WBEZ | art institute of chicago http://www.wbez.org/tags/art-institute-chicago Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Mike Reed makes art out of discomfort http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-11-19/mike-reed-makes-art-out-discomfort-113851 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/mike reed.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Chicago drummer and composer<a href="https://twitter.com/mikereedmusic"> Mike Reed</a> is known far beyond the city&rsquo;s improvised music scene. He&rsquo;s played in Europe and it was there in 2009 that Reed experienced what can be described as an unpleasant situation. But from that event has sprung art in the form of fresh compositions, and a curiosity about how other creative people make something beautiful out of ugly or awkward episodes in their lives.</p><p>Reed dubbed the project <a href="http://www.mikereed-music.com/flesh-bone">Flesh &amp; Bone</a>, and it premieres at the <a href="http://www.artic.edu/event/concert-extensions-out-mike-reeds-flesh-and-bone">Art Institute</a> Friday. Reed shares his story and how it has become a source of new music.</p></p> Thu, 19 Nov 2015 12:29:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-11-19/mike-reed-makes-art-out-discomfort-113851 Artist found inspiration in South Side jazz clubs http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/artist-found-inspiration-south-side-jazz-clubs-112646 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://www.wbez.org/" alt="" /><p><p dir="ltr">One of the major artists of the Harlem Renaissance never actually lived in New York.</p><p dir="ltr">The painter Archibald Motley, Jr. called Chicago home for most of his life. That&rsquo;s where, starting in the 1920s, he became inspired by a vibrant South Side nightlife that is largely forgotten today.</p><p dir="ltr">Many of these paintings are on display now in the exhibit <a href="http://www.cityofchicago.org/city/en/depts/dca/supp_info/motley.html">Archibald Motley: Jazz Age Modernist</a> at the Chicago Cultural Center, but only through the end of August.</p><p dir="ltr">Motley was born in New Orleans in 1891. A few years later, his family moved to Chicago where his father worked as a Pullman porter. Motley had a middle class upbringing in Englewood and eventually attended the School of the Art Institute.</p><p dir="ltr"><a href="http://drive.google.com/a/chicagopublicradio.org/?tab=mo#folders/0By7E2pZ6aCZtSl9MWm1palVzeGc">Professor Richard Powell of Duke University</a>, the exhibit&rsquo;s curator, said shortly after graduation Motley began a lucrative career painting portraits.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;African Americans who were business folk, ministers, school teachers, people who have some disposable income where they wanted their portraits done,&rdquo; said Powell. &ldquo;Archibald Motley filled that niche.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">But Motley soon began to paint not just his neighbors, but the neighborhoods themselves. Powell points to Motley&rsquo;s depiction of a bustling Bronzeville block in Black Belt from 1934.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;&lsquo;Black Belt&rsquo; was a sociological term that folks at the University of Chicago used to describe that part of Chicago where black people lived,&rdquo; Powell explained. &ldquo;[Motley] transforms it because there&rsquo;s nothing all that black and bleak about this painting.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">Black Belt&rsquo;s vibrant street scene is crammed with men in dark suits and women in bright dresses. Curved black cars cruise under neon signs. According to Powell, Motley captures an energy that no photograph of that era could.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;I love how we get in the background, the sky and the stars in the sky. But rather than getting horizon lines, he just blends it. We move from that wonderful blue sky to the mauve of the sidewalk,&rdquo; said Powell. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s a hint that this is not Realism 101. This is expressionism.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">Powell thinks it may have been influenced by his studies at the Art Institute, as well as what he saw in 1929 during a six-month stay in Paris on a Guggenheim Fellowship.