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Thea Liberty Nichols

Artists-gather-for-historic-photo-in-front-of-sscac-2004 The South Side Community Art Center   Pick-button-5bf6c1b36c3b74ec8f312c7c9f6f1ae3
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Posted 4/12/10

                    The building now housing the South Side Community Art Center (SSCAC), located at 3831 S. Michigan Ave., was built in 1892 and originally intended as the private mansion of grain merchant George Seavems. The SSCAC received funding, in part from the Works Progress Administration (WPA) in 1940, and transformed the residence into a series of galleries, workshops, studios and offices.   The original Georgian Revival style exterior remains intact, and the remodel, e... [more]

Screenposter3 Recession   Pick-button-5bf6c1b36c3b74ec8f312c7c9f6f1ae3
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Group Exhibition at South Side Community Art Center April 2nd, 2010 - May 2nd, 2010
Posted 4/12/10

  “Recession,” on view now at the South Side Community Art Center (SSCAC) and running through May 2, 2010, marks the 70th anniversary of the SSCAC itself and the five year anniversary of an annual exhibition co-organized by The School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) and SSCAC. A fitting title for the exhibition, held during the present economic downturn, the show itself features a host of SAIC alumni and student artworks, installations and participatory projects. Chiefly housed... [more]

J_crocker The Sullivan Center Facade   Pick-button-5bf6c1b36c3b74ec8f312c7c9f6f1ae3
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Posted 3/29/10

            Chicago has new architecture springing up continuously, but a new series of architectural unveilings over three years in the making are happening in the Loop at  Louis Sullivan's turn-of-the-century masterpiece, the former Carson, Pirie, Scott & Co. building, seen above. Newly renamed to honor the architect himself, the Sullivan Center (bounded by State, Madison, Monroe and Wabash in the Loop) has been undergoing a restoration project focused on the cast iron facade which features signature Sulliva... [more]

Header-again Get It Together Again: Assemblage, Collage & Collaboration   Pick-button-5bf6c1b36c3b74ec8f312c7c9f6f1ae3
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Group Exhibition at Chicago Tourism Center March 19th, 2010 - April 6th, 2010
Posted 3/29/10

    Get It Together Again, a restaging of last July’s preliminary Get it Together held at the Co-Prosperity Sphere in Bridgeport, occupies the deep space of the Chicago Tourism Center, located at 72 E. Randolph, across the street from the Cultural Center. It makes good use of the cavernous size of this barebones gallery, and features twenty-five works made by twenty-seven local, national and international artists, several of whom where in the July show, save Chad Kouri (of the Post Family) a... [more]

Overale_250 Half Acre Beer and Brewery   Pick-button-5bf6c1b36c3b74ec8f312c7c9f6f1ae3
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Posted 2/2/09

      The number of micro-brews in Chicago is growing, with a notable addition being made by Gabriel Magliaro and his Half Acre Beer Company, soon to be opening up shop in the North Center neighborhood any day now.Although Half Acre has been on the Chicago market for a few years now, debuting its company’s offering with their Half Acre Lager, the brewery and tasting room opening up on Lincoln Avenue will be the first facility they’ve owned and operated in the city, having previously outsourced... [more]

Chinatown_lg William Conger Retrospective   Pick-button-5bf6c1b36c3b74ec8f312c7c9f6f1ae3
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William Conger at Chicago Cultural Center January 24th, 2009 - March 29th, 2009
Posted 2/2/09

      There is a staggering wealth of work in what is William Conger’s first major career retrospective presently on view at the Cultural Center. With over sixty large-scale paintings, and a small suite of preparatory drawings on paper, the exhibition tracks his shifting and evolving styles over the course of his fifty year-long (and running) career.While Conger is recognized as a colossus of abstraction on the Chicago scene, there are referential figurative, architectural and landscape element... [more]

2symbols SAIC Faculty Group Exhibition   Pick-button-5bf6c1b36c3b74ec8f312c7c9f6f1ae3
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Pamela R. Barrie, Deborah Boardman, Douglas Ewart, Diana Guerrero-Maciá, Carl Ray Miller, Helen B. O'Rourke, Peter Power, Rebecca Shore, Jim Trainor, Constance White at Betty Rymer Gallery (SAIC) January 23rd, 2009 - February 14th, 2009
Posted 2/2/09

