The four-hundredth anniversary of William Shakespeare’s death has seen an outpouring of commemorative efforts. This small show, comprised of three prints made after Henry Fuseli’s late eighteenth-century paintings, is the Art Institute’s contribution. They represent a particular moment of Shakespeare reception, a point where artists identified his proto-Romantic sensibilities and gravitated to the dark fantasies of “Macbeth” and “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” [Read more…]
Michael Hernandez de Luna earned a spot on a government watchlist when federal authorities launched an investigation into his work “Fruit Flavored Anthrax.” His crime? Creating fake stamps to artfully critique the institutions that govern contemporary society by testing the limits of the United States Postal Service in the process. For years the artist has been successfully sending letter after letter to himself from all around the world, each one marked with one or more of his counterfeit, controversial stamps. For him, it was a form of political satire. For the Secret Service, it was a federal crime deserving of serious prison time.
Bell Hooks’ seminal essay “The Oppositional Gaze” argues zealously that the black female gaze has been historically oppressed in the U.S., causing it to become an inherently “oppositional gaze.” Zoe Leonard, Cindy Sherman and Lorna Simpson, three female artists (one black, two white) control the camera with such confidence, dexterity and skill that they complicate Hooks’ assertions. [Read more…]
There are good reasons to thank the curators who organized “Van Gogh’s Bedrooms.” The exhibition consists of thirty-six Van Gogh paintings, a bunch of drawings and letters, a few works by Honoré Daumier and Jean-François Millet and some stimulating ancillary material: Japanese woodblock prints, engravings from “The Illustrated London News” and even one of Van Gogh’s palettes. Most importantly, there are the three versions of “The Bedroom” at Arles, one of which belongs to the Art Institute of Chicago.
By Elliot J. Reichert
Last week, James Rondeau became the twelfth president and director of the Art Institute of Chicago after eighteen years with the museum. Formerly the chair and curator of Modern and Contemporary Art, Rondeau sat down with Newcity at the end of his first day as director to share his vision for leading the museum. Diversity, data, digital access and building expansion were among the topics we discussed.
It’s your first day at the director’s desk, but you’ve been with the Art Institute for eighteen years. Given your long tenure with the museum, you must have a good sense of how the institution operates. Considering that, do you already have a sense what your immediate priorities will be?
It’s in a large part about transitioning from a fairly specialized area of interest, which was being in charge of modern and contemporary art, and expanding that to take on the full scope of the encyclopedic mission. It’s moving from being curatorially specific to being curatorially general, and moving from a role of actually executing curatorial projects to one of supporting other’s projects. In this transition, I am very mindful of what the mandate is.
I feel very lucky that in eighteen years I’ve had the opportunity to work for three different directors: James Wood, James Cuno and Douglas Druick. I’ve really seen how different people do it differently. I’ve almost been able to apprentice under three very different approaches and I think I’ve been able over the years to synthesize in my mind what those approaches entail. I have also seen how expectations in the local community, the national community, the international community have changed over almost two decades since I’ve been at this museum. All this has informed my perspective. So, it’s day one, but I feel like there is an extraordinary continuity from what I’ve been learning and seeing here all these years to what I start to do today. [Read more…]
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.
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.