Reviews, profiles and news about art in Chicago

Review: Kathryn Andrews/Museum of Contemporary Art

Galleries & Museums, Installation, Multimedia, Photography, Prints, Sculpture, Streeterville No Comments »
Installation view of "Kathryn Andrews: Run for President" at the MCA Chicago. /Photo: Nathan Keay.

Installation view of “Kathryn Andrews: Run for President” at the MCA Chicago/Photo: Nathan Keay

A nineteenth-century general sits atop a mound of skulls. Set against overlapping neon pink and yellow backgrounds (the aluminum support adding an incongruous sheen), the general and his sword, plumed helmet and squat pose summed up a satirical critique of Whig politics in the 1848 Currier & Ives print from which Kathryn Andrews worked. A plexiglass panel along the piece’s right edge reveals the folded costume of the Joker, worn by Jack Nicholson in Tim Burton’s “Batman.” American politics has long been the province of murderous fools, but what, precisely, does Andrews offer in her argot of visual culture? What does it mean to repurpose old satire as new satire?

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Eye Exam: Two Rules of Bad Mixtapes

Ceramics, Collage, Craft Work, Design, Drawings, Galleries & Museums, Installation, Media & Genres, Multimedia, Outsider Art, Painting, Performance, Photography, Prints, Sculpture, Streeterville, Textiles No Comments »
Installation view of "Pop Art Design" at the MCA Chicago. /Photo: Nathan Keay.

Installation view of “Pop Art Design” at the MCA Chicago/Photo: Nathan Keay

By Ruslana Lichtzier

I enjoy thinking about the structure of the museum as a mixtape. Within an expanded taste, different exhibitions are organized with loose connections in an evolving tempo, hopefully with a mutual understanding regarding the role of the institution. Back in the day, mixtapes were a tool of courting; in making one, the mixtape-maker demonstrated how cool they were, how broad, complex, versatile and surprising was their taste. The danger was, and still is, in them exposing themselves as being…well, not cool.

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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: Laura Owens/Soccer Club Club

Belmont Cragin, Galleries & Museums, Installation, Media & Genres, Painting, Sculpture No Comments »
Laura Owens. Installation view at Soccer Club Club, Drag City.

Laura Owens. Installation view at Soccer Club Club, Drag City

RECOMMENDED

Recently shortlisted for the prestigious Hugo Boss Prize, Los Angeles-based artist Laura Owens debuts a new body of paintings, sculpture and ceramics at Soccer Club Club, the unlikely exhibition space of Drag City, a West Side independent music label. A prolific painter, Chicagoans might recall her mammoth 168-inch-by-132-inch work “Untitled,” a fixture of the Museum of Contemporary Art’s permanent collection. In her painting, Owens consistently deploys a range of tropes including grids, thick hovering lines that double as brushstrokes, gratuitous drop shadows and Peanuts-like cartoon characters wielding tennis racquets. Read the rest of this entry »

Don’t Call Us An Art Museum: Pitchfork at the MCA

Galleries & Museums, News etc., Streeterville No Comments »
Jessica Hopper and Carrie Brownstein. /Photo: Nathan Keay, © MCA Chicago

Jessica Hopper and Carrie Brownstein/Photo: Nathan Keay

Have you been to the Museum of Contemporary Art lately? It’s like the Experience Music Project in there! Read the rest of this entry »

Review: Laura Davis/Threewalls

Drawings, Galleries & Museums, Installation, Media & Genres, Multimedia, West Loop No Comments »
Laura Davis. Installation shot of "Wall Gems," 2015.

Laura Davis. Installation shot of “Wall Gems,” 2015.

RECOMMENDED

A page from the artist’s sixth-grade diary. Wood. Wire. Fur from a ladies vintage hat. A twenty-milligram Prozac tablet. These are some of the materials Davis uses in “Legacy of Loneliness,” and they are a good starting point for understanding how the show responds to the historical treatment of female artists. Read the rest of this entry »

Review: Ania Jaworska/Museum of Contemporary Art

Architecture, Design, Drawings, Galleries & Museums, Installation, Prints, Sculpture, Streeterville No Comments »
Ania Jaworska. "Saint," 2015. Screen print on folio paper; 30 x 22 inches.

