September 11, 2016

2016: Recent History, News & Gossip @ Opening Weekend

Over the course of the following week (September 11-18, 2016) I hope to synthesize an article that is revelatory of the zeitgeist in Chicago's art world. As my schedule allows I'll write and edit live on the blog, rather than preparing the piece prior to publication. Expect progress to be sporadic. Help me by leaving a relevant comment, contacting me through Twitter, or sending e-mail. Please do interpret the following text in relation to the "Leaving Chicago" ((http://chicagoartworld.blogspot.com/2015/04/2015-leaving-chicago.html)) series, the "New American Paintings: Midwest Edition" ((http://chicagoartworld.blogspot.com/2015/08/2015-new-american-paintings-midwest.html)) review, and last year's edition of "Recent History, News & Gossip" ((http://chicagoartworld.blogspot.com/2015/09/2015-recent-history-news-gossip-opening.html)). As always, I apologize for errors and omissions. And thank you for reading.

Deaths

--> Lisa Kuivinen, aged 20, an undergraduate student at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC), was lost on Milwaukee Avenue in Chicago on August 16, 2016: ((https://www.dnainfo.com/chicago/20160817/river-west/lisa-kuivinen-bicyclist-killed-crash-was-radiant-shining-star))

--> Virginia Aberle, aged 29, an artist and participant in ACRE Residency and Arts of Life, was lost on the Mississippi River in Wisconsin on August 3, 2016: ((http://us2.campaign-archive2.com/?u=a4fe4d8900a52ebb8c33512c6&id=af4318c3a6&e=110252b8ec))

--> Kevin M. Jennings, aged 36, a student, mentor, artist, and lab specialist at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC), was lost in June of 2016: ((http://artandarthistory.uic.edu/profile/kevin-jennings-rip-1979-2016))

--> Jeriah Hildwine, aged 36, an artist and past instructor at Malcom X Community College, Wright Community Community College, LillStreet Art Center, and the Hyde Park Art Center, was lost on the San Francisco Peaks in north central Arizona in September of 2015: ((https://news.artnet.com/art-world/wild-allegations-emerge-deceased-artist-professor-jeriah-hildwine-389327))

--> Deborah Boardman, aged 57, an artist and Adjunct Associate Professor at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, was lost at her home in the Edgewater neighborhood of Chicago in November of 2015: ((http://chicago.suntimes.com/news/artist-deborah-boardman-wife-of-chicago-inspector-general-dies-at-57/))

Independent curator Jessica Cochran organized a sort of memorial exhibition for Boardman at Heaven Gallery, which ran January 29 - March 13, 2016: ((http://www.heavengallery.com/node/2303))

Boardman's own website appears to have vanished from the web, which ought to be of interest.

--> Marianne Deson, aged 89, founder of the eponymous gallery, noted for her charitable works and connection to Ed Paschke, was lost at her home in Chicago in September of 2015: ((http://chicago.suntimes.com/news/marianne-deson-gallery-owner-who-gave-paschke-big-break-dead-at-89/))

--> Lois Weisberg, aged 90, Commissioner of Cultural Affairs for the City of Chicago from 1989-2011, was lost on January 13, 2016: ((http://www.chicagotribune.com/entertainment/ct-lois-weisberg-dead-was-chicago-arts-chief-for-daley-20160114-story.html))

See "Six Degrees of Lois Weisberg," by Malcolm Gladwell, for an interesting take on Weisberg's influence: ((http://gladwell.com/six-degrees-of-lois-weisberg/))

--> Sidney Block, aged 91, co-founder of Printworks Gallery, was lost on November 25, 2015: ((http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/obituaries/ct-sidney-block-obituary-met-20151204-story.html))

Museums

--> Peter Taub announced that he was stepping down as head of MCA Chicago's Performance Programs on June 3, 2016: ((http://chicago.suntimes.com/entertainment/peter-taub-stepping-down-as-head-of-mca-performance-programs/))

One can't help but be reminded of Chris Jones' criticism published on September 19, 2014: ((http://www.chicagotribune.com/entertainment/theater/news/ct-david-bowie-theme-creep-mca-column.html))

--> Omar Kholeif was named Senior Curator at MCA Chicago, to begin on November 23, 2015: ((http://www.artnews.com/2015/09/16/omar-kholeif-named-senior-curator-at-mca-chicago/))

--> James Rondeau was named as the new President and Director of the Art Institute of Chicago in January of 2016: ((http://www.artic.edu/sites/default/files/press/2016/JRAppointment_Release_FINAL%20%281%29.pdf))

In the 32-year period from 1972-2004 the Art Institute of Chicago had only two directors: E. Laurence Chalmers and James N. Wood. Beginning with Wood, in the 12-year period from 2004-2016 the Art Institute of Chicago has had four different directors: Wood, James Cuno (2004-2011), Douglas Druick (2011-2015), and now Rondeau.

--> Hamza Walker, 22-year veteran of the Renaissance Society, will become Executive Director of LAXART on October 1, 2016: ((http://renaissancesociety.org/news/18/hamza-walker-appointed-executive-director-of-laxart/))

In February of 2015 Walker embarked upon a two-year leave of absence from his role as Associate Curator and Director of Education at the University of Chicago's Renaissance Society, concentrating on his duties as co-curator of the “Made in L.A. 2016” biennial at the Hammer Museum: ((http://www.renaissancesociety.org/news/10/hamza-walker-to-co-curate-made-in-la-2016/))

--> Julie Rodrigues Widholm left the MCA Chicago after 16 years to become director and chief curator at the DePaul Art Museum: ((http://museums.depaul.edu/2015/07/)) ((http://www.chicagobusiness.com/article/20160917/issue01/309179994/can-a-new-director-make-depaul-art-museum-a-major-player))

Widholm succeeds the DePaul Art Museum's associate director Laura Fatemi, who functioned as interim director for a year-long period (2014-2015) following the departure of past director Louise Lincoln, who retired after 17 years: ((http://depauliaonline.com/2015/01/25/depaul-art-museum-rooted-in-soil-blossoms-change/)) ((http://www.depaulnewsline.com/features/gathered-and-grown-laura-fatemi-depaul-art-museum))

Widholm recently hired Mia Lopez as assistant curator, and Laura-Caroline Johnson as collection and exhibition manager: ((https://resources.depaul.edu/newsroom/news/press-releases/Pages/art-museum-hires-assistant-curator,-collection-and-exhibition-manager.aspx))

Press

--> Jason Foumberg, SAIC alumnus, left Newcity after having been variously employed as a contributing writer, art editor, and associate editor, over a ten-year period.

--> Mia DiMeo, SAIC alumna, left Carol Fox & Associates as a public relations account executive, after having been employed there for nearly four years.

--> Gapers Block A/C (arts and culture) closed, the on-line magazine reporting that it was "on indefinite hiatus" beginning January 1, 2016: ((http://gapersblock.com/ac/2015/12/31/bye-bye-gapers-block/))

Galleries

--> 65GRAND and ADDS DONNA galleries have both relocated to 3252 W. North Ave. in Chicago, IL. And their inaugural shows open from 6:00-9:00 PM on Friday, September 16, 2016: ((http://www.thevisualist.org/2016/09/ohne-titel/)) ((http://www.thevisualist.org/2016/09/housewarming/))

--> Rhona Hoffman celebrates forty years as an art dealer--from her 1976 partnership with Donald Young to her eponymous gallery today--in Chicago.

Find an interview with Hoffman conducted by MCA Chicago Senior Curator Omar Kholeif in the current issue of Newcity: ((http://art.newcity.com/2016/09/14/chicago-and-the-future-of-art/))

See the first in a series of three exhibitions celebrating Hoffman's 40-year history in Chicago when it opens from 5:00-7:30 PM on September 16, 2016: ((http://www.thevisualist.org/2016/09/40-years-part-1/))

--> Linda Warren Projects lost long-term employee Chris Smith. Subsequently, Natalia Ferreyra joined Linda Warren Projects as its new Director, having left her position with The Mission gallery. Robin Dluzen left Linda Warren Projects for the Ukrainian Institute of Modern Art, where she now holds the title Exhibitions and Operations Manager.

--> Andrew Rafacz Gallery (and Chicago) lost past Director Emma Robbins to Los Angeles, California: ((http://digdeep.org/who-we-are/))

--> Trunk Show--the Ford Taurus turned mobile exhibition platform operated by Raven Falquez Munsell and Jesse Malmed--announced that its final exhibition was scheduled for October 2, 2016: ((http://trunkshowtrunkshow.tumblr.com/post/150600780375/every-house-has-a-door-for-trunk-show))

People

--> Anne Elizabeth Moore announced in April of 2016 that--after nearly 23 years in Chicago--she was moving to "Write A House" in Detroit: ((http://us8.campaign-archive2.com/?u=26e3ad547b7413ccc671f08c0&id=a66b9172b4))

(September 18, 2016, has come and gone. And I still have a significant amount of material to add. So, I'll update as possible over the coming week. Thanks.)

