Mia DiMeo

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Switzerland’s Art Basel instated its sister show in Miami Beach in 2002 for its obvious merits-- seasonless sunshine and a prime location as the “Gateway to the Americas"--but the bulging week of fairs, parties and art events that now surrounds Art Basel Miami Beach owes much to a community of ambitious private collectors and their publicly available exhibition spaces that have shaped the city into a contemporary art capital. This new type of cultural institution that has sprung up in the last... [more]
Playfully Curious: Martin Creed at the MCA   Pick-button-f22fa879042524f5c7b8d2278b2983b8
Martin Creed at Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA) January 10th, 2012 - December 31st, 2012
Posted 11/28/12
Eleven months ago, Martin Creed started a year-long residency at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago (MCA) bringing monthly creative interventions to the non-gallery spaces in and around the building. During this time, work on display by Creed, cohesively called “Martin Creed Plays Chicago,” has ranged from the hard-to-miss neon marquis Work No. 1357 (MOTHERS) spinning in the museum’s front plaza, to a brand new four-track record by Creed and his band, CHICAGO (Work No.1370). The residency... [more]
Occult Identities   Pick-button-f22fa879042524f5c7b8d2278b2983b8
Ivan Lozano at Johalla Projects July 6th, 2012 - July 27th, 2012
Posted 7/10/12
Lozano’s installation plays with mysticism and ritual, but creates a more sinister altar, in a gallery that becomes a chapel of violent sexual imagery. This place feels far from heaven, glowing under red lights, it appears to be more like a psychedelic interpretation of hell. Raised in devoutly Catholic Mexico, Lozano uses enlarged pornographic photographs, cut out and mounted under Plexiglas to make up the Stations of the Cross. On one wall, grainy portraits of men, many with their mouths open... [more]
BOLT PROJECT SPACE: HOLD FAST and HATCH PROJECTS: THIS CAPTIVATING CULTURE at Chicago Artists' Coalition   Pick-button-f22fa879042524f5c7b8d2278b2983b8
Marty Burns, Cydney Lewis, Sandra Perlow at Chicago Artists' Coalition: HATCH Projects Space July 6th, 2012 - July 26th, 2012
Posted 7/10/12
A text about the Hatch Project residencies cites that the work by Cydney Lewis and Sandra Perlow is bound by the “rhythms and relationships associated with social interactions.” Isn’t everything these days? I don’t get the curatorial decision to show these two artists together, and Perlow’s bright abstractions are suffocated, almost literally, by too many of Lewis’ plastic bag sculptures. Lewis has a way with her materials, molding figures from recycled materials and wire into her attempt at... [more]
Guerrillas in the Midst   Pick-button-f22fa879042524f5c7b8d2278b2983b8
Guerrilla Girls at A+D Gallery March 1st, 2012 - April 21st, 2012
Posted 4/3/12
To paraphrase a dead white guy completely out of context, it’s the best of times and worst of times for American women today. Taking inspiration from the Occupy Movement, the Guerrilla Girls are Not Ready to Make Nice, and remind us that although the Mad Men era of discrimination might be gone, men still primarily hold the bulk of the world’s privilege, power and money. Riding on the social and institutional critique they started in the 1980s, the group of masked art-world players aren’t... [more]
Day is done.   Pick-button-f22fa879042524f5c7b8d2278b2983b8
Molly Zuckerman-Hartung at Corbett vs. Dempsey February 3rd, 2012 - March 17th, 2012
Posted 2/6/12
“It’s a mean humor, so it’s a critical joy. You know, it’s negative joy. But that’s art, I think—for me, at least.” Mike Kelley, describing to Art21 in 2005   Echoes of mourning for the late Mike Kelley, who died early last week in Los Angeles, were piling up in art columns and Facebook pages as Molly Zuckerman-Hartung’s show opened at Corbett vs. Dempsey, its title and timing, in her words, “a weird and sad and wonderful coincidence.” The emphatic paradox in Kelley’s phrase finds itself in... [more]
Unhinged   Pick-button-f22fa879042524f5c7b8d2278b2983b8
Corydon Cowansage, Aaron Delehanty, Brent Houston, Charles Mahaffee, MaryKate Maher, Ryan Richey at Hinge Gallery January 14th, 2012 - February 25th, 2012
Posted 1/15/12
Several new gallery spaces have materialized in Ukrainian Village and surrounding west side micro-hoods in the last year–good news for those of us that live nearby.Peanut Gallerymoved to the corner of Augusta Boulevard and California Avenue recently, giving their witty, slightly twisted program room to breathe under a pretty pressed tin ceiling.DEFIBRILLATOR, one of the few spaces in the city reserved for performance and other ephemeral art, is celebrating its first anniversary nearby stalwart... [more]
Top Five Art Events and More   Pick-button-f22fa879042524f5c7b8d2278b2983b8