Ania Jaworska. “Saint,” 2015.
Screen print on folio paper; 30 x 22 inches.

RECOMMENDED

Chicago, priapic King-Hell capital of exceptionalist, heaven-penetrating architecture; birthplace of The Reach, there could be no better place—and no better museum—for Ania Jaworska’s exploration of how our monuments commune with ourselves. Read the rest of this entry »

Art 50 2015: Chicago’s Visual Vanguard

Art 50 1 Comment »

Group_joe-mazza-brave-lux-chicago-newcity-art-50-2015-0739

Long heralded as a mecca for alternative practices, collectivity and socially engaged art, Chicago increasingly finds itself among the most visible international art destinations precisely because of its distinct character and openness to change and growth. What makes this city fertile ground for launching new talent and sustaining confirmed genius? A complex and ever-changing network of curators, collectors, administrators, critics, dealers, educators and other enthusiasts cultivate Chicago’s artistic vitality and diversity. The Art 50 is Newcity’s annual snapshot of Chicago’s art ecosystem. This year, we track the power players who shape the terrain in which we thrive.

The Art 50 was written by Elliot J. Reichert, Maria Girgenti, Abraham Ritchie, Kate Sierzputowski and B. David Zarley.

Cover and interior photos by Joe Mazza/Brave Lux on location at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago Read the rest of this entry »

Art Leader of the Moment: Naomi Beckwith, Curator of the Museum of Contemporary Art

Art 50, Curator Profiles, Galleries & Museums, Streeterville No Comments »

Photo: Joe Mazza/Brave Lux

By Elliot J. Reichert

In this year’s Art 50, we focus on the power players who shape Chicago’s art landscape. Naomi Beckwith, a Hyde Park native, brings an insider’s knowledge of the city to her role as the Marilyn and Larry Fields Curator at the Museum of Contemporary Art. In just over four years, she’s crafted some of the museum’s most timely exhibitions, including a major outdoor sculptural commission by Yinka Shonibare MBE and the MCA’s current headliner, “The Freedom Principle,” which she co-curated with Dieter Roelstraete. I spoke with her about the art of research, what it means to be a nerd in the art world and what’s next for this rising Chicago art star.

Being born and raised in Chicago, how has this city influenced your work as a curator?
Many people know that I had initially considered a career in the sciences. For my first twenty years, I was academically focused on those disciplines, but two signifiant things changed all that. One was the ethos of this city and its commitment to public spaces, which always included art: festivals, programs, art fairs and museums. I am a very proud child of Chicago Public Schools, which has an amazing field trip program that includes these destinations. This early access to both the formal art space of museums and also informal spaces, like the Hyde Park [57th Street] Art Fair or the African Festival of the Arts in Washington Park, left deep imprints on me. Read the rest of this entry »

The Interview Project Interview: A Conversation with Hans Ulrich Obrist

Art Fairs, Curator Profiles No Comments »
Photo: Kalpesh Lathigra

Photo: Kalpesh Lathigra

By Elliot J. Reichert

Hans Ulrich Obrist is an internationally renowned curator and co-director of the Serpentine Galleries in London. He is the author of The Interview Project, an ongoing collection of interviews with artists and other creatives, and a new book, “Lives of the Artists, Lives of the Architects.” At EXPO Chicago on September 19, 4pm, Obrist will conduct a live interview with Art Green, Gladys Nilsson and Karl Wirsum, three members of the Hairy Who, an artist collective who began mounting group exhibitions after studying together at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Obrist spoke with us by phone from Johannesburg, South Africa, about his connections to Chicago, his interests in the Hairy Who and the larger group of Chicago Imagists, and the philosophy that inspires his interviews.

What draws your interest to Chicago and the Hairy Who at this moment?
My interest in the Hairy Who began with my interview projects, which are parallel to my curatorial practice. These interviews are an oral history of contemporary art, and they were actually inspired by Chicago. When I was in Chicago for the first time for a lecture at the Museum of Contemporary Art about fifteen years ago, I met the late Studs Terkel, the great oral historian. From then on, Terkel mentored my whole process of making these oral histories more systematic. He gave me a lot of advice, so it’s wonderful to bring the whole project back to Chicago. Read the rest of this entry »