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Thea Liberty Nichols

20140830081306-2d11c1aladdinsane David Bowie Is: Star Power – An Interview with Michael Darling   Pick-button-5bf6c1b36c3b74ec8f312c7c9f6f1ae3
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at Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA) September 23rd - January 4th, 2015
Posted 8/29/14

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]

A Community Space in the Belly of The Beast: an Interview with John Preus  
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6/29/14

Chicago, Jun. 2014: John Preus doesn’t take summer vacations. This time last year he was serving as the project lead on the monumental house-swap that was Theaster Gates’ work for documenta 13. This year, back in Chicago, he’s just opened a massive solo exhibition at the Hyde Park Art Center (HPAC), is a recent recipient of a Maker Grant, awarded by the Chicago Artists Coalition, and thanks to a partnership with the Graham Foundation, has organized a huge conference and workshop intensive on public space. He also operates Dilettante Studio, a design/build work... [more]

20140502064630-schauspieler Remaking the World Around Her: Isa Genzken in Retrospective   Pick-button-5bf6c1b36c3b74ec8f312c7c9f6f1ae3
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Isa Genzken at Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA) April 12th - August 3rd
Posted 5/2/14

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]

Deviations and Patterns: An Interview with David Corbett  
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12/22/13

Chicago, Dec. 2013: David Corbett is a Portland, Oregon based artist whose current solo exhibition Old Order is on view now at 65GRAND gallery. It’s full of animated, often raw-edged and pop-y colored pieces, all engaged in serious play. Although there are works on paper and sculptural objects, each piece functions as a sort of hybrid sculpture/painting, comically messing with one’s spatial perception. Corbett was kind enough to take time to discuss it with me below, and our conversation c... [more]

20130917092612-eric_fleischauer_high-res EDITION: An Intimate Fair   Pick-button-5bf6c1b36c3b74ec8f312c7c9f6f1ae3
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VARIOUS at Chicago Artists Coalition September 20th, 2013 - September 22nd, 2013
Posted 9/17/13

EDITION Chicago is a new art fair put together by Andrew Rafacz, principal of the gallery that bears his name, and Carolina Jayaram, Executive Director of Chicago Artists Coalition (CAC). It’s the inaugural year of the fair, but Rafacz and Jayaram both bring over a decade of experience to the table: Rafacz as a gallerist and art fair participant himself, and Jayaram as an arts administrator who, while living in Miami before coming to Chicago, was heavily involved with connecting the professiona... [more]

20130830080549-4 Theaster Gates: Space is the Place   Pick-button-5bf6c1b36c3b74ec8f312c7c9f6f1ae3
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Theaster Gates at Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA) May 18th, 2013 - October 6th, 2013
Posted 8/30/13

Artist. Entrepreneur. Potter. Bureaucrat. Singer. Arts Administrator. Host. Urban Planner. Collector. The list could go on and on, but the take away from all these labels might be that Theaster Gates is hard to pinpoint or define. Because his practice combines so many disparate disciplines and mediums, it's counter productive to try and categorize the work he does, and the work he makes. Up until now, that hasn’t been too much of an issue—he’s fit comfortably in the trending, self-ref... [more]

Wind Chimes and Wedding Cakes: Interview with Edra Soto  
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8/18/13

Chicago, Aug. 2013: Edra Soto does not take summer to mean vacation. She has been hard at work for the past several months making large scale, site specific installations, as well as small, infinitely reproducible sculptures that fit in the palm of your hand. She’s a teacher, but most recently, she’s enjoyed being one of the inaugural students in a new professional development program run by The Hyde Park Art Center. She’s a gallerist whose exhibition space is located in her backyard,... [more]

20130706154542-tumblr_moxzpsaoyl1qh7i74o1_500 The Artwork of Daniel Clowes: Like a Velvet Glove Cast in Iron   Pick-button-5bf6c1b36c3b74ec8f312c7c9f6f1ae3
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Daniel Clowes at Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA) June 29th, 2013 - October 13th, 2013
Posted 7/6/13

Daniel Clowes’ career trajectory has had a weird sort of herky-jerky-ness to it. When he started out making comics in the 1980’s, his narratives were amorphous and meandering, at times borrowing from the Surreal, with paranoid/delusional plotlines and violent, and sexually perverse, graphic imagery. This was married to his early drawings which were highly restrained; in the press walk through of his current exhibition, “Modern Cartoonist: the Art of Daniel Clowes,” on view... [more]

