January 30, 2014

1926: Augustus Saint-Gaudens @ Grant Park

Augustus Saint-Gaudens
"The Head of State"
Abraham Lincoln Memorial
1904, 1906, 1926
Bronze, cast, on a stone base
Grant Park
Jackson Boulevard and Columbus Boulevard
Chicago, IL

John Chippewa Crerar (1827-1889), eponymous benefactor of the University of Chicago library, commissioned the Abraham Lincoln memorial from Augustus Saint-Gaudens (1848-1907) on October 20, 1897, some thirty-two years after Lincoln's assassination.  Originally cast in 1904, but destroyed in a studio fire, Saint-Gaudens's memorial, "The Head of State," was rebuilt in 1906, with support from Saint-Gaudens' assistants Henry Hering and Elsie Ward, and subsequently cast at the Roman Bronze Foundry, New York, New York.  After a twenty-year period during which it occupied multiple sites outside of Chicago, the statue was coupled with a stone base, designed by Stanford and Laurence White, and presented to the public in Grant Park on May 31, 1926, nearly twenty-nine years after it was commissioned, and well after the death of both Crerar and also Saint-Gaudens himself.

Read more:

Dryfhout, John. "The Work of Augustus Saint-Gaudens". NH: University Press of New England, 1982. Print.

National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior (PDF):

Images (1-2) November 11, 2006;
Copyright Paul E. Germanos.

2008: Knut Hybinette & Troy Richards @ Thomas Robertello Gallery

Above: Knut Hybinette, left, and Troy Richards, right, at Thomas Robertello Gallery on January 25, 2008.
Knut Hybinette & Troy Richards
January 25 - March 8, 2008
Thomas Robertello Gallery
939 W. Randolph Street
Chicago, IL




"Taken from the literal definition of the word Utopia, 'Nowheresville' focuses on the ideas and literary work of the French writer and Utopian socialist Charles Fourier: specifically on the experimental community, Ripon, Wisconsin, which was formed to put his ideas into practice. Ripon was a short-lived experiment but would later become the birthplace of the Republican Party. Presenting a historic trajectory that leads toward the near future, Ripon is portrayed as a Midwestern dystopia, infested by chaotic suburban drug addicts, killers, and societal decay."

"The centerpiece of the exhibition is an innovative video game created by Hybinette and Richards incorporating video, drawing, sculpture, printmaking, and cutting-edge technology. The gallery installation consists of a shanty housing the game, a decaying billboard depicting a video of Fourier espousing utopian dogma, as well as drawings and prints used in the making of the video game."

Quotation above from: http://www.thomasrobertello.com/exhibitions/1301.html

Thomas Robertello Gallery was operated by Thomas Robertello from 2006-2013.

Above: "The Promises of the Administration Have Been Kept," left, and Thomas Robertello, right, January 25, 2008.
Images (1-2) January 25, 2008;
Copyright Paul E. Germanos.

January 29, 2014

2008: Jason Hackenwerth @ NavtaSchulz Gallery

Above: The opening reception for Jason Hackenwerth at NavtaSchulz Gallery on January 11, 2008.
Jason Hackenwerth
January 11 - February 16, 2008
NavtaSchulz Gallery
1039 W. Lake Street
Chicago, IL



NavtaSchulz Gallery was operated by Jodi Navta and Ryan Schulz from 2006-2008.  Jason Hackenwerth continues to make balloon sculptures, in New York.

Image (1) January 11, 2008;
Copyright Paul E. Germanos.

