Marla Seidell

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              Located in Lincoln Square, just a stone’s throw from the Brown Line Western stop, Laurie’s Plant of Sound deals in more than just music. This quirky little shop sells used DVDs and videotapes, a wide selection of vinyl, both used and new, and of course the latest and classic CDs in indie, hip hop, soul, rock pop, jazz, world and more. But Laurie’s also boasts a cool collection of used books.  Ranging from $1.49 to $6.99 and up, the books are not only cheap, but also well... [more]
Surviving the Roller Coaster of Life   Pick-button-f22fa879042524f5c7b8d2278b2983b8
Peter Anton at Intuit: The Center for Intuitive and Outsider Art July 9th, 2010 - December 30th, 2010
Posted 8/9/10
        Slightly depressing and yet triumphant and wonderful, the scrapbooks, photos, videos and other ephemera encompassing Peter Anton’s life offer a revelatory examination of the meaning of life, death, loneliness, age and suffering, all currently on view in Intuit's exhibition "Almost There: A Portratrait of Peter Anton. "Anton, a 78-year-old resident of East Chicago, Indiana, is a painter and meticulous collector of the pieces of his past. In a photo showing the layers of remnants in... [more]
Saving Sullivan   Pick-button-f22fa879042524f5c7b8d2278b2983b8
Richard Nickel, Aaron Siskind, Louis Sullivan, John Szarkowski at The Art Institute of Chicago June 19th, 2010 - December 12th, 2010
Posted 7/26/10
    Visions of Chicago, past and present, seep into the subconscious via Richard Nickel’s black-and-white photographs of Louis Sullivan’s architectural masterpieces. In Untitled (Carson Pirie Scott & Co. Store, General View from Street Level), 1965, Nickel pays sensitive attention to the timelessness of the Carson Pirie Scott & Co. Building. The upper expanse of the photo is filled with the building itself, lofty and soaring, whilst the bottom half of the photo shows the... [more]
Big Hot Mess   Pick-button-f22fa879042524f5c7b8d2278b2983b8
Andy Moore at Gallery 400 April 27th, 2010 - June 12th, 2010
Posted 6/7/10
    Endless pages of handwritten scrawl, paintings and drawings mesh together in this 1,000-page book, a modern-day bible of esoteric confessions. Urban life, in all its ugly, beauteous glory, is displayed like a dead animal lying on the side of the road. You don’t want to look-- it’s overwhelming and messy. But you can’t help it. The story sucks you in, and there you are: standing over a long table covered with black-and-white Galaxy Paper, thumbing through a book of paintings and words with... [more]
            My stopover at Artropolis last week showed me one particularly obvious truism: art is thriving in America and beyond. On a Monday morning, the Merchandise Mart is packed to the gills with galleries from around the country, Europe, Canada and Japan. And the buyers, rapidly consuming the artwork like hotcakes, demonstrate that art is an ever-hot commodity in a world where the values of housing, bonds, stocks, and currency are in flux. Financially and environmentally, our... [more]
From Candy Land to Conceptual   Pick-button-f22fa879042524f5c7b8d2278b2983b8
David Ingenthron at 65GRAND May 1st, 2010 - May 29th, 2010
Posted 5/10/10
      David Ingenthron's short but sweet show at 65GRAND is the artist's third solo endeavor at the gallery. Sadly, this is also the gallery's last show in its present location. Due to issues of zoning, the City of Chicago failed to issue 65GRAND a business license, and is therefore forcing the gallery to close its doors. A brief talk with the gallery owner Bill Gross revealed that 65GRAND will endure. Presently Gross is searching for nearby location, one that permits a business... [more]
Girl on a Train   Pick-button-f22fa879042524f5c7b8d2278b2983b8
Posted 4/19/10
                Girl on a Train, a film by Andrè Tèchinè, exhibits brilliance and limitations. The film concerns a young woman named Jeanne (Èmilie Dequenne, seen at top), a luminous beauty who lives with her mother and spends her time rollerblading and looking for a job. Catherine Deneuve does a marvelous job playing Jeanne's mother Louise, a widow who runs a preschool in her home. While rollerblading, Jeanne meets the aggressive Franck (Nicolas Duvauchelle),... [more]
Humorous Blobs   Pick-button-f22fa879042524f5c7b8d2278b2983b8
Richard Hull at Western Exhibitions March 26th, 2010 - May 1st, 2010
Posted 4/19/10
