TOP V. WEEKEND PICKS (9/29-10/5)

September 29, 2016 · Print This Article

Let’s consider our relationship with the recent past as it changes into something to ask about, something that’s reducible, relatable, and metaphorical. Let’s consider how it can be found so easily on the walls of a space that has been designed just for the purpose of its understanding. Let’s also consider the objects that we share in time and the ephemeral whimsy that transforms them into something more and different than what they once were. Let’s consider the Top V.


1. Concrete Traffic Procession

September 30, 2016, 12-4PM
Participating Artists Include: Wolf Vostell and Dick Higgins
Starting at the Museum of Contemporary Art: 220 East Chicago Avenue Chicago, IL 60611


2. Focusing (Vol. II)

October 1, 2016, 3-6PM
Work by: Alejandro T. Acierto
Corner: 2912 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago, IL 60618



September 30, 2016, 6-8PM
Work by: Philip Mallory Jones
Dorchester Art + Housing Collaborative: 1456 E 70th St, Chicago, IL 60637


4.  Coming in from the North

September 30, 2016, 9-11PM
Work by: Joan Dickinson and Mildred Hood
Audible Gallery at Experimental Sound Studio: 5925 N Ravenswood Ave, Chicago 60660


5.  Five Takes on Tseng Kwong Chi

October 1, 2016, 2-5PM
Work by: Rashayla Marie Brown, Leonard Surajaya, Josh Takano Chambers-Letson, Jessica Winegar, and Janet Dees
Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art: 40 Arts Circle Drive, Evanston, IL 60208


Hey Chicago, submit your events to the Visualist here:


September 1, 2016 · Print This Article

1. Institutional Garbage


September 1, 2016, 7-9PM
Participating Artists Include: Alberto Aguilar, Brit Barton, Mara Baker, Kevin Blake, Zippora Elders, Rami George, David Hall, Josh Rios and Anthony Romero,  Michal Samana, Naqeeb Stevens, Tina Tahir, Anna Martine Whitehead; writers: Lise Haller Baggessen, Daniel Borzutzky, Isaiah Dufort, Patrick Durgin, Tricia van Eck, Jane Lewty, Jill Magi, Nam Chi Nguyen, Rowland Saifi, Suzanne Scanlon, Mia You and Maarten van der Graaf with Fiep van Bodegom and Obe Alkema; & curators: David Ayala-Alfonso, Britton Bertran, Rashayla Marie Brown, Every house has a door, Lucia Fabio, João Florêncio, Stevie Greco, Jeanine Hofland, Renan Laru-an, La Keisha Leek, Sofia Lemos and Vincent van Velsen. Online Exhibition Design: Pouya Ahmadi.
Sector 2337: 2337 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago, IL, 60647


2. The Driftless Region


September 3, 2016, 6-9PM
Work by: Lindsey Dezman
Roman Susan: 1224 W. Loyola Avenue, Chicago, IL 60626


3. Cao Fei: Visitng Artists Program Lecture


September 1, 2016, 6-7:30PM
The Art Institute of Chicago, Rubloff Auditorium: 230 S Columbus Dr, Chicago, IL 60603


4.  EverythingAfterNever


September 3, 2016, 6-9PM
Work by: Matt Nichols
free range: 3257 W Lawrence Ave, Chicago, IL 60625


Hey Chicago, submit your events to the Visualist here:

TOP V. WEEKEND PICKS (7/14-7/20)

July 14, 2016 · Print This Article

1. I Envy the Kangaroos

July 16, 2016, 7-8:30PM
Work by: Maritea Dæhlin
DfbrL8r: 1463 W Chicago Ave, Chicago, IL 60642


2. Post Black Folk Art in America 1930-1980-2016

July 15, 2016, 5:30-8:30PM
Curated by Faheem Majeed
Intuit: The Center for Intuitive and Outsider Art: 756 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago, IL 60642


3. Can the Spectator Speak?


July 15, 2016, 5-8PM
Work by: Rashayla Marie Brown
Aspect/Ratio: 119 N Peoria Street #3D, Chicago, IL 60607


4. Longissimus Dorsi


July 15, 2016, 6PM
Work by: Alex Leasure, Charlie Kelman, Isabelle Frances McGuire, Madison Jane Brotherton, Parker Bright, Rose Pettuls, and Wei Shen
4e Gallery: 2255 S Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60616


5. Terrible Place


July 15, 2016, 8-11PM
Work by: Nick Mayer, Antoinette Suiter, and Luiso Ponce (writing by Phoebe Wang)
Samuel: 1917 W Division St., Chicago, IL 60622


Our strength and our dignity resides in one another so please participate, please listen for those with no voice, and please speak until all of us can be heard.

