Bigindicator

Chicago Cultural Center

Venue  |  Exhibitions  |  Reviews
20160127173800-strandbeest8002

Serious Play

Strandbeest: The Dream Machines of Theo Jansen Jansen could be that kid on the playground who arbitrates a massive game of make-believe. The natural-history-museum-like tone created out of conventional exhibit techniques only occasionally causes pause, though seemingly mismatched to the project they display. Strandbeests by Theo Jansen as organized by the Peabody Essex Museum, currently on view at the Chicago Cultural Center, displays his whimsical novelty engineering feats in the same manner as a recently discovered species. I entered the exhibit looking for one piece to focus on, but the most... [more]
Posted by eplacy on 2/25
20150320132819-thepicnic

Archibald J. Motley Jr.: Hearing the Contemporary Pitch

by James Pepper Kelly
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 and curatorial gestures are washed away by waves of color, stretched allusions and sharp looks, drifting shapes... [more]
Posted by James Pepper Kelly on 3/20/15
20131231171042-miguel_kane_one_aguilar__blinded__2013

Paint Paste Sticker: Street Art at the Chicago Cultural Center

by Rachel Kaplan
The exhibition at the Cultural Center, Paint Paste Sticker: Chicago Street Art, is a cross generation sampling of some of Chicago’s most prolific and influential street artists. If you are familiar with the streets of Chicago, it will come as no surprise to encounter the exhibiting artists selected for the show on a daily basis. The exhibition features artists such as ZORE, ZOR, JEFF ZIMMERMAN, YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL PROJECT, UNEEK, TSEL, TRAZ, TRANE & SHAGGY, THOR, TEEL SECRET STICKER CLUB, STEF, STATIK, CHRIS SILVA, SLANG, RISK, RADAH CARTOON DA PHARO, PAWN WORKS, NICE ONE, LAKE EFFECT, KANE O... [more]
Posted by Rachel Kaplan on 12/31/13
20130809073909-happyshow1_1800_1114_75

Less Than Kind

by Stephanie Cristello
Commercials set to an uplifting loop of an indie song – the violins, the slow crescendo of choir voices, a gratifying and persistent drumbeat – this sound is reified, a ubiquitous, and entirely digestible image of faux-celebration used to market a feeling of happiness. This over-heartened and insufferably “inspirational” attitude strikes an irritating nerve in some, but the trope of the live-for-today individual is often hard to criticize, or even notice, in its calculated blandness. Desensitization to this type of hedonism is one born out of our intolerance to advertiseme... [more]
Posted by Stephanie Cristello on 8/9/13
20111016155953-2011_exhibitions

Assumption of Black Metal

by Steve Ruiz
For a global population recently re-introduced to several billion relatives we haven’t seen for tens of thousands of generations, the problems of structural divergence in communication, science, history, social, and economics appears to be a big deal or something. This is an entirely new problem, of course, but thankfully we’ve been here before.  Two exhibitions ran concurrently with Terrence Hannum’s “Amidst Our Throng” at the Chicago Cultural Center, all now closed. I’ll start with the two shows, then we’ll meet at the center - see if you can guess my impression before we get there. To the south o... [more]
Posted by Steve Ruiz on 1/3/12
20110613171011-chairswebarisg

School's Out for Summer

by Abraham Ritchie
Seeing a line of uncomfortable and robed grads standing outside a Chicago school reminded me that depending on where you are enrolled, May and June bring the end of the school year and a slew of graduations.  This coincidence provides a good context for Aristotle Georgiades’ exhibition “Repurposed: Sculpture by Aristotle Georgiades.”  Both the process of learning and the system of education are assessed in Georgiades’ best works.  The centerpiece of the exhibition is arguably Scheme (2009, seen at top right) which piles up vintage school chairs into a rickety tower with a cast iron bell at th... [more]
Posted by Abraham Ritchie on 6/13/11
20100823114327-sullivantitle

Celebrating Sullivan

by Thea Liberty Nichols
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 Institute of Chicago (AIC). In tandem with that show, Tim Samuelson, Chicago’s official cultural histor... [more]
Posted by Thea Liberty Nichols on 8/23/10
006__20apr

Formal Fashion

by Mia DiMeo
Chicago-based sculptor Diane Simpson sources the histories of fashion and architecture simultaneously in her work, choosing their most streamline moments to create hybrid constructions that fall somewhere between representational and abstract. Her retrospective at the Chicago Cultural Center presents 40 sculptures and drawings, with a clear cohesion. In her practice, whether on paper or in sculpture, Simpson reduces the form of garments and other accoutrement—a dress, a bowler hat, a collar, and even a toolbelt.  This forces a three-way intersection between her process, the feminine... [more]
Posted by Mia DiMeo on 5/24/10
Tarkowski_methodsofegress_2008