20130607143131-moca-2011-nfp069c Museum as Gallery, Gallery as Museum   Pick-button-5bf6c1b36c3b74ec8f312c7c9f6f1ae3
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Posted 6/7/13

Roughly three years ago, New York City gallerist Jeffery Deitch was tapped to serve as director of the Museum of Contemporary Art Los Angeles (MoCA). It was an interesting selection given Deitch’s prior for-profit, commercial sector experience. What has followed are a series of eyebrow raising exhibitions, such as Dennis Hopper (curated by Julian Schnabel) and James Dean (curated by James Franco). Deitch, while largely lampooned by the press, has also had his supporters, who note that since his te... [more]

20130518172259-afc-nada-2 Infinite Corpse: Crowd Sourcing New Media   Pick-button-5bf6c1b36c3b74ec8f312c7c9f6f1ae3
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Posted 5/17/13

Most of you are probably familiar with the Surrealist game “exquisite corpse,” where a composite drawing is created in sequence by a group of artists adhering to some predetermined set of rules (no peeking, for example, and, pick up where the last artist left off). Local Chicago comics collective Trubble Club recently began an online project entitled Infinite Corpse. Unlike its Surrealist precedent, it harnesses the energy and inexhaustibility of the internet by being limitless in duration. As of t... [more]

20130221203938-bontecou_untitled1962 The Stillness of Destruction   Pick-button-5bf6c1b36c3b74ec8f312c7c9f6f1ae3
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Lee Bontecou, Alberto Burri, Niki de Saint Phalle, Gérard Deschamps, François Dufrêne, Jean Fautrier, Lucio Fontana, Adolf Frohner, Raymond Hains, Yves Klein, John Latham, Gustav Metzger, Manolo Millares, Otto Müehl, Saburo Murakami, Robert Rauschenberg, Salvatore Scarpitta, Shozo Shimamoto, Kazuo Shiraga, Antoni Tàpies, Chiyu Uemae, Jacques Villeglé, Wolf Vostell, Michio Yoshihara at Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA) February 16th, 2013 - June 2nd, 2013
Posted 2/21/13

This twenty-six artist-deep group show that just opened at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago is an interesting re-examination of work by renowned artists such as Lucio Fontana, Yves Klein, Robert Rauschenberg and Antoni Tàpies, among others. Re-framed and linked together based on the work’s general responsiveness to war, specifically World War II and the Cold War, all these square pegs are smartly made to fit in round holes despite their typical standing as loners, exceptions, outcasts and icon... [more]

20121112205926-ccp_roa The 2012 Chicago Cultural Plan Unveiled   Pick-button-5bf6c1b36c3b74ec8f312c7c9f6f1ae3
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Posted 11/12/12

The 2012 Chicago Cultural Plan was recently released after roughly five months worth of town hall meetings, focus groups, interviews and conversations with artists and experts. The city hasn’t had this type of grandiose cultural road map since the 1986 Cultural Plan drafted after eighteen months of informational meetings conducted by then Mayor Harold Washington’s administration. The preparation of the Plan was outsourced to the Canadian firm Lord Cultural Resources, who dressed it up with full... [more]

20120918091717-hull Afterimage   Pick-button-5bf6c1b36c3b74ec8f312c7c9f6f1ae3
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Roger Brown, Lilli Carré, David Leggett, Amy Lockhart, Ellen Nielsen, Jim Nutt, Anders Oinonen, JOHN PAROT, Ed Paschke, Christina Ramberg at DePaul Art Museum September 14th, 2012 - November 18th, 2012
Posted 9/18/12

The Imagists and the Cubs are quintessentially Chicagoan institutions that are similarly maligned in much of the rest of the country while continuing to hold sway locally. Like the Cubs, the Imagists have an intensely regional flavor, and the loyalty conjured of its adherents and descendants appears mysterious to outsiders. Aptly named, Afterimage traces the trajectory and diaspora of the Imagists’ influence upon artists based in or with ties to Chicago. The opening of Afterimage marks the DePaul... [more]

20101205163241-005__12 New Chicago Comics   Pick-button-5bf6c1b36c3b74ec8f312c7c9f6f1ae3
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Jeffrey Brown, Lilli Carré, Paul Hornschemeier, Anders Nilsen at Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA) January 8th, 2011 - January 30th, 2011
Posted 1/24/11

