Reviews, profiles and news about art in Chicago

Breaking News: James Rondeau, curator of Modern and Contemporary Art, named new Director of the Art Institute

News etc. No Comments »
The Art Institute of Chicago. Griffin Court in the Modern Wing.

The Art Institute of Chicago. Griffin Court.

The Art Institute of Chicago has announced that James Rondeau, current curator of Modern and Contemporary Art at the Art Institute of Chicago, will succeed Douglas Druick as the president and Eloise W. Martin director. Robert M. Levy, chairman of the Board of Trustees, announced the decision early Thursday morning.

Read the rest of this entry »

Double Take: The “New Contemporary” at the Art Institute

Collage, Design, Drawings, Galleries & Museums, Installation, Michigan Avenue, Multimedia, Outsider Art, Painting, Photography, Prints, Sculpture, Video 1 Comment »
Andy Warhol. "Big Electric Chair," 1967-68.

Andy Warhol. “Big Electric Chair,” 1967-68

In “Double Take,” Newcity Art commissions two or more critics to consider a single topic or exhibition in order to offer multiple perspectives on complex, timely matters in Chicago’s visual arts.

Read the rest of this entry »

Review: Dionysos Unmasked/Art Institute of Chicago

Galleries & Museums, Media & Genres, Michigan Avenue, Prints, Sculpture No Comments »
Statue of Young Dionysos, 100 B.C.–A.D. 100. On anonymous loan to the Art Institute. /Photo: Richard Valencia.

Statue of Young Dionysos, 100 B.C.-A.D. 100. On anonymous loan to the Art Institute /Photo: Richard Valencia

RECOMMENDED

The ancient Greeks originated that rigorous cult of rationality that formed the basis of Western philosophies of knowledge. But they were also attracted to its uninhibited antithesis: the cult of Dionysos. Although Bacchanalian festivals were later suppressed by stern Roman patriarchs, images of Dionysos and his half-human crew of maenads and satyrs persisted in response to those powerful, primal urges that likewise never seem to go away. Read the rest of this entry »

Newcity’s Top 5 of Everything 2015: Art

Top 5 Lists 2 Comments »

Top 5 Art Anniversaries
School of the Art Institute of Chicago (150th)
The Renaissance Society (100th)
Arts Club of Chicago (99th)
Smart Museum (40th)
Loyola University Art Museum (10th)
–Elliot Reichert

Top 5 Visiting Artist Talks 
Hito Steyerl
Agnès Varda
Joan Jonas
Jeff Koons
Thomas Hirschhorn
–Elliot Reichert Read the rest of this entry »

Review: Alfred Stieglitz/Art Institute of Chicago

Galleries & Museums, Loop, Media & Genres, Michigan Avenue, Photography No Comments »
Julia Margaret Cameron. "Thomas Carlyle," 1867, printed 1875. The Art Institute of Chicago. Alfred Stieglitz Collection.

Julia Margaret Cameron. “Thomas Carlyle,” 1867, printed 1875. The Art Institute of Chicago. Alfred Stieglitz Collection.

RECOMMENDED

The Art Institute has one of the world’s finest holdings of photographs by Stieglitz and his circle—a gift from his wife Georgia O’Keeffe no less—and little excuse is needed to bring them out from time to time. Read the rest of this entry »

Review: John Knight/Art Institute of Chicago

Ceramics, Galleries & Museums, Installation, Loop, Media & Genres No Comments »
John Knight, "Plate #28," from "Museotypes" series, 1983.

John Knight, “Plate #28,” from “Museotypes” series, 1983.

RECOMMENDED

To mark the Renaissance Society’s centennial, the Art Institute installed John Knight’s “Museotypes,” a series of sixty commemorative plates ostensibly honoring the museum. Hung in three stacked rows of twenty each, each gold-rimmed bone-china plate (the hue is just warmer than gallery white) sports the silhouetted footprint of a high-caliber museum in black glaze. Altogether, the abstract similarity shared by the graphics condenses art-housing architecture into minimalist logos that are less salable than museum facades, but no worse at making an icon of an institution. Read the rest of this entry »

Review: A Voyage to South America: Andean Art in the Spanish Empire/Art Institute of Chicago

Galleries & Museums, Media & Genres, Michigan Avenue, Painting No Comments »
Unidentified Artist?. "Our Lady of the Rosary of Chiquinquirá with Female Donor," late 17th/early 18th century.

Unidentified Artist. “Our Lady of the Rosary of Chiquinquirá with Female Donor,” late-seventeeth/early-eighteenth century.

The title of this dossier exhibition is misleading. There is nothing here about voyages: no ships, disembarkations, or conquistadores. It should instead be called: “An Assemblage of Colonial Andean Paintings, Mostly Religious, that Occlude Matters of Racism and Slavery.” Read the rest of this entry »

Review: Kesa: Japanese Buddhist Monks’ Vestments/Art Institute of Chicago

Craft Work, Design, Galleries & Museums, Media & Genres, Michigan Avenue, Textiles No Comments »
Kesa, Edo period (1603–1868), mid-/late 18th century. Japan. Gift of Gaylord Donnelley in memory of Frances Gaylord Smith.

Kesa, Edo period (1603–1868), mid-/late eighteenth century. Japan. Gift of Gaylord Donnelley in memory of Frances Gaylord Smith.

RECOMMENDED

Sometimes, discipline is the basis of freedom. The sonnet is a fourteen-line poem in iambic pentameter. The haiku is a three-line poem with seventeen syllables. The sonata form demands exposition, development and recapitulation. Shakespeare, Basho and Beethoven thrived within these constraints.

The kesa, the outer garment worn by Japanese Buddhist monks, imposes on its maker many restrictions. It must be quadrilateral, composed of cloth or paper (recalling the shreds and patches worn by the historical Buddha), and composed in columns (usually seven), framed by a border with mitered corners. There are often six additional blocks placed here and there, ostensibly to strengthen the garment, but really because another rule creates another opportunity for beauty. Read the rest of this entry »

Review: Degas: At the Track, On the Stage/Art Institute of Chicago

Drawings, Galleries & Museums, Media & Genres, Michigan Avenue, Painting, Sculpture No Comments »
Edgar Degas. "Little Dancer Aged Fourteen," c. 1879-1881. Private Collection.

Edgar Degas. “Little Dancer Aged Fourteen,” c. 1879-1881. Private Collection.

For a man surrounded his whole life by women and horses, Degas was astonishingly unresponsive to both. Read the rest of this entry »

Breaking News: Douglas Druick, Art Institute of Chicago President and Director, to Retire

Curator Profiles, Galleries & Museums, Michigan Avenue, News etc. No Comments »
Douglas Druick, 2011.

Douglas Druick, 2011.

Douglas Druick, President and Eloise W. Martin Director of the Art Institute of Chicago, announced his intention to retire late Tuesday evening. Druick has been at the helm of the Art Institute since 2011 and has served for a total of thirty years at Chicago’s mainstay art museum. In nearly five years, Druick oversaw the Art Institute through major growth and change, including the acquisition of the largest gift of art in the museum’s history, given by Stefan Edlis and Gael Neeson earlier this year, record high attendance and recognition as being among the best museums in the world. For these specific achievements and his overall leadership of the institution, Druick topped Newcity’s list of Chicago’s 50 most powerful art figures in 2015.

“It has been my honor to serve as the Art Institute’s president and director,” said Druick. “I have been deeply proud to lead one of the finest museums in the world, and to work for three decades with an exceptional cadre of remarkably talented museum colleagues.” Read the rest of this entry »