Posted 12/26/11
1. The Essential New Art Examiner (Northern Illinois University Press, 2011)  For many, myself included, the name of this art criticism newspaper-turned-magazine (1973-2002) has floated around like a ghost trapped in some dusty library annex until this anthology materialized. Edited by Terri Griffith, Kathryn Born, and Janet Koplos, and released in November, the book is prompting discussion (and some drama) about Chicago criticism, past and present, the good ol’ days of print publishing, and... [more]
Intergalactic Botany   Pick-button-f22fa879042524f5c7b8d2278b2983b8
Eugene Von Bruenchenhein at Intuit: The Center for Intuitive and Outsider Art September 16th, 2011 - January 14th, 2012
Posted 11/27/11
In the Milwaukee home where Eugene Von Bruenchenhein spent much of his life creating multidisciplinary explorations of his fantasies, a plaque hung that thoroughly described his creative endeavors: “Freelance Artist, Poet and Sculptor, Inovator [sic], Arrow maker and Plant man, Bone artifacts constructor, Photographer and Architect, Philosopher.” After his death in 1983, the truth in Von Bruenchenhein’s mouthful of a title was left in an obsessive amount of media: including thousands of pen... [more]
All the Right Möves   Pick-button-f22fa879042524f5c7b8d2278b2983b8
Albert Oehlen at Corbett vs. Dempsey October 28th, 2011 - December 3rd, 2011
Posted 10/30/11
Painting is the zombie of the art world, and artists deal with this fact in two ways: they either run screaming towards other media, or embrace its exhausting tradition, accept the impossibility of killing it completely, and make work with the irreverent openness and plurality that it demands. Albert Oehlen has affection for the latter, having synthesized expressionism, abstraction, and collage with orphic, digital and typographic influences and appropriations in his long career. Emerging in... [more]
Brutally Modern   Pick-button-f22fa879042524f5c7b8d2278b2983b8
Bertrand Goldberg at The Art Institute of Chicago September 17th, 2011 - January 15th, 2012
Posted 10/10/11
Aptly timed, the Art Institute of Chicago’s “Bertrand Goldberg: The Architecture of Invention” aligns with the current fight to save one of the architect’s masterworks from demolition, Northwestern University’s Prentice Women’s Hospital, an issue that has been gaining attention nationally as part of a larger discussion on modernist architecture and its preservation. Goldberg’s first comprehensive retrospective, curated by Zoë Ryan and Alison Fisher, focuses on Marina Towers as a high point in... [more]
Culte Fiction   Pick-button-f22fa879042524f5c7b8d2278b2983b8
Rob Carter at ebersmoore September 9th, 2011 - October 8th, 2011
Posted 9/26/11
It’s early autumn, and soon the leaves will begin their colorful exit and puffy coats will cover the backs of Chicagoans until April. Inside EBERSMOORE, there's already a bramble of dried vines suspended on a platform, beneath a lamp that has managed to keep one area green. More engaging than its sculptural counterparts, the central piece of Rob Carter’s exhibition “Culte” is the eponymous nine-minute long high definition video of a plant’s life-cycle in reverse, complete with a soundtrack of... [more]
The Soviet Arts Experience   Pick-button-f22fa879042524f5c7b8d2278b2983b8
Posted 8/22/11
Spearheaded by the University of Chicago Presents, the Soviet Arts Experience is a collaborative effort across Chicago institutions to showcase Soviet art, music, dance and theater. Although events began in October of 2010, the bulk of the visual arts shows are happening in the next few months and include Northwestern University’s Block Museum, the Art Institute of Chicago, and several venues at the University of Chicago. Check out the website for a Soviet Arts Chronology, and a full event... [more]
Lost and Found at the Art Institute   Pick-button-f22fa879042524f5c7b8d2278b2983b8
Group Exhibition at The Art Institute of Chicago July 31st, 2011 - October 23rd, 2011
Posted 8/22/11
A stack of stamped and aged parcels sits in a Plexiglas case towards the midway point of the expansive “Windows on the War: Soviet TASS Posters at Home and Abroad, 1941-1945.” Sent by the U.S.S.R. Society of Cultural Relations with Foreign Countries to the Art Institute and other institutions in non-Communist countries in the 1940s, the parcels contained 157-stenciled posters made by the TASS media studio in Moscow, meant to gain support for the Soviet war effort and influence an... [more]
Short Fuze   Pick-button-f22fa879042524f5c7b8d2278b2983b8
Posted 8/15/11
Art fair, craft sale, street fest, busker stage, booze party, puppy park, cupcake sale—what is BUILT Festival? I still don’t know, but this “new art initiative” could have been so much more with so much less. Tristan J.M. Hummel’s resourceful idea to create a miniature city of temporary galleries in shipping containers is not conceptually far from his other contribution to Chicago art events, Art on Track, an annual occasion where he rents a CTA train and turns over the cars to artists he... [more]