      Closing just before Valentine’s day is this well stocked group exhibition featuring faculty* from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC).  Having just returned from a semester long sabbatical, they are exhibiting recent work in the gallery at the entrance of The School of the Art Institute’s eastern most building, at the corner of Columbus and Jackson Drives.One of the stand-out groupings of work is by Jim Trainor, a staff member of Film, Video & New Media at SAIC, who is represe... [more]

Gal2 The Lovely Bakeshop   Pick-button-5bf6c1b36c3b74ec8f312c7c9f6f1ae3
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Posted 1/19/09

  Sharing the same strip of Milwaukee Avenue as Roots & Culture is, what appears from the street side to be a discrete little coffee house and bake shop named Lovely. Once inside, the stylish, shabby chic groupings of gently distressed wooden tables and chairs and prettily patterned upholstered stools ringing the long stretch of counter top that stretches most of the length of one side of the space, proves itself to be more then first meets the eye.   Besides the compensatory Intelligensia br... [more]

Yoakum Outsider In: Yoakum at Intuit   Pick-button-5bf6c1b36c3b74ec8f312c7c9f6f1ae3
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Joseph E. Yoakum at Intuit: The Center for Intuitive and Outsider Art January 16th, 2009 - January 9th, 2010
Posted 1/19/09

      Ride that Milwaukee train on down to the bright neon green portico of Intuit for this comfortably sized grouping of pencil and ballpoint pen drawings on craft paper by self-taught artist Joseph Yoakum (pronounced Yoke-em).The exhibition was curated by Mark Pascale, Associate Curator of Prints and Drawings at the Art Institute of Chicago, and somewhat of a Yoakum scholar, so if you slept in and missed his excellent early Saturday morning lecture last weekend, be sure to peruse, or  purchase, th... [more]

Suspend2 Hanging with Paintings in Suspend   Pick-button-5bf6c1b36c3b74ec8f312c7c9f6f1ae3
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Michelle Bolinger, Clare Grill, Stacie Johnson, Aliza Morell, Kimberly Trowbridge at Roots & Culture January 15th, 2009 - February 14th, 2009
Posted 1/19/09

      Not unlike Joseph E. Yoakum (also reviewed, exhibiting at Intuit), who made drawings of landscapes he had visited throughout his life, Michelle Bolinger’s circular, sketchily outlined shapes ring, line and stack her compositions. Based off landscapes and topography that the artist recreates in her studio using gumdrops and jellybeans, her whimsical cartography is then painted from these models in abstract, almost anthropomorphic ways. The brightly colored opacity of her rounded forms varies from m... [more]

3111472745_6d180c7ef0 Proximity Magazine Release Party   Pick-button-5bf6c1b36c3b74ec8f312c7c9f6f1ae3
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Posted 12/29/08

The Proximity Magazine release party, held in the Family Room gallery space of art and design collective Post Family’s new-ish digs, was nothing short of a cozy love-fest on the bitterest of winter eves. The seven member strong Post Family (comprised of Alex Fuller, Rod Hunting, Chad Kouri, Sam Rosen, David Sieren, Davey Sommers and Scott Thomas) has completely transformed the swath of second floor warehouse space they occupy on Hubbard street. Guests were greeted by the gallery space upfront (fo... [more]

103429_540331 War is Over, if You Want It   Pick-button-5bf6c1b36c3b74ec8f312c7c9f6f1ae3
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Martha Rosler at The Art Institute of Chicago October 23rd, 2008 - January 30th, 2009
Posted 12/29/08

All the economic doom and gloom seems to have put a damper on this holiday season’s typically heavy onslaught of commercials, billboards and radio plugs-- perhaps happily so. A more extreme counterpoint to consumer gluttony can be found when wandering through the contemporary art galleries of The Art Institute of Chicago where Martha Rosler’s series Bringing the War Home, from 1967-72,  is now on display in its entirety.This series of twenty photomontages was created by Rosler during the US’s involve... [more]

