David Bowie Is, coming to the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago in just a few weeks, is unprecedented to the extent that it is the first massive solo show the MCA has ever given to a musician. But as James W. Alsdorf Chief Curator Michael Darling discusses below, he was drawn to the exhibition because Bowie emulates the blending of media, the crossing over of disciplines he finds so relevant to contemporary artists’ practices.
Darling was kind enough to sit down with me this month and ex... [more]
An Italian/Polish Fiat, wheels to the wall, is anchored over your head. In the next room, two slabs of marble dominate the space—250 kg from Italy, one ton from China—floating above the floor. They support each other by means of a simple pulley. Further into the exhibition, helium-filled jacks hold up and balance a 4,900 lb. plate of Romanian steel. These three works are given top billing in Simon Starling: Metamorphology, the artist’s first major American museum survey.
What first reads like an astral constellation is in fact a photograph whose blackness is broken only by the erratic swarm of dead insect bodies. Greg Stimac’s Santa Fe to Billings (2009) documents the choreography of the countless lives his windshield intersected on a drive between locales. The momentum of each smash is evident—guts smear and spray across the surface, recording innumerable tiny accidents. To create this piece, Stimac placed an 8 x 10 inch sheet of Plexiglass on the h... [more]
Mies van der Rohe is such an historic presence. The aftershock of his innovation is still palpable, reflecting as it does the evolution of an “international style after World War II.” It is hard to imagine, therefore, how one might absorb his architecture into daily life—much less install an exhibition under one of his roofs. That is the challenge posed by the Elmhurst Art Museum, an institution that purchased van der Rohe’s prototype for suburban life, the McCormick House, in 1992. Chicago-based artist Heid... [more]
The Realized, Unrealized, and Unrealizable: Everything Loose Will Land at the Graham Foundation by Gan Uyeda Peter Alexander, Carl Andre, Archigram, Michael Asher, Denise Scott Brown, Judy Chicago, Craig Elwood, Frank Gehry, Craig Hodgetts, Andrew Holmes, Coy Howard, Robert Irwin, Peter Kamnitzer, Ray Kappe, Robert Kennard, Alison Knowles, Leonard Koren, Morphosis, Ed Moses, Bruce Nauman, Maria Nordman, Elizabeth Orr, and others, Peter Pearce, Cesar Pelli, Noah Purifoy, Jeff Raskin, Ed Ruscha, Richard Serra, Miriam Shapiro, Paolo Soleri, L.A. Fine Arts Squad, Bernard Tschumi, James Turrell, Studio Works, Feminist Studio Workshop at Graham Foundation
May 1st - July 26th
In the sprawling exhibition Everything Loose Will Land, currently on view at the Graham Foundation, curator Sylvia Lavin deftly tells the story how the worlds of art, architecture, and urban design came together in fantastical and bizarre ways throughout the 1970s. The title comes from a supposed quotation by Frank Lloyd Wright: “Tip the world over on its side and everything loose will land in Los Angeles.” The exhibition is packed with architectural models, building plans, sculptures... [more]
Chicago has a special claim to a Bauhaus lineage. It makes sense that the legendary German school of design relocated to the city in 1937, given that Chicago’s own selfhood story mixes industrial utopianism, innovative architecture and design, and a persistent can-doism—all qualities that mesh well with Bauhaus philosophy. Beyond the idealist affinities, though, it is hard to resist adding the prominence of the advertising and marketing industry in Chicago to the list. After all, despi... [more]
What Tony Tasset’s Spill Paintings lack in their pictorial realization they make up for in engaging other senses. It is impossible to talk about these paintings solely through optics, since they depend so much on their synaesthetic effects. Viewing the works elicits a phantom experience—you see their scent, visualize their sticky texture, picture the taste of their innumerous drips and pools, all the while imagining the faint echo of the catastrophic incident that could have brought t... [more]
Tip the world over on its side to find art and architecture collide by Troy pieper Peter Alexander, Carl Andre, Archigram, Michael Asher, Denise Scott Brown, Judy Chicago, Craig Elwood, Frank Gehry, Craig Hodgetts, Andrew Holmes, Coy Howard, Robert Irwin, Peter Kamnitzer, Ray Kappe, Robert Kennard, Alison Knowles, Leonard Koren, Morphosis, Ed Moses, Bruce Nauman, Maria Nordman, Elizabeth Orr, and others, Peter Pearce, Cesar Pelli, Noah Purifoy, Jeff Raskin, Ed Ruscha, Richard Serra, Miriam Shapiro, Paolo Soleri, L.A. Fine Arts Squad, Bernard Tschumi, James Turrell, Studio Works, Feminist Studio Workshop at Graham Foundation
May 1st - July 26th
Few objects in Everything Loose Will Land are as they seem. The Graham Foundation in Chicago is the third stop for this show of 1970s art and architecture that characterized the cultural ecology of Los Angeles at the time. The works on display explore space and structure in ways directly influenced by artists’ place and time, their work, in many cases, transforming the conceptual boundaries of design.