Inside the Box   Pick-button-f22fa879042524f5c7b8d2278b2983b8
Joseph Cornell at Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA) June 18th, 2011 - October 16th, 2011
Posted 7/25/11
Joseph Cornell (1903-1972) was an American Surrealist, well-known for his imaginative boxes, sculptural environments with interior assemblages that may include birds, shells, and collaged or appropriated images along with other ephemera. Large holdings of these are owned by the Art Institute of Chicago and the Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA), and the boxes mark an important halfway point between modern aesthetics, like collage and found object sculpture, and more contemporary concepts. In... [more]
Notes on Gloria   Pick-button-f22fa879042524f5c7b8d2278b2983b8
Jennifer Allora, Guillermo Calzadilla at La Biennale di Venezia (Venice Biennale) June 4th, 2011 - November 27th, 2011
Posted 6/6/11
Olympic medalists could help the U.S. win another kind of gold—the Golden Lion prize for best National Pavilion at this year’s Venice Biennale—as part of the multimedia performance, sculpture, video, and sound exhibition by Puerto Rico-based conceptualists Jennifer Allora and Guillermo Calzadilla. There was some surprise when the pair was chosen to be the U.S. representatives for 2011, following the recent big-name artists, including the posthumous presentation of work by Felix Gonzalez-Torres... [more]
Venice Biennale in Chicago   Pick-button-f22fa879042524f5c7b8d2278b2983b8
at The Italian Cultural Institute of Chicago June 4th, 2011 - September 16th, 2011
Posted 6/6/11
After the opening of the 54th Venice Biennale last week, there was a rush of reviews, tweets, and party pics that reverberated across the Atlantic to those of us not seeing the mega-exhibition firsthand. In Chicago, Italian nationalism was as plentiful as the prosecco at the opening of “A Sense of Place,” one of eighty-nine Venice Biennale satellite exhibitions, organized by the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs in celebration of the 150th anniversary of the unification of Italy.  Art by... [more]
People aren’t ditching their MP3 players (yet), but sales of vinyl records are at their highest point since the early 1990s, increasing 14% since 2009.  On April 16th, National Record Store Day celebrates vinyl and the independent music stores around the country that carry the format—with in-store performances, exclusive vinyl (and CD) releases, re-releases, and compilations. Chicago has a long list of venues and events going on during the holiday, but local label named the Numero Group has the... [more]
No Joke for Kathryn Hixson   Pick-button-f22fa879042524f5c7b8d2278b2983b8
Andy Cahill, Alan and Michael Fleming, Yasi Ghanbari, Danny Greene, Joe Grimm, Marissa Perel, Aaron David Ross, and Michael Vallera. at LVL3 Gallery April 2nd, 2011 - April 30th, 2011
Posted 4/4/11
Chicago art critic, teacher, and mentor Kathryn Hixson was writing her dissertation on comedic aggression in art of the 1970s when she died suddenly in November of last year. As a student in what was her last contemporary art criticism class, I can vouch for the fact that her sharp tongue, quick wit, and infectious energy will be missed. What I appreciated most of all about Kathryn is that—as serious as she was about art in both writing and life—she wouldn’t have thought twice about bouncing on... [more]
A Long-Expired Bacchanal   Pick-button-f22fa879042524f5c7b8d2278b2983b8
Jeanne Dunning at Donald Young Gallery February 18th, 2011 - April 9th, 2011
Posted 3/7/11
Since the late 1980s, Chicago photographer and filmmaker Jeanne Dunning has used abstraction and other techniques to transform objects, the body, and food into something deceitfully grotesque, in a style akin to Edward Weston’s famous pepper. In her new work at the Donald Young Gallery, Dunning arranges classical still lifes of ripe fruits and vegetables on dark, rich-looking drapery and then waits, leaving the transformation up to nature, and photographing the decay. The main gallery space... [more]
Inland Steel Building   Pick-button-f22fa879042524f5c7b8d2278b2983b8
Posted 2/14/11
Coming up the stairs from the Blue Line subway stop, don’t let the Inland Steel Building (built 1954-58) blur into the skyscape of bad postmodern corporate glass office buildings. Looking as fresh architecturally as it does, it’s hard to believe that the structure has sat on the corner of Madison and Dearborn for a little over half of a century.   Bruce Graham and Walter Netsch of the Skidmore, Owings & Merrill architecture firm designed the office building that is exemplary of... [more]
Bless this Mess   Pick-button-f22fa879042524f5c7b8d2278b2983b8