July 18, 2016

2016: June 3: Gallery Openings @ Chicago Art World

An informal, first-person account of eight successive visits to six different gallery openings in Chicago, IL, on the evening of June 3, 2016. Times listed are approximated with the mutual aid of an incorrectly set automobile clock and decade-old camera. At some future moment I hope to create a page--including additional material--for each event described below. For now, I apologize for errors and omissions. As always, feel free to append a relevant comment at the end of the story.

2:40 PM

Once upon a time I booked a haircut at The Belmont Barbershop, very near to the five-way intersection of Western, Belmont, and Clybourn, in spite of the fact that Western Avenue was torn apart. And today is the day that my barber--Peter Vitale--expects me to be there between 2:40-3:00 PM.

I'm running late. Vehicular traffic moved slowly through the area before the road work began; now it's not moving at all. Frustrated, I park the Honda on Clybourn, grab my camera bag, and jog the remaining two blocks to 2328 W. Belmont.

Mixed in with the shop's manly memorabilia, selling for $15, is a t-shirt designed by local tattooist Mario Desa--whose name I remember from a 2012 art show at Tony Fitzpatrick and Stan Klein's Firecat Projects. The haircut's up to $26, but still worth it. So, while the Cubs beat the Diamondbacks on the flat screen television directly opposite Peter's chair, my de facto mullet meets its demise.

3:30 PM

A U-turn on Clybourn directs me inbound to Ashland, where a soft right turn takes me south to Chicago Avenue, at which point I turn left. Turning right again, I exit Chicago and find free, legal parking on Armour Street. I'm just one block and a quick little walk from Defibrillator Gallery, where programming for the Rapid Pulse International Performance Art Festival is scheduled to run from 2:00-11:00 PM. Crossing the threshold of 1463 W. Chicago, I find myself confronted by a flurry of festival volunteers and staff. Fitting for the discipline, bodies are in motion here: cleaning, painting, cooking, etc. Defibrillator veteran Autumn Hays recognizes me, and helpfully provides an orientation. I'm told that it's thirty minutes till the next event.

4:00 PM

Without fanfare, Nabeela Vega begins her performance in the vestibule between Defibrillator's main room and the Chicago Avenue sidewalk on which the venue sits. I find myself caught inside the gallery, facing outward, viewing the artist from the rear. She's draped in a gold metallic cloth, even as the building's entrance has been draped. Hearing what sounds like a public radio interview, I'm alerted to the fact that there's an audio component to her work. And it provides me with some insight regarding the subject being addressed: the confluence of homosexual life and Islamic culture in Pakistan and Afghanistan. It's impossible for me to know, at the moment, the timeliness of the piece.

Above: Nabeela Vega in Rapid Pulse International Performance Art Festival 2016 at Defibrillator Gallery, 1463 W. Chicago Avenue, Chicago, IL.
Above: Nabeela Vega in Rapid Pulse International Performance Art Festival 2016 at Defibrillator Gallery, 1463 W. Chicago Avenue, Chicago, IL.
4:01 PM

While Vega occupies the vestibule, Regin Igloria and Amy Sinclair prepare to work in Defibrillator's large storefront window. Nevertheless, they're good enough to pose for an impromptu portrait in the space between the thin white and heavy black curtains which partition the gallery today. 

Above: Regin Igloria and Amy Sinclair in Rapid Pulse International Performance Art Festival 2016 at Defibrillator Gallery, 1463 W. Chicago Avenue, Chicago, IL.
4:18 PM

A Rapid Pulse volunteer named Fiona (sp?) walks me through the building, and then around the block, in order to view the ongoing performances from outside Defibrillator's confines: the perspective a typical passersby will enjoy.

Above: Regin Igloria and Amy Sinclair in Rapid Pulse International Performance Art Festival 2016 at Defibrillator Gallery, 1463 W. Chicago Avenue, Chicago, IL.
4:20 PM

Outside Defibrillator, a fourth artists begins a third performance on the Chicago Avenue sidewalk: Esther Neff watches and selectively engages spectators, while herself being observed by them. Judging by the vehicular and pedestrian traffic, the curiosity of the neighborhood is piqued.

Above: Esther Neff in Rapid Pulse International Performance Art Festival 2016 at Defibrillator Gallery, 1463 W. Chicago Avenue, Chicago, IL.
Above: Esther Neff in Rapid Pulse International Performance Art Festival 2016 at Defibrillator Gallery, 1463 W. Chicago Avenue, Chicago, IL.
4:25 PM

Back in the car, eastbound on Chicago Avenue, I travel towards the River North neighborhood in anticipation of another series of performances which are scheduled to run from 5:00-8:00 at Weinberg/Newton Gallery.

5:01 PM

Near the intersection of Hill and Orleans, I find free, legal parking on the street. Checking the clock, I see that it's taken me 46 minutes to do so--even though Defibrillator is only 2 miles distant from the spot in which I've just put the car. Walking half a mile south-southeast, I find myself on Franklin, one block south of Chicago Avenue. Turning the corner, climbing the staircase at 300 W. Superior, I catch Weinberg/Newton in transition from regular gallery hours to performance space. And after a few polite words it seems best to exit and return. (This is a complaint about traffic and parking in Chicago; this isn't a complaint about Weinberg/Newton. Don't make it out to be something that it isn't. Thanks.)

5:54 PM

Out of Weinberg/Newton Gallery, I walk a block, eastward, to Ann Nathan Gallery at 212 W. Superior. There, Art Shay has an opening in progress. And, to my surprise, Shay's in attendance. He's now a 94-year-old man, having been born in the Bronx, NYC, NY, in 1922. Physically, the past half-decade appears to have taken a toll on his vigor; mentally, he's sharp: easily recalling the stories connected to the photographs on display. His face lights up when women pay him attention; he's less excited to see me, who he doesn't know from Adam. But, he consents to be photographed. Sadly, the light's quite poor; and several other people with cameras and/or cellular phones are dancing around the aged veteran. It is what it is. Using a Speedlite and pushing a wide angle lens in his face seems likely to produce a harsh picture. So I mount the longest lens in my bag and stand away from the crowd. I find myself less worried about "getting a shot" than preserving his dignity, and absentmindedly mutter something about never becoming a photojournalist.

Above: Art Shay, 94, at the opening reception for "Art Shay: The Man With The Golden Lens" at Ann Nathan Gallery, 212 W. Superior Street, Chicago, IL.
I suppose I'm struck by the fact that Shay's prints don't seem old. Like his memory, the images which he produced haven't faded with the passage of time. In my mind, the subjects he's covered, and the manner in which he's covered them, feel relevant to the present moment. At least in Chicago, politically charged social realism is still vogue--whether there are more apolitical still life photographers working in the city.

Above: Art Shay, 94, at the opening reception for "Art Shay: The Man With The Golden Lens" at Ann Nathan Gallery, 212 W. Superior Street, Chicago, IL.
Above: Art Shay, 94, at the opening reception for "Art Shay: The Man With The Golden Lens" at Ann Nathan Gallery, 212 W. Superior Street, Chicago, IL.
6:19 PM

Out of Ann Nathan Gallery, I walk westward, across Franklin, back up the staircase at 300 W. Superior, returning to Weinberg/Newton Gallery. Therein I chat briefly with two people: purple-robed Jessica Taylor Caponigro, who's in the evening's program "HEX" as a part of W.I.T.C.H.; and, black-clad Meg Noe, who's employed as the gallery's Programming Director.

6:58 PM

Janet Lin and Jon Cates are the first artists to perform. Fairly quickly, their electronic noise improvisation draws a noise complaint from some building occupant near to the gallery. The staff and performers handle it well. But, I'm sorry that the show's been thusly truncated. I've seen Cates once before within the context of the Chicago art world: just over two years ago, when he was in the company of Jason Soliday and Fujui Wang, at Antena Gallery, on April 26, 2014. It was a good show.

Whether I should think of the shows as "good" or "bad" is another matter altogether. Theater critics don't seem to stumble when they approach works on stage; are performances so different when encountered within a gallery?

Above: Janet Lin and Jon Cates as Jackson in "HEX," a Tracers performance event at Weinberg/Newton Gallery, 300 W. Superior Street, Suite 203, Chicago, IL.
Above: Janet Lin and Jon Cates as Jackson (background, left) and Paula Pinho Martins Nacif with Ariel Zetina and IMP QUEEN of WITCH HAZEL (foreground, right) in "HEX," a Tracers performance event at Weinberg/Newton Gallery, 300 W. Superior Street, Suite 203, Chicago, IL.
Above: Paula Pinho Martins Nacif with Ariel Zetina and IMP QUEEN (of WITCH HAZEL) in "HEX," a Tracers performance event at Weinberg/Newton Gallery, 300 W. Superior Street, Suite 203, Chicago, IL.
7:26 PM

I take the unanticipated break in the action at Weinberg/Newton to plan a trip to Aspect/Ratio Gallery, where Nick Albertson has an opening which is scheduled to run till 8:00 PM. Knowing that I'll never: (a) make it back to the car at Hill and Orleans; (b) drive to the Fulton-Randolph Market District; (c) find parking; and (d) reach Aspect/Ratio before its proprietor Jefferson Godard whisks the whole crew away for dinner; I decide that my best bet is to walk the 1.5 miles to get to Albertson's show. And off I go...