Postcard_front+_2_ The School of the Art Insitute's "No End in Sight"   Pick-button-5bf6c1b36c3b74ec8f312c7c9f6f1ae3
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Aviva Alter, You Are Beautiful, Young Cho, Marie Krane Bergman/Cream Co., Grayson Cox, Burtonwood and Holmes, ks rives and Nicole Kenney, Masaco Kuroda, Tim Louis, Fred Nocella, Tim Pannell, Josue Pellot, Jesse Seay, Sighn at School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) - Sullivan Galleries December 13th, 2008 - January 10th, 2009
Posted 12/29/08

After visiting the Rosler photomontages at The Art Institute, walk west to State & Monroe and travel up to the seventh floor Sullivan galleries to view the excellent exhibition “No End in Sight”. This expansive group exhibition features the sculpture, photos, paintings and projects of several artists and artistic collectives, and was curated by a dozen students* enrolled in SAIC’s Curatorial Practice course.Aptly entitled, “No End in Sight” is comprised of series of works, ongoing performances,... [more]

M_760f24fac68a10966664bcd741ac38fd Taqwacore presented by Homeroom   Pick-button-5bf6c1b36c3b74ec8f312c7c9f6f1ae3
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Posted 12/8/08

Built in 1914, the sumptuous Pulaski Park Fieldhouse was designed in an Eastern European architectural style, complete with tile roofs and timber framing. Its structure, along with its namesake, Casimir Pulaski, reflected the taste of what was formerly a predominately Polish neighborhood. It’s interior is home to a massive, arching WPA mural which bends across the proscenium of the main meeting hall of the fieldhouse. Last Wednesday night, it dwarfed members of the Islamic hardcore punk band Al-Thawra who were playing onsta... [more]

Arntzen04 Photography Competition at ATC   Pick-button-5bf6c1b36c3b74ec8f312c7c9f6f1ae3
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Group Exhibition at Around the Coyote November 15th, 2008 - December 20th, 2008
Posted 12/8/08

Around the Coyote’s (ATC) mid-season group show, on view for the next few weeks, features the work of nineteen* emerging Chicago photographers in an exhibition curated by Chicago gallerist Catherine Edelman. Edelman owns and operates Catherine Edelman Gallery, which has devoted itself exclusively to photography since 1987. She also selected the winner of the Second Annual Mary Beth Cregier Award for best in show, an award in memory of ATC’s former director, and also the exhibition’s namesake. Edelm... [more]

Lostutter Early Girls   Pick-button-5bf6c1b36c3b74ec8f312c7c9f6f1ae3
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Robert Lostutter at Corbett vs. Dempsey December 5th, 2008 - January 3rd, 2009
Posted 12/8/08

Robert Lostutter’s latest exhibition, which just opened at Corbett vs. Dempsey last week, consists of several small-scale preparatory watercolors made between the late sixties and early seventies. These works depict stylized portraits of bare-breasted, curvy women that tower over the other elements, such as 3-D zigzags and oversized floral blooms, in these tightly controlled compositions. The watercolors themselves were initially intended as studies for larger paintings, and several are adorned w... [more]

Final_spertus_4_450j It's All a Façade   Pick-button-5bf6c1b36c3b74ec8f312c7c9f6f1ae3
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Posted 11/24/08

Designed, constructed and completed last year by Chicago’s own Krueck & Sexton architectural firm, the $38 million dollar building boasts expanded and enhanced exhibition, classroom, and library spaces, along with a new state of the art theater, a children's center and a kosher café managed by Wolfgang Puck catering.The faceted glass surface of the Spertus contains an irregular series of convex peaks and concave crags that jockey daylight across its surface and in the evening emit a hearth-like... [more]

Hpim2283 If This is Nothing, I Want More of It   Pick-button-5bf6c1b36c3b74ec8f312c7c9f6f1ae3
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You-Ni Chae, Neil Infalvi, John Opera, Michael Anthony Simon, Philip Vanderhyden at Lloyd Dobler Gallery November 21st, 2008 - January 3rd, 2009
Posted 11/24/08