Edie Fake, Forced into Femininity, Robin Hustle, Lee Relvas at Gallery 400 January 18th, 2011 - March 12th, 2011
Posted 2/14/11
Gallery 400’s exhibition “Bless this Mess” grapples with questions surrounding the queer identity and its interconnection to feminism and do-it-yourself culture. Named for the cutesy-grandma phrase found in craft projects and needlepoint around the Midwest and elsewhere, “Bless this Mess” is an intimate show with a collaborative spirit and the artwork is similarly simultaneously playful and sincere. The community of artists and performers, mostly Chicago-based, work in radically different... [more]
History: Slightly off the beaten path at 1002 N. California Ave., the space was originally a movie theater between 1912-18, but closed down because of the “killer flu epidemic at the end of World War I.” After that, it reopened as the California Clipper Tavern in the late 1930s. The ambiance is made by late-Deco features, like the curvy wooden bar and crimson lighting that falls somewhere between horror movie and whorehouse. Red vinyl booths, each with their own strange landscape paintings,... [more]
108 Years Later   Pick-button-f22fa879042524f5c7b8d2278b2983b8
Jitish Kallat at The Art Institute of Chicago September 11th, 2010 - September 12th, 2011
Posted 1/31/11
--Excerpt from a speech delivered by Swami Vivekananda on September 11, 1893 at the First World’s Parliament of Religions in Chicago Almost five months ago, Jitish Kallat and his crew installed Public Notice 3 on the risers of the Grand Staircase in the Art Institute of Chicago. The piece is a large-scale installation with the words from Swami Vivekananda’s full address spelled out in bright LED lights. It will remain on view until May, marking the Indian artist’s first major project in an... [more]
isn’t merely a romanticized portrait of singer and songwriter Stephin Merritt; a brilliant curmudgeon, curled up in a dark gay bar in New York City, anxiously scribbling clever rhymes his Moleskine notebook. Nor is it a comprehensive look at the twenty year-plus catalog of his main project, the Magnetic Fields. This documentary, shot over the past decade, manages to get as close to an intimate look at Merritt’s creative process and the breadth of his accomplishments as can be expected given... [more]
Misery and Its Company   Pick-button-f22fa879042524f5c7b8d2278b2983b8
Llly McElroy at Thomas Robertello Gallery December 10th, 2010 - January 29th, 2011
Posted 1/17/11
Misery and the company it loves converge beneath a cobalt stained glass window that reads, “2009 Was A Rough Year.” Brooklyn-based artist Lilly McElroy created the custom window at the Thomas Robertello Gallery as a kind of banner for her installation, a hanging declarative statement dressed up like a reverential church mosaic. Spotlit, the window's colors bleed onto a nearby wall in a marbled reflection, and the text is lost completely. For a second it feels like a sacred space for memories... [more]
Buying Art as a Gift   Pick-button-f22fa879042524f5c7b8d2278b2983b8
Posted 12/13/10
        In December of 1961, the pioneering art dealer of the 20th century, Leo Castelli, replied to an apologetic letter from Chicago collector Peter B.  Bensinger.  “Fine art is expensive but the desire to own it is not,” he wrote, addressing Bensinger’s enthusiastic consideration but ultimate decision to decline purchasing a Robert Rauschenberg painting. Mr. Castelli’s sentiment resonates with particular clarity amidst the season of buying and giving, in an economy still spooked from... [more]
Gray Area   Pick-button-f22fa879042524f5c7b8d2278b2983b8
at The Art Institute of Chicago September 25th, 2010 - January 2nd, 2011
Posted 11/22/10
          There’s been lots of static in the art world recently about the issue of private collections being exhibited by museums. Los Angeles Times art critic Christopher Knight has been one of the most vocal, calling out institutions on their presentations of these “vanity shows.” On his “Modern Art Notes” blog, respected art critic Tyler Green has passionately objected to this practice as well.  Green has repeatedly called these exhibits “improper,” specifically taking to task the Los... [more]
Abhorrence and Fascination   Pick-button-f22fa879042524f5c7b8d2278b2983b8
Posted 10/12/10
          Looking at a foggy Luc Tuymans painting requires excavation. It takes careful uncovering of his source images and the narrative behind each work to see the abstracted banalities and quiet images of evil he chooses to paint. Before his major retrospective opened at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago (MCA) I had seen just a few paintings by Tuymans; distinctively muted in color, unframed, with unusual horizontal brushwork. Conceived in interrelated, thematic groups, the... [more]
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