Above: Looking down from the Halsted Street overpass, as I walk southward to Aspect/Ration Gallery.
7:56 PM

Superior to Kingsbury to Grand to Halsted to Fulton to Peoria: Up the stairs, on the third floor of 119 N. Peroria, I catch Nick Albertson at Aspect/Ratio. I first met him slightly over three years ago at Columbia College's Industry Event on May 16, 2013. At the time, Albertson had just completed his MFA. And, coincidentally, he occupied a presentation table alongside Weinberg/Newton's Meg Noe, who had just completed her BFA. Then, as now, it was easy to formally connect Albertson to Barbara Kasten and Jessica LaBatte. That said, while Albertson's own interest in pattern, and kinship with abstract painters, both seem to have remained constant, his new kaleidoscopic frames take me by surprise. He's gotten very colorful. And I like it. In spite of which fact I can't help but feel somewhat suspicious of the small, standardized scale of the works on display. Did larger prints reveal too much for the creator's illusion to be maintained? or, did saleability drive the choice?

Above: Nick Albertson attending the opening reception for his show "Unrolled" at Aspect/Ratio, 119 N. Peoria Street, 3D, Chicago, IL.
8:03 PM

I exit Aspect/Ratio: down the stairs from the third floor, past the ghost of threewalls on the second floor, out the doors of 119 N. Peoria Street, northward across Randolph.

Above: Looking down from Green Street, as I walk northward to Weinberg/Newton Gallery.
8:38 PM

Peoria to Fulton to Green to Grand to Kingsbury to Superior: I return on foot to Weinberg/Newton Gallery, where I'm greeted by the slowly swaying form of  Lyra Hill. Her eyes are cast down. She's very quiet. Attendees heed her little; most are chasing drinks. I'm made to remember that when the Happy Collaborationists' gallery was operational at 1254 N. Noble its proprietors Anna Trier and Meredith Weber had once asked for my assistance with two people who they wished to stop serving alcohol--because those same two people are here now: going after Weinberg/Newton's alcohol. It occurs to me that Ann Nathan had kept the wine behind the counter.

The room dims. Hill employs a projection on a screen and various light effects upon herself. A narrative unfolds. She labors towards a crescendo. No one can look away. Then it's over. And there's applause.

Above: Lyra Hill in "HEX," a Tracers performance event at Weinberg/Newton Gallery, 300 W. Superior Street, Suite 203, Chicago, IL.
9:48 PM

I realize that I might yet catch someone at ACRE Projects, where Nadav Assor, C. Matthew Luther, Joshua Rains, and Yaloo are scheduled to have an opening for their group show. So I hustle the half a mile back to the car, drive down Orleans, to Ontario, to the ramp for the Dan Ryan Expressway, exiting five miles later in neighborhood of Pilsen. Circling, I find free, legal parking near the intersection of Throop and 22nd Street. So, it's a three block jog to the event. Inside 1345 W. 19th Street, I see Danielle Campbell moving rapidly about the place while preparing for some sort of Chicago Underground Film Festival afterparty. And I'm sorry that I'm late. Appearing out of the darkness, ACRE's Kate Bowen and Emily Green quickly connect me with Yaloo, who's the last remaining artist at the location. Yaloo's site-specific projection is restarted; and, whether happy with the photograph, she's kind enough to try to pose.

Above: Yaloo with her projection in "Don’t Want Your Future" at Acre, 1345 W. 19th Street, Chicago, IL.
10:31 PM

Out of ACRE, back to Throop, I enter my vehicle and turn right onto 22nd. I take 22nd to Western, and again turn right, heading northward. Five miles down the road, I park at the first free, legal space I pass--on Hirsch Street--and walk a block and a half to AdventureLand Gallery, where Mario Desa has an opening for his show. Entering 1513 N. Western, I note the absence of Perry Casalino and Tony Fitzpatrick: the two people behind the business. But the young guy behind the desk looks enough like Fitzpatrick that I've got to ask if he's his son Max. And he tells me that he is. I remembered picking up the two of them on Western, near Elston, over a decade ago, in the years when I drove a taxi. The younger Fitzpatrick introduces me to Mario Desa. And he agrees to a quick photograph.

Above: Mario Desa attending the opening reception for his show "The Sad Music Of Chance" at AdventureLand, 1513 N. Western Avenue, Chicago, IL.
11:09 PM

Hirsch to Western to Chicago to Armour: I make the decision to return to Defibrillator Gallery, and there find available the same parking space which I left nearly seven hours ago. Walking to the rear of the building I stumble upon the gallery's proprietor, Joseph Ravens, and we chat. Rapid Pulse closes the evening, as every evening of the festival, with a community meal for volunteers, staff, performers. I decline the generous invitation to sit for soup, grab a few pictures, and make my exit.

Above: Rapid Pulse International Performance Art Festival 2016 closing for the evening with a community meal.
Above: Rapid Pulse International Performance Art Festival 2016 closing for the evening with a community meal.
11:32 PM

Armour to Grand to Ashland to Van Buren to the ramp for I-290, the Eisenhower Expressway.

12:05 AM, June 4, 2016

I'm home, having been gone for eleven hours. Even though I traveled in an automobile, over the course of the evening I walked seven miles saddled with a ten-pound camera bag. I suppose I'm tired. But, more so, I'm depressed by the realization that I recognized only three people who I knew to work as critics, or curators, or artists, or administrators, or gallery owners, or teachers within the Chicago art world. I saw Colleen Plumb and Scott Hunter at Aspect/Ratio Gallery, and I saw Allen Vandever at Ann Nathan Gallery. That's it.

Of course, I saw artists at their own shows, and dealers at their own galleries. Self-interest (as understood by Ayn Rand) is always evident. But, very few people seem very concerned with developing an overview of the city as a whole. It suggests a lack of intellectual curiosity; it proves a lack of engagement.

Granted, much activity has moved out of sight: to private meetings and to private clubs. Too, it's generally well-known who should be flattered, and which opinions should be affirmed, for the sake of institutional acceptance; attendance and avoidance are sometimes only tactical considerations for careerists. All of that said, whether the culture here functions well for particular individuals, or even for small groups of people, it seems safe to pronounce that what's public is broken.

Galleries and Artists in Chronological Order:

[1] Rapid Pulse International Performance Art Festival 2016
June 1 – 5, 2016
Defibrillator Gallery
1463 W. Chicago Avenue
Chicago, IL 60642

Nabeela Vega
Regin Igloria and Amy Sinclair
Esther Neff
4:00 - 5:00 PM
June 3, 2016
Defibrillator Gallery
1463 W. Chicago Avenue
Chicago, IL 60642

http://dfbrl8r.org/

http://rapidpulse.org/

[2] Art Shay
"Art Shay: The Man With The Golden Lens"
June 3 - (no closing date listed)
Ann Nathan Gallery
212 W. Superior Street
Chicago, IL 60654

"Art Shay’s life is the stuff of movies. As a WWII vet he flew fifty-three combat missions, serving on the squadron led by famous actor and war hero, Jimmy Stewart. After the war he joined Life Magazine as a staff reporter and would eventually become one of America’s leading photojournalists. His pictures appeared in Life, Time, Look, Ebony Magazine, The New York Times Magazine, Sports Illustrated, and Fortune among many others. [...] A movie of his life/work is set to release by 2017. A book is in the works to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Chicago Democratic Convention featuring protest and peace rally photographs. On June 3, 2016, Ann Nathan Gallery will open an exhibition featuring Art Shay’s photographs including some one-of-a-kind vintage shots gathered from his career, and spanning over 70 years."

Quotation above from: http://www.thevisualist.org/2016/06/art-shay-the-man-with-the-golden-lens/

Read more about Art Shay in a January 29, 2015 article by Aimee Levitt: http://www.chicagoreader.com/chicago/art-shay-20th-century-photographer-my-florence/Content?oid=16321301

http://www.artshay.com/

http://www.annnathangallery.com/

[3] "Your body is a battleground"
April 15 – June 9, 2016
Weinberg/Newton Gallery
300 W. Superior Street, Suite 203
Chicago, IL 60654

"Focusing on the many ways art and artists have moved the pro-choice and feminist movements forward, Your body is a battleground is an exhibition featuring sculpture, photography, painting, drawing, and mixed media works. Exhibition artworks are available for bidding throughout the run of the show via the online auction house Paddle8. A closing reception and live benefit auction event will take place on June 9th. This exhibition and auction support Personal PAC. Marzena Abrahamik, Claire Arctander, Lise Haller Baggesen, Iris Bernblum, Phyllis Bramson, Rashayla Marie Brown, Jon Cates & Ei Jane Lin, Lauren Edwards, Alexandria Eregbu, Hope Esser, Dianna Frid, Beate Geissler & Oliver Sann, Amber Ginsburg, Lyra Hill, Kelly Kaczynski, Julia Klein, Natalie Krick, Kelly Lloyd, Aleksandra Mir, Noël Morical, Jessie Mott, Paula Pinho Martins Nacif, Betsy Odom, Dan Paz, Claire Pentecost, Julie Potratz, Michele Pred, Macon Reed, Jennifer Reeder, and Carrie Schneider. Also including a special selection of works donated to the auction from friends of Personal PAC, Patti Bartelstein, Barbara Bluhm and Don Kaul, Bette Cerf Hill, Susan Messer McBride, and Allison Svoboda."