Curator Sylvia Lavin, Professor of Architectural Theory and History at UCLA, organized the sh... [more]
A career retrospective that looks like a massive, unwieldy group show. Work made over the past thirty plus years, much of which looks like it was made yesterday, some of which looks like it was made tomorrow.
Isa Genzken is one of those rare artists who seems to have begun her career fully formed. Even the earliest work on view in her retrospective at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago has the presence and bearing that usually comes with the sureness of age. She’s the kind of artist, like Pic... [more]
Affirmation, fulfillment, declaration; these are all terms used to describe motivational speaking. This form of address is designed for the masses. Though they prey on the singular, all these words refer to an inherent plurality: which is to say, yourself in others. Affirmation is mirrored through encounters, fulfillment is only expressed to a counterpart when it is lacking, and declaration depends on an audience of listeners. Yet, while these definitions point towards self-help culture –... [more]
Our Love is a Cage Match by Stephanie Cristello Kathryn Andrews, Ed Atkins, Chris Bradley, Roe Ethridge, Anna Gray, Guyton\Walker, Anna K.E., Jack Lavender, Ryan Wilson Paulsen at Renaissance Society
March 9th - April 13th
If you walk through the stacks of Barnes & Noble, you might find yourself in the aisles of young adult fiction, which despite its implied age bracket is one of the largest and most profitable sectors in the commercial publishing industry. If you are like Hamza Walker, you may have discovered this aisle through your preteen daughter. But you do not have to know a preteen girl in order to have insight as to what this fiction is about, or to understand its contents. You know the melodrama this gen... [more]
Networks of Support: Carolina Jayaram and the contemporary conduits of patronage
Troy Pieper profiles Carolina Jayaram, recently appointed President and CEO of United States Artists, a national nonprofit that awards grants to mid-career artists.
Modern patronage takes many forms. Gone are the days of direct patronage: a wealthy patron giving funds, housing or access directly to an artist. Instead, artists must rely on networks of support. Grants, residencies, galleries, foundations, nonprofits: the... [more]
Modern patronage takes many forms. Gone are the days of direct patronage: a wealthy patron giving funds, housing or access directly to an artist. Instead, artists must rely on networks of support. Grants, residencies, galleries, foundations, nonprofits: these organizations comprise the contemporary conduits of patronage. Arts executive and organizer Carolina Jayaram recently left one such organization for another and speaking with her, we saw what it takes to run the networks that support artists... [more]
In writing this review, Dear Reader, it has been difficult to retain a narrative thread. Each work at ONLY REAL, Public Works latest exhibition, seems to reference another work in the exhibition while simultaneously opening up further implications and complications in a seemingly endless cascade of elusive meaning, contributing to a feeling that each explication is about to collapse in on itself. This feeling of anxiety of collapse is an apt affect for a series of visual explorations of the invi... [more]
A single image in an empty room. The signature contrast of seventeenth-century Dutch-still life permeates the pictorial field, Easter lilies occupying a significant quotient of the bouquet, delicate white crespias folded between the rich green of the leaves laid flat against the soft, white tablecloth, patterned only by the table visible through the opacity of the thinly woven fabric. The background in the distance is a pitch black, the kind that could only exist in a photo studio; the image is... [more]
The Sochi Project has come to America and now, concurrent with an exhibition in Antwerp, is on view at Chicago’s DePaul Art Museum. (Golden Years: Rob Hornstra's Russia is also concurrently on view at Huis Marseille in Amsterdam; read Edo Dijksterhuis' review here.) In the project, Dutch documentarians Arnold van Bruggen and Rob Hornstra tell the story of Sochi, the Russian city chosen for the 2014 Winter Olympics, and its surrounding regions. Since 2009, van Bruggen and Hornstra have buil... [more]