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;He looked at the work of Henri Toulouse-Lautrec, the French artist who worked in Belle Époque Paris. The place that had all the can-cans and cabarets,&rdquo; said Powell. &ldquo;I think that Motley said &lsquo;there&rsquo;s something similar to that happening here in the South Side of Chicago.&rsquo;&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">Indeed, the Jazz Age in Chicago was in full swing at that time, filling nightclubs throughout the city.</p><p dir="ltr">In Motley&rsquo;s painting Saturday Night (1935), the dominant color is pomegranate red. A jazz combo plays to a crowded room of people drinking, laughing and talking. Lampshades dot tables where patrons lounge with martinis and cigarettes. A woman in a frilly dress sways to the music as waiters in white uniforms rush by with drink trays.</p><p>Powell said Motley captures the essence of the mood through color and technique.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;It&rsquo;s always this kind of energy between the figures and each other and how they interact with one another. Not in terms of a narrative but in terms of a composition,&rdquo; Powell said.</p><p dir="ltr"><a href="http://www.mikeallemana.com/">Michael Allemana is a local musician and jazz historian</a>. He says the music scene back then was something everyone wanted to experience. There were nightclubs and theaters on nearly every block in some parts of the black South Side.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;You didn&rsquo;t have TV, and radio was just starting to be a force,&rdquo; noted Allemana. &ldquo;Wherever you lived, you could walk to a club. Chicago was a magnet because there were opportunities for musicians to play here. It must have been so vibrant. And that&rsquo;s what I get out of [Motley&rsquo;s] paintings.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">Places like the Platinum Lounge, Dreamland Cafe and Lincoln Gardens made up what was known as &ldquo;The Stroll&rdquo; &mdash; a nightlife district on State Street between 26th and 39th streets.</p><p dir="ltr">Those days are over, but there are still remnants of that era if you know where to look. &nbsp;</p><p>For instance, <a href="http://chicagopatterns.com/chicago-jazz-history-revealed-at-meyers-ace-hardware/">Meyers Ace Hardware store on E. 35th street</a>. Way in the back, past aisles of light bulbs and power tools, the store is hiding a secret past.</p><p dir="ltr">Manager Dave Meyers takes Powell and I up thin wooden stairs to his makeshift office. His father moved his old hardware store to this location in the 1960s.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;Right now, we are on the bandstand. It went out six feet farther that way. In front of that was the stage.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">As Meyers opens the door, Powell&rsquo;s eyes widen as he gazes at a large crimson-colored mural on the back wall.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;Oooh! Oh my goodness,&rdquo; Powell exclaimed. &ldquo;Oh wow!&rdquo;</p><p>The mural shows a white jazz saxophonist playing opposite an exotic-looking creature pounding a drum.</p><p dir="ltr">The painting was part of the Sunset Cafe later known as the Grand Terrace.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;The club was known as a (black and) tan club,&rdquo; said Meyers. &ldquo;Because blacks and whites came here.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">Meyers showed us pictures of Earl &lsquo;Fatha&rsquo; Hines, Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald and others who performed here and other nearby haunts.</p><p dir="ltr">It&rsquo;s not clear who painted the mural or when it went up. Powell thinks it might have been sometime in the 1940&rsquo;s. But he says Motley definitely went to the Sunset Cafe.</p><p dir="ltr">Powell reflected on what it was like to peek into Motley&rsquo;s past.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;I&rsquo;m speechless. That was amazing,&rdquo; said Powell. &ldquo;You can get kind of a glimmer of maybe what was. Just a glimmer.