2014: ATOM-r & Angela Ellsworth @ Julius Caesar

ATOM-r's Mark Jeffery & Christopher Knowlton, "Augmented Reality Chest Garden," Phil Sparrow tattoo, viewer & LAYAR app.
ATOM-r & Angela Ellsworth
"Promiscuous Code / Plural Wife Project"
January 26 - March 2, 2014
Julius Caesar Gallery
3311 W. Carroll Avenue
Chicago, IL




"This exhibition of the collective, Anatomical Theatres of Mixed Reality (ATOM-r), includes artifacts from their practice of melding performance and technology in an investigation of anatomical narratives and queer histories of computing.  [...]  Angela Ellsworth’s 'Plural Wife Project' explores homosocial dynamics within the construct of early Mormon polygamy in relation to contemporary queer discourses around marriage, family, and non-heteronormativity."

"ATOM-r is a provisional collective exploring forensics, anatomy, and 21st century embodiment through performance, language and emerging technologies.  The work collective mixes the live body with ubiquitous computing, most notably through the use augmented reality techniques in which virtual content is overlaid onto bodies and spaces.  Participants include Mark Jeffery (choreography), Judd Morrissey (technology and dramaturgical systems), Justin Deschamps, Sam Hertz, Christopher Knowlton, and Blake Russell. (collaborators/performers) with Stephanie Acosta (Company Manager) Meghan Moe Beitiks (Technical Director), Andrew Pace (Textile Artist), Laura Prieto-Velasco (Prop / Jeweller) Alfredo Salazar - Caro (New Media Artist), Bryan Saner (Master Carpenter), Kate Hampel (Costumes), and Studio Assistant Alexandria Eregbu."

"Angela Ellsworth is a multidisciplinary artist traversing practices of process-based drawing, durational performance, collaboration, and video. Informed by the histories of public art, feminist art, and performance art she is interested in art merging with everyday life and public and private experiences colliding in unexpected spaces."

Quotation above from: http://www.juliuscaesarchicago.org/atom.html

"Memories That Smell Like Gasoline," by Matthew Steinbrecher in ATOM-r / PINUPS' collaboration "The Operature."
"Live Captures of Liminal Space," slides w/ magnifying glass, 2014 ATOM-r Performance Archive.
Wall assemblage "The Operature," 2014, created for PINUPS; Christopher Schulz photos, ATOM-r Performance Archive.
Above: Angela Ellsworth's (Untitled, 2011) "South Mountain Kiss," and "Willy and Lane," on January 26, 2014.
Images (1-5) January 26, 2014;
Copyright Paul E. Germanos.

January 27, 2014

2014: Craig Yu @ Devening Projects

Above: Craig Yu, foreground, "The Town Centers," background, at Devening Projects + Editions on January 26, 2014.
Craig Yu
"Phantom Limb"
January 26 - March 1, 2014
Devening Projects + Editions
3039 W. Carroll Street
Chicago, IL



Like some large format film cameras, 4x5 is the aspect ratio of the paintings in Craig Yu's current show.  Playing on that photographic reference, Yu favors the landscape over the portrait orientation.  And, not surprisingly, that's his chief subject here: the landscape, whether real, or imagined, or a surreal combination of the two.  With regard to rendering, if some colors have been called "loud," Yu's palette seems good to call "quiet."  Too, the works are not large.  In combination, the subtle tonal variations, the small scale, and the ambiguity of the subject matter, coax a slow, close approach.  As a regular viewer of contemporary art in Chicago, it's sort of rare not to be visually pummeled by an artist who aims to deprecate painting, and especially the commodity value thereof.  Pleasantly, the artist himself presents in a manner like unto the artworks; and that reinforces the rather genuine nature of the undertaking.

Above: "The Town Centers," 16 x 20 inches, oil on canvas over panel, 2013
Above: Craig Yu's "Phantom Limb" installed at Devening Projects + Editions, January 26 - March 1, 2014
Above: "Samples," 16 x 20 inches, oil on canvas over panel, 2010–2013
Above: "The Mountain," 16 x 20 inches, oil on canvas over panel, 2013, in foreground
Above: At Yu's opening, January 26, 2014, Wes Charles speaks to Nick Lippert in the lobby of 3039 W. Carroll Street.
Above: At Yu's opening reception, January 26, 2014, Nick Lippert at the door of 3039 W. Carroll Street.
Images (1-7) January 24, 2014;
Copyright Paul E. Germanos.

