institute’s efforts to reach a broad public and to give visitors a range of possible means of experiencing and learning from collections, exhibitions, and programs.” Long also humbly expresses her gratitude for all that she learned at IMA, articulating that the highlight for her was working with “Sacred Spain: Art and Belief in the Spanish World,” an exhibition she was involved with when she first came to IMA as a research fellow. Read the rest of this entry »

News: Ten x Ten 2015 Pairs Improvisations by Musicians and Artists

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Ten x Ten Preview 2013

Ten x Ten Preview 2013

The 2015 round of Ten x Ten collaborations between musicians and visual artists will start with a kickoff event this Sunday, February 8. Under the curatorial supervision of three diverse Chicago organizations—Elastic Arts, Homeroom and Spudnik Press—this fourth iteration of Ten x Ten has grown into four events over the next eight months hosted at several venues: Spudnik Press Cooperative, Constellation and Elastic Arts. It’s a definite scaling up from past years, which consisted of only one event. With Elastic Arts Foundation as guest curators—which includes saxophonist Dave Rempis and composer Paul Giallorenzo—the 2015 project highlights jazz and probes how artists working across different media interpret improvisation. The series organizers musician and visual artist Jordan Martins with bassoonist and composer Katherine Young will start this cycle’s inaugural event with a free lecture addressing improvisation and the use of visual symbols outside the boundaries of traditional music notation. About the project, Martins writes on his personal website, “I‘m pleased to be participating in this event, which is a partnership with some of my favorite Chicago powerhouses.” Read the rest of this entry »