“New Chicago Comics” is a group show featuring the work of Jeffrey Brown, Lilli Carré, Paul Hornschemeier and Anders Nilsen, organized by Curatorial Assistant Michael Green, and on view now at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago (MCA) in the space commonly used for “12x12” exhibitions. Brown, Hornschemeier and Nilsen, along with John Hankiewicz, had all formerly collaborated on The Holy Consumption, a website that featured a new post by one of the artists every Sunday. The addition of Carré is a welcome one,... [more]

20101124190428-006__11 Touch and Go   Pick-button-5bf6c1b36c3b74ec8f312c7c9f6f1ae3
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Ray Yoshida at School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) - Sullivan Galleries November 13th, 2010 - February 12th, 2011
Posted 12/6/10

Featuring almost fifty-years of Ray Yoshida’s art, “Touch and Go” is an expansive exhibition that shows Yoshida’s artworks and collected objects alongside documentary photography of his home and studio scraps of comic book cut-outs and collages. While chiefly a career retrospective, the show also mixes Yoshida’s art and artifacts together with works he owned, chief amongst them being a succession of exceptional pieces by Roger Brown (Cutting the Rug from 1969 is not to be missed), Karl... [more]

20101029095744-n_sp_nov2010 An Apartment Gallery Looking at the Practices and Functions of Apartment Galleries   Pick-button-5bf6c1b36c3b74ec8f312c7c9f6f1ae3
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Eric Fleischauer, Joseph Grigely, and Jason Lazarus at Noble & Superior Projects November 12th, 2010 - December 11th, 2010
Posted 11/15/10

This chiefly photographic group show that opened over the weekend at Noble & Superior Projects features work by Eric Fleischauer, Joseph Grigely, Jason Lazarus and an anonymous artist who rather appropriately contributes two ransom note-style collages on cardboard. Despite the self-reflexive sounding meta-title, the show thoughtfully examines the relationship between artist and audience specifically, and between making and viewing generally, in several complex but accessible ways. Eric Fle... [more]

20100911073307-002___9 A Shocked Future   Pick-button-5bf6c1b36c3b74ec8f312c7c9f6f1ae3
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Brandon Alvendia, Conrad Bakker, Edie Fake, The Library of Radiant Optimism (Bonnie Fortune/Brett Bloom), People Powered, Red76 at Green Lantern October 1st, 2010 - November 13th, 2010
Posted 11/1/10

Future Shock by Alvin Toffler was a bestseller in the 1970s when it was published.  It has since been reprinted several times and translated into many different languages. At Green Lantern Gallery, the comical film based on the book is narrated by none other than Orson Wells and screens in an under-a-stairwell cubbyhole in the exhibition.  In the first five or so minutes of the film, “future shock” is summarized several times as “too much change in too short a period of time.” It’s... [more]

20101018125800-gps_cj403dstbnhb Blanket Paintings   Pick-button-5bf6c1b36c3b74ec8f312c7c9f6f1ae3
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Bernard Williams at Iceberg Projects September 18th, 2010 - October 30th, 2010
Posted 10/18/10

In his solo exhibition at Iceberg Projects, Bernard Williams’ “Blanket Paintings” evoke the historical traditions of many cross-cultural examples of blankets, ranging from woven Afghan war rugs and Navajo Chiefs’ blankets, to the Gee’s Bend crazy quilts. Williams eschews the materials and craft of these predecessors, but capitalizes on a similar type of descriptive visual narrative. Using thrift store blankets made from synthetic polyester and scraps of chintzy, decorative faux tapestri... [more]

20101018122940-bw4 Digging into the Mine(d) Museum   Pick-button-5bf6c1b36c3b74ec8f312c7c9f6f1ae3
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Bernard Williams at McCormick Gallery September 10th, 2010 - October 16th, 2010
Posted 10/18/10

Native Chicagoan Bernard Williams not only has had two concurrent exhibitions up—“Mine(d) Museum,” at McCormick Gallery and “Blanket Paintings,” in Rogers Park at Iceberg Projects— he is also a featured artist for Chicago Artists Month. For those familiar with his work, some pieces in “Mine(d) Museum” (which closed over the weekend) hint at his previous large-scale sculptural installations, which feature intricately cut and pieced together sheets of wood, layered one over the other.  The almos... [more]