&rdquo;</p><p><em>Follow WBEZ reporter Yolanda Perdomo on Twitter <a href="https://twitter.com/yolandanews">@yolandanews</a> </em></p></p> Fri, 14 Aug 2015 00:32:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/artist-found-inspiration-south-side-jazz-clubs-112646 Fashion and art are closer than you think http://www.wbez.org/blogs/britt-julious/2013-07/fashion-and-art-are-closer-you-think-108000 <p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Manet-Lady-with-Fans_480.jpg" title="(Art Institute of Chicago)" /></p><p>Although Chicago is not a fashion capital, our museums have done an excellent job in making connections between fashion and social and cultural changes. The Chicago History Museum&rsquo;s Costume Council frequently puts on rich exhibitions that explore the ways changes in fashion mirror changes in society at large. The latest example of this comes from the Art Institute of Chicago.</p><p>In <a href="http://www.artic.edu/exhibitions/impressionism-fashion-and-modernity" target="_blank"><em>Impressionism, Fashion, and Modernity</em></a>, curators connect the rising social classes, fashions designed to please these new classes and work of some of the most impressive Impressionists. Despite the faults of the exhibition&rsquo;s layout (dark, depressing rooms and the inability to fully immerse in the construction of the actual designs), the exhibition brings up a larger point that is still relevant today: <strong>What does fashion say about who we are?</strong></p><p>Some of the most exciting works in the exhibition are the small steel and wood engravings. Called &ldquo;fashion plates,&rdquo; the engravings resemble fashion spreads in magazines. The images on the plates have a potent combination of idealism and realism that rings true. This could be your life!</p><p>Fashion plates were eventually replaced by fashion photography and yet little has changed in how we present fashion and even images as a whole. Fashion spreads are often the only consistent outlet for commercial publications to explore aesthetic and artistic ideas on a regular basis. This is why fashion photography still makes headlines. They can help spread existing stereotypes or negative portrayals of different people.&nbsp;</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Renoir-La-Loge_360.png" style="float: left;" title="(Art Institute of Chicago)" />Impressionistic painting was inspired by the fashion of the time and fashion was an urban phenomena synonymous with modernity. Fashion offered a playground for artists to play, eventually bringing paintings to life. In turn, the paintings gave the dresses a freedom of movement not previously seen.</p><p>The paintings also immortalized the clothing and trends. Why is this not the case in contemporary society?</p><p>Contemporary art of the Impressionist period reflected the ephemerality of daily life and focused on the permanence of beauty and art. This was a rapidly changing time in relation to the distribution of wealth and resources. As individuals&#39; means changed, so too did their art.</p><p>Does contemporary society have an issue with &ldquo;beauty&rdquo; and &ldquo;art?&rdquo; Probably not. This could be a result of changing markets.</p><p>Both art and fashion have been overrun by purchasing power and capitalist markets. However, fashion has seen this occur much more rapidly than the art market.</p><p>Great art and beauty are still created on a daily basis. But everyday life lacks the ephemeral quality it once had. We are more connected and intertwined than ever before. Nothing dies on the Internet. What does this mean? Well for one, it means that our actions, however small, can live on beyond our own lives. In terms of connecting fashion and art, perhaps this means that there is nothing to reflect on in the grand picture. There is nothing to capture before it is gone because all of it can live on with us and in us with greater permanence.</p><p>Regarding fashion, we often claim that something has &ldquo;come back,&rdquo; but perhaps in 2013, it never went away. This is what ultimately makes the <em>Impressionism, Fashion, and Modernity</em> exhibition so important. It is not just reflecting on what was. It also reflects on what can no longer be. We&rsquo;ve abandoned the newness of fashion and culture. Perhaps we can rectify this. Perhaps not. Fashion is still tied into our wants and desires. People still purchase clothing &ndash; luxurious clothing &ndash; to reflect where they are (or where they want to be). But as an art form, it&rsquo;s lost its relevance with the everyday consumer.</p><p><em><strong>Britt Julious</strong>&nbsp;blogs about culture in and outside of Chicago. Follow Britt&#39;s essays for&nbsp;<a href="http://wbez.tumblr.com/" target="_blank">WBEZ&#39;s Tumblr</a>&nbsp;or on Twitter&nbsp;<a href="http://twitter.com/britticisms" target="_blank">@britticisms</a>. She&#39;s a co-host of the&nbsp;<a href="https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/wbezs-changing-channels/id669715774?mt=2" target="_blank">Changing Channels</a>&nbsp;podcast about the future of television.