January 26, 2014

2008: Anne Wilson @ Rhona Hoffman

Above: "Wind-Up: Walking the Warp," by Anne Wilson, a sculpture, and performance executed January 20-25, 2008.
Anne Wilson
"Anne Wilson: Portable City, Notations, Wind-Up"
January 21 - March 1, 2008
Rhona Hoffman Gallery
118 N. Peoria Street
Chicago, IL



"Nine participants accomplished the performed labor or 'walking the warp,' converting the front gallery into a six-day performance of walking, counting, rolling, and winding. The rhythmic act of building a 40-yard weaving warp on a 17' x 7' frame was viewed from the Peoria Street sidewalk and resulted in a sculptural presence within the gallery."

"The performance warping team included Sara Rabinowitz, Carla Duarte, Annie Egleson, Jongock Kim, Rosemary Lee, Christy Matson, Rachel Moore, Rana Siegel, and Anne Wilson. Jeroen Nelemans (DVD) and Surabhi Ghosh (still photos) documented the project. Sara Rabinowitz designed the gallery publication and Ghosh assisted with publication guidance. Mike Slattery fabricated the stainless steel frame; Kristin Frieman contributed clothing from her line RedShift; Judith Leemann, Mark Jeffery, and Fred Nagelbach offered their wisdom; and Joan Livingstone generously gave her studio for practice sessions."

Quotation above from http://www.annewilsonartist.com/windup-chicago-credits.html

Images (1-2) January 25, 2008, at the public reception;
Copyright Paul E. Germanos.

2014: Tom Burtonwood & Holly Holmes @ Firecat Projects

Tom Burtonwood & Holly Holmes
“Dialogues on the New Plastic”
January 24 - February 22, 2014
Firecat Projects
2124 N. Damen Avenue
Chicago, IL



"Desktop 3D printing represents a remarkable new way of making and distributing objects. With the click of a mouse it is possible to create complex forms, email them around the globe and see them reproduced many times in many variants and materials. Artists Tom Burtonwood and Holly Holmes have been exploring and experimenting with this 'new' technique of making for just under two years. This is their first solo exhibition of works produced almost entirely in this medium."

"For the duration of the exhibition the artists will be operating 'Copy Shop' a novel take on the photocopying businesses that helped to pioneer the desktop publishing revolution of the late 90’s. Members of the public are invited to bring small objects to Firecat and have them 3D scanned, 3D printed and added to the exhibition. Participants in 'Copy Shop' will receive a limited edition 3D printed sculpture in recognition of their help in this project."

Quotation above from http://tomburtonwood.com/2013/12/dialogues-on-the-new-plastic/

Above: Tom Burtonwood in the “Copy Shop," powered by MakerBot, at Firecat, on January 24, 2014.
Above: Mickey Pomfrey (CourtneyBlades) & Holly Holmes during the opening reception at Firecat, January 24, 2014.
Above: Tom Burtonwood with Holly Holmes during the opening reception at Firecat, January 24, 2014.
Above: Michael Kaysen (SideCar) & Andrew Rigsby during the opening reception, at Firecat, on January 24, 2014.

Images (1-9) January 24, 2014, at the public reception;
Copyright Paul E. Germanos.

January 25, 2014

2008: Jillian McDonald @ threewalls

Above: A guest views "The Sparkling," 2007, by Jillian McDonald, from the "Horror Stories" opening at threewalls, on April 4, 2008.
Jillian McDonald
"Horror Stories"
April 4 - May 10, 2008
119 N. Peoria Street
Chicago, IL



Jillian McDonald enjoyed a residency at threewalls in 2008, during which time "Horror Stories," a four-part, interactive video installation composed of: "The Sparkling" (shown above and below), "Vamp It Up," "TV = Evil," and "Everyone Will Suffer," was open to the public.