Lloyd Dobler's present exhibition, "Pictures of Nothing," hitches its titular wagon to the star of Kirk Varnedoe's book, Pictures of Nothing: Abstract Art since Pollock. The group show features work by Philip Vanderhyden, a Northwestern MFA,  You-Ni Chae, Neil Infalvi, and John Opera, all of whom hold MFA's from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC), and Michael Anthony Simon, who earned his BFA there.The director and co-founder of the gallery, Patricia Courson, along with co-founder R... [more]

Depot_th A Collection's Home Depot   Pick-button-5bf6c1b36c3b74ec8f312c7c9f6f1ae3
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Group Exhibition at Spertus Institute for Jewish Learning and Leadership January 1st, 2008 - February 2nd, 2011
Posted 11/24/08

If the Smithsonian is the nation’s attic, then the Open Depot at the Spertus museum can be thought of as Chicago’s cubbyhole. But make no mistake-- this is an extremely slick and well-appointed cubbyhole! True to its name, Open Depot is open storage functioning as exhibition display that features 1,500 objects, themselves a mere 10% of the museums total collection. Rather than squirreling these items away in museum storage thereby taking them off view, Open Depot provides access to them for visit... [more]

Mercury The Mercury Café   Pick-button-5bf6c1b36c3b74ec8f312c7c9f6f1ae3
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Posted 11/10/08

Right around the corner from the LivingRoom Gallery, at the intersection of Chicago Ave. and Amour, is the sprawling Mercury Café. With 4000 square feet of space, Mercury has a cavernous feel, making it as good a place to hide out as it is to people watch. Basic and eclectic furniture and a freshly prepared, Italian inspired menu of soups, sandwiches and salads compose this vegetarian friendly spot. Easy going staff are more then happy leaving you to linger over a cup of tea or coffee while takin... [more]

Cleopatra_1 Nice Threads: The Restored Tapestries of the Met and the Art Institute   Pick-button-5bf6c1b36c3b74ec8f312c7c9f6f1ae3
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at The Art Institute of Chicago November 1st, 2008 - January 4th, 2009
Posted 11/10/08

Having just opened at the Art Institute of Chicago in the beginning of November, The Divine Art: Four Centuries of European Tapestries is a sprawling show that occupies room after room of prime real estate in the second floor space set aside for special exhibitions. Featuring seventy tapestries that represent over four hundred years of the medium’s heyday, the exhibition was precipitated by the completion of a conservation project that lasted over thirteen years. A team of Netherlandish conservator... [more]

Washington_park Emerging Chicago Photography   Pick-button-5bf6c1b36c3b74ec8f312c7c9f6f1ae3
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Philip Dembinski at LivingRoom Gallery October 24th, 2008 - December 13th, 2008
Posted 11/10/08

Philip Dembinski, a photographer with a degree from Columbia College, is featured at LivingRoom Gallery in his first solo exhibition with selections from two photographic series, Nothing Just Happens and Along The Boulevards. Dembinski’s Nothing Just Happens series consists of large-scale color photographs depicting singular figures in domestic interiors. This all female cast of characters exude a pathos akin to Edward Hopper’s paintings and etchings and select Philip-Lorca diCorcia’s photograph... [more]

Interview with Roots & Culture  
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10/31/08

Chicago - I corresponded with the Director of Roots & Culture gallery, Eric May, about his inspiration for starting up a space, and how he sees it fitting within the Chicago art community. Ever humble and good-humored, Eric was nice enough to conduct this interview with me via e-mail while he’s away in Southwest Michigan presiding over the Ox-Bow School of Art's kitchen as Head Chef. Thea Liberty Nichols: What compelled you to open a gallery?  Do you have any previous experience in that sort o... [more]

Hpim2054 Yes, We Will   Pick-button-5bf6c1b36c3b74ec8f312c7c9f6f1ae3
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Posted 10/20/08

Just steps away from the Randolph street entrance of the Chicago Cultural Center, at the intersection of Garland alleyway, is a gleaming silver totem by Chicago born sculptor Richard Hunt. Recognized as having completed more public sculptures in the US then any other artist, he has over twenty-five pieces in Chicago alone, namely Jacob’s Ladder from 1977, at the Carter Woodson Chicago Public Library at 9525 S. Halstead, and Freeform from 1993, the spindly centerpiece of the massive façade of th... [more]

