Top 3 – Halloweenie

October 30, 2009 · Print This Article

This week you are getting a Top 3. Why? Well, do you want the truth or a lie? Too bad, this is what you get: these are the shows I think are absolutly worth going to this weekend. All three at new (in one way or another) spaces, and all three (we’ll ok, the first two, I don’t know anything about what is actually showing in the parking lot) feature awesome work. This is my chosen route, perhaps I’ll see you out there. If you see two people dressed like bats, I’m one of ‘em.

1) Means Without End at The Chicago Cultural Center

shannon

This is where I’m going tonight. Means Without End is an ongoing project by local photographer Shannon Benine. I’m pretty bad at describing work, so here’s a quote from the CPC website, “Means Without End, 2009 consists of hundreds of 10” x 10” unfolded photograms of peace cranes tiled together to form a large installation. The number of color analog photograms represents the number of American deaths in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan since the beginning of Operation Iraqi Freedom on March 19, 2003.” I’ve seen these things in real life, they’re friggin’ awesome. The opening reception is tonight, Friday, from 7-9pm.

The Chicago Photography Center is located at 3301 N. Lincoln Ave.

2. Stone on Stone at ebersmoore

ebersmoore

Formerly ebersb9, ebersmoore is featuring the work of Rob Carter for their first exhibition (their first exibition was actually the second half on and exhibition that opened at the old location, so I’m calling this their first). I went to the new space last week, it’s friggin’ beautiful, and I’m into this work. If you check out their website, be sure to wait for the video to load, then watch it. Opening reception is tonight, Friday, from 6-9pm.

ebersmoore is located at 213 N Morgan St., #3C

3. Helter Sculpture at Parking Space

heltersculpture

Ok, so this is totally not Parking Space’s image. I made it because I went to their site and all they had was a show card with text, and this image instantly popped into my head. Regardless, this is another new space (not sure if it’s even going to have a second show, seeing as it’s operating in a abandoned parking structure, or so they say), and I have no friggin idea what the work is going to look like. Take a chance, I bet it will at least be weird. Helter Sculpture is the curatorial project of Andrew Greene, E.J. Hill, and Matthew Schaffer, and is hosting a reception Saturday from 4-7pm.

Parking Space is located at 1448 N Leavitt St.

Top three Halloween Picks

October 30, 2009 · Print This Article

Guest post by Jen Gillespie

I am headed out of town for the Halloween weekend, a trip you will undoubtedly hear about next week. I am headed to Minneapolis to see Dan Graham speak at the Walker Art Center.  Though I am extremely excited about this mini-break holiday weekend I am experiencing some pangs of regret, or perhaps just longing for the things I will be missing out on in Chicago.  There are, as always far more things going on this weekend than any one person could hope to do, see, or experience.  Though Halloween is often a time for mischief, costumes, and toying with fear, my suggestions are all to do with participating, since Halloween is also a time to get out and be part of the community.

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Chicago Critical Mass If you have never been part of their monthly ride its likely you’ve at least seen them, the hundreds of cyclists clogging the streets that have come together to ride into the night… hard to miss.  The last Friday of every month bicyclists meet at daily plaza and ride throughout Chicago.  Critical Mass happens all over the world and Chicago’s turnout, especially for the ride this weekend, is definitely one to be a part of.  The Mass always has a tinge of a political presence that reminds the public to be aware of cyclists by presenting an army of bicyclists coming together in their shared passion and support for biking in whatever role it takes in individual lives and greater civic culture. This ride, the Halloween ride, each year though it is festive with the spirit of Halloween throughout the crowd, it is also a memorial to those that have been injured and killed in bicycle related accidents.  Everyone is welcome, costumes are encouraged, and the only thing you need is your bike.

5:30pm Friday, October 30

Chicago Critical Mass bike rides start from Daley Plaza, Dearborn & Washington at 5:30 pm on the last Friday of each month, regardless of season or weather. They are free and fun.

For more info:

http://chicagocriticalmass.org/about/newbiesPhotobucket

Neo-Futurarium- An Andersonville safe-haven for a unique experimental theater project that has been around Chicago for nearly 20 years. Built on such platforms as “just when you thought we couldn’t neuter anymore dogma” and “theater that signs your yearbook with a puffy silver pen and promises never to seduce your brother again.”

