Chicago—despite being famously referred to as The Second City—has made critical contributions to American jazz and blues music, architecture and design, theater, and visual art, proving time and again that this city can stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the likes as New York and London as an influential center of cultural production. Crucial to both the historic and present dissemination of this artistic legacy are the city’s cultural institutions. With arts spaces ranging from tradit... [more]
Through close collaboration with a group of teenage girls living at the Youth Center for Socio-Therapy in Rudzienko, Poland, Sharon Lockhart creates a striking portrait of the complexities of adolescence. The centerpiece of the artist’s latest exhibition, currently on view at The Arts Club of Chicago, is the 2016 work Rudzienko, a two-channel film installation featuring short scenes choreographed and performed by the young women from the Center. As both facilitator and documenter, Lockhart fosters... [more]
There is nothing reductive or insignificant about Barbara Rossi’s Poor Traits, a collection of paintings under the homophonic title that refers to the artist’s portrait-like compositions, currently on view in the DePaul Art Museum’s second floor galleries. In a series of graphite drawings from the late 1960s and reverse Plexiglas paintings from the early 1970s, Rossi’s works are some of the more enigmatic examples of the Chicago Imagists. As this exhibition makes clear, Ro... [more]
I don’t subscribe to transcendental notions, generally. I like for things to be firmly rooted in reality and then negotiate from there. I’m not evading, trying to avoid, or trying to distance myself from anything. Let’s get in it. As most of us recognize...no matter how dire circumstances seem to be for human beings, we always find a way to preserve the capacity for joy and the capacity for pleasure at the same time that we’re negotiating disturbing and troubling c... [more]
Lee Godie, pronounced “go-DAY.” She was a French Impressionist; her portraits and still-lifes were “better than Cezanne.” Or so went the sales pitch from her habitual perch—and erstwhile studio—on the steps of the Art Institute of Chicago.
Living on the streets, sleeping in the park, sprawling out on the floors of local libraries to draw, using a supermarket as an informal bank, Ms. Godie has become one of the most recognized Chicago artists, perhaps because for a while she... [more]
I was on acid and I looked at the trees and I realized that they all came to points, and the little branches came to points, and the houses came to points. I thought, ‘Oh! Everything has a point, and if it doesn’t, then there’s a point to it.’ —Harry Nilsson
At Kavi Gupta’s Elizabeth Street location, Tony Tasset has wallpapered the large warehouse space with 66 arrow paintings. The paintings, which feature pairs of arrows (one pointing up, the other pointing do... [more]
Few things could be as topical. The image-culture created out of broadcast television’s commoditized framing of electoral coverage is precise, yet entirely ubiquitous. Kathryn Andrews’ Run for President, currently on view at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, pictures the hamster wheel of these aesthetic politics.
Under the premise of a fictive presidential campaign, Andrews uses Bozo the Clown as the central figure within her electoral landscape. The personas born from Bozo represent... [more]
Terrorists in the Library: A Peculiar Specimen by Tara Plath Ajax Athena, Molly Brandt, Troy Briggs, Jase Flannery, Dora Garcia, Rami George, Kelly Lloyd, Sarah Mendelsohn, Lior Modan, Michal Bar Or, Dario Robleto, Fred Schmidt-Arenales, Anna Shteynshleyger at Harold Washington College President's Gallery
September 18th, 2015 - November 24th, 2015
Terrorists in the Library, a speculative research project organized by Chicago-based curator Ruslana Lichtzier, is a peculiar specimen.
For one, it is located in the President’s Gallery of Harold Washington College in Chicago’s Loop, as part of Pedestrian Project, a lecture and exhibition program at the college. Situated at the end of a hallway on the eighth floor, adjacent to rows of administrative workstations, the work that is immediately noticeable is garishly out of place, and the those works not so... [more]
There are forms we know and forms we strive for. This is Plato’s theory—that the ideal is an immovable image, an untouched idea, and that what we know is constantly subject to change and transformation as it goes. For artists and viewers alike, the form of a group exhibition is not always the ideal. The feel of these shows sets up a certain expectation from viewers, often a feeling of decentralization—that the variety of voices is favored over a singular approach, assemblage over inseparability. In... [more]
By now, many will have read Ben Davis’ piece on artnet news, a piece of social and market criticism that takes on Chicago artist Theaster Gates’ newest endeavor: the opening of the Stony Island Arts Bank, a part of the Rebuild Foundation. It is a piece that necessarily traces the social implications of the newly minted space within the larger space of Gates’ practice, and Chicago itself, using Gates’ relationship to Mayor Rahm Emanuel as its central lens through which to look at... [more]
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]