Quotation above from: http://www.thevisualist.org/2016/04/your-body-is-a-battleground/

"HEX: Tracers performance event"
Jackson (Jon Cates & Janet Lin)
Paula Pinho Martins Nacif with Ariel Zetina and IMP QUEEN (of WITCH HAZEL)
W.I.T.C.H.
5:00 - 8:00 PM
June 3, 2016
Weinberg/Newton Gallery
300 W. Superior Street, Suite 203
Chicago, IL 60654

"Join us for 'HEX,' a caldron mixture of digital realities, glitching twang, sexual psycho-drama and magickal justice. This performance based event will take place in the River North neighborhood’s First Friday, both on the street and in the gallery. Featuring new actions by W.I.T.C.H (Women’s International Terrorist Conspiracy from Hell), live manipulation from Paula Pinho Martins Nacif + Ariel Zetina and IMP QUEEN (of WITCH HAZEL), crunchy crooning tunes from Jon Cates & Janet Lin ('Jackson'), and hair-raising video mediation from Lyra Hill. 'HEX' is hosted in collaboration with TRACERS and is a part of the programming for Your body is a battleground, an exhibition focusing on the many ways art and artists have moved the pro-choice and feminist movements forward."

Quotation above from: http://weinbergnewtongallery.com/events/64-hex-tracers-performance-event/

http://weinbergnewtongallery.com/

[4] Nick Albertson
"Unrolled"
June 3 - July 9, 2016
Aspect/Ratio
119 N. Peoria Street, 3D
Chicago, IL

"Aspect/Ratio is pleased to present Unrolled, the second solo exhibition of new work from gallery artist, Nick Albertson. Unrolled meshes digital processes with the technicality of paintings. Albertson’s intriguing interpretations of mundane conventional objects further develop into the construction of abstracted schematic landscapes. Albertson divorces tape and party streamers from their common associations and usefulness; further, Albertson foregrounds the beauty in its simplistic form. The color, texture, and translucency of these materials deconstructs and meshes the brackets which differentiates photography from painting; the overlapping of this mate- rial is inspired by color field paintings. The striking manipulation of light fuel the illusion of a neatly conditioned landscape embedded and suspended within a sea of material chaos."

Quotation above from: http://www.thevisualist.org/2016/06/unrolled/

http://nickalbertson.com/

http://www.aspectratioprojects.com/

[5] "HEX: Tracers performance event" (as [3] above)
Lyra Hill
8:30 PM
June 3, 2016
Weinberg/Newton Gallery
300 W. Superior Street, Suite 203
Chicago, IL 60654

http://lyrahill.blogspot.com/

Read more about Lyra Hill in an August 6, 2014 article by Alex Thompson: http://gapersblock.com/bookclub/2014/08/06/some_of_the_most_punk_rock_shit_ive_ever_seen_in_my_life/

[6] "Don’t Want Your Future"
Nadav Assor, C. Matthew Luther, Joshua Rains, and Yaloo
June 3 - 25, 2016
ACRE
1345 W. 19th Street
Chicago, IL60608

"ACRE Projects presents 'don’t want your future,' an exhibition that scrutinizes the destructive forces behind digital and industrial technologies on the global ecology. Video, sculpture, animation, and drawings question the ways that our technologically-mediated moment has an effect on social and geopolitical relations, agency, and the precarious state of our environment. From footage of the Global Desert Line in Israel and polluted landscapes in the United States and China, to the confessional space of social media made public and a re-animated tractor, 2015 ACRE Residents Nadav Assor, C. Matthew Luther, Joshua Rains, and Yaloo critique our ongoing reliance upon these technologies and infrastructures as our planet’s climate crisis escalates."

Quotation above from: http://www.thevisualist.org/2016/06/dont-want-your-future-new-works-by-nadav-assor-c-matthew-luther-joshua-rains-and-yaloo/

http://yaloopop.com/

www.acreresidency.org/

[7] Mario Desa
"The Sad Music Of Chance"
June 3 - 25, 2016
AdventureLand
1513 N. Western Avenue
Chicago, IL 60622

https://www.instagram.com/mariodesa/

http://www.adventurelandgallery.com/

[8] Rapid Pulse International Performance Art Festival 2016 (as [1] above)
Community Meal
11:00 PM
June 3, 2016
Defibrillator Gallery
1463 W. Chicago Avenue
Chicago, IL 60642

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Above:
Images (1-20) June 3, 2016;
Copyright Paul E. Germanos

February 24, 2016

2015: Year in Review @ Chicago Art World

Every year I see more artwork than I photograph. And not all of my art world photography is presented on this website. Having written that, in 2015 especially I witnessed much more than I shared. Therefore, in lieu of a "best of" list, it seems good at this time to offer a chronological retrospective by means of previously unpublished images and text. I apologize for the year-long delay which some individuals and institutions have suffered: it in no way reflects the quality of the artwork which they presented. At some future moment I'll create a page--including additional material--for each event described below. For now, I apologize for errors and omissions. And, as always, feel free to append a relevant comment.

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"Rooted in Soil"
January 29 - April 26, 2015
DePaul Art Museum
935 W. Fullerton Ave.
Chicago, IL
http://museums.depaul.edu/


Curators: Laura Fatemi and Farrah Fatemi

Artists: Jane Fulton Alt, Vaughn Bell, Edward Burtynsky, John Gerrard, Julia Goodman, Jenny Kendler, Jae Rhim Lee, Sally Mann, Vik Muniz, Claire Pentecost, Justin Rang, Arthur Rothstein, Linda Swanson, Sam Taylor-Johnson, and Adriaen van Utrecht. And a special installation by Chicago Wildsounds.

"Soil is omnipresent: a life-sustaining but overlooked medium whose cycle of decomposition and regeneration forms the very basis of life itself. Yet human activities such as large-scale farming and deforestation are compromising the health of soil on a global scale. This exhibition will bring together works by contemporary artists that explore multiple aspects of soil, documenting natural processes and human interventions, and proposing radically innovative solutions that combine leading-edge scientific approaches and fresh artistic and philosophical perspectives."

Quotation above from: http://www.thevisualist.org/2015/01/rooted-in-soil/

Jenny Kendler in "Rooted in Soil" at the DePaul Art Museum
Above: Participating artist Jenny Kendler at the opening reception for "Rooted in Soil," January 29 - April 26, 2015, at the DePaul Art Museum, 935 W. Fullerton Ave., Chicago, IL.
Claire Pentecost's "Our Bodies, Our Soils," in "Rooted in Soil" at the DePaul Art Museum
Above: Claire Pentecost's "Our Bodies, Our Soils," at the opening reception for "Rooted in Soil," January 29 - April 26, 2015, at the DePaul Art Museum, 935 W. Fullerton Ave., Chicago, IL.
Linda Swanson's "Weep," in "Rooted in Soil" at the DePaul Art Museum
Above: Linda Swanson's "Weep," at the opening reception for "Rooted in Soil," January 29 - April 26, 2015, at the DePaul Art Museum, 935 W. Fullerton Ave., Chicago, IL.
In 2014, Chicago hosted a number of group exhibitions which were said to be curated according to an environmental theme. For example: January 17 - March 1, 2014, "Ghost Nature" was curated by Caroline Picard at UIC's Gallery 400; and, July 24 - October 5, 2014, "Phantoms in the Dirt" was curated by Karsten Lund at the Museum of Contemporary Photography at Columbia College. Two artists--Jeremy Bolen and Assaf Evron--appeared in both Picard's show and also in Lund's show. And one of the artists who appeared in Picard's show--Jenny Kendler--returned for Fatemi and Fatemi's "Rooted in Soil" at the DePaul Art Museum.

I appreciated the effort put forth by "Rooted in Soil" artists Claire Pentecost and Linda Swanson. And their installations were particularly impactful as presented opposite one another: Swanson's "Weep" seemed in a microcosm to represent the global hydrologic system; Pentecost's "Our Bodies, Our Soils," enjoined a more sensual consideration of the local conditions which might affect oneself. Classically, the pieces would have been read as supporting a duality in the nature of the divine things.

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Leslie Baum and Allison Wade
"Drunken Geometry"
January 31 - March 7, 2015
devening projects + editions
3039 W. Carroll Street
Chicago, IL
http://lesliebaum.net/
http://allisonwade.com/
http://deveningprojects.com/artists/also-featured/drunken-geometry/


"...the project engages with the still life genre and its rich history. The table, the ceramic object, the textile–all are foundational elements of still life paintings and materials that figure prominently in Baum’s and Wade’s individual practices. Through these materials, the artists explore their affinities for particular forms and arrangements. Decisions about placement, proximity, and color guide the conversation, as well as a mutual impulse to uncover the sweet spot between object and image, dimensionality and flatness."

