Abraham Ritchie

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-- Tony Tasset is receiving a kind of city-wide, mini-retrospective currently in Chicago.  The Museum of Contemporary Art is showing a significant number of his artworks from the 1980s (more), held in their permanent collection.  Kavi Gupta Gallery has had a survey of Tasset's early work on view all summer (more).  Tasset also has a work included in the Art Institute of Chicago's exhibition "Contemporary Collecting: Selected Works from the Donna and Howard Stone Collection."  And speaking of... [more]
Pantheon Wave   Pick-button-f22fa879042524f5c7b8d2278b2983b8
Posted 7/12/10
              After seeing the Hyde Park Art Center's "Spatial City: An Architecture of Idealism" you may have noticed that there was surprisingly little to be reassured about.  Existential crisis, the death of Modernism, a loss of center, yikes!  Contemporary living is so stressful. Head up and out, to the catwalk which overlooks Gallery 1.  There you will will find Jennifer Mannebach's installation of architecturally-inclined graphite on masking tape drawings, adhered directly to the... [more]
The Stuff of Roger Brown   Pick-button-f22fa879042524f5c7b8d2278b2983b8
Roger Brown at Hyde Park Art Center June 20th, 2010 - October 3rd, 2010
Posted 7/12/10
      Chicago likes to claim Roger Brown as its own, but that’s really only half true.  Roger Brown was born and raised in Alabama, lived in Tennessee, traveled in Europe and Egypt, and as “Roger Brown: Calif., U.S.A.” at the Hyde Park Art Center (HPAC) reminds us, owned homes in Michigan and La Conchita, California, in addition to his residence in Chicago and his time spent here.  Brown’s Virtual Still Life series of paintings and his home and studio in La Conchita that housed eclectic... [more]
What the FRAC?   Pick-button-f22fa879042524f5c7b8d2278b2983b8
Lida Abdul, Élisabeth Ballet, Yves Bélorgey, Jeff Carter, Jordi Colomer, François Dallegret, Herman de Vries, Peter Downsbrough, Philippe Durand, Jimmie Durham, Simon Faithfull, Didier Fuiza Faustino, Cao Fei, Robert Filliou, Elise Florenty, Yona Friedman, Dora Garcia, Ben Hall, Séverine Hubard, Stefan Kern, Bertrand Lamarche, Vincent Lamouroux, Mark Leckey, Didier Marcel, François Morellet, Sarah Morris, Juan Muñoz, Stéphanie Nava, Berdaguer & Péjus, Philippe Ramette, Sara Schnadt, Kristina Solomoukha, Tatiana Trouvé, Hui-Min Tsen, Marie Voignier, Clemens von Wedemeyer, Stephen Wetzel, Raphaël Zarka at Hyde Park Art Center May 23rd, 2010 - August 8th, 2010
Posted 7/12/10
        While the United States continues to debate how art should be publicly funded, or as so often the case is, not funded or de-funded, France has no such confusion.  “Spatial City: An Architecture of Idealism” at the Hyde Park Art Center (HPAC) draws on the FRAC Collections, FRAC standing for French Regional Contemporary Art Collections, which are essentially contemporary art collections owned and purchased by certain regions of France.  The focus here is on artists working in France... [more]
Generosity of Meaning   Pick-button-f22fa879042524f5c7b8d2278b2983b8
John Baldessari at Museum of Contemporary Photography July 2nd, 2010 - September 26th, 2010
Posted 7/5/10
      The West Coast is celebrating one of their most important and deserving artists as John Baldessari’s retrospective “Pure Beauty” is currently on view at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), through September 12th.  Fortunately Chicago has not been left out in this celebration as the Museum of Contemporary Photography (MoCP) hosts “John Baldessari: A Print Retrospective from the Collections of Jordan D. Schnitzer and his Family Foundation,” an exhibition organized by the Fine... [more]
Ray Noland is perhaps better known here in Chicago as CRO, the street name of this artist whose work can be seen all over Chicago, indoors and out. Noland gained attention with his grassroots campaign "GoTellMama" for Barack Obama's 2008 election. Politics has remained a major source of inspiration for Noland especially considering that shortly after Obama's victory in 2008, then-Governor Rod Blagojevich (now impeached and removed from office) was arrested on a myriad of corruption charges.... [more]
What does Being Green Mean?   Pick-button-f22fa879042524f5c7b8d2278b2983b8
at City Gallery in the Historic Water Tower May 20th, 2010 - September 6th, 2010
Posted 6/21/10
        Being green is sexy.  Supporting environmental causes is stylish, widely popular, seemingly morally correct and carries easy political clout.  Is there a city that doesn’t tout itself as “green” in some way?  With the recent oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, the public’s sensitivity to environmental concerns has been temporarily heightened and we’re all trying to be green again.  But when is being green more hype than substance?  How can we consistently be environmentally... [more]