Received Notions

by Marla Seidell
      If you're planning on visiting Christine Tarkowksi's latest exhibition at the Chicago Cultural Center, make sure you have a good chunk of time. The Chicago-based artist's largest and most comprehensive exhibition to date is vast and complex.  It’s so impressive you'll probably be wondering, like me, did just one woman do all of this? Installation photo of "Christine Tarkowski: Last Things Will Be First and First Things Will Be Last."  Photo by Michelle Litvin. "Last Things Will Be First and First Things Will Be Last," on view at the Cultural Center until May 2, concerns the n... [more]
Posted by Marla Seidell on 2/15/10
Otero_anticipation_2009

Back Home

by Marla Seidell
      Angel Otero creates whimsical, dreamy art that reflects a yearning for an unreachable past which is all the more beautiful because it's steeped in Otero’s nostalgic, rose-colored-glasses vision about his childhood in Puerto Rico. "Touch With Your Eyes" is the title of this stirringly beautiful exhibition of oil paintings, most adorned with pop-out silicone features, on view at the Chicago Cultural Center until March 28. A recent MFA graduate of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and a recipient of the prestigious Leonore Annenberg Fellowship, Otero has been bestowed with a $150,000 gra... [more]
Posted by Marla Seidell on 2/15/10
Crane7_chicagobeachesandparks_1972-78_web

Visual Language

by Robyn Farrell Roulo
      “Barbara Crane: Challenging Vision” is a spectacle of images that celebrate the illustrious career of Chicago-based photographer, Barbara Crane.  On view at The Chicago Cultural Center until January 10th, curator Kenneth C. Burkhart’s attempt to encapsulate a sixty year span of Crane’s photography proves to be an ambitious endeavor.  The survey of over two-hundred works is both overwhelming and impressive.  Beginning with the 1960s and moving from decade to decade, each series presents a different perspective.  From expressive portraits in her early career, to captured moments of the 1980s, to the botanical studies of today, it is dif... [more]
Posted by Robyn Farrell Roulo on 11/1/09
Fielding_mexicocity

Here I Am

    The notion of “the gaze” has become somewhat of a catchphrase with art and has seemingly become inextricable in the discussion of art, its analysis and art theory. However, in these austere yet powerful portraits of blind children in Mexico City, Jed Fielding, a Chicago-based photographer challenges this very concept. This is the last week to see Fielding's "Look at Me," the exhibition closes July 5th.    These black and white photographs complicate the role of the viewer and ultimately what we see and how we see it. Through the exhibition’s statement we are informed immediately that the fig... [more]
Posted by Abraham Ritchie on 6/29/09
A662286104_2299412_948364

The Synesthetic Plan of Chicago

by E-Slant Team
        The Synesthetic Plan of Chicago: A Multi-Sensory JourneyThrough Chicago and Its Neighborhoods (SPC) An interactive installation at the Chicago Cultural Center Visitor Information Center (77 E. Randolph Street), The Synesthetic Plan of Chicago: A Multi-Sensory Journey Through Chicago and Its Neighborhoods is part of the citywide summer tourism initiative, Explore Chicago: Take A Neighborhood Vacation (June 1-September 30). More than 40 artists and organizations have joined in creating this exploration of Chicago through the five senses. Visitors and locals can experience Chicago imag... [more]
Posted by E-Slant Team on 6/8/09
Wang_qingsong_the_glory_of_hope__2007

The Big World

Today, the market for Chinese art is widely reported to be among the fastest growing in the world. The country’s growing mega-cities and booming economy are reasons for a dynamic and thriving contemporary art scene worth noting and seeing.Gregory G. Knight and Tereza de Arruda, co-curators of “The Big World” at the Chicago Cultural Center, have put together a show featuring twenty artists that critically explore urban life, the human condition, and the collective ideology of people living within a large, diverse, and transforming world. The show features works in a range of media, from conceptual... [more]
Posted by Abraham Ritchie on 6/29/09
Chinatown_lg

William Conger Retrospective

by Thea Liberty Nichols
      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 elements which emerge and diffuse themselves throughout his work. His earliest work on display, from the late... [more]
Posted by Thea Liberty Nichols on 2/2/09
Davislanglois_babylon_2008