</em></p></p> Wed, 10 Jul 2013 12:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/britt-julious/2013-07/fashion-and-art-are-closer-you-think-108000 Artist Steve McQueen transforms the Art Institute of Chicago http://www.wbez.org/blogs/alison-cuddy/2012-10/artist-steve-mcqueen-transforms-art-institute-chicago-103279 <p><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center; "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Steve-McQueen-Charlotte_480.png" style="height: 380px; width: 620px; " title="Steve McQueen, Charlotte (courtesy Art Institute of Chicago)" /></div><p>Mere steps inside the Steve McQueen exhibition you&#39;ll realize this is a completely different sort of show for the Art Institute of Chicago.</p><p>For one, the exhibition space is mainly dark - and vast. The first work is <em>Static</em>, McQueen&#39;s 2009 film which consists of a swirling shot of the Statute of Liberty. You can imitate the circling movements of the film by moving around the large two-sided rectangular screen.</p><p>Further in you&#39;ll pass a close-up of an eye bathed in red light, called <em>Charlotte</em>, after the British actress Charlotte Rampling. In another room three of McQueen&#39;s better known installations come together in a wide triangular structure:&nbsp;<em>Bear (1993)</em>,&nbsp;<em>Five Easy Pieces (1995)</em> and&nbsp;<em>Just Above My Head<strong>&nbsp;</strong>(1996).&nbsp;</em></p><p>In fact the entire space has been sculpted to present McQueen&#39;s work, including the construction of a series of small dark screening rooms that are accessed long passages with padded walls. At times it feels a little like traveling through one of those cinematic spaceships, only instead of the usual blindingly white interior, all the lights have been turned out.</p><p>McQueen isn&#39;t well-known in the United States, at least not outside art circles. Mention his name and most people will think you&#39;re talking about the late star of films like <em>Bullit</em> or <em>The Great Escape.</em></p><p>Adding to the confusion, McQueen is probably best known here for directing some recent feature films, including&nbsp;<em>Hunger</em> and <em>Shame.</em></p><p>This review, covering 20 years of his work, will introduce the artist to a wider circle of fans. But even those familiar with McQueen&#39;s work will have the opportunity to encounter new work. His 2003 installation&nbsp;<em>Queen and Country</em> is being shown in the U.S. for the very first time.</p><p>You&#39;ll find it in a small, well-lit room near the back of the exhibition. McQueen worked with photos of British soldiers who died in Iraq. He printed them up as large sheets of postage stamps. They&#39;re framed in glass and hung in a large wooden cabinet.</p><p>He made it in 2003, as the British Imperial Museum&#39;s Official War Artist to Iraq, and aimed for a different view of the war.</p><p>McQueen says his ambition was &quot;to look at this conflict outside of newspapers, outside of television or whatever we get information from as far as how we get our information on conflicts.&quot;</p><p><em>The Steve McQueen retrospective is at the Art Institute through next January.</em></p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Fri, 19 Oct 2012 15:08:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/alison-cuddy/2012-10/artist-steve-mcqueen-transforms-art-institute-chicago-103279 Roy Lichtenstein, holding up the modern pop art mantle http://www.wbez.org/blogs/bez/2012-05/roy-lichtenstein-holding-modern-pop-art-mantle-99647 <p><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center; "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/AP120224143830.jpg" title="Roy Lichtenstein's 'Sleeping Girl', 1964. (AP/Sotheby's)" /></div><p>&quot;[Pop artists portray] what I think to be the most brazen and threatening characteristics of our culture, things we hate, but which are also so powerful in their impingement on us,&quot; Roy Lichtenstein <a href="http://books.google.com/books?id=TXZiaOK3p3kC&amp;pg=PA983&amp;lpg=PA983&amp;dq=Pop+Art+is+industrial+painting.+I+think+the+meaning+of+my+work+is+that+it+is+industrial,+it's+what+all+the+world+will+soon+become.+Europe+will+be+the+same+way,+soon,+it+won't+be+American;+it+will+be+universal.