          Richard Hull's amoeba-like blobs beg the viewer to contemplate comedy and tragedy at the same time. Our postmodern, hi-tech culture means we live in the fast lane, which has its consequences, but that doesn't mean we can't laugh our way through the ride. The focus of the show is spatial reasoning with Hull contemplating the world around us. Is everything defined topographically, by a series of concentric circles without end? The tracked pathways of... [more]
Maya Lin's Conceptual Nature   Pick-button-f22fa879042524f5c7b8d2278b2983b8
Maya Lin at The Arts Club of Chicago February 1st, 2010 - April 23rd, 2010
Posted 3/15/10
  With all due respect to it, conceptual art isn’t something I'm crazy about and that's why I was surprised by how much I enjoyed Maya Lin's exhibition at the Arts Club of Chicago, on view until April 23, 2010. Lin, an American artist and architect who explores landscape and geological phenomena, creates uncanny replicas of commonly known locations, such as Blue Lake Pass, wooden rock-like formations that recreate the Rocky Mountain pass. Although her art seems cool and impersonal upon... [more]
Fantasies from Fandell   Pick-button-f22fa879042524f5c7b8d2278b2983b8
Ken Fandell at Donald Young Gallery February 26th, 2010 - April 16th, 2010
Posted 3/15/10
The experience of watching Ken Fandell’s 14-minute video at Donald Young Gallery provides enough stimulation to your brain to warrant total sobriety upon viewing. It’s a kaleidoscopic experience that makes any mind-altering substance completely unnecessary, and that is reason enough to take a trip to see this work. Fandell uses equally positive and negative imagery, both in terms of content and photography, accompanied by music, to navigate the terrain of psychological exploration in... [more]
            A good thing about the recession is that it has spawned the bang-for-your-buck evening. Around this time last year I was reading an article in the LA Times about the new anxiety generation due to the economy and the new trend of everyone pitching in $10 for dinner parties. In 2010, I keep running into the "food and art" event. Dropping by Bucktown’s gastropub Bluebird last Sunday evening, a location previously noted on Artslant by Robyn Farrell Roulo, I met Tom MacDonald,... [more]
Criminal Class Press   Pick-button-f22fa879042524f5c7b8d2278b2983b8
Posted 2/15/10
      Calling itself "literary scum," Criminal Class Press makes no apology about the genre it seeks to create and resurrect: Gritty Realism, with writers such as Irvine Welsh and Jim Thompson as role models. Criminal Class Press (CCP) is an independent press, founded and developed in San Francisco in 2008 by Editor-in-Chief Kevin Whiteley (also the associate editor of Eleven Eleven journal) and associates. Its fourth issue to date focuses on the aesthetics of fiction noir, and... [more]
Back Home   Pick-button-f22fa879042524f5c7b8d2278b2983b8
Angel Otero at Chicago Cultural Center January 23rd, 2010 - March 28th, 2010
Posted 2/15/10
      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... [more]
Received Notions   Pick-button-f22fa879042524f5c7b8d2278b2983b8
Christine Tarkowski at Chicago Cultural Center January 30th, 2010 - May 3rd, 2010
Posted 2/15/10
      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... [more]
I had never been inside Iguana Café, but have long been intrigued by its exotic-looking signage and name. Because I was avoiding Starbucks like the plague, a friend and I ended up there on a Friday evening following my visit to threewalls gallery on Peoria Street.Café culture is something that grew on me in Amsterdam, and which sadly, I have found to be lacking in Chicago. Contrary to popular belief, cafés  predominate the lifestyle in Amsterdam, not the notorious coffeeshops that sell soft... [more]
Hope and Inspiration from Ruins   Pick-button-f22fa879042524f5c7b8d2278b2983b8
Armita Raafat at Threewalls January 15th, 2010 - February 13th, 2010
Posted 1/25/10
        America is 233 years old. America will turn 234 on July 4, 2010. By contrast, the war in Iraq has resulted in the destruction of thousands of historical and archaeological treasures, many which date back as far as 6,000 years. One such example is the  the ziggurat (the first building structures of the Sumerians) at Ur, built in 2100 B.C., which was damaged during  the first Gulf War. Other ancient treasures that took a hit include a thousand-year-old bridge in Baghdad, a 10th... [more]
          Still standing behind the idea that wood paneling is awesome, the Lincoln Lodge basks in the kind of nostalgia we could all use more of. Red-and-blue flowered vinyl booths, for one. A sizeable menu devoted to hearty Midwestern fare dressed with themes like "Honest Abe" for another. An upbeat waitress who loved this vegetarian's excitement over the lentil soup (“Lentillllll!”), the veggie-friendly option in a sea of burgers and meatloaf, chicken, buffalo wings and sausage pizza.... [more]