Quotation above from: http://www.thevisualist.org/2015/01/leslie-baum-allison-wade-drunken-geometry/

Leslie Baum and Allison Wade in "Drunken Geometry" at devening projects + editions
Above: Leslie Baum and Allison Wade in "Drunken Geometry," January 31 - March 7, 2015, at devening projects + editions, 3039 W. Carroll Street, Chicago IL.
Leslie Baum and Allison Wade @ devening projects + editions
Above: An installation by Leslie Baum and Allison Wade in "Drunken Geometry," January 31 - March 7, 2015, at devening projects + editions, 3039 W. Carroll Street, Chicago IL.
In Art in America, May 4, 2009, Raphael Rubinstein defined "provisional painting" as seeming to be "casual, dashed-off, tentative, unfinished [...] to constantly risk inconsequence or collapse." And I was reminded of that quotation when I encountered Baum and Wade's sculptural works--as I'm reminded of that quotation during half of my gallery and museum visits.

Whether the philosophical reference is applicable, the practice evident here is literally one of deconstruction. And, the cleavage and reassembly of planar elements in found furniture (shown above) probably is traceable back to Cubism. That said, the end result is surreal, abstract and nonsensical, after the manner of some Jean Arp sculptures, or, maybe better, some interlocking sheet-cut work, e.g., "Kouros" 1945, from Isamu Noguchi.

The show wasn't altogether even; not everything was formally resolved. That's OK. They took some risks--without which things become very boring, very quickly. And, overall, space itself was well-used: moving through the gallery felt akin to navigating one of Chicago's plazas filled with public sculpture.

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Cody Tumblin
"Tell Tale"
March 15 - April 18, 2015
devening projects + editions
3039 W. Carroll Street
Chicago, IL
http://codytumblin.com/
http://deveningprojects.com/


"Loosely chronicling time spent in his home studio, 'Tell Tale' is a collection of new dyed and painted works by Cody Tumblin . The pieces in his first solo show with the gallery dance between painting and object; most are made to the exact dimensions of significant books from his personal library. Each painting reflects a collective history of multiple works, many of them uneasy missteps. For instance, a painting or drawing is made, then stretched over another unfinished work. After further developments on the surface, the painting is peeled away, revealing the history of previous events that seep through each layer of cloth — the process is repeated several times, back and forth. The bleeds and stains of dye and watercolor remain from several different paintings, tracing movements of his brush and the evidence of each action. The anxious rhythm of the studio fluctuates between moments of excited urgency and long, quiet periods of uncertainty. Each work is a reflection of these cycles, weaving together a strange narrative of time spent."

Quotation above from: http://www.thevisualist.org/2015/03/cody-tumblin-tell-tale-angharad-davies-you-know-that-as-radiant/

Cody Tumblin @ Devening Projects
Above: An installation by Cody Tumblin, in "Tell Tale," March 15 - April 18, 2015, at devening projects + editions, 3039 W. Carroll Street, Chicago IL.
Cody Tumblin and Kayl Parker @ Devening Projects
Above: Cody Tumblin with Kayl Parker at the opening reception for "Tell Tale," March 15 - April 18, 2015, at devening projects + editions, 3039 W. Carroll Street, Chicago IL.
A portion of Tumblin's installation (the first of two photographs above) recalled the string sculpture of Fred Sandback which was exhibited locally at Rhona Hoffman Gallery two years earlier: April 26 - June 1, 2013.

I popped-in at the end of the opening reception, and Dan chased me out rather quickly. Consequently, I didn't get to spend a lot of time with the artwork. Nevertheless, I gave what I had to give. Sometimes it happens that way.

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Doris Salcedo
"Doris Salcedo"
February 21 – May 24, 2015
The Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago
220 E. Chicago Ave.
Chicago, IL
https://mcachicago.org/Exhibitions/2015/Doris-Salcedo

Curators: Madeleine Grynsztejn and Julie Rodrigues Widholm

"The Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago presents the first retrospective of the work of renowned sculptor Doris Salcedo (Colombian, b. 1958). Salcedo--who lives and works in Bogotá--gained prominence in the 1990s for her fusion of postminimalist forms with sociopolitical concerns. The exhibition features all major bodies of work from the artist’s thirty-year career--most of which have never been shown together before--as well as the US debut of her recent major work 'Plegaria Muda' (2008–10)."

Quotation above from: https://mcachicago.org/Exhibitions/2015/Doris-Salcedo

Doris Salcedo @ The Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago
Above: An installation by Doris Salcedo, February 21 - May 24, 2015, The Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, 220 E. Chicago Ave., Chicago, IL.
I think that Salcedo's exhibition might have been the MCA Chicago's least visually interesting presentation since Jeff Koon's encased vacuum cleaners and basketballs filled the old Ontario Street location in 1988. At times I was reminded of a furniture warehouse; at times I was reminded of a closed tavern: tables flipped and stacked so that the floor could be mopped. It's a trick to create a space at once so cluttered and also so boring. Spectators navigated the galleries with difficulty if not with excitement, lingering only at the last room wherein a video displayed the sort of exciting, large-scale, site-specific installations wholly absent from the show.

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Nnenna Okore
"On the Brink: New Work by Nnenna Okore"
February 7 - May 3, 2015
The Elmhurst Art Museum
150 S. Cottage Hill Ave.
Elmhurst, IL
https://www.elmhurstartmuseum.org/exhibitions/brink-new-work-nnenna-okore

"Through repetitive, labor-intensive processes, Okore transforms discarded and organic materials like burlap, newspapers, plastic bags and twine into large-scale wall hangings and installations. Okore’s dramatic and undulating forms float in and across space, often casting shadows on their surrounds. Influenced by the textures, colors and landscapes of her Chicago milieu as well as the more rural environment of the small town in Nigeria where she was raised, Okore’s new fiber and paper works explore the fluidity of life, finding beauty in the inevitable processes of aging and decay. Okore is a professor of art at Chicago’s North Park University..."

Quotation above from: https://www.elmhurstartmuseum.org/exhibitions/brink-new-work-nnenna-okore

On the Brink: New Work by Nnenna Okore @ The Elmhurst Art Museum
Above: "On the Brink: New Work by Nnenna Okore," February 7 - May 3, 2015, at The Elmhurst Art Museum, 150 S. Cottage Hill Ave., Elmhurst, IL
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Seripop & Sonnenzimmer
"Simultaneous"
February 12 – April 11, 2015
Center for Book and Paper Arts
1104 S. Wabash, 2nd Floor
Columbia College
Chicago, IL
http://www.sonnenzimmer.com/
http://sonnenzimmerandseripop.tumblr.com/
http://www.colum.edu/academics/book-and-paper/events/exhibitions/exhibitions-pages/simultaneous.php

Curator: Julia V. Hendrickson

"Starting from similar places of reference--as screen printers who force ink on to paper through a finely-woven mesh--the Chicago-based duo Sonnenzimmer (Nick Butcher and Nadine Nakanishi) and the Montréal-based duo Seripop (Yannick Desranleau and Chloe Lum) have independently developed bodies of work wherein they investigate, as printmakers, the relationship between the materials of fabric and paper. Sonnenzimmer translates their own peaceful, complex language of abstract design on to new surfaces, imbuing linen and canvas with vibrant systems of overlaid shapes. Seripop’s monumental screen printed paper installations subvert expectations of the possibilities inherent in a single material."

Quotation above from: http://www.thevisualist.org/2015/02/simultaneous-seripop-sonnenzimmer/

Sonnenzimmer in Simultaneous @ Center for Book and Paper Arts Columbia College
Above: A gallery attendant models wearable art by Sonnenzimmer (Nick Butcher and Nadine Nakanishi) in "Simultaneous," February 12 - April 11, 2015, Center for Book and Paper Arts, 1104 S. Wabash, 2nd Floor, Columbia College, Chicago, IL.
Sonnenzimmer in Simultaneous @ Center for Book and Paper Arts Columbia College
Above: Wearable art by Sonnenzimmer (Nick Butcher and Nadine Nakanishi) in "Simultaneous," February 12 - April 11, 2015, Center for Book and Paper Arts, 1104 S. Wabash, 2nd Floor, Columbia College, Chicago, IL.
Seripop in Simultaneous @ Center for Book and Paper Arts Columbia College
Above: An installation by Montréal-based Seripop (Yannick Desranleau and Chloe Lum) in "Simultaneous," February 12 - April 11, 2015, Center for Book and Paper Arts, 1104 S. Wabash, 2nd Floor, Columbia College, Chicago, IL.
I thought that the gallery attendant (whose name I do not learn) was especially brave to have modeled Sonnenzimmer's wearable artwork. In addition to that garment, I found available a headset which provided an audio component, and a printed pamphlet which offered a bit of text, so that it was possible to wholly immerse one's self in the experience, if desired.

However thorough, the presentation was gestural rather than finessed. And I was reminded of the "surreal, abstract and nonsensical," elements of Baum and Wade's show described above. It was fun. Whether Chicago's art world provides much of an audience capable of laughter without cruelty is another matter altogether.