&amp;source=bl&amp;ots=ANZsIdXHLm&amp;sig=welOviyba601vqKkbmRtuDOn1pk&amp;hl=en&amp;sa=X&amp;ei=ey3GT-iVIMKg2gWttMztAQ&amp;ved=0CFAQ6AEwAw#v=onepage&amp;q&amp;f=false">told <em>Arts News</em> in 1963</a>. This was a year before he&#39;d paint &quot;Sleeping Girl&quot;, which sold for $44.8 million earlier this year, a record for the most paid for a Lichtenstein work, work that was considered by some skeptics of his time merely reinterpretations of comic books, hardly considered an art form.&nbsp;</p><p>But looking at Litchenstein&#39;s work today prompts a different reaction than it might have half a century ago. Now, Pop Art is merely status quo; then, his work and the work of contemporaries like Andy Warhol set the stage for the crossover between art, design and advertising that defines the modern creative world.</p><p>Such stage-setting inspired the Art Institute of Chicago, who opened a retrospective of Lichtenstein&#39;s work last week. It&#39;s the first show of his in nearly 20 years (the last was at the Guggenheim Museum in New York in 1993, when the artist was still &quot;alive and well&quot;), notes the curator of the new exhibit, James Rondeau.&nbsp;</p><p>Rondeau knows Lichtenstein&#39;s work well -- he was an intern for that last show. Rondeau says the new exhibit is a sort of &quot;greatest hits&quot; look at the artist&#39;s work, one that can now include the final years of his work, as well as pieces that are&nbsp;&ldquo;less familiar to us today and would have been less familiar in his lifetime.&quot;</p><p>&quot;This is a dream project for me,&quot; says Rondeau, who notes that he became familiar with Lichenstein&#39;s work almost &quot;by osmosis&quot; the last time around, doing things like labeling and filing slides.</p><p>But much has changed even in two decades, and most certainly since Lichtenstein began painting. Today, the boundaries between areas of creative endeavors are very fluid -- artists can make all kinds of work, less limited by medium or even the label artist.</p><p>Chicago artist (and fan of Lichtenstein) Willy Chyr certainly thinks so. Chyr actually wouldn&#39;t even necessarily call himself an artist -- he used to call himself a balloon artist, because of his unique balloon installations -- but, in his words, &quot;Artist is pegged into another category almost.&rdquo; He perhaps perfers &quot;creative.&quot;</p><p>But Chyr <em>would </em>describe those balloon pieces as pop art. The rest of his work, maybe less so: Chyr has crossed many boundaries in his short career. The twenty-something<a href="http://jezebel.com/5856336/"> gained internet-fame</a> by designing the first ad for feminine hygeine products ever to feature or make obvious reference to blood. He recently participated in the crowdsourced novel&nbsp;<a href="http://www.thecollabowriters.com/">The Collabowriters</a>, Lately, he&#39;s excited about being chosen as one of six artists to be featured on <a href="http://willychyr.com/2012/04/becks-art-bottles/">Beck&#39;s limited edition Art Bottles</a>; this years batch includes a design by musician M.I.A, while previous years have featured work by Jeff Koons and Damien Hirst.</p><p style="text-align: center; "><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/j7Lje51Ntb0" width="560"></iframe></p><p>But Chyr sees the value of such a series as more than just advertising for a beer company. &quot;It removes [art] from the institution context and it can just be part of your life -- walking your dog, taking a shower, drinking a beer, and here&rsquo;s some art.&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;Not to say that there&rsquo;s no intellectual thought behind it, but it&rsquo;s a very accessible medium,&quot; he quickly adds.</p><p>That doesn&#39;t mean he necessarily wants to only work in advertising. By freelancing, &quot;I get to&nbsp;do whatever I&rsquo;m interested in and make it and hope that a company wants to latch on...if you&rsquo;re at an agency you have to solve business problems for the client.&rdquo; Chyr would rather just worry about the art part of it.</p><p>This colliding of high and low culture, this taking something that seemed artless, &quot;was seen as a heresy&quot; during Lichtenstein&#39;s time, says Rondeau -- but was also the very reason someone like Chyr can do what he does. That, and the rise of the internet of course.