20101004125453-installationview2 La Lotería   Pick-button-5bf6c1b36c3b74ec8f312c7c9f6f1ae3
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Raul Aguilar, Saul Aguirre, Natalia Anciso, Jose Andreu, Rene Arceo, Balam Bartolome, Tom Burtonwood, Javier Carmona, Mario Castillo, CHema, Miguel Cortez, Luis Delgado, Luis Delgado-Qualtrough, Humberto Duque, Ala Ebtekar, Felipe Ehrenberg, Scott Espeseth, Jim Finn, Chris Flynn, Eric J. Garcia, Maria Gaspar, MAXIMO GONZALES, Maximo Gonzalez, Ruben Gutierrez, Daniel Guzman, Terence Hannum, Jill Hartley, Charles Hobson, Rodrigo Imaz, David Jones, Damara Kaminecki, Christopher Kerr, Michelle Korte, Andy Kozlowski, Mauricio Limon, Alexis Mackenzie, Gabriella Via Cal y Mayor, Gabriel Mejia, Hugh Merrill, Darren Oberto, JOYCE OWENS, Michael Pajon, Adolfo Patino, Adolfo Patiño, Marilyn Propp, Robert Ransick, Kevin Riordan, Michael Scoggins, Eduardo De Soignie, Fred Stonehouse, Michael Velliquete, Larry Vigon, Eddie Villanueuva, Teresa Villegas at Center for Book & Paper Arts September 9th, 2010 - December 1st, 2010
Posted 10/4/10

Since the early 19th century, La Lotería, or lottery, has been a popular game of chance in Mexico and Central America. Similar to Bingo, it’s played with a deck of 54 named and numbered cards, each displaying a vivid pictogram. Along with regional variations of the decks, individual Lotería callers often imbue each game with unique phrases for each card that run the gambit from rhyming poetic verse to singular, surrealistic epithets that either illustrate or belie the imagery of the card in play... [more]

20100819065724-002-a--19aug Dexter Sinister: An Exquisite Corpse Style Essay   Pick-button-5bf6c1b36c3b74ec8f312c7c9f6f1ae3
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Dexter Sinister at Gallery 400 September 7th, 2010 - October 23rd, 2010
Posted 9/20/10

Dexter Sinister is the name adopted by David Reinfurt and Stuart Bailey for their joint activities as artists, writers, editors, graphic designers and publishers. Evoking the equal parts collaborative and dissonant practice of Dexter Sinister, Anthony Elms, Assistant Director of Gallery 400 and curator of the show, kindly agreed to blindly co-write the following text with me using a sort of “exquisite corpse” framework I made up: I would write a paragraph (or two, or simply a single sente... [more]

20100830134940-cremaster-1-2_592x299-230x144 Thea Nichols on the Cremaster Cycle, Joel Kuennen on De Lama Lamina   Pick-button-5bf6c1b36c3b74ec8f312c7c9f6f1ae3
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Matthew Barney at Music Box Theatre September 3rd, 2010 - September 9th, 2010
Posted 8/30/10

Thea Liberty Nichols on the Cremaster Cycle The cremaster is a small muscle that constantly regulates the height of the testicles and their position in relationship to the core of the male body, ensuring that the sperm within are always kept at the optimum temperature to support reproduction.  It also lends its name to Matthew Barney’s Cremaster Cycle of five films, playing September 3-9, at the Music Box Theatre. Although Matthew Barney’s notorious Cremaster Cycle references this little piece of male anatomy, the fi... [more]

20100823114327-sullivantitle Celebrating Sullivan   Pick-button-5bf6c1b36c3b74ec8f312c7c9f6f1ae3
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Louis Henry Sullivan at Chicago Cultural Center June 26th, 2010 - November 28th, 2010
Posted 8/23/10

When it comes to master architect Louis Sullivan, Chicagoan’s are awash in a sea of riches and even several years after his 150th anniversary year in 2006, we are still celebrating. Several of his notable works, such as the Celtic-Nouveau Sullivan Center facade and the Holy Trinity Orthodox Cathedral have received coverage from ArtSlant, and even the artwork he’s inspired others to create is noteworthy, and is itself the focus of an exhibition presently on view at The Art Inst... [more]

Wandering_in_quest No empty walls at LivingRoom Realty (Lauren Viera, Chicago Tribune)  
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Edelweiss Cardenas at LivingRoom Gallery January 15th, 2010 - February 27th, 2010
Posted 8/2/10

