Alicia Chester

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  I met up with Leila Nadir and Cary Peppermint at Equal Grounds, a cafe in Rochester’s South Wedge neighborhood, on an unusually sunny winter day. While I opted for coffee, Nadir and Peppermint are serious tea drinkers and brought their own special blend. Longtime partners in life and art, together they form EcoArtTech, a new media collaborative dedicated to exploring the environmental imagination through blurring the boundaries of natural, built, and technological spaces. Drawing on diverse... [more]
An Overdue Retrospective   Pick-button-f22fa879042524f5c7b8d2278b2983b8
Faith Wilding at Threewalls January 10th, 2014 - February 22nd, 2014
Posted 1/17/14
At first look, exhibits surprising choices for Faith Wilding’s first retrospective. Best known as a performance and installation artist and writer involved with feminist art collectives, Wilding has firmly secured her place in the canon of the feminist art movement. Having studied with Judy Chicago in the Feminist Art Program – first at California State University, Fresno, and then at CalArts – she subsequently participated in Womanhouse (1971–1972), in which she performed her provocative and... [more]
Wafaa Bilal recently visited Chicago to give the opening night lecture and present Technoviking (2013) at Rapid Pulse, an international performance art festival hosted by DEFIBRILLATOR gallery in June 2013. I know Bilal from his days in Chicago as a hardworking graduate student in Art and Technology Studies at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. We caught up after his lecture at Rapid Pulse, and, appropriately enough to his work, we conducted this interview on video chat soon... [more]
Domestica Dentata: A Tyranny of Details   Pick-button-f22fa879042524f5c7b8d2278b2983b8
Daniel Bauer at Alderman Exhibitions April 27th, 2013 - July 20th, 2013
Posted 5/3/13
Daniel Bauer’s photographs are hard to write about. His images are not easily encapsulated by description. I can more easily relate the experience of viewing them, which is slow and contemplative, or, in Michael Fried’s terminology, absorptive. These are self-contained worlds wholly manifest in every moment, in every detail, yet they also take time––the duration of exposure and the duration of viewing. I could say Bauer employs a modernist sensibility, in the sense that he explores and exploits... [more]
The Sahmat Collective: Politics and Performance in India   Pick-button-f22fa879042524f5c7b8d2278b2983b8
Manjeet Bawa, Atul Dodiya, Subodh Gupta, Zarina Hashmi, Rummana Husain, Bharti Kher, Nalini Malani, Pushpamala N., Gigi Scaria, nilima sheikh, Vivan Sundaram at Smart Museum of Art, University of Chicago February 14th, 2013 - June 9th, 2013
Posted 3/21/13
Mounted on a red wall, a large black-and-white photograph of a funeral procession carrying a coffin draped in a hammer and sickle flag greets visitors to The Sahmat Collective: Art and Activism in India since 1989. This striking first visual and the room that follows set the premise and tone of the exhibition with plentiful wall text, reading materials, and documentation to supplement and contextualize the work to come. The exhibition introduces an American audience to an Indian art collective... [more]
Climate of Uncertainty   Pick-button-f22fa879042524f5c7b8d2278b2983b8
Marissa Benedict, Edward Burtynsky, Terry Evans, Allison Grant, Sonja Hinrichsen, Chris Jordan, Maskull Lasserre, Marilyn Propp, Sabrina Raaf, Christina Seely, Daniel Shea, Toshio Shibata at DePaul Art Museum January 10th, 2013 - March 24th, 2013
Posted 2/7/13
Climate of Uncertainty at the DePaul Art Museum is one of the latest iterations of a timely and increasingly surveyed theme in contemporary art and exhibitions: climate change. Featuring twelve artists and occupying both floors of the museum, the exhibition operates under the premise that artists engaging environmental issues in their work have the power to challenge, inspire, and instigate viewers to action. The educational and activist impulse evident throughout the space is most apparent at... [more]
Observer Effect   Pick-button-f22fa879042524f5c7b8d2278b2983b8
Jessica Hyatt, Steffani Jemison, Jochen Lempert, John O'Connor, Steve Roden, Jorinde Voigt at Gallery 400 January 18th, 2013 - March 9th, 2013
Posted 1/24/13
In science, the “observer effect” refers to the phenomenon that the act of observation itself changes the subject of observation. Quantum mechanics goes a step further and takes for granted that a system cannot be observed without also being changed. The solution is to consider the observer as part and parcel of the system. Observer Effect, curated by artist Carrie Gundersdorf and Gallery 400 director Lorelei Stewart, tests the hypothesis that artistic practices are analogous to scientific... [more]
Simply put, Chicago won big in 2012. The conglomerate of motley activities comprising the city’s art scene, so artist-driven and local in flavor, is gaining recognition nationwide: experimental curatorial models, innovative arts organizations, often-ephemeral alternative spaces and apartment galleries, its tradition of the interdisciplinary artist/writer/curator, and above all, emphasis on community. Possibly because of the continuation of the seemingly never-ending recession, Chicago’s... [more]
I met IAIN BAXTER& at the McDonald’s near The University of Windsor’s School of Visual Arts in Ontario, about a four-&-a-half hour drive southwest of Toronto. He wore a black t-shirt printed with the phrase “MASTURBATING LIFE MAKES ART,” a black baseball cap with an embroidered ampersand, & a Canon G12 camera around his neck. BAXTER& has lived in Windsor – directly across the U.S. border from Detroit – since he took a position at the university in 1988, where he is now an... [more]
Concrete Metaphors: Soviet Modernist Architecture   Pick-button-f22fa879042524f5c7b8d2278b2983b8
Richard Pare at Graham Foundation October 11th, 2012 - February 16th, 2013
Posted 10/16/12
While the third floor of the Prairie-style Madlener House slowly filled for the opening talk of his solo exhibition at the Graham Foundation, Richard Pare screened a video he shot of a Russian industrial bakery in continuous operation since the early 1930s. For almost twenty years now, Pare has extensively documented modernist Soviet architecture built between 1922 and 1932, subsequent to the Russian Revolution of 1917 that overthrew Tsarist autocracy and made way for the establishment of the... [more]
Dawoud Bey is a pillar of the photography community in Chicago. Starting his career in Harlem in the 1970’s, he moved to Chicago in 1998. His works of portraiture seek to represent the Black community in a positive light counter to an American photographic history centered on victimization, cruelty and objectification. Bey recently concluded two exhibitions in Chicago, Dawoud Bey: Harlem, U.S.A. at the Art Institute of Chicago and Dawoud Bey: Picturing People at the Renaissance Society at the... [more]
EXPO CHICAGO Photography Preview   Pick-button-f22fa879042524f5c7b8d2278b2983b8
at EXPO CHICAGO September 19th, 2012 - September 23rd, 2012
Posted 9/19/12
The inaugural EXPO CHICAGO aims to reestablish the city as a premier international art fair destination, taking place in the same location its predecessor of many years, Art Chicago, had inhabited until 1991. Endeavoring to attract the attention of the international art scene, exhibitor highlights include such high profile photographers as Gordon Parks, presented by the Weinstein Gallery (Minneapolis) and the Gordon Parks Foundation, and László Moholy-Nagy, presented by Annely Juda Fine Art... [more]
Afterimage   Pick-button-f22fa879042524f5c7b8d2278b2983b8
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... [more]
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