</p><p>&ldquo;We take it absolutely for granted,&quot; Rondeau continues. &quot;Contemporary culture today couldn&rsquo;t exist without these overlapping intersections.&nbsp;It&#39;s almost like oxygen.&rdquo;</p><p><span>Rondeau and Chyr talk more about Roy Lichtenstein and how modern artists are carrying on his legacy during Wednesday&#39;s <em>Afternoon Shift</em>.</span>&nbsp;<a href="http://www.artic.edu/aic/exhibitions/exhibition/lichtenstein">Roy Litchtenstein: A Retrospective</a>&nbsp;is open at the Art Institute until September 3, when it moves on to the National Gallery of Art in Washington, the Tate Modern in London and the Centre Pompidou in Paris. Keep track of Willy Chyr at his <a href="http://willychyr.com">website </a>or on <a href="https://twitter.com/#!/@willychyr">Twitter</a>.</p></p> Wed, 30 May 2012 09:16:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/bez/2012-05/roy-lichtenstein-holding-modern-pop-art-mantle-99647 A tour of Dawoud Bey's 'Harlem, USA' http://www.wbez.org/blogs/alison-cuddy/2012-05/tour-dawoud-beys-harlem-usa-98990 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/bey corner.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><iframe allowfullscreen="" mozallowfullscreen="" src="http://player.vimeo.com/video/41873684" webkitallowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="411" scrolling="no" width="620" align="middle"></iframe></p><p>I recently <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/alison-cuddy/2012-05/photographer-dawoud-beys-landmark-moment-two-exhibits-two-chicago">interviewed Dawoud Bey</a> about <em>Harlem, USA</em>, his '70s era photo essay of the New York community.</p><p>After our interview we toured the exhibit - which was still being installed - and he shared how, as a novice photographer, he went about photographing people in the community.</p><p>For more contemporary Bey, be sure to attend his show <em>Picturing People</em>, which opens May 13 at <a href="http://www.renaissancesociety.org/site/">The Renaissance Society</a> in Hyde Park.</p><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Wed, 09 May 2012 16:10:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/alison-cuddy/2012-05/tour-dawoud-beys-harlem-usa-98990 Put away your wallet - Art Institute offering free admission in January http://www.wbez.org/blog/city-room-blog/2012-01-04/put-away-your-wallet-art-institute-offering-free-admission-january-95 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//blog/photo/2012-January/2012-01-04/art institute 1_flickr_mark hard.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><a href="http://www.artic.edu/aic/collections/exhibitions/LightYears/index"><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2012-January/2012-01-04/art institute 2_flickr_Wally G.jpg" style="width: 275px; height: 411px; margin: 5px; float: left;" title="(Flickr/Wally G)">A new exhibit</a> that examines the influence of photography on conceptual art is one of several shows Illinois residents can see for free this month at the Art Institute of Chicago. The museum is waiving their $18 adult admission fee every weekday between now and February 10.</p><p>In addition, admission to the museum will be free for Illinois residents on the first and second Wednesday of the month beginning in March, bringing the total number of free days for the year close to 50.</p><p>Sorry, Hoosiers and tourists. You still have to pay. Kids and members always get in free.</p><p>This is the second year admission has been waived for Illinois residents in January. Ticket prices were hiked in 2009 from $12 to $18 after transitioning from a suggested donation system in 2006.</p><p>Click <a href="http://www.artic.edu/aic/exhibitions/current.php">here</a> for a full list of the Art Institute’s current exhibitions.</p></p> Wed, 04 Jan 2012 17:24:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blog/city-room-blog/2012-01-04/put-away-your-wallet-art-institute-offering-free-admission-january-95 The aesthetics of encryption http://www.wbez.org/content/aesthetics-encryption <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//story/photo/2011-October/2011-10-19/JuergenMayerH_wirrwarr_2.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>German architect Jürgen Mayer H. has been collecting ordinary mailing envelopes for the last 10 years. His collection spans hundreds of items and is growing all the time, thanks to submissions from fans and followers.