Neo- Futurists- A local theater collective best known for their production of Too Much Light Makes The Baby Go Blind: 30 Plays in 60 Minutes.  This fall they present their Halloween performance:

“Fear”

Last shows- Friday October 30th and Saturday October 31st 7:30 pm

Conceived and curated by Noelle Krimm.  The Neo-Futurists call this performance art tour “a thinking man’s haunted house.”   Comprised of vignettes including, but not limited to, one with a creepy serial killer about fetishes and violent impulses, to do with Edgar Allen Poe and all things terrifying.  As with all Neo-Futurist performances the ‘now’ is not evaded or ignored, they don’t go for the ‘suspension of disbelief’ gimmick. The Neo-Futurists’ ‘Fear’ should not be missed. At the Neo-Futurarium, 5153 N. Ashland Ave. $15; T: 773-275-5255

For more information about this show or others by the Neo-Futurists:

http://www.neofuturists.org

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National Museum of Mexican Art

Day of the Dead is this Monday November 2nd; every year this museum puts together a solid exhibition with a cultural education bent that is lovely.  I’ve been several times over the years, if you haven’t been, you should visit this year.

Camino a casa: Day of the Dead

Exhibition runs through December 13, 2009

Museum Hours 10 AM – 5 PM 
Tuesday – Sunday

The National Museum of Mexican Art’s 23rd annual Día de Muertos exhibition, the largest annual Day of the Dead exhibition in the Nation, featuring more than 20 artists from Mexico and the U.S., a special ofrenda (offering, usually made on or of an altar) created for Arturo Velasquez Sr. (1915-2009) and an ofrenda created by the acclaimed author Sandra Cisneros as a tribute to her parents.  The National Museum of Mexican Art is the largest Latino cultural organization in the country and the only Latino museum accredited by the American Association of Museums. The Museum is located at 1852 West 19th Street, Chicago, IL 60608 in the Pilsen neighborhood, adjacent to Little Village. Closed Mondays. Admission is FREE for exhibitions. Performing Art events are subject to ticketing. Donations are graciously accepted. Contact Phone 312.738.1503 Museum Hours 10 AM – 5 PM 
Tuesday – Sunday

For information on this exhibit:

http://www.nationalmuseumofmexicanart.org/dod09.html

I hope you have the very best Halloween, and if you can, try to support a local arts organization or participate in an event in your community in the process!

Liam Gillick: MCA, How Are You Going to Behave? A Kitchen Cat Speaks, Kafka

October 30, 2009 · Print This Article

Guest Post by Jen Gillespie

PhotobucketLast week I visited the Museum of Contemporary Art to see Liam Gillick’s near retrospective, which the MCA is calling a survey and is really sort of a sample, of Liam’s work. Titled Liam Gillick: Three perspectives and a short scenario. This work typifies his interest in social idealism, the interplay of architectural constraint on psychological conditions and playful imagery or colors to punctuate and sustain an exaggerated tension throughout the space of the installation.  The exhibit is up from October 10, 2009 – January 10, 2010. Though it is now old news, to an uncertain extent, Gillick’s project for the German Pavilion for the Venice Biennale is what I really wanted to share.  I am in love with this talking cat project. Titled, How Are You Going to Behave? A Kitchen Cat Speaks the installation of a cat atop a maze of cabinetry with audio of Gillick’s voice speaking as the cat.  The audio narrates a story of the speaking cat as the only one of its kind, it is both novel and wise.  It is a thing unlike anything else and so is able to cause a new social interaction, though that newness is both guiding and constrained the speaking cat is therefore limited and doomed to loose its first blush of novelty within the narrative of the hypothetical interplay of cat and society. Gillick’s reference to hybridity and fragment as well as the banal loneliness inherent to being the only of a kind and to serve no purpose other than as a cultural or social fulcrum reminds me of Kafka’s A Crossbreed (A Sport) a very short story starring a lambcat, its owner and some children.  I am intrigued by the similarities of the narratives so very relevant in their times of authorship yet separated by nearly a century.  I am struck by the repetition.  Check out Liam Gillick’s show at the MCA, this audio image of a Kitchen Cat that speaks and this very short story by Franz Kafka

Liam Gillick: Three perspectives and a short scenario

October 10, 2009 – January 10, 2010

http://www.mcachicago.org/exhibitions/exh_detail.php?id=193

Liam Gillick: How are you going to behave? A kitchen cat speaks

www.deutscher-pavillon.org image and audio

http://farimani.info/forum/?p=2724

http://www.lespressesdureel.com/EN/ouvrage.php?id=1608&menu=

A Crossbreed (A Sport)- Franz Kafka

http://www.serelsnauw.nl/users/marcel/kafka/acrossbreed.html

DOUBLE FANTASY @ Noble and Superior Projects

October 29, 2009 · Print This Article

Man, I love when the name of a gallery references where it is located. I mean, how convenient? Noble and Superior Projects had their first opening this past weekend with their show DOUBLE FANTASY featuring the work of Ivan Lozano and Kate Brock. The brand spanking new gallery is run by SAIC grad students Erin Nixon and Patrick Bobilin.

