In its fourth edition, EXPO Chicago has shown considerable institutional growth, adding new programs and publications, and expanding from 125 galleries in 2012 to 140 from 16 countries in 2015. A few months ago, signs promoting the fair popped up all around the city, boosting expectations for art lovers. Although EXPO is open to the public for just three days, the week of September 14-20—now referred as the EXPO Art Week—is one of the Chicago art scene’s busiest times of the y... [more]
On Wednesday evening, EXPO, in partnership with Kavi Gupta and Saint Heron sponsored a panel discussion at the artsy clubhouse, Soho House, Chicago. The panel, moderated by MCA curator Naomi Beckwith, consisted of Mickalene Thomas and Solange. (Full disclosure: ArtSlant’s Stephanie Cristello works for EXPO Chicago and helped organize the panel.) The names on the panel were enough of a draw but the discussion between these three creative world heavyweights was a fascinating and timely conv... [more]
As Chicago's biggest art week builds to a crescendo, many of the best talks and events are still to come over this weekend. EXPO is marking itself out for its genuine interest in connecting what the commercial art fair does with conversations happening in parallel. While many fairs attempt to do this, EXPO has panel discussions with broad, understandable topics that open out to design, fashion, and commerce, reflecting more realistically the complexion of the art world, its influences—and its conflict... [more]
One of our favorite fairs of the year is fast approaching and EXPO Chicago is pulling out all the stops. With their full programming recently announced, we thought it wise to give a little primer of what to see and what to do.
First off, Daniel Buren, famed polychromatic installation artist will contribute a large work to be hung from the rafters as part of the IN/SITU program, curated by the Executive Director of The Contemporary Austin, Louis Grachos. Buren will also contribute an outdoor installation which will stay in C... [more]
Chicago’s century-old Garfield Park Conservatory—one of the largest greenhouse conservatories in the country—has been referred to as “landscape art under glass.” This fall, landscape art will meet contemporary art when Luftwerk, the artistic vision of Petra Bachmaier and Sean Gallero, brings a series of large-scale, responsive light and sculptural installations to the horticultural monument.
Check out our interview with the artists from 2014 here.
Luftwerk’s sol... [more]
Where did we ever get the strange idea that nature—as opposed to culture—is ahistorical and timeless? We are far too impressed by our own cleverness and self-consciousness… We need to stop telling ourselves the same old anthropocentric bedtime stories.
—Steve Shaviro, Doom Patrols 
Tell it to the Birds is an interactive project by Chicago-based artist and activist Jenny Kendler in collaboration with her software developer husband, Brian Kirkbride. Created as Artist-in-Residen... [more]
On Saturday I go to the granite steps of the MCA with several hundred others for Chicago Artists Group Portrait, 2015. The weather’s kinda perfect: sunny, with big cadillacs of clouds rolling by every couple minutes to keep us cool. Down front Jason Lazarus, dressed all in white and holding a megaphone, paces, checks the time.
Jason’s an artist/educator/proselytizer of collective action, a well-known/liked artist about town. We’re all here to become history, to legitimize our self-definitions, to e... [more]
In experiencing elsetime, Ellen Rothenberg’s solo exhibition at Sector 2337, there’s a moment when you realize that you’re not going to get any answers. Nothing conclusive, that is. Rothenberg’s approach to making—performative, research-based explorations of personal/political history—has no time for neat folding-up. The plethora of media on display—ranging in scale from large lean-tos to shifting photocopies of books—all of these give the impression of... [more]
Gabriel Sierra creates structures of relation, platforms where humans, architecture, and paper media collaborate on the creation of artworks. His current exhibition at the Renaissance Society—the first solo exhibition in the United States for the Bogotá-based artist—is a scatter piece of sculptures, rules, and relationships in which 14 constructions, mostly in modernistically white plywood, lie on the gallery floor. They look at first like a kind of stern minimalism in the Ren&rsqu... [more]
Stratospheres of experience have been described in art since the early narratives of heaven and earth. Since Biblical cosmology, our understanding of time and place has been oriented according to predetermined concepts of measure—even time is an invented unit. But how do we measure the intangible? In a system where contemporary art is increasingly judged by scale, how do we quantify the poetics of experience?
Robert Morris, Portal, 1964. Collection of the MCA Chicago, gift of Mrs. Robert... [more]
I take a night train to Milwaukee with an overloaded shoulder bag, a bottle and a half of red wine in me, and full of hope. On the way north I reread articles on the great artist migration from big cities to bankrupt ones, to the exurbs—be born rich or move to Detroit/Cleveland/Jersey City/Belleville. Or Milwaukee, where I’d be staying at The Pfister Hotel for a pop-up arts symposium on empowering the local arts scene, the whole affair orchestrated by Niki Johnson, the hotel’s artist... [more]
It was once common to assume that artists avoid participating in the corporate world—presuming that the art world is separated from the rest, with utopian and improbable ideals. However, the dividing line between an artist and a businessperson has never been that clear, and it's only becoming more complicated. Creativity used to be seen as something unique to artists and designers, but recently—with the “new economy” and a restructured labor market—creativity is considered n... [more]
Omenka Gallery is based in the relatively affluent Ikoyi district of Lagos, located near the Lagoon. The complex of buildings I enter is surrounded by a beautifully kept garden with a cafe. The young and dynamic gallery for contemporary art is set next to the Enwonwu family home as well as the Ben Enwonwu Foundation. Oliver Enwonwu, Director of Omenka Gallery, is the youngest child of the pioneering modernist artist Ben Enwonwu, although, as he explains here, this did not predetermine his going into... [more]
Approaching Archibald J. Motley Jr.’s traveling retrospective, currently on view at the Chicago Cultural Center, one can hear strains of jazz carrying down the Grand Staircase. The music pipes through a ceiling speaker in the brightly lit hall that’s meant to prepare and inform the viewer with a timeline of the painter’s life on one wall, a collection of his quotes on the other. And then one steps through, into the exhibition room itself—and all those nice little atmospheric... [more]
As an SAIC alum, my newsfeed has been abuzz the past week with artists and writers decrying the honorary doctorate Kanye West told France’s Clique TV that he would be receiving this coming May. Last night, it was made official with a statement released by SAIC. Other honorees include legendary Chicago gallerist, Rhona Hoffman, artist/donor Janet Neiman, and German painter Albert Oehlen who will be the commencement speaker. Walter E. Massey, President of the School of the Art Institute of Chic... [more]
Internationally acclaimed artist Doris Salcedo opened her first US museum retrospective at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago (MCA) last week to great anticipation: Latin Americanists had been anxiously awaiting the opening of the Bogotá-born artist’s survey, and it seemed all of Chicago was enthusiastic as well. Co-curated by MCA Director Madeleine Grynsztejn, Curator Julie Rodrigues Widholm, and with assistance from Steven L. Bridges, the exhibition presents Salcedo’s lar... [more]