</p><p>It may sound like a banal sort of collection, but the envelopes’ plain exteriors hide their fascinating insides: complex monochromatic encryption patterns that prevent causal scanning of private data and that constitute the real draw for Mayer H.</p><p>Over 100 examples of these visually complex objects have been enlarged and turned into prints, and are on display in Architectural Drawings Gallery 24 at the Art Institute of Chicago through January 22nd.</p><p>The prints themselves are taken from a large format book from the German publishing house Hatje Cantz. <em>WirrWarr</em>, the title of both the book and the exhibit, means “confusion” in German.</p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/insert-image/2011-October/2011-10-19/JuergenMayerH_wirrwarr_1.jpg" style="width: 560px; height: 503px;" title="(Image courtesy of the artist)"></p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/insert-image/2011-October/2011-10-19/JuergenMayerH_wirrwarr_2.jpg" style="width: 560px; height: 503px;" title="(Image courtesy of the artist)"></p><p>The prints are fascinating things. Unfolded and splayed open, deprived of what little physicality they once had, it’s easier to focus on, and enjoy, their patterned insides. You can read them, not as the record of actual paper objects, but as examples of the aesthetics of encryption, reminders of the patterns in everyday objects, the prettiness in the practicality.</p><p>Their patterns call to mind such things as typewriter typeface, jumbled and superimposed; topographic maps; chevron; houndstooth; tiny coats of arms; and wallpaper, too. In fact, for the 2008 Venice Biennale, Mayer H. created a wallpaper version of the prints.</p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://www.wbez.org/sites/default/files/story/insert-image/2011-October/2011-10-19/Juergen%20Mayer%20H.%2C%20%E2%80%9Cpre.text%20%28or%29%20vor.wand%2C%E2%80%9D%20Venice%20Biennale%2C%202008..jpg" style="width: 600px; height: 400px;" title="Installation view of Mayer H.'s piece 'pre.text' at the 2008 Venice Biennale "></p><p>The prints can seem at once old fashioned, because of their association with postal mail, and highly futuristic, evoking the complex streams of visual data that characterize modern digital life.</p><p>This, says curator Zoë Ryan, helps explain the visual and conceptual appeal to a contemporary architect like Mayer H.</p><p>“He’s interested in trying to find a formal language in buildings, which have both a public and private form,” Ryan explains.</p><p>Mayer H. uses these patterns as inspirations for his buildings, such as the Hasselt Court of Justice in Hasselt, Belgium. Like his envelopes, buildings have an inside and an outside, a public and a private face.</p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/insert-image/2011-October/2011-10-19/JMAYERH_Hasselt_FDujardin_001.jpg" style="width: 600px; height: 340px;" title="Hasselt Court of Justice, Hasselt, Belgium (Courtesy of Filip Dujardin)"></p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/insert-image/2011-October/2011-10-19/JMAYERH_Hasselt_FDujardin_0002.jpg" style="width: 600px; height: 442px;" title="Detail of the facade of the Hasselt Court of Justice (Courtesy of Filip Dujardin)"></p><p><em>"Jürgen Mayer H.'s WirrWarr"</em> <em>is on view at the Art Institute of Chicago through January 22, 2012.</em></p></p> Wed, 19 Oct 2011 20:54:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/content/aesthetics-encryption Exploring gay art and artists at the Art Institute of Chicago http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-09-12/exploring-gay-art-and-artists-art-institute-chicago-91844 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//segment/photo/2011-September/2011-09-12/rainyday.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Most people can identify whether or not a piece of art appeals to them--they know it when they see it. But what about the intent of the artist; their history and point of view? Some critics contend that certain artists lack exposure– particularly those who are gay. So, <em>Eight Forty-Eight</em> decided to tour the <a href="http://www.artic.edu/aic/">Art institute of Chicag</a>o with<a href="http://www.saic.edu/%7Edgetsy/"> David Getsy</a>, an art historian at the <a href="http://www.saic.edu/">School of the Art Institute of Chicago</a>, to take a look at some works by gay artists. The tour started at a very popular painting in the museum–-<a href="http://www.artic.edu/aic/collections/artwork/20684?search_id=1" target="_blank"><em>Paris Street; Rainy Day</em></a>-–by impressionist Gustave Caillebotte.