Freedom Dreams Artists Talk + Performance


July 14, 2016, 7PM
Work by: Eve Ewing, Fereshteh HT, Sherwin Ovid, Damon Locks
Pop Up Just Art Gallery: 729 W Maxwell St, Chicago, IL 60612


Fellowship: Solidarity


July 14, 2016, 6:30PM – 9:30PM
Mana Contemporary: 2233 S Throop St, Chicago, IL 60608

Brought to you by Threewalls, in partnership with Hyde Park Art Center, Hyde Park Jazz Festival, Links Hall, MANA Contemporary, Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, and Woman Made Gallery


Lucky Pierre’s Precarity Happy Hour

July 14, 2016, 5PM – 7PM
Gallery 400: 400 S Peoria St, Chicago IL, 60607

Top 5 Weekend Picks! (7/17-7/19)

July 16, 2015 · Print This Article

1. Hot Slice at Zolla/Lieberman Gallery


Curated by Liz Nielsen and Carolina Wheat, with work by Aaron Johnson, Alyse Ronayne, Angelina Gualdoni, Annie Ewaskio, April Childers, Brian Andrew Whiteley, Christian Sampson, Clive Murphy, Jeremy Couillard, Justin Davis Anderson, Livia Corona Benjamin, Liz Nielsen, Mike Schreiber, Monica Lorraine Bernal, Stacie Johnson and Yevgenia S. Bara.

Zolla/Lieberman Gallery is located at 325 W. Huron St. Reception Friday, 5-8pm.

2. Uncommon Commonalities at Aspect/Ratio

Screen Shot 2015-07-16 at 11.54.07 AM

Curated by Sandy Guttman and Jeroen Nelemans, with work by Einat Amir, Guy Ben-Ner, Rashayla Marie Brown, Glen Fogel and Desirée Holman.

Aspect/Ratio is located at 119 N. Peoria St. Reception Friday, 5-8pm.

3. Ivory Anthropologie at Corbett vs. Dempsey


Work by Cauleen Smith.

Corbett vs. Dempsey is located at 1120 N. Ashland Ave. Reception Saturday, 6-8pm.

4. Porn Again Vol.2 – A$$Mutation at The Learning Machine


Work by Sofia Moreno.

The Learning Machine is located at 3145 S. Morgan St. Reception Friday, 7-10pm.

5. Orients at The Chicago Urban Art Society


Work by Gregory Bae.

The Chicago Urban Art Society is located at 3636 S. Iron St. Reception is Friday, 6:30-9pm.

Exhibition Review: “Mythologies” at SAIC’s Sullivan Galleries

December 14, 2012 · Print This Article

Upon entering the exhibition space of “Mythologies,” an excellent showing of artwork produced by six young artists at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago’s Sullivan Galleries, the eye is almost instinctually drawn to the bold, blood red palette of Rashayla Marie Brown‘s video installation “Puro Teatro (Coming to Theatres).” Projected large upon the far wall of the gallery, the single-shot, still-frame video elegantly documents what appears to be the meditative staging of a soon to occur evocation. Brown’s hands extend from beyond the frame to light three white votive candles placed in a triangular formation on the red surface, later joined by the slow setting of a steel incense burner, rosary beads, and the black winding cord of a microphone. The video is accompanied by the tune “Puro Teatro,” meaning ‘pure theatre,’ performed by Latin soul and salsa singer La Lupe in the 1960s. La Lupe was a known practicer of Santería at the time of the song’s recording, and the romantic drama of her singing coupled with the ritualistic imagery Brown has produced certainly evokes the sensation of saints being summoned.

Installation View, "Mythologies." From L to R: Black Motif by Cameron Welch, All American (Banner Series) by Alexandria Eregbu, and Puro Teatro (Coming to Theatres) & Pomba Gira (Deja Vu) by Rashayla Marie Brown

Installation View, “Mythologies.” From L to R: Black Motif by Cameron Welch, All American (Banner Series) by Alexandria Eregbu, and Puro Teatro (Coming to Theatres) & Pomba Gira (Deja Vu) by Rashayla Marie Brown

Indeed, preceding the video spatially are three artworks intent on making explicit the theme organizing the included artworks altogether: a contemporary consideration, and continuation, of black aesthetics from a political, art-historically informed subject-position. “Black Motif,” a 7 by 6.5 foot mixed-media painting on cotton by Cameron Welch, features a golden, protruding mask in the style of African ancestral objects (or commercial knock-offs thereof) surrounded by layered, clashing colors and patterns of different kente cloths that the artist has painted asymmetrically into a patchwork composition. Neighboring the painting is “All American (Banner Series)” by Alexandria Eregbu, a triptych of bedazzled vinyl wall-hangings heralding famed contemporary black artists Kara Walker, Kehinde Wiley, and Mickalene Thomas as though they are college sports stars. Mirroring these works is “Pomba Gira (Deja Vu),” an installation by Brown replicating the aesthetic of her aforementioned video in three dimensional form, but instead featuring a vinyl LP copy of Beyonce and Jay-Z’s hit song “Deja Vu” suspended over two self-portraits the artist intentionally produced in the style of Lorna Simpson.