And God I Know I'm One

by Erik Wenzel
        Robert Davis/Michael Langlois’s installation of two paintings and a diptych derives its name, House of the Rising Sun, from that classic song of the same name. Perhaps made most famous by the Animals, but recorded by the likes of Lead Belly. The song narrates the story of the singer, who found his ruin, like many a young poor boy, down in New Orleans. Basically, the song is a cautionary tale about a house of ill repute, amplified through mysticism and psychedelia and gaining legendary status through each recording artist’s retelling. Davis and Langlois, however, have not found what... [more]
Posted by Erik Wenzel on 1/26/09
Rainbow1

We Live in Nature's Colors

by Erik Wenzel
        While Robert Davis/Michael Langlois use pagan and biblical mysticism combined with psychedelia to find a sense of spiritual uplifting, Scott Wolniak is using the color spectrum and New Age methodologies. Adjacent to the Davis/Langlois exhibition at the Chicago Cultural Center is Wolniak’s “Ungray: Color, Light and Other Balms.” The work first encountered is a small, framed photograph, a gray sky with just a hint of a rainbow cutting across it. It’s a little sad, a little funny and a little compelling. I connect it to the Art Institute’s Jackson Pollock, Greyed Rainbow, 1953, that is... [more]
Posted by Erik Wenzel on 1/26/09
Dovydenas_iron_worker__1969

Chicago Photography

by Abraham Ritchie
There is still plenty of time to catch "Made in Chicago: Portraits from the Bank of America LaSalle Collection" since it will be on view until January 4th, 2009. And that's a good thing too because this is an excellent, expansive show featuring the work of Chicago photographers or photographers working in Chicago. Either way, pride of place is at the heart of this exhibit and the work delivers. Though the Bank of America LaSalle's photography collection is international in scope and extremely large, the works on view are essentially a survey of "the Chicago pictures [. . .] a particularly s... [more]
Posted by Abraham Ritchie on 11/3/08
Loeb_primitive_forge

Restored to Glory: WPA Murals of Lane Tech

by Thea Liberty Nichols
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 canvas, as opposed to either being frescoed or permanently attached to the school walls like the re... [more]
Posted by Thea Liberty Nichols on 10/20/08
Alzheimers

William Utermohlen's Mind

by Abraham Ritchie
If you want to see "Portraits from the Mind: The Works of William Utermohlen-1955 to 2000" you will have to hurry because it is only at the Chicago Cultural Center for a week, until August 3rd. In 1995 William Utermohlen was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease and this exhibit chronicles predominantly his early work and his late work, both prior to the official diagnosis and after. This an especially good exhibit to see for those of us who have loved ones with Alzheimer's (which I do), though Utermohlen's self-portraits are extremely sorrowful and at times verge on psychologically terrifying as... [more]
Posted by Abraham Ritchie on 7/28/08
Twomarilyns_1

Monroe Misses

by Erik Wenzel
Heading into Life as A Legend: Marilyn Monroe at Chicago’s Cultural Center I pretty much knew I wasn’t going to like it. But the promise of seeing work by Pop Art icons Andy Warhol, Mel Ramos, Peter Blake, Allen Jones and Richard Avedon made it seem worth the visit. The Cultural Center’s website touts it: “The diversity of the collection allows the viewer to enjoy and remember all the facets of this charismatic star, as well as explore more deeply her tender vulnerability. Having traveled in six countries in Europe prior to its U.S. tour, this "blockbuster" exhibition's high artistic qualit... [more]
Posted by Erik Wenzel on 8/11/08
Lakemichiganseamonster_2

Fitzpatrick's Chicago

by Abraham Ritchie
The publication for Tony Fitzpatrick's exhibit "The Wonder-- Portraits of a Remembered City," at the Chicago Cultural Center, notes that, in addition to being an artist, Fitzpatrick is also "a poet, actor and raconteur." After viewing the exhibit, it is Fitzpatrick's sensibility as a storyteller that comes out most strongly in his work. Fitzpatrick's works are primarily in collage and mixed media on paper, so each small addition to the work has some relevance to the whole, telling another detail in his narrative of Chicago. A particularly good example on display is Chicago Angel of Death (20... [more]
Posted by Abraham Ritchie on 6/15/08
Placeofpower_2006

Fight for the Future: Brad Temkin at the Cultural Center

by Abraham Ritchie
The first week of May marked the opening of Chicago-based photographer Brad Temkin's solo exhibit "New Pictures" at the Chicago Cultural Center. The exhibit featured larger-scale photography (usually about 3'x4' or so) in both color and black-and-white. The photos on exhibit were drawn from his series "Relics" and "Focal Points," both of which displayed a keen attention to composition, lighting and all the technical accomplishments, but more importantly both the series indicated an overarching environmental concern, evident in almost every single photograph. The series "Focal Poi... [more]
Posted by Abraham Ritchie on 6/15/08