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Jenny Kendler
“Milkweed Dispersal Balloons”
April 11, 2015
DePaul Art Museum
935 W. Fullerton Ave.
Chicago, IL
http://jennykendler.com/home.html
http://museums.depaul.edu/

"About 970 million monarch butterflies have vanished since 1990, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, due in great part to the elimination of the species' main food, milkweed. Jenny Kendler is determined to raise awareness and help feed the dwindling species. Kendler is the Natural Resources Defense Council's first artist-in-residence and will present the Chicago debut of her performance, 'Milkweed Dispersal Balloons' at the DePaul Art Museum on April 11 from 1-3 p.m. Kendler will bring a butterfly food cart to the museum, handing out biodegradable balloons filled with the floating cloud-like seeds to individuals passing by. Participants in the project are asked to become the agents of seed dispersal by popping the balloons, thereby planting milkweed in their neighborhoods."

Quotation above from: http://www.depaulnewsline.com/debuzz/feed-butterflies-jenny-kendlers-milkweed-dispersal-balloons

Jenny Kendler @ DePaul Art Museum
Above: Jenny Kendler with a young friend attending the “Milkweek Dispersal Balloons” event on April 11, 2015, at the DePaul Art Museum, 935 W. Fullerton Ave., Chicago, IL; NRDC senior attorney Rebecca Riley at far right.
Jenny Kendler & Petra Bachmaier @ DePaul Art Museum
Above: Jenny Kendler with Lufterk's Petra Bachmaier attending “Milkweek Dispersal Balloons” event on April 11, 2015, at the DePaul Art Museum, 935 W. Fullerton Ave., Chicago, IL.
Milkweek Dispersal Balloons @ DePaul Art Museum
Above: Attendees of Jenny Kendler's “Milkweek Dispersal Balloons” event on April 11, 2015, at the DePaul Art Museum, 935 W. Fullerton Ave., Chicago, IL.
Kendler's April 11, 2015 engagement of her audience on the sidewalk outside the DePaul Art Museum was stronger than her static work within the building, in the "Rooted in Soil" show proper. The interactive performance, which amounted to a gifting of seed, was seen repeated by another artist ten months later: Stella Brown hosted her "Prairieland Seed Shop" at Slow Pony Project in the "2nd Floor Rear Festival" on February 6, 2016. Whether identical--Brown sold packets of seed for a dollar in a private space whereas Kendler made seed freely available in a public space--the two events ought to be connected in contemporary art criticism originating in Chicago.

I've planted Kendler's milkweed seeds; Brown's seeds will soon be planted. This sort of work is near and dear to my heart, reflecting my own values and artistic practice.

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Tom Torluemke
"Blind Man’s Bluff"
April 17 - June 13, 2015
Linda Warren Projects
327 N. Aberdeen, Suite 151
Chicago, IL
http://tomtorluemke.com/
http://lindawarrenprojects.com/

"Through paintings mounted on paper, blind drawings and concrete sculpture, Torluemke addresses very human subject matter that is often troubling, poignant and vulnerable but with characteristic underpinnings of humor, tenderness and compassion. Intermingling representation and abstraction, Torluemke inserts his figures into a range of surrealist narratives."

Quotation above from: http://www.thevisualist.org/2015/04/tom-torluemke-blind-mans-bluff/

Tom Torluemke @ Linda Warren Projects
Above: Tom Torluemke in "Blind Man’s Bluff," April 17 - June 13, 2015, at Linda Warren Projects, 327 N. Aberdeen, Suite 151, Chicago, IL.
Tom Torluemke @ Linda Warren Projects
Above: Tom Torluemke's "Blind Man’s Bluff," April 17 - June 13, 2015, at Linda Warren Projects, 327 N. Aberdeen, Suite 151, Chicago, IL.
Tom Torluemke @ Linda Warren Projects
Above: Tom Torluemke's "Blind Man’s Bluff," April 17 - June 13, 2015, at Linda Warren Projects, 327 N. Aberdeen, Suite 151, Chicago, IL.
The objects which Torluemke presented did not appear to be easy to produce, nor were they easy for their viewers to digest. Nevertheless, favoring surreal and sometimes violent treatments of human subjects, Torluemke is a natural fit in Chicago's constellation, which includes the Monster Roster and the Hairy Who, not to mention the early Tony Fitzpatrick. It's not my cup of tea; I don't produce or collect work of this sort. But I think that Torluemke (much like Sonnenzimmer's Butcher and Nakanishi, described above) is sincere, and competent, and operating according to some fairly original vision.

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Alex Bradley Cohen & Steve Ruiz
September 5 - October 10, 2015
Roots & Culture
1034 N Milwaukee Ave.
Chicago, IL
http://steveruizart.com/
http://rootsandculturecac.org/show/?id=109

"In his landscape paintings, Steve Ruiz uses visual storytelling--conventions from graphic novels and comics, to explore the interaction between narrative, imagination, and a sense of place. He aims to convey the significance which attaches to environments, whether mundane or extreme, when backfilled with memory and animated by stories, seeming set apart, and set for action."

Quotation above from: http://www.thevisualist.org/2015/09/alex-bradley-cohen-steve-ruiz/

Steve Ruiz @ Roots & Culture
Above: Mr. and Mrs. (Marie) Steve Ruiz, on September 5, 2015, at Roots & Culture, 1034 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago IL.
Steve Ruiz @ Roots & Culture
Above: A painting by Steve Ruiz, September 5 - October 10, 2015, at Roots & Culture, 1034 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago IL.
I think that the last time I saw Ruiz's work--July 13, 2014, in a group show at the now defunct Peanut Gallery--he had already settled into a similar style: small-scale, ink-based, monochrome drawings on pigment-washed paper which were reminiscent of story panels in a comic magazine serial.

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Anaïs Daly and Andrew Barco
"what we don't know"
October 23 - November 29, 2015
Heaven Gallery
1550 N. Milwaukee Ave., 2nd Floor
Chicago, IL
http://www.heavengallery.com/


"In this instance two mechanical objects that exemplify the word drone become one--a Predator Drone and a Hurdy-gurdy. The resultant machine is a drone that drones. Barco uses the structure of a Predator drone, the design and purpose of which is remote operation that allows distance between the user and the execution of actual violence. Inside this structure is the mechanism of a Hurdy-gurdy, an instrument that requires the expertise of a present operator to make an ancient sound. This object created from his misinterpretation gives an opportunity to consider the history and application of both objects on a new scale."

Quotation above from: http://www.thevisualist.org/2015/10/anais-daly-andrew-barco-what-we-dont-know/

David Dobie @ Heaven Gallery
Above: Co-proprietor David Dobie (rear) playing piano at the opening reception for Anaïs Daly and Andrew Barco's "what we don't know," October 23 - November 29, 2015, at Heaven Gallery, 1550 N. Milwaukee Ave., 2nd Floor, Chicago, IL.
Andrew Barco in what we don't know @ Heaven Gallery
Above: Andrew Barco's "Androne: or semi-autonomous flying hurdy-gurdy (after Tatlin)" 2015, in "what we don't know," October 23 - November 29, 2015, at Heaven Gallery, 1550 N. Milwaukee Ave., 2nd Floor, Chicago, IL.
Andrew Barco in what we don't know @ Heaven Gallery
Above: Andrew Barco's "Androne: or semi-autonomous flying hurdy-gurdy (after Tatlin)" 2015, in "what we don't know," October 23 - November 29, 2015, at Heaven Gallery, 1550 N. Milwaukee Ave., 2nd Floor, Chicago, IL.
August 2, 2013, Yhelena Hall's ACRE Residency exhibition at The Mission featured a sort of airship which was built with a lightweight wooden frame, and suspended from the ceiling. Barco's piece differed chiefly in its incorporation of a musical component which afforded the double entendre (drone/drone) in the title. It fit the venue, which is sometimes used for musical performances.

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Sofia Moreno, Wolfie E. Rawk and Oli Rodriguez
"Pearly Foam"
October 23, 2015 - January 9, 2016
David Weinberg Photography
300 W. Superior St., Suite 203
Chicago, IL
http://d-weinberg.com/

Curator: Megan T. Noe

"Pearly Foam explores themes of identity, memory and fantasy while gazing into shifting waters from the shoreline of desire. [...] Each artist takes on radically different political positions and yet the scene of a hypnagogic seascape connects their unique projects. From this beach dream setting we examine mutated realities and objects of intimacy cast as myth. These works question cultural positioning of transgender identity and queer communities through the retelling of narratives from classic characters like the Little Mermaid to the distant echo of our earliest memories."

Quotation above from: http://www.thevisualist.org/2015/10/pearly-foam/

Sofia Moreno in Pearly Foam @ David Weinberg Photography
Above: Sofia Moreno (at left) within installation in "Pearly Foam," October 23, 2015 - January 9, 2016, David Weinberg Photography, 300 W. Superior St., Suite 203, Chicago, IL.
Oli Rodriguez in Pearly Foam @ David Weinberg Photography
Above: Oli Rodriguez with photography in "Pearly Foam," October 23, 2015 - January 9, 2016, David Weinberg Photography, 300 W. Superior St., Suite 203, Chicago, IL.
Wolfie E. Rawk in Pearly Foam @ David Weinberg Photography
Above: Wolfie E. Rawk with artwork in "Pearly Foam," October 23, 2015 - January 9, 2016, David Weinberg Photography, 300 W. Superior St., Suite 203, Chicago, IL.
Five-and-a-half years ago, September 3, 2010, the Chicago Tribune's Lori Waxman panned Annie Heckman's undersea-themed installation at the now defunct Swimming Pool Project Space, calling it a "kindergartner's version of the South Pole," which was "unfortunately, too scrappy to pull it off."