-- Theaster Gates was one of several Chicago-based artists included in the 2010 Whitney Biennial. If you missed his work there (Cosmology of the Yard, 2010), there's still time to see his solo exhibition at the Milwaukee Art Museum, "To Speculate Darkly: Theaster Gates and Dave the Potter" (April 16 - August 1, 2010) or his work included in the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston's "Hand + Made: The Performative Impulse in Art and Craft" (May 15 - July 25, 2010). Theaster Gates' practice takes... [more]
Culture: Yours or Ours?   Pick-button-f22fa879042524f5c7b8d2278b2983b8
Vito Acconci, Richard Artschwager, Matthew Barney, Alfredo Jaar, Mike Kelley, Sharon Lockhart, Richard Long, Richard Prince, Lorna Simpson, Tony Tasset, Gillian Wearing at Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA) March 13th, 2010 - September 5th, 2010
Posted 5/17/10
        It’s impossible to enter the Museum of Contemporary Art’s (MCA) current exhibition “Rewind: 1970s to 1990s, Works from the MCA Collection” without first encountering Kay Rosen’s new work Yours/ours, 2010.  Rosen’s language-based works explore the significant shifts in meaning that can happen to words or phrases when seemingly insignificant shifts in their presentation are made.  At the MCA, Rosen presents the word “YOURS” divided by the entrance to the galleries in such a way so... [more]
                Technically, it's spring in Chicago, which means it's somewhat more pleasant to go outside, though we are still all waiting for the warm weather.  Chicago makes use of the plentiful parks and playing fields when it even slightly warms up. So the next time you are in Lincoln Park head up to the intersection of Fullerton Avenue and Cannon Drive, located on the east side next to the marina is Ellsworth Kelly's public sculpture , 1981.  According to the former art... [more]
Rite of Spring   Pick-button-f22fa879042524f5c7b8d2278b2983b8
Posted 5/1/10
            April may be the cruelest month according to T.S. Eliot, but after a long winter, April is gratefully welcomed in Chicago as spring returns to the United States.  The  fragrant hyacinths have flowered along with colorful tulips, and the trees have burst into bloom and put out their first tentative leaves.  I imagine the West Coast has gone from its winter months of mere good weather to perfect weather now.  As T.S. Eliot points out in The Wasteland, the transition of winter to... [more]
Celebrating Paschke's People   Pick-button-f22fa879042524f5c7b8d2278b2983b8
Ed Paschke at Russell Bowman Art Advisory March 26th, 2010 - May 29th, 2010
Posted 4/19/10
          Gagosian Gallery in New York City will be closing its exhibition “Ed Paschke” this weekend, but Chicago, the artist’s hometown, is fortunate to have two complementary Ed Paschke exhibitions run at least a week into May or longer.  “Ed Paschke’s Women” is the title of the respective exhibitions at Russell Bowman Art Advisory (RBAA) and Alan Koppel Gallery.  True to the title, the works on view at each gallery mostly feature Paschke’s female subjects, though not... [more]
- Jan Tichy's installations and artworks are strongly formal but can also carry a social message, as hidden objects are revealed from the darkness to be abstract forms or constructions of more significance.  Connections emerge from the different media that Tichy employs, presenting ongoing investigations into social conditions and politics, as well as being aesthetic investigations in themselves. Tichy's practice has expanded to include exhibition design, designing "Moholy: An Education of the... [more]
      Note: Naxos is one of the leading international labels in classical music, but perhaps less widely known, they also distribute documentaries on important art figures, from Frida Kahlo to Andy Warhol. I recently viewed the documentaries on Jackson Pollock and Warhol, which Naxos had sent over.  Both documentaries were produced and copyrighted in 1987, and both were produced and directed by Kim Evans. They were transferred to the DVD format last year. Situated as they are in that... [more]
  By all accounts, 2009 was a good year for Angel Otero.  The artist completed his Master of Fine Arts degree at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.  That summer his painting Exquisito was included in the exhibition "Constellations" at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, and it was announced that he had been awarded a prestigious Leonore Annenberg Fellowship in the Visual Arts.  At the end of 2009, Otero had a solo exhibition at Kavi Gupta Gallery, as well as a solo presentation at... [more]
