Reviews, profiles and news about art in Chicago

Review: Winter Experiment: SAIC at MMG/Monique Meloche Gallery

Collage, Drawings, Galleries & Museums, Installation, Media & Genres, Multimedia, Painting, Photography, Sculpture, Wicker Park/Bucktown No Comments »
Cheryl Pope. " I ONLY NOTICE YOU WHEN I SEE YOU," 2015. Printed nylon banner, 36 x 60 inches.

Cheryl Pope. “I ONLY NOTICE YOU WHEN I SEE YOU,” 2015. Printed nylon banner, 36 x 60 inches.

RECOMMENDED

The exhibition begins outside on Division Street. There, the ruby red glow of Michelle Grabner’s painting “Untitled” from “Chicago Gingham” emanates outward through the street window and across the snow-covered sidewalk, enticing warmth and springtime nostalgia. Read the rest of this entry »

Review: Homegrown/Art Institute of Chicago

Drawings, Galleries & Museums, Media & Genres, Michigan Avenue, Multimedia, Prints No Comments »
Gladys Nilsson. "Big School Picture; Little Paper Mural," 1992.

Gladys Nilsson. “Big School Picture; Little Paper Mural,” 1992.

RECOMMENDED

In the beginning there was Ivan Albright. Over-ripening the human figure, collapsing its surrounding space and removing it from social context, he prepared the way for the angry contortions of the “Monster Roster” and eventually for the rebellious pranks of the Imagists. And the School of the Art Institute of Chicago was right in the thick of it, with visionary instructors like Ray Yoshida and Whitney Halstead and artist collaborations like the Hairy Who. That’s the story of postwar Chicago art as told by this exhibition of alumni works on paper mounted in celebration of the school’s 150th anniversary. 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: Kate O’Neill and Montgomery Perry Smith/Roots and Culture

Galleries & Museums, Installation, Media & Genres, Noble Square, Painting, Photography, Sculpture No Comments »
Montgomery Perry Smith. Installation view at Roots & Culture.

Montgomery Perry Smith. Installation view at Roots & Culture.

RECOMMENDED

Walking into the gallery, visitors first encounter the project room, a small space to the left past the entrance. It is here that the work of O’Neill and Smith are most cohesive. Read the rest of this entry »

Holiday Gift Guide: The Art Edition

Galleries & Museums, Garfield Park, Logan Square, West Loop No Comments »
Ceramics by Noah Signer. Threewalls Seasonal Shop Showcase.

Ceramics by Noah Singer. Threewalls Seasonal Shop Showcase.

If the “buy local” consumer ethos has improved the environment and kickstarted local economies, Chicago’s art collectors would do better to build their collections the same way they fill their fridges. For aspiring and seasoned connoisseurs alike, Chicago is rife with opportunities to purchase affordable, beautiful work by emerging and established local artists. Read the rest of this entry »

Review: Christopher Michlig, Amy Yoes/Devening Projects + Editions

Collage, Design, Digital Art, Galleries & Museums, Garfield Park, Media & Genres, Multimedia, Prints No Comments »
Amy Yoes. "Structural 004," 2014. Mixed media collage, 14 × 16 inches.

Amy Yoes. “Structural 004,” 2014. Mixed media collage, 14 × 16 inches.

RECOMMENDED

Dan Devening, proprietor of the eponymous ‘projects + editions,’ painter, curator and faculty at SAIC, has a good eye for pairing artists. While his Garfield Park gallery typically runs concurrent solo shows in separate rooms within the same space, the aesthetic frisson generated by the works’ proximity is almost always palpable and the dialogue between them inescapable. Case in point: Christopher Michlig’s “To Everyone” and Amy Yoes’ “Structurals and Sightlines.”

In Yoes’ multi-paneled installation, an initial feeling of cool intellectualism (possibly provoked by the works’ lack of color) gives way to something more primitive, more vigorously physical. As hard-edged geometric shapes collide head-on with snippets of casual brush strokes and glued-down half-tone dots, the vertiginous spaces they create exact a tidal pull upon the body forcing the viewer to move in close and then take several large steps back in order to reckon with the arrangement. In contrast, her stop-motion animation “Sightlines” literally brings the paintings’ forms to life, but at the cost of our kinesis; we cease moving and instead merely watch.

Christopher Michlig. "To Everyone V," 2015. Collage, high-gloss enamel on poly-coated poster paper, 22 × 14 inches.

Christopher Michlig. “To Everyone V,” 2015. Collage, high-gloss enamel on poly-coated poster paper, 22 × 14 inches.

While Yoes’ “Structurals and Sightlines” rapidly shift from passive to aggressive, the collages in Michlig’s “To Everyone” move in the opposing direction. What begins as an assertive display of hyper-saturated, West Coast color yields a more deliberate exploration of duplication, theme and variation. Based on screen-printed reproductions from a 1961 André Bloc exhibition catalogue, Michlig’s pieces reverse engineer objects that have been reduced to code back into objects again. This process is most apparent in the nine paper constructions whose simple geometry—embellished with stylized drips—resembles a kind of 3D clip art. Immediately appealing, over time the works in “To Everyone” become more ambivalent.

Michlig’s luminous collages and constructions hit fast then slow down, while Yoes’ achromatic modular panels seem reserved but then get bossy. On the face of it, these works seem designed to accentuate their differences. But both shows underscore a shared sense of art’s history, an appreciation of the visual language of reproduced imagery and the fusion of different forms of “touch” through collage as a quintessentially contemporary medium. (Alan Pocaro)

Through December 12 at Devening Projects + Editions, 3039 West Carroll.

Review: Chris Bradley and Alex Chitty/Shane Campbell Gallery

Design, Galleries & Museums, Installation, Lincoln Park, Media & Genres, Multimedia, Sculpture No Comments »
Chris Bradley and Alex Chitty. Installation view at Shane Campbell Gallery-Lincoln Park, 2015. /Photo: Evan Jenkins

Chris Bradley and Alex Chitty. Installation view at Shane Campbell Gallery-Lincoln Park, 2015. /Photo: Evan Jenkins

RECOMMENDED

Alex Chitty once said in an interview that she arranges found objects in her work so “they seem to have always belonged together.” On display in Shane Campbell Gallery’s domestic project space, her sculptures look very much at home. Read the rest of this entry »

Eye Exam: Design Within Reach

Activist Art, Architecture, Art Schools, Design, Galleries & Museums, Installation, Loop, Multimedia, Public Art, Sculpture No Comments »
Kunlé Adeyemi. "Makoko Floating School, Lagos, Nigeria, " 2012. Image by NLÉ.

Kunlé Adeyemi. “Makoko Floating School, Lagos, Nigeria, ” 2012. Image by NLÉ.

By Elliot J. Reichert

Amid all the hoopla surrounding the inaugural Chicago Architecture Biennial, I will admit that the whole thing makes me a bit nervous. Read the rest of this entry »

Eye Exam: The Death of the Critic

Photography No Comments »
Michael Weinstein, September 12, 2015/Photo: Adam Holtzman

Michael Weinstein, September 12, 2015/Photo: Adam Holtzman

By Elliot J. Reichert

There is an ironic faith in art criticism that is inherent to every effort to write about its death. It is as if writing itself can save us from the void of what art writing has become. 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 »