L to R: Cameron Welch, Mispelled Agression (one of two in the series), 2012, and Christina A. Long, Miss Jessie's Exuberant Hues & Henry Just a Hater, 2012

L to R: Cameron Welch, Mispelled Agression (one of two in the series), 2012, and Christina A. Long, Miss Jessie’s Exuberant Hues & Henry Just a Hater, 2012

Images of earlier, though none too far gone, eras permeate throughout “Mythologies.” Elsewhere in the exhibition, Welch paints black and white appropriated civil rights era imagery for the diptych “Misspelled Aggression,” hanging the companion artworks across from one another like mirror images. Scrawling the words ‘nigga please’ over a photorealistic rendering of civil rights leader Stokely Carmichael mid-speech, and the words ‘nigger police’ over an image of attack dogs being used against black protestors in the 1963 Birmingham, AL, “race riots;” Welch’s large-scale paintings of bold aggression (both state-sponsored and grass-roots resistant) make enormous and unavoidable the persistent issue of racial violence and the failures of binary ‘riot vs. revolution’ understanding. Photographer David Alekhuogie similarly investigates the mediation of racial violence, but with more of a critical orientation towards the marketing and mass-manufacture of stereotyped black male aggression. In a stunning photo simply titled “Beef,” Alekhuogie places a super-sized McDonald’s cheeseburger (and Monopoly themed bag) at the center of two posters hanging on a deep blue bedroom wall, one of Notorious B.I.G. and the other featuring Tupac as the star of the 1992 gangsta film Juice. The work produces a thoughtful visual metaphor for the corporate profiteering of engineered black-on-black violence. In the exhibition’s most contemporary reference, Alekhuogie places a mass-produced ceramic head labeled ‘Africa, Cameroon’ purchased from a local art supply store, featuring generically racialized facial characteristics, within a pale grey hoodie now indissociable from the image of Trayvon Martin for a photograph the artist provocatively titles “Self Portrait (Africa, Cameroon).”

David Alekhuogie, Beef, 2012

David Alekhuogie, Beef, 2012

It is a compelling commingling of artworks: expansive in its time-lapsing pastiche of (art-)historical and pop-cultural references, polymorphous in its inclusivity of art forms (video, painting, textile, photography) typically segregated museologically. Additionally, “Mythologies” adds an interesting, youthful dimension to conversations currently about the importance and relevancy of identity-themed group exhibitions at a time when post-structural criticality and neoliberal pipe-dreams of being ‘post-whatever‘ threatens to make irrelevant concerns over specific authorship. This is particularly so in the wake of the much maligned New York Times review of “Now Dig This! Art & Black Los Angeles 1960-1980” at MoMA PS1 by critic Ken Johnson, who reductively oversimplifies the insurgent artistic strategies of assemblage (while assuming it to be an exclusively white tradition) and insipidly criticizes a portion of that show for perceived failures in the Modernist ideal of universal aesthetic communication, as though that’s the primary artistic motivation behind producing (and promoting), for instance, gnarly, gorgeous, challenging artworks made with detritus collected from the Watts Rebellion.

Alexandria Eregbu, All American (Banner Series), 2012

Alexandria Eregbu, All American (Banner Series), 2012

What the content of “Mythologies” seem to be suggesting, instead, is that the formation of group exhibitions linked to the theme of identity offers a powerful means by which to outline, preserve, contextualize, build upon, and (as this exhibition especially makes clear) assert one’s own artwork as participating within a specific aesthetic lineage. This is, perhaps, why Beyonce and Jay-Z’s “Deja Vu” on vinyl (something contemporary being delivered through the media of an earlier era) makes for such an ample metaphor within Brown’s Lorna Simpson-quoting installation, and for the entire exhibition furthermore. It is why Welch’s and Alekhuogie’s respective aesthetic investigations of the evolving mass-mediation of racial violence transcend disciplinarity. It is also why the tongue-in-cheek cheeriness of Eregbu’s banners feels so sincere, if also abundantly fan-girl self aware. The works seem produced as knowing, generative gestures of willful apprenticeship derived from self-tailored canons of influence made available and immediate, at last.

Mythologies,” featuring the work of David Alekhuogie, Rashayla Marie Brown, Alexandria Eregbu, Christina A. Long, Hannah Rodriguez, and Cameron Welch, is open now through January 8, 2013, at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago’s Sullivan Galleries (33 S. State Street, Seventh Floor).