</p><p><em>Music Button: Baby Dee, "Cowboys with Cowboy Hat Hair," from the release Regifted Light (Drag City)</em><br> &nbsp;</p></p> Mon, 12 Sep 2011 13:47:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-09-12/exploring-gay-art-and-artists-art-institute-chicago-91844 Art Institute of Chicago picks new leader http://www.wbez.org/story/art-institute-chicago-picks-new-leader-90974 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//story/photo/2011-August/2011-08-24/Douglas Druick 2.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>The Art Institute of Chicago board just named Douglas Druick as the museum’s new director Wednesday morning.</p><p>Druick, who’s been serving as the interim director, has been with the institution for 26 years.</p><p>He headed the department of prints and drawings, as well as the department of medieval to modern European paintings and sculpture, which includes the museum’s famous Impressionist collection. Druick organized some major exhibitions, includingco-curating both “Jasper Johns: Gray<em>” </em>and <em>“</em>Van Gogh and Gauguin: The Studio of the South.” He co-wrote the catalogues for these shows.</p><p>He replaces James Cuno, the former director, who left in June to head the J. Paul Getty Trust.</p><p>Druick said he was thrilled by his appointment.</p><p>&nbsp;“I have followed and participated in the many successes that have been achieved here in Chicago - the renovation of the galleries, most recently the opening of the Modern Wing, a string of successful exhibitions and publications that have put us in the forefront of museum publications and exhibitions,” he said. “And now, to be in charge of it and to bring the experience I have developed over the past 20 years to bear on the institution as we move forward is very exciting for me, and I hope will be very exciting for the institution.”</p><p>Druick said one of his first priorities is finding a new head of education at the Art Institute to replace someone who retired.</p><p>“We are now involved in ways of learning that involve new technology, arguably more engaged and interactive than formally, and these are some of the things that we want to consider moving forward in the way we present our programs, present the collection, but also introduce technology in various forms to the building,” he said.</p><p>Druick wants to put even more of the collections online to make them accessible. He also plans to “strategically” expand the Art Institute's permanent collection.</p><p>“We do tell the story of modern and contemporary art quite beautifully at the Art Institute – great holdings – but there are missing links, and so part of the ambition is to fill in the missing links.”</p><p>Druick said the Art Institute is financially “pretty sound" despite the struggling economy. He said the endowment was up almost 24 percent over last year.</p><p>“We are finally where we were before the crash, so that's very good news. We're optimistic about the future, cautiously, of course,” he said.</p><p>Druick said the Art Institute's financial picture improved enough to give staff a cost-of-living increase and open all the galleries. The museum had been rotating gallery closures to save money.</p><p>Like some other institutions, The Art Institute had also raised admission rates and laid off staff in response to the recession. But Druick said it was too soon to say whether the museum could reverse either of those measures. But he pointed out the institution did get rid of the additional charge for special exhibits when it increased admissions.</p><p>The chairman of the board of trustees, Tom Pritzker, called Druick one of the leading curators in the world. He said Druick’s contributions were “immeasurably important” to the development of the museum’s collections and exhibitions.</p><p>"As we looked for a new director, the search committee kept returning to Douglas' experience, intellect, and vision for the museum," Pritzker said in a release.</p><p>Before joining the Art Institute, Druick was curator of European and American prints at the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa. He’s published extensively, including 15 exhibit catalogues. He’s also lectured around the world.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Wed, 24 Aug 2011 16:53:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/art-institute-chicago-picks-new-leader-90974