The Tree of Knowledge   Pick-button-f22fa879042524f5c7b8d2278b2983b8
Aspen Mays at Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA) February 5th, 2010 - February 28th, 2010
Posted 2/8/10
      From South to North in Chicago you can see Aspen Mays' work, at the Hyde Park Art Center and the Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA). Occupying the MCA’s UBS 12 x 12 gallery for the entire month of February is Aspen Mays’ exhibition “Every leaf on a tree.” An installation of two photographic series, Every leaf and Einstein Rainbow, Mays once again presents a concentrated investigation into a particular subject.  Despite the apparent world of difference between a tree and a physicist, Mays... [more]
  The American public is still suspicious of most modern and contemporary art. It may be a painting by Cy Twombly, a conceptual, scribbled wall drawing by Sol LeWitt, or an aluminum box by Donald Judd, but most people are a little wary of it. This simply is the general situation-- of mistrust between artist and general public. But finding ways to bridge that division has recently motivated a spectrum of  art production, from Relational Art to writing.  There is an inclination towards... [more]
-  From Abraham Ritchie, ArtSlant's Chicago Editor: I first encountered the work of Aspen Mays in 2009 at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago's Spring MFA show where she was a clear standout in an otherwise fairly predictable exhibition.  That summer, Mays received a solo exhibition at Chicago's GOLDEN gallery, which I reviewed for ArtSlant: Chicago at the time.  Focused and coherent, it turned out to be one of the best shows of that summer.  Early into 2010, Mays has pulled off... [more]
    Voices of Dawoud Bey, Monique Meloche, Eric May, Julie Rodrigues Widholm, Aron Packer, Karsten Lund, Davis/Langlois, and Paul Klein.     2010 closes out both a year and a decade and starts another of each, so what was it all about anyways? Nationally, we were more prosperous than ever but right at the end we lost it all.  More locally, Chicago helped to vault President Obama to his current seat in the White House...and the very next month, we had our governor indicted and we lost a... [more]
Oh! Sweet Nothin   Pick-button-f22fa879042524f5c7b8d2278b2983b8
Jim Lutes at Valerie Carberry Gallery November 20th, 2009 - January 30th, 2010
Posted 1/8/10
        “[I’ve] never been entirely happy with abstract paintings,” states Jim Lutes, as quoted in Debra Bricker Balken’s catalog essay for Valerie Carberry Gallery’s exhibition, “Jim Lutes: Half-Ass Rapture”.   This dissatisfaction or skepticism regarding abstraction drives Lutes in this exhibition, as he combines abstract and gestural elements with representation and narrative. The exhibition contains examples of both modes of working: four abstract paintings and four works that show... [more]
On Monday, January 4th, 2010, the Burj Dubai (seen at top right) will become the tallest building in the world when its open doors to the public.  Although the building is located around the globe in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, the building has a significant Chicago connection.The architectural firm for the building is the Chicago-based Skidmore, Owings and Merrill (SOM) with their former design partner, Adrien Smith.  In Chicago, they are the firm behind the major skyscrapers: the... [more]
Fallacy Fantasies   Pick-button-f22fa879042524f5c7b8d2278b2983b8
Matt Stolle at Andrew Rafacz Gallery December 12th, 2009 - January 16th, 2010
Posted 1/4/10
        In 2009, as the master city plan for Chicago turned 100, Chicago’s Modernist legacy was celebrated, revisited, reinvigorated and, most of all, exhibited.  Chicago-based artist Matt Stolle closes out 2009 and begins the New Year with both admiration and skepticism of this Modernism, in his solo exhibition at Andrew Rafacz entitled “MODERNISTPHALLUS.”The chauvinistic, all capitals exhibition title is overtly tongue-in-cheek and at odds with the work displayed in the gallery. The... [more]
Two Lions and a Bear   Pick-button-f22fa879042524f5c7b8d2278b2983b8
Alika Cooper, Mike Rea, Allison Schulnik, Marissa Textor, Eric Yahnker at Western Exhibitions January 30th, 2010 6:00 PM - 9:00 PM
Posted 1/4/10
        Some galleries use the winter holidays to take a month off of exhibiting, starting back up in mid- or late January, but not Western Exhibitions and Director Scott Speh.  “The Power of Selection, Pt. 1”opened January 2nd at Western Exhibitions and continues to February 6th. Curated by Ryan Travis Christian, “The Power of Selection, Pt. 1” is the first of three exhibitions aimed “to increase the circulation of contemporary artwork seen in Chicago by showing works by out of town and/or... [more]