Images (1-2) April 4, 2008, at the public reception;
Copyright Paul E. Germanos.

January 23, 2014

2014: Jake Myers @ Tritriangle

Above: Joseph Ravens participating in "Stone Throw" during Jake Myers' opening reception on January 17, 2014; Tritriangle's Ryan T. Dunn at right.

Jake Myers
"Stone Throw"
January 17, 2014
1550 N. Milwaukee Avenue
Chicago, IL



"In the interactive installation 'Stone Throw,' Jake Myers re-creates an Olympic curling rink.  Along with a team of artists, Myers will invite gallery attendees to glide on synthetic ice, throw fabricated stones, and drink together in friendly competition.  This work celebrates the Myers' family tradition of curling at a rink in rural Illinois. In contrast with the sports that Myers experienced at school, which emphasized hyper-competition, physical intimidation, and at times even violence, the family curling experience provided a relaxing, but still athletic, retreat. Out on the ice, the family of competitors and teammates accomplished their goals with trust, luck, and displays of subtle physical skill."

Quotation above from: http://tritriangle.net/events/event/stone-throw-jake-myers/

Images (1-2) January 17, 2014, at the public reception;
Copyright Paul E. Germanos.

1924: Albin Polasek @ Grant Park

Albin Polasek
"The Spirit of Music"
Theodore Thomas Memorial
Bronze (cast) on a stone base
Grant Park
Michigan Avenue at Balbo Avenue, the northeast corner
Chicago, IL

Standing roughly 5 meters tall, "The Spirit of Music," memorializing Theodore Thomas, founder of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, was commissioned by trustees of the Art Institute of Chicago in 1918.  Albin Polasek (1879-1965), himself employed by the Institute, completed the artwork which, after being placed on Michigan Avenue, opposite Orchestra Hall, was dedicated in 1924.  Subsequent to its dedication, "The Spirit of Music" (contrary to the intent of its creators) was removed to various other locations, during which travels the bronze figure was separated from the granite panels which composed its base.  The memorial's stonework was eventually dumped in Lake Michigan (presumably by employees of the Chicago Park District) where it sat till being discovered 1983.  After an effort at restoration of both the granite and also bronze components, the piece was reinstalled in Grant Park in 1991, near, but not at, its original site.

Read more:

"The Art Of Music: A Neglected CSO Memorial May Get A New Home," Alan G. Artner, Chicago Tribune, July 28, 1991:

"Hearts of Stone," Jeff Huebner, Reader, July 10, 1997:

Image (1) November 11, 2006;
Copyright Paul E. Germanos.

January 22, 2014

1984: Jean Dubuffet @ State of Illinois Building

Jean Dubuffet
"Monument a la Bete Debout"
1984, modeled on a piece from 1969
Fiberglass, paint, polyurethane
The James R. Thompson Center at the State of Illinois Building
Randolph Street at Clark Street
Chicago, IL

"Monument à la bête debout," or, "Monument with Standing Beast," 1984, by Jean Dubuffet (1901-1985), stands roughly 10 meters tall, occupying the southeast corner of the James R. Thompson Center, immediately outside of architect Helmut Jahn's State of Illinois Building, in downtown Chicago.  The piece was commissioned by the state's Capital Development Board through the Illinois Art-in-Architecture (AIA) program; significant funding was provided by the Leonard J. Horwich Family Foundation and the Graham Foundation.

Image (1) August 20, 2006, facing north;
Image (2) August 20, 2006, facing south;
Copyright Paul E. Germanos.

2013: The Dutch Don't Dance @ Aspect/Ratio

Above: Kirsten Leenaars and Jeroen Nelemans at Aspect/Ratio for the opening of "The Dutch Don't Dance" on December 13, 2013.

"The Dutch Don't Dance"
Maria Pask and Hedwig Houben curated by Kirsten Leenaars and Jeroen Nelemans
December 13, 2013 - January 25, 2014
119 N. Peoria Street
Chicago, IL


Image (1) December 13, 2013;
Copyright Paul E. Germanos.