How much attention do you pay to the art hung in your doctor's office? If your doctor's office is anything like mine, the works are probably purchased in bulk from a single artist, someone unlikely to be exhibited in River North or even in some of the most commercial galleries on Michigan Avenue. It's a safe bet that she or he is repped by some major conglomerate as opposed to a local dealer, and, visually, it's probably pretty vague — uncomplicated, easy on your peripheral vision as you're... [more]

Logo_qs3 Stay in your Lane!   Pick-button-5bf6c1b36c3b74ec8f312c7c9f6f1ae3
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Group Exhibition at Swimming Pool Project Space July 17th, 2010 - August 15th, 2010
Posted 8/2/10

The Twelve Galleries Project has transformed from last year’s nomadic series of monthly visual art exhibits to the present yearlong “Quaterly Site Series” (QSS). QSS mounts a show every four months for the next three years, shining a spotlight on curators through a somewhat baroque system of the QSS curating the curators themselves. Shows are still hosted by different galleries throughout the run of the project, with Quaterly Site #3 being held at the indefatigable Swimming Pool Proje... [more]

Duamblueprints Towards a Newer DePaul Art Museum   Pick-button-5bf6c1b36c3b74ec8f312c7c9f6f1ae3
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Posted 7/26/10

Ground has just recently been broken on the DePaul University Art Museum’s new building, scheduled to open its doors mid-September 2011. The almost residential appearance of the building’s façade echoes the style and palette of much of the surrounding neighborhood, with special attention paid to details like the historic red brick building material of the kind found in Lincoln Park and the arched entryway that evokes the character neighborhood townhomes. The utilitarian, a... [more]

002__14july A Moveable Studio   Pick-button-5bf6c1b36c3b74ec8f312c7c9f6f1ae3
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Group Show at DePaul Art Museum July 8th, 2010 - November 21st, 2010
Posted 7/26/10

          In keeping with the yearlong, citywide Studio Chicago series, DePaul University Art Museum is presently playing host to the Stockyard Institute’s constantly in flux, five month-long Nomadic Studio exhibition. With an ambitious calendar of events peppered with auxiliary programming including workshops, panel discussions and open studios, July’s iteration of the exhibition focuses on the audio arts. Alongside the participatory sound sculpture Musical Chairs by Faiz Razi, there’s a broadcasting low p... [more]

003__26may Lux   Pick-button-5bf6c1b36c3b74ec8f312c7c9f6f1ae3
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Sebastian Vallejo at Lloyd Dobler Gallery May 28th, 2010 - June 26th, 2010
Posted 6/14/10

The traditionally staid genre of landscape painting initially seems at odds with the bombastic neon color palette and explosive line work of Sebastian Vallejo’s paintings in “LÜX,” now on view at Lloyd Dobler Gallery. For Vallejo, the mountains, ocean and vegetation that comprise the natural world, with the searing brightness and dramatic weather patterns that govern it, are given a unique treatment, one that consists mainly of highly synthetic media and stylized forms of expression. ... [more]

Lifeonmars Life on Mars   Pick-button-5bf6c1b36c3b74ec8f312c7c9f6f1ae3
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Posted 6/14/10

The David Bowie art up on the wall, printed by Delicious design and framed by April 7s, is just one half of how this modest, vegan takeout spot got its name. The other half is the out-of-this-world confusion that owner Adam Paul was faced with when explaining his diet to others. Affectionately referring to his restaurant, which opened its doors this February, as simply Mars, the twelve-year vegan veteran is proud to identify as a Martian now that he is in the good company of fellow c... [more]

Dana8 X Marks the Spot   Pick-button-5bf6c1b36c3b74ec8f312c7c9f6f1ae3
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Dana DeGiulio at Julius Cæsar May 2nd, 2010 - May 30th, 2010
Posted 5/17/10

Dana DeGiulio’s exhibition "Erect" is her second solo exhibition at Julius Caeser, which recently re-located to the Garfield Park neighborhood and is co-operated by the artist herself, Diego Leclery, Colby Shaft, Hans Peter Sundquist and Molly Zuckerman-Hartung. Comprised of sculpture and digital video, it’s a departure from previous work DeGiulio has shown, such as her 2009 exhibition at Carrie Secrist Gallery that featured chiefly abstract black and white, oil on canvas paintings. "Erect" marks, at times with a lit... [more]

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