Shanghai in Chicago   Pick-button-f22fa879042524f5c7b8d2278b2983b8
Olivo Barbieri, Birdhead, Isidro Blasco, Mathieu Borysevicz, Su Chang, David Cotterrell, Cao Fei, Zhu Feng, Yang Fudong, Liu Gang, Shi Guorui, Shu Haolun, Sylvie Levey, Ma Liang, Jin Shan, Speedism, Zhou Xiaohu, Xu Jianrong and Xu Xixian, HU Yang, Lu Yuanming, Xu Zhen at Museum of Contemporary Photography September 25th, 2009 - December 23rd, 2009
Posted 11/30/09
        For most of us, the artists working in China have only been accessible across the internet, magazines, or other media.  Fortunately, there’s been a subtle wave of exhibitions featuring Chinese art in Chicago this year, the most notable being the sculpture in Millennium Park and the large survey at the Chicago Cultural Center “The Big World: Recent Art from China.”  Joining these exhibitions is the Museum of Contemporary Photography’s (MoCP) survey of Shanghai artists, “Reversed... [more]
— From Abraham Ritchie, ArtSlant's Chicago City Editor: This has been a good year for artists Michael Langlois and Rob Davis who work together and show together as Robert Davis/Michael Langlois.  They began the year with “House of the Rising Sun,” an exhibition at the Chicago Cultural Center.  In September they showed “Into The Void: The Ballad of The Martyr as Told by Ingres” for the UBS 12 x 12: New Artists / New Work series of exhibitions at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago (MCA). ... [more]
I want to introduce our new staff that are joining us here on ArtSlant: Chicago for the 2009-2010 art season: Marla Seidell has travelled widely and received both of her degrees abroad.  She has written for Timeout Chicago, The Onion A.V. Club, NewCity, and  She'll be bringing new flavor for ArtSlant's Flavor Picks. You can follow Marla on Twitter: MarlaSeidell. Dan Gunn is a painter and writer who has recieved both his degree here in Chicago at the School of the Art... [more]
Elementals   Pick-button-f22fa879042524f5c7b8d2278b2983b8
Walead Beshty, Adam Ekberg, Luisa Lambri, Hiroshi Sugimoto at Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA) June 13th, 2009 - October 4th, 2009
Posted 8/31/09
      On the second floor of Chicago’s Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA) is “Elements of Photography,” curated by Curatorial Assistant Michael Green.  This area of the MCA is usually reserved for smaller, “focus” type of shows as befits the minimal square footage of that gallery and this exhibition follows that trend.  Pulled from the museum’s permanent collection, the photographs on display, “focus on the elemental materials of nature: light and water. [Which are] also the fundamental... [more]
MP3 II   Pick-button-f22fa879042524f5c7b8d2278b2983b8
Curtis Mann, John Opera, Stacia Yeapanis at Museum of Contemporary Photography July 17th, 2009 - September 13th, 2009
Posted 8/31/09
      The three approaches to photography taken by the three photographers currently on view in the Museum of Contemporary Photography’s (MoCP) exhibition “MP3II” demonstrate the breadth of current practice, sometimes even spilling over into realms one may not consider wholly photographic. On view is work made in the tradition of American Transcendentalism (John Opera); work that addresses the conflicts in the Middle East (Curtis Mann); work that mines pop culture hits like Dawson’s Creek... [more]
-- Jill Frank's work chooses to visit the memories that we try to forget.  Abraham Ritchie, ArtSlant's city editor in Chicago, had the opportunity to get coffee with Frank a few days after the opening of her exhibition in the Museum of Contemporary Art's 12 x 12 Series.  Ritchie and Frank discussed her work, and the tense, sometimes hidden drama that lies behind it.  Frank has shown with GOLDEN gallery in Chicago and was  included in the Chicago Cultural Center's "Three Hours Between Planes,"... [more]
Utopia or Oblivion   Pick-button-f22fa879042524f5c7b8d2278b2983b8
Tomás Saraceno at Walker Art Center May 14th, 2009 - August 30th, 2009
Posted 8/7/09
Entering the gallery containing Tomás Saraceno’s “Lighter than Air” was like entering a laboratory, especially after the sober and spare galleries in “The Quick and the Dead.”  Barely contained in two galleries, Saraceno has created two environmentally-concerned installations, with an abundance of supporting apparatus leading to the lab-like feeling.  These installations dominate both rooms and their equipment sprawls out to the neighboring outdoor terrace to utilize wind and solar... [more]