THE INDEPENDENT VOICE OF THE VISUAL ARTS
September/October 2017 (July/August issue PDF is available on our Archive page.)
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Special Section: CHICAGO ARCHITECTURE BIENNIAL 2017
Sept./Oct. Print Edition Cover
Chicago Architecture Biennial
Wants to “Make New History”
by Tom Mullaney
The Chicago Cultural Center, normally home to the magnificent Tiffany Dome, the Story Corps booth, impressive art exhibits, tours for domestic and foreign visitors and everyday Chicagoans taking a break in the day, will be transformed starting on September 16th into a large Lego stage for architects. …
Behind the Biennial Curtain: A Conversation
with Mark Lee, the Co-Artistic Director
Tom Mullaney: I’m curious about how you and Sharon (Johnston) arrived at the number of 141 participants in the Biennial. There are, if I’m not mistaken, 22 repeat participants who also appeared in the 2015 Biennial.
Mark Lee: On the selection process, I’d say there were three separate approaches we used in arriving at the list. I would say most were based on our knowledge of their work and which ones we felt would fit our criteria and sit well within the Biennial. …
“NO SMALL PLANS” Revisited
by Nathan Worcester
… No Small Plans, a new graphic novel comprising three main stories set in the past, present, and future of Chicago, explores the sublime within human reach, posing a not-so-simple question: Who gets to choose what the city will become? …
Exploring the Second City’s Underrated Spaces with the Chicago Architecture Biennial’s Local Participants
By Leo Shaw
… for every modern masterpiece, Chicago has another piece of great architecture that remains relatively obscure. The city offers an abundance of interesting buildings and spaces that reward anyone curious enough to look closely. We asked a group of Chicago Architecture Biennial participants to pick their favorites and compiled their answers’ into this guide to Chicago’s lesser-known architectural gems. …
Amanda Williams’ Dual Architectural Critiques
by Aniko Berman
Two years ago, Amanda Williams presented her seminal project Color(ed) Theory (2014-2016) during the 2015 Chicago Architecture Biennial. A native of Auburn-Gresham, Williams used the landscape of Chicago’s South Side as her canvas.
Mining the Immersive at documenta 14
by Evan Carter
Art enthusiasts flock to Kassel, Germany every four years to take the temperature of contemporary art and be among the first to witness “the new,” art ideas that could well become the flash points for future exhibitions and theoretical debate. The curators invest a lot of time and energy into seeking out the chosen artists. …
With Anxiety and Justice for All
Rashid Johnson: Hail We Now Sing Joy
by Nicholas Frank
Are we Americans passive, idle witnesses to the rush of events, powerless to change things, or can we mere citizens actively shape the future of our cities, our states, our nation? In the context of the recent presidential election and its roiling aftermath, Rashid Johnson’s Anxious Audiences look like they might be cringing at the after-effects of refusing to participate. …
Soils, Seeds, and Sprouts: Tropical and Temperate
Artwork by Sharon Bladholm
by Bruce Thorn
Chicago’s Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum might not be on the art crowd circuit but it has turned out to be an almost perfect environment for artist Sharon Bladholm to exhibit her work. …
Slug Body Poesis
Manal Kara at Boyfriends
By Stevie Hanley
100% Acid Hoes Against Empire and Capital is a show of entirely leather artworks by longtime ceramicist Manal Kara currently up at Boyfriends Chicago. Although, known for her strange semi-functional ceramic vessels, Manal Kara has long had a not so secret parallel practice of leather working for the BDSM community under the label White Worm. …
Robert Pioch: Portraits
by Michel Ségard
In late July, I visited Sidewinder Gallery. It had a group show up called Pollinate, and the work of one artist caught my eye. That was the work of Robert Pioch, a young watercolor artist who does portraits of ordinary people. On the surface, this is not so remarkable. But this young man’s technical skill at handling such a difficult medium caught my attention. And I returned a few days later to look at the work more carefully. …
Weegee, New York’s Johnny-on-the-Spot Photog
by Tom Mullaney
… Weegee was indefatigable in always being Johnny-on-the-Spot at any crime scene, fire, car crash or high society spectacle. He covered it all. His big box camera and oversize flash got the shot editors wanted. He wrote about one of his jobs: “A check from LIFE: two murders, thirty-five dollars. LIFE pays $5 a bullet. One stiff had 5 bullets in him and the other had two.” His fame climbed to where he became a one-name phenomenon as he is known to this day. …