January 21, 2014

1963: David Smith @ Art Institute of Chicago

Above:  David Smith, "Cubi VII" at left; Alexander Calder, "Flying Dragon" at right.
David Smith
"Cubi VII"
Stainless steel, welded and ground
The Art Institute of Chicago's North Garden
Michigan Avenue, south of Monroe Street
Chicago, IL


In the foreground of the image above, an artwork, "Cubi VII," 1963, by one of the most important American sculptors of the post-war era, David Smith (1906-1965), is shown in The Art Institute of Chicago's North Garden; in the background, "Flying Dragon," 1975, by Alexander Calder (1898-1976) is visible.

Image (1) September 20, 2006;
Copyright Paul E. Germanos.

2014: Sarah & Joseph Belknap @ Heaven Gallery

Above: Sarah and Joseph Belknap in their installation at Heaven Gallery on January 17, 2014.
Sarah and Joseph Belknap
"Center of the Circle"
January 17- February 16, 2014
Heaven Gallery
1550 N. Milwaukee Avenue
Chicago, IL

Presented by the Chicago Artists’ Coalition: A BOLT Residency Alumni Show at Heaven Gallery




"The first meteorite we physically encountered was at the Hayden Planetarium. It was the Willamette meteorite--steeped in history, controversy and legend. We hugged it and it felt like magic and our hearts were won over and we started making work that looked at the cosmos. In this new body of video, photography and sculpture we try recreate that magic- we are looking at the moon, meteorites, comets, the myths and romance they produce, and our love of the wild." - Sarah and Joseph Belknap

Quotation above from: http://www.chicagoartistsresource.org/events/center-circle-sarah-belknap-and-joseph-belknap

Image (1) January 17, 2014;
Copyright Paul E. Germanos.

January 20, 2014

1974: Marc Chagall @ Chase Tower - Exelon Plaza

Marc Chagall
"Four Seasons"
Mosaic tile
Chase Tower / Exelon Plaza
Dearborn Street, near Adams Street
Chicago, IL

Unprotected, the 1974 mosaic mural "Four Seasons," by Marc Chagall (1887-1985), did not fair well in Chicago's climate.  The piece was therefore the subject of major, successive conservation efforts in 1988 and 1996; too, seeking to limit further damage through exposure, the architectural firm of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill designed a steel and glass shelter for it.  Additionally, a guardrail was placed around its base.  Landscape planters have formed a shield to the east, and south, of the plaza site.  Whether helpful for preservation, the cumulative effect of the surrounding structures has dramatically altered the experience of the artwork itself.  See Mary Ann Sullivan's images of Chagall's "Four Seasons" prior to its enclosure: http://www.bluffton.edu/~sullivanm/chagall/chagall.html

Read more:

"Chagall Art In Season Of Restoration," Phat X. Chiem, Chicago Tribune, July 14, 1996:

Above: Note relationship between canopy, guardrail, planters, and artwork, as sun strikes the piece from the west.
Image (1) September 20, 2006;
Image (2) September 20, 2006;
Copyright Paul E. Germanos.

January 19, 2014

2014: Nora Schultz @ Renaissance Society

Above: Nora Schultz, left, in conversation with The Renaissance Society's Chief Curator and Executive Director, Solveig Øvstebø, right.
Nora Schultz
"parrottree--building for bigger than real"
January 12 - February 23, 2014
The Renaissance Society
5811 S. Ellis Avenue
Bergman Gallery, Cobb Hall 418
Chicago, Illinois 60637

Opening Reception: 4:00 PM – 7:00 PM, January 12, 2014.
Artist Talk: Kent Hall, Room 120, 5:00 PM , January 12, 2014.