Gen-X Idealism in Jaded Form: Lazarus, Strauss and Plöger   Pick-button-f22fa879042524f5c7b8d2278b2983b8
Jason Lazarus, Wolfgang Plöger, Zoe Strauss at The Art Institute of Chicago September 19th, 2009 - January 24th, 2010
Posted 12/14/09
On a snowy Wednesday afternoon in December, I visited the Art Institute to find refuge from the cold and the particular emotional sustenance derived from photography. What I found was an exhibition of new works by three emerging photographers -- Jason Lazarus, Zoe Strauss and Wolfgang Plöger -- that turned out to be the exact opposite of the title given to their collective show. "On The Scene" examines life at the periphery, not "the scene" of society, and in the spirit of the Gen-X... [more]
A Walk in the Woods   Pick-button-f22fa879042524f5c7b8d2278b2983b8
Bob Jones (Chicago) at 65GRAND November 20th, 2009 - December 18th, 2009
Posted 11/30/09
Visceral and earthy, yet paradoxically sublime and, at times, tongue-in-cheek, the current Bob Jones show at 65GRAND is a mixed bag of tricks. On view until December 18, the exhibitions marks the third time the Milwaukee-based artist has displayed his talents at the gallery. The latest eccentric paintings and sculptures from Jones evoke the bizarre and whimsical within an all too suitable avant-garde setting. Relying on everyday objects such as a fence post and tar and the forest as a... [more]
              Art and food have much in common. Both have the effect of nourishing the soul and stimulating conversation. At the Clandestino Artist Dinner I attended on November 13, the event supplied artful conversation and sublime flavors derived from local ingredients cooked in gourmet fashion. In terms of the art, it was the non-deliberate works, such as the symmetrical fern plants lined up alongside the dinner table that left an impression. Clandestino is an underground supper club,... [more]
We Live in Public   Pick-button-f22fa879042524f5c7b8d2278b2983b8
Posted 10/19/09
              Although the film We Live in Public is more a vanity piece on unknown Internet pioneer Josh Harris than revelatory documentary that rocks your world (think sardonic humor of Michael Moore, who captures the American condition like no other), it presents the fascist nature of social media in a way that desperately needs to be addressed.Fresh from the 2009 Sundance  Film Festival, where director Ondi Timoner made her mark with this film, We Live in Public chronicles about a... [more]
Pelago Ristorante   Pick-button-f22fa879042524f5c7b8d2278b2983b8
Posted 9/14/09
    If you appreciate true-to-form Italian cuisine, newly opened Pelago Ristorante (201 E. Walton, 312-280-0700, seen above)  in the Gold Coast is a must-try. Situated in the Raffaello Hotel, walls are awash in a light blue reminiscent of the 1960s, with a mother-of-pearl fireplace, and sumptuous white leather furniture. White tablecloths and attentive waiters to make it feel like the state of the economy is just a dream. The atmosphere is exquisite and luxurious, kind of like dining... [more]
The Heart and Soul of Nature   Pick-button-f22fa879042524f5c7b8d2278b2983b8
Julia Hechtman at Devening Projects + Editions August 30th, 2009 - October 10th, 2009
Posted 9/14/09
On view until October 10, Julia Hechtman's "Irrationalism" photographs at Dan Devening Projects present an inverted view into the heart and soul of nature. The  crux of the exhibition are the six framed 31 x 39 photographs  (all 2009) displayed in the 450 square foot room with old maple floors at Devening.  The room is windowless which makes for a perfect gallery viewing, the large color photos against pristine white walls demand contemplation.Hechtman, who recently completed artist... [more]
A Brief Art History of Wine   Pick-button-f22fa879042524f5c7b8d2278b2983b8
Group Exhibition at The Art Institute of Chicago July 11th, 2009 - September 20th, 2009
Posted 9/14/09
        On view until September 20, the Art Institute's impressive and wide-ranging exhibition, "A Case for Wine: From King Tut to Today," is interesting not only for its plethora of drinking artifacts but for what it says about the history of human interaction with alcohol.  What is clear is the dissolute nature of man and woman in regards to drink over the ages. From an ancient Greek terracotta bowl decorated with men reveling in Bacchic frivolity to an English silvered brass wine cistern... [more]