Hpim2066 Made in Pilsen III   Pick-button-5bf6c1b36c3b74ec8f312c7c9f6f1ae3
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Group Exhibition at Prospectus gallery October 17th, 2008 - December 19th, 2008
Posted 10/20/08

Although Chicago Artists Month is on the wane, this past weekend entry hailing from the near West Side came in the form of the third annual West Pilsen open studios, probably better known as Made in Pilsen III. With thirty participating locations and over sixty local artists displaying work, the loose circuit of the art walk had its highest concentration of exhibitors on Ashland between 18th and 19th streets. It was a special treat to see a community come together around art, with exhibition sites ran... [more]

Loeb_primitive_forge Restored to Glory: WPA Murals of Lane Tech   Pick-button-5bf6c1b36c3b74ec8f312c7c9f6f1ae3
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Group Exhibition at Chicago Cultural Center October 11th, 2008 - December 31st, 2008
Posted 10/20/08

The current exhibition tucked away in the Chicago Rooms on the second floor of the Chicago Cultural Center features the eleven oldest murals, painted between 1909 and 1913, found at Lane Tech High School, the Chicago Public School with the largest number of such murals in the city.  Although the northwest side high school has a whopping sixty-seven Works Progress Administration (WPA)-era murals, as well as murals from the 1933 Chicago World's Fair, the handful on display were painted on stretched ca... [more]

Hpim1860 Beautiful Line Work   Pick-button-5bf6c1b36c3b74ec8f312c7c9f6f1ae3
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Posted 9/29/08

    If you missed the recent screening of the new film Beautiful Losers at the Gene Siskel Film Center, you can always head over to Julio’s Auto Parts for a fix of a similar kind of hand-painted-sign glory.       The exterior wall of the East side of the building is covered with a quarter of a block of murals advertising the various car parts and services one can procure there. Wrapping around the front face of the building, paintings on poster board fill the front window from top to bottom, as... [more]

08-business-card Splendid Surplus   Pick-button-5bf6c1b36c3b74ec8f312c7c9f6f1ae3
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Renee Prisble Una at mini dutch September 13th, 2008 - October 12th, 2008
Posted 9/29/08

The simple, empathy-inspiring premise of artist Renee Prisble Una’s soon-to-close exhibition is this: purge all the unused materials, the stuff that takes up space and collects dust, from the artist’s studio. These items run the gamut from lengths of latex sheets and tubing, to cardstock labels, sheet music, maps, mirrors and acupuncture needles. The creation of this new body of work has proved a welcome challenge for Una, to craft objects outside the realm of her usual practice, recently focused on... [more]

Gregkerifront The Hall of Natural & Despicable Wonders   Pick-button-5bf6c1b36c3b74ec8f312c7c9f6f1ae3
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Greg Cook, Kari Percival at Green Lantern September 12th, 2008 - October 4th, 2008
Posted 9/29/08

The two artists featured in Green Lantern gallery’s soon-to-close exhibition have a similar, illustrative style that makes for a well-made visual marriage. Due to the divergent content of the work on display however, Greg Cook and Kari Percival’s series of works are a discordant juxtaposition. Green Lantern gallery’s attempt to evoke both a history and a natural history museum within the walls of their gallery is daring. Despite the tension of the works on display, the show is not without sweet an... [more]

Hpim1847 G-Mart Comics   Pick-button-5bf6c1b36c3b74ec8f312c7c9f6f1ae3
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Posted 9/8/08

G-mart isn’t new to the neighborhood, previously having been located in a shabby storefront on Milwaukee St. near Spaulding. Having moved to their current location on Kedzie about a year ago now, they’ve been enjoying their new digs, in a more put together, better fitting space, which provides excellent visibility from the Logan Square Blue Line stop, and is conveniently located next door to neighborhood darling, the Mexican restaurant El Cid. Online since 1995, their sister space in Champaign,... [more]

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