Two months ago, December 11, 2015, the Chicago Tribune's Lori Waxman included the undersea-themed installations of "Pearly Foam," at David Weinberg Gallery, in her "best of 2015" list.

Considering technical merit alone, the work on display in "Pearly Foam" wasn't easily distinguishable from the work which was on display at Swimming Pool Project Space five-and-a-half years ago; Sophia Moreno's room-filling environmental piece especially recalled Heckman in 2010. Such difference as existed was to be found in the "Pearly Foam" artists: the show was devoted to exploring contemporary transgender identity.

At the risk of frustrating the comparison above, it seems appropriate both to offer full-disclosure of my personal relationships and also to illustrate the sometimes cruel, and sometimes ironic, circularity of the art world. For while I did not know Annie Heckman at the time I reviewed her Swimming Pool Project Space installation, I was made to remember her because of the recent suicide of a mutual friend: Jeriah Hildwine. Heckman's show, I later learned, had been determined in part by the earlier suicide of her own brother: a penguin in the "kindergartner's version of the South Pole," functioned as an avatar for the lost, as some members of that species have been observed to wander away from everything life-giving, alone, to die.

Like Heckman, Hildwine too had lost a brother to suicide, prior to committing suicide himself. Coincidentally, before he turned away from Chicago, one of the few people for who I heard Hildwine repeatedly express great affection was "Pearly Foam" participating artist Oli Rodriguez. And the work which Rodriquez presented in "Pearly Foam" I saw, albeit in the form of a slightly smaller print, on March 28, 2014, in a two-person show with Sara Condo, "Love to Love You," at Roots & Culture gallery in Chicago.

More, at Defibrillator Gallery I photographed "Pearly Foam" participating artist Sophia Moreno on April 1, 2012. Defibrillator Gallery's proprietor is Joseph Ravens; Hildwine had participated in a performance with Ravens, repeatedly expressing great affection for him.

I suppose it's complicated. But that's the point. While it's expedient to assign people to one group or another, and to treat them differently because of their race, religion, gender, orientation, etc., it's very difficult to know with what issues any particular individual is wrestling, and in what company they'll find understanding. I'm very sorry that the arts have been politicized to the degree that they no longer can be counted upon to offer much cosmopolitan insight, let alone sanctuary.

I liked the show, artists, curator and gallery owner. I'm struggling to come to terms with identity-based groups, galleries, exhibitions, admissions, funding, criticism, etc., in Chicago, right now.

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"Grace of Intention"
5:00 PM Opening Reception
October 23, 2015
Museum of Contemporary Photography
600 S Michigan Ave.
Chicago, IL
http://www.mocp.org/events/event?id=523446

"Monuments are deliberate gestures--objects or structures created to commemorate an event, person or era. [...] But their meaning can transform, changing over time as the relevance of their symbolism ebbs and flows due to social and political shifts. Like monuments, architecture and photography are also inflected with a grace of intention, and both have the ability to commemorate or represent a nation, event, time or place. [...] And photographs have an inherent memorial quality. This group exhibition examines the work of international artists, some of whose work addresses actual monuments, some whom look at architecture and its relationship to memory and how its importance and symbolism can shift over time, and others approach the idea of the future monument."

Quotation above from: http://www.thevisualist.org/2015/10/grace-of-intention/

Grace of Intention @ MOCP Columbia College
Above: "Grace of Intention," 7:15 PM, October 23, 2015, Museum of Contemporary Photography, 600 S Michigan Ave., Chicago, IL.
Grace of Intention @ MOCP Columbia College
Above: "Grace of Intention," 7:15 PM, October 23, 2015, Museum of Contemporary Photography, 600 S Michigan Ave., Chicago, IL.
Grace of Intention @ MOCP Columbia College
Above: "Grace of Intention," 7:15 PM, October 23, 2015, Museum of Contemporary Photography, 600 S Michigan Ave., Chicago, IL.
Traffic was heavy. I parked near the intersection of Grand Avenue and Des Plaines Street, which meant a two-and-a-half mile walk to the museum. It was cool outside; a light rain was falling. I had my camera bag slung around my back. The opening reception for "Grace of Intention" was advertised to begin at 5:00 PM; there was no closing time listed. I arrived at the MoCP at 7:15 PM. The doors were locked; the lights were out. The only person left in the building was a security guard, seated behind a desk in the lobby. He allowed me access to the second floor in order to use the restroom. Bernie Sanders watched me.

Sometimes it happens that way. As a result of the transfer of public street parking to private companies, coupled with vigorous parking enforcement, it's become very difficult and expensive to participate in events which are located in Chicago's central business district, or Loop. The situation is only worsened by the fact that the bulk of independent activity in the arts has moved five to fifteen miles away from the city center, and many openings continue to be scheduled during rush hour on Friday night.

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Nina Hartmann, Natalie Labriola & Sarah Sieradzki
"Keys Open Doors"
October 24 - December 6, 2015
boyfriends
3311 W. Carroll Ave.
Chicago IL
http://www.ninahartmann.com/
http://www.boyfriendschicago.com/

"There was no pain. The light was comforting, entirely comforting and welcoming. I went toward it. Around me was darkness and a void. It was kind of like a tunnel. I was heading for the light when I heard my sister call my name."

Quotation above from: http://www.thevisualist.org/2015/10/nina-hartmann-natalie-labriola-sarah-sieradzki-keys-open-doors/

Nina Hartmann and Leo Kaplan in Keys Open Doors @ boyfriends
Above: Nina Hartmann in installation with co-proprietor Leo Kaplan at the opening reception for "Keys Open Doors," October 24 - December 6, 2015, boyfriends, 3311 W. Carroll Ave., Chicago, IL.
Nina Hartmann and Sarah Sieradzki in Keys Open Doors @ boyfriends
Above: Artworks by Nina Hartmann, left, and Sarah Sieradzki, right, in "Keys Open Doors," October 24 - December 6, 2015, boyfriends, 3311 W. Carroll Ave., Chicago, IL.
Natalie Labriola in Keys Open Doors @ boyfriends
Above: Artwork by Natalie Labriola in "Keys Open Doors," October 24 - December 6, 2015, boyfriends, 3311 W. Carroll Ave., Chicago, IL.
Hartmann's application of a monochrome printed paper to the gallery walls reminded me of Seripop's tactic at the Center for Book and Paper Arts at Columbia College on February 12, 2015, which is pictured above. And again, in December of 2015, a similar paper, produced by Lauren Clay, was applied to the walls of the art fair booth occupied by LVL3 at Untitled. Even earlier, in 2014, Samantha Bittman employed a similar technique in her "Razzle Dazzle" installation.

It was the second good show that I saw at boyfriends.

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"WERQ: Embodying Queer Spirit"
Chances Dances Fashion Show 6:00 - 9:00 PM
October 24, 2015
Gallery 400
400 S. Peoria St.
Chicago IL
http://gallery400.uic.edu/events/werq-embodying-queer-spirit
http://www.chancesdances.org/

"Please join us for 'WERQ: Embodying Queer Spirit,' A Fashion Show and Celebration of Platforms: 10 Years of Chances Dances. Presenting LQQKs by: Mark Aguhar, Gnat Madrid Brilmyer (GNAT), Sky Cubacub (Rebirth Garments), Gurt Hansell (kangmankey), Matt Morris. DJ Sets by: Hijo Prodigo & Slo ‘Mo. Hosted by: Anna Rangos (AR+ Fashion) & The CQQCHIFRUIT Collection. Hand batched cocktails by Dan Luedtke with ingredients from Letherbee Distillers and Analogue."

Quotation above from: http://www.thevisualist.org/2015/10/werq-embodying-queer-spirit/

Elijah Burgher and Gordon Hall in Chances Dances WERQ @ Gallery 400
Above: Artwork by Elijah Burgher and Gordon Hall ("Witness Well" Stage for Chances Dances, 2015, wood, canvas, acrylic) in "WERQ: Embodying Queer Spirit," Chances Dances Fashion Show, 6:00-9:00 PM, October 24, 2015, Gallery 400, 400 S. Peoria St., Chicago IL.
Hope Esser and Daviel Shy in Chances Dances WERQ @ Gallery 400
Above: Artwork by Hope Esser and Daviel Shy in "WERQ: Embodying Queer Spirit," Chances Dances Fashion Show, 6:00-9:00 PM, October 24, 2015, Gallery 400, 400 S. Peoria St., Chicago IL.
I remembered Hope Esser and Daviel Shy's February 19, 2014 performance artifacts from the now defunct Hills Esthetic Center.