Organized by The Renaissance Society's Chief Curator and Executive Director, Solveig Øvstebø


"Assimilation to environment defines Schultz’s artworks from their genesis. The artist sources the materials she works with by scavenging around the site of exhibition. In this case, she manipulates found objects pulled from, among other places, the hardware store, the Renaissance Society basement storage, and a newspaper read during installation. She frees these "things" by disassociation, estranging them, removing them from their context so they can become: forms, colors, lines, themselves. The installation transforms these objects once again; in the gallery, her works layer themselves and each other, fully taking advantage of three dimensions, constantly redefining their parts in relation to one another. Elements stand, hang, and print on one another; each piece frames another, reweights another, depends on another. Language then intrudes: Schultz’s titling, her statements in interviews and conversations, the ephemera (posters, texts) she releases alongside the exhibition, and the words written on the things themselves, subject them to external references, altering their meaning ever further. And then, of course, there is the work’s reception throwing everything into new relief yet again. In this way, the artist suggests an art that is a predicament, a shifty, evasive, and radically unsettled state for a group of transitory objects and ideas. This work is ‘finished’ when it is shown, but only at that moment, in that place; everything will finish again and again"

Quotation above from: http://www.renaissancesociety.org/site/Exhibitions/Intro.Nora-Schultz-parrottree-building-for-bigger-than-real.643.html

Above: A detail of Nora Schultz's installation at The Renaissance Society.
Above: Nora Schultz at her artist's talk in Kent Hall, Room 120, at 5:00 PM, January 12, 2014.
Above: The opening reception for Nora Schultz at The Renaissance Society, January 12, 2014.
Above: Nora Schultz, left, in conversation with The Renaissance Society's Chief Curator and Executive Director, Solveig Øvstebø, right.
Above: An example of Nora Schultz's play with text: found object (c-clamp) in substitution.
Above: Solveig Øvstebø in Kent Hall, Room 120, at 5:00 PM, January 12, 2014, for her talk with  Nora Schultz.
Images (1-7) January 12, 2014;
Copyright Paul E. Germanos.

1981: Joan Miro @ Brunswick Plaza

Joan Miro
Concrete over a metallic armature, ceramic tile, and bronze, on a travertine stone base
Brunswick Plaza
Washington Boulevard, between Clark Street and Dearborn Street
Chicago, IL

Situated in an architectural nook formed by the Cook County Administration Building, the Chicago Temple Building, and Harold Washington College, "Chicago," by Joan Miro (1893-1983), is often overlooked in favor of Picasso's sculpture in Daley Plaza on the opposite side of the street.  Standing roughly 12 meters tall, Miro's piece took some 18 years to realize after its proposal, largely as a result of the complex arrangement of its funding.  The Art Institute of Chicago maintains Miro's plaster "Chicago" maquette from 1963: http://www.artic.edu/aic/collections/artwork/100666

Image (1) September 20, 2006;
Image (2) September 20, 2006;
Copyright Paul E. Germanos.

January 18, 2014

2014: Dmitry Samarov @ LivingRoom

Above: Dmitry Samarov in his exhibition at LivingRoom on January 17, 2014.
Dmitry Samarov
"Living in Chicago"
January 17, 2014
1530 W. Superior Street
Chicago, IL 60642


“I’ve lived in Chicago for over 20 years. For all that time I’ve drawn and painted inside and outside the places I’ve lived. Oil paintings, watercolors, charcoals and inks document what I see out windows and what I choose to bring home. I never start any of these pictures with any particular meaning in mind but the better ones are able to talk back to the viewer. They remind people of moments from their own experience. Books, chairs, dishes and such are what we all have in common. They connect us. By painting what I see every day, I’m trying to have a conversation with all the others who wake to similar views every day in this city.” - Dmitry Samarov

Quotation above from: http://www.livingroomrealty.com/archives/3120

Above: "Living in Chicago" installation view at LivingRoom on January 17, 2014.
Image (1) January 17, 2014;
Image (2) January 17, 2014;
Copyright Paul E. Germanos.