The space is an apartment that is not trying to be anything more than what it is. You enter through the kitchen. The show consists of an installation by Lozano and a small room of Brock’s photography. The installation is a projected video with sound, two circles on of video the wall, the bottom image falling onto a mirrored floor. The bottom is a male face, in agony or ecstasy, in extreme slow motion. The top image is more amorphous shapes, colors and patterns. The sound is repetitive and loud, like exceptionally unpleasant dance hall music. The piece is encompassing and engrossing, spilling off the wall onto the floor, changing the color of the entire space, with mesmerizing patterns. I couldn’t stop watching. Knowing a little bit of Lozano’s work, I understood the allusions to disco and could tease out the origins of the bottom face from some gay porn. However, because there wasn’t any literature available at the show, I think some of the subtleties that could have been enjoyed (where the footage came from, heck, even the title of the piece) were inaccessible.

Brock’s work was photography displayed in a small room off of the installation. There were four small black and white images, three slightly larger color, and four large color prints. They were all portraits of semi naked, thin, attractive people in various environments, sitting, standing, lounging, wearing brown paper bags to cover their heads. They are expertly executed portraits, visually stunning, with urban landscapes and intimate interior spaces as the backdrops. From the gallery website, the series (BAGHEAD, not sure why all caps) “highlights the shape of the body and forces the viewer to imagine each of her characters through the prism of an irreconcilable anonymity.” Well, yes. Because there is no face to connect your gaze, you are left looking at these people and their attractive bodies. I enjoy this idea of removing agency, and how the relationships between the characters are complicated by the lack of eye contact, in the series however it comes off as a sort of one-liner.

I did appreciate the dialog between Lozano’s work and Brock’s. There was delicate connection between where to place or locate the gaze in the photographic as well as an extreme emphasis on the gaze in the larger than life face in the installation. In the conversation between the work, Lozano’s work felt much more secure in a time and place (post-AIDS epidemic) while Brock’s work felt very contemporary it did not feel deeply attached to a history.

More so than the show itself, chatting with Nixon and Bobilin really excited me about the future of the space. They want to focus on two artists at a time; one working in a way that must be “experienced” (I’m thinking more video, installation, performance) and the other in a way that is able to be easily distributed. For this show, I got to take home a small photo of Brock’s work (packaged in a paper bag, no less). I think this could be a very dynamic experience, and with so many galleries or shows focused purely on one concept or the other, I am interested to see how this plan develops.

Noble and Superior Projects is located at 1418 W Superior St in Chicago, IL. They are open to the public Saturdays from 12-6 and monthly for openings. They can be contacted at nobleandsuperior (at) gmail.com

Acclaimed Photographer Roy DeCarava dies at 89

October 29, 2009 · Print This Article

Acclaimed photographer Roy DeCarava, known for his empathetic images of the everyday lives of African Americans in Harlem, died last Tuesday at the age of 89. From his obituary in the L.A. Times:
DeCarava (pronounced Dee-cuh-RAH-vah) photographed Harlem during the 1940s, ’50s and ’60s with an insider’s view of the subway stations, restaurants, apartments and especially the people who lived in the predominantly African American neighborhood.

He also was well known for his candid shots of jazz musicians — many of them taken in smoky clubs using only available light. Shadow and darkness became hallmarks of DeCarava’s style.

“Roy was one of the all-time great photographers,” Arthur Ollman, founding director of the Museum of Photographic Arts in San Diego, said in 2005. “His photographs provided a vision of African American life that members of the white fine art photography establishment could not have accessed on their own.”

DeCarava’s first major exhibit was at the Museum of Photographic Arts in San Diego in 1986. Ten years later, he was the subject of a one-man exhibit at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City.

“What’s extraordinary about the pictures is the way they capture his lyrical sense of life,” Jonathan Galassi, a curator at the Museum of Modern Art, said in a 1996 interview with ABC.

“You see pain, you see anger and you see an extraordinary quality of tenderness,” Galassi said in a separate interview with CBS.

You can also read John Sevigney’s tribute to de Carava this month in Guernica. I interviewed Mr. DeCarava many years ago for Artweek and was struck by his kind and gentle presence. May he rest in peace.
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Roy DeCarava, Nightfeeding, 1952

Roy DeCarava, Graduation, 1949

Roy DeCarava, Graduation, 1949

Roy DeCarava, Freedom.

Roy DeCarava, Mississippi Freedom Marcher, Washington, D.C., 1963