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Anne Elizabeth Moore
Trunk Show
6:00-8:00 PM
October 24, 2015
Gallery 400
400 S. Peoria St.
Chicago, IL
http://anneelizabethmoore.com/
http://trunkshowtrunkshow.tumblr.com/

"Trunk Show, a mobile exhibition space usually located in Chicago, features monthly solo shows for which artists are commissioned to design a limited-edition bumper sticker. The sticker lives, rides along with, and helps propel a medium beat-up 1999 forest green Ford Taurus owned by Raven Falquez Munsell and Jesse Malmed. In addition to the month-long exhibitions, the bumper stickers are sold à la carte and by annual subscription. Openings follow a nomadic, symbiotic logic and include a public affixing, conceptual catering, and playlists."

Quotation above from: http://anneelizabethmoore.com/trunk-show/

"We’re hosting comic artist and journalist Anne Elizabeth Moore’s opening in tandem with 'WERQ: Embodying Queer Spirit,' a fashion fete that is part of our beloved Chances’ colossal celebration. We’ll unveil Moore’s latest alongside our usual unusuals while wearables (think humans instead of cars) take stage inside."

Quotation above from: http://trunkshowtrunkshow.tumblr.com/post/131499941145/anne-elizabeth-moore-for-trunk-show

Anne Elizabeth Moore @ Trunk Show
Above: Anne Elizabeth Moore's bumper sticker at Trunk Show, 6:00-8:00 PM, October 24, 2015, Gallery 400, 400 S. Peoria St., Chicago, IL.
Anne Elizabeth Moore @ Trunk Show
Above: Raven Falquez Munsell at center, facing camera, and Anne Elizabeth Moore, far right, at Trunk Show, 6:00-8:00 PM, October 24, 2015, Gallery 400, 400 S. Peoria St., Chicago, IL.
Anne Elizabeth Moore @ Trunk Show
Above: Anne Elizabeth Moore's cookies, distributed at Trunk Show, 6:00-8:00 PM, October 24, 2015, Gallery 400, 400 S. Peoria St., Chicago, IL.
I had a quick chat with Moore, in which she advised me of the health benefits of eating cocoa powder, and the health risks of eating cocoa powder mixed with sugar, immediately prior to offering me a black-and-white chocolate sugar cookie.

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"Public Utility"
October 24 - 25, 2015

New Capital
3114 W Carroll Ave.
Chicago, IL
http://www.thevisualist.org/2015/10/public-utility/

"Please join us next Saturday, October 24, from 4-7pm for a preview of: 'PUBLIC UTILITY,' an exhibition and auction benefiting program expenses and amenities to support a broader public. Join us for cocktails, see the works installed in the former gallery, and get a sneak-peak of the new space in progress."

Quotation above from: http://www.thevisualist.org/2015/10/public-utility/

Public Utility @ New Capital
Above: Renovation of the new New Capital gallery space in progress, ground-level, southeast corner of the building at 3114 W Carroll Ave., as seen during the "Public Utility" preview show on October 24, 2015.
Public Utility @ New Capital
Above: The old New Capital gallery space in use, upper-level, southeast corner of the building at 3114 W Carroll Ave., as seen during the "Public Utility" auction, October 24 - 25, 2015. Alex Chitty at left, in blue, facing camera.
Emma Robbins in Public Utility @ New Capital
Above: Artwork by Emma Robbins ("Lisa Frank + Bluebird I" 2015, acrylic hair, adhesive, cotton flour bag, 35 x 13.5 inches) in the "Public Utility" auction at New Capital gallery, October 24 - 25, 2015, 3114 W Carroll Ave., Chicago, IL.
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Timothy Bergstrom, Heidi Norton, & Derrick Piens
"Germination"
September 26 - November 1, 2015
LVL3
1542 N. Milwaukee Ave., 3rd floor
Chicago, IL
http://www.heidi-norton.com/
http://lvl3media.com/gallery/

"Bergstrom’s additive process of building up a surface creates an uncanny setting that demands to be examined. Norton’s exploration with material–living and synthetic–presents nature in a suspended state and confronts ways we desire, study, and attempt to control the natural world. Piens utilizes natural elements in his work to inform color and scale as ways to focus the viewer’s attention and to underscore materiality. Germination unites these artists’ practices through focusing on their methods of growth and transformation within the studio."

Quotation above from: http://www.thevisualist.org/2015/09/timothy-bergstrom-heidi-norton-derrick-piens-germination/

Heidi Norton in Germination @ LVL3
Above: Heidi Norton in "Germination," September 26 - November 1, 2015, at LVL3, 1542 N. Milwaukee Ave., 3rd floor, Chicago, IL.
Heidi Norton in Germination @ LVL3
Above: Heidi Norton in "Germination," September 26 - November 1, 2015, at LVL3, 1542 N. Milwaukee Ave., 3rd floor, Chicago, IL.
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Above:
Images (1-42) January 29 - November 1, 2015;
Copyright Paul E. Germanos

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Below:
Previously published reports from 2015:

January 24, 2015: Michael Kaysen @ 65GRAND (photo)
http://chicagoartworld.blogspot.com/2015/01/2015-michael-kaysen-65grand.html

January 26, 2015: All In @ Riverside Arts Center (photo)
http://chicagoartworld.blogspot.com/2015/01/2015-all-in-riverside-arts-center.html

January 27, 2015: Traci Fowler @ Hairpin Arts Center (photo)
http://chicagoartworld.blogspot.com/2015/01/traci-fowler-hairpin-arts-center.html

January 28, 2015: Ryan Duggan @ Rational Park (photo)
http://chicagoartworld.blogspot.com/2015/01/2015-ryan-duggan-rational-park.html

January 30, 2015: Christopher Ottinger @ Bert Green Fine Art (photo)
http://chicagoartworld.blogspot.com/2015/01/2015-christopher-ottinger-bert-green.html

February 4, 2015: Colleen Plumb @ Pilsen (photo)
http://chicagoartworld.blogspot.com/2015/02/2015-colleen-plumb-pilsen.html

February 7, 2015: Cole Pierce @ Roman Susan (photo)
http://chicagoartworld.blogspot.com/2015/02/2015-cole-pierce-roman-susan.html

February 11, 2015: Liz McCarthy & Soo Shin @ Heaven Gallery (photo)
http://chicagoartworld.blogspot.com/2015/02/2015-liz-mccarthy-soo-shin-heaven.html

February 24, 2015: Dao Nguyen & Tom Friel in ACRE @ Defibrillator Gallery (photo)
http://chicagoartworld.blogspot.com/2015/02/2015-dao-nguyen-tom-friel-in-acre.html

March 10, 2015: Kate McQuillen @ Comfort Station (text)
http://chicagoartworld.blogspot.com/2015/03/2015-kate-mcquillen-comfort-station.html

April 8, 2015: Lyp Sinc Show 5 @ Defibrillator (photo)
http://chicagoartworld.blogspot.com/2015/04/2015-lyp-sinc-show-5-defibrillator.html

April 30, 2015: Leaving Chicago (text)
http://chicagoartworld.blogspot.com/2015/04/2015-leaving-chicago.html

May 10, 2015: Jeriah Hildwine on Leaving Chicago (text)
http://chicagoartworld.blogspot.com/2015/05/2015-jeriah-hildwine-on-leaving-chicago.html

May 12, 2015: Steve Ruiz on Leaving Chicago (text)
http://chicagoartworld.blogspot.com/2015/05/2015-steve-ruiz-on-leaving-chicago.html

May 22, 2015: Mark Staff Brandl on Leaving Chicago (text)
http://chicagoartworld.blogspot.com/2015/05/2015-mark-staff-brandl-on-leaving.html

May 30, 2015: Julia Haw on Leaving Chicago (text)
http://chicagoartworld.blogspot.com/2015/05/2015-julia-haw-on-leaving-chicago.html

June 14, 2015: Corinna Kirsch on Leaving Chicago (text)
http://chicagoartworld.blogspot.com/2015/06/2015-corinna-kirsch-on-leaving-chicago.html

June 29, 2015: Patrick Bobilin on Leaving Chicago (text)
http://chicagoartworld.blogspot.com/2015/06/2015-patrick-bobilin-on-leaving-chicago.html

August 11, 2015: Public Collectors: Hardcore Architecture @ The Franklin (photo)
http://chicagoartworld.blogspot.com/2015/08/public-collectors-hardcore-architecture.html

August 14, 2015: Claire Arctander @ Trunk Show (photo)
http://chicagoartworld.blogspot.com/2015/08/2015-claire-arctander-trunk-show.html

August 23, 2015: New American Paintings: Midwest Edition @ Elmhurst Art Museum (text)
http://chicagoartworld.blogspot.com/2015/08/2015-new-american-paintings-midwest.html

September 11, 2015: Recent History, News & Gossip @ Opening Weekend (text)
http://chicagoartworld.blogspot.com/2015/09/2015-recent-history-news-gossip-opening.html

November 3, 2015: Halloween @ ACRE (photo)
http://chicagoartworld.blogspot.com/2015/11/2015-halloween-acre.html

November 16, 2015: Critic's Picks @ Expo Art Week (text)
http://chicagoartworld.blogspot.com/2015/11/2015-critics-picks-expo-art-week.html

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END