ArtSlant - Recently added en-us 40 Group Show - Gallery 400 - January 15th, 2016 - February 27th, 2016 <p class="p1"><em>Few Were Happy with Their Condition</em>, curated by Olga Stefan, explores life in post-communist Romania, a time of hope and disappointment, in which the transition seems to continue forever, and during which neoliberalism and communist-style corruption and methodologies clash and mirror each other constantly.</p> <p class="p1">In 1989 the Romanian Revolution&mdash;a period of violent civil unrest throughout the country&mdash;aligned with revolutions unfolding the same year in several Warsaw Pact countries, including Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, East Germany, Hungary, Poland, and the Soviet Union. The Romanian Revolution was the last removal of a Communist regime in a Warsaw Pact country during the events of 1989, and the only one that violently overthrew a country's government and executed its leader.&nbsp;</p> <p class="p1"><em>Few Were Happy with Their Condition</em> focuses on a period of time when the desire for freedom materialized into economic uncertainty typical of the capitalist system, as well as profound corruption at all levels of society that continues to this day. The weight of the communist past, with its crimes and the oppression of the public sphere on one hand, and the poverty and instability of the post-communist era on the other, has resulted in a trauma that permeates human activity and emotion and is highly visible in artistic production. Focusing on the contemporary mediums of video, film, and photography, <em>Few Were Happy</em>&hellip; reflects the feelings of discontentment within Romania&rsquo;s contemporary society, in a world that is still torn between the communist and post-communist periods, affected psychologically by its history while attempting to transition into an uncertain, yet longed-for future. The artists in the exhibition, part of a new generation still trying to carve a space for debate and critical analysis in art and life, position themselves against the nation&rsquo;s past and also the West, thus attempting to create a new contemporary identity.</p> <p class="p1"><em>Few Were Happy with Their Condition</em> presents a variety of works, from analog to digital photography, short films and documentaries, to moving image installations, encouraging various forms of reception and relation to the image. Through the use of these contemporary media, the artists in <em>Few Were Happy</em> reflect the need for immediacy and urgency in expression, and the technology and preoccupations of our time. Part of a new generation of artists that started their careers in the late 90s, they look outward with critiques of society, the political climate and social injustice; backward toward the country&rsquo;s dark past; but also inward, with personal narratives and reflections on the human condition.</p> Mon, 30 Nov 2015 19:29:34 +0000 Group Show - Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA) - November 21st - June 5th, 2016 <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: small;"><em>Surrealism: The Conjured Life</em>&nbsp;presents more than 100 paintings, sculptures, drawings, and photographs that demonstrate the deep currents that Surrealism sent through the international art world&mdash;and especially through Chicago&mdash;since its emergence in the first half of the twentieth century. A global movement that encompassed a wide number of art forms, including film, theater, poetry, and literature, Surrealism came of age with poet Andr&eacute; Breton&rsquo;s formal declaration in 1924. This deeply emotional and psychological art form flourished in the 1930s and 1940s&mdash;turbulent times of economic instability, rapidly changing social mores, and war.</span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: small;">Chicago collectors brought the European visual arts aspect of Surrealism to their hometown. Joseph and Jory Shapiro and Edwin and Lindy Bergman traveled to Europe, where they met members of the Surrealist group including Paul Delvaux, Matta, and Magritte, piquing their interest in this &ldquo;art of the irrational.&rdquo; Mary and Earle Ludgin collected in depth the works of eccentric American painter Forrest Bess. These arts patrons were among the founders of the MCA, and when the museum began collecting in the mid-1970s, they donated major works by those we now consider &ldquo;classical&rdquo; Surrealists, forming an early and continuing collection strength. These artworks also proved inspirational to generations of Chicago-based artists, from the immediate postwar group dubbed the Monster Roster to the Hairy Who and others, a further expression of the continuing lure of &ldquo;the conjured life&rdquo; that results in strange, often magical, and sometimes disturbing, imagery.</span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: small;">Though often framed as a largely historical movement, the freedom afforded by Surrealism to explore both formal issues&mdash;including experimenting with new materials and techniques&mdash;and personal expression has continued to inspire artists to the present day. Thus besides presenting works by the founders of the movement, the surrealist tendency is traced in two other groupings: Surrealist-related works from the 1950s to the present, and Chicago connections. Artists including Balthus, Leonora Carrington, and Dorothea Tanning round out the presentation of the classical Surrealists. Major international contemporary artists such as Lee Bontecou, Mark Grotjahn, Wangechi Mutu, Cindy Sherman, and Francesca Woodman represent the stylistically diverse Surrealist-related grouping. Chicago-based artists on view include Gertrude Abercrombie, Leon Golub, Jim Nutt, Christina Ramberg, and H. C. Westermann.</span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: small;">The exhibition highlights one of the most traditional values in the visual arts: looking. All of the artworks that populate&nbsp;<em>The Conjured Life</em>&nbsp;bear close scrutiny, both in observing and exploring the subject matter and noting the various visual strategies and formal means, from the straightforward representation of Magritte to the low-relief plaster technique of Max Ernst; from the shamanistic deer skin, wood, and felt used by Jimmie Durham to the full-size rubber life raft cast in bronze by Jeff Koons.</span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: small;">The exhibition is curated by Lynne Warren, Curator at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago.</span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: small;">The exhibition is presented in the Bergman Family Gallery, Lindy and Edwin A. Bergman on the museum&rsquo;s second floor.</span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: small;">&nbsp;</span></p> <h2 class="heading" style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: small;">FUNDING</span></h2> <div class="body"> <div class="bg_white"> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: small;">Support for&nbsp;<em>Surrealism: The Conjured Life</em>&nbsp;is generously provided by The Pritzker Traubert Collection Exhibition Fund, Helen and Sam Zell, Carol and Douglas Cohen, Carolyn S. Bucksbaum, Anonymous, Betsy and Andrew Rosenfield, Richard and Ellen Sandor Family, and Mary E. Ittelson.</span></p> </div> </div> Tue, 24 Nov 2015 15:20:05 +0000