Month: November 2010

Artist Talk with Jeff Zimmermann

The God Particle is the most recent installation at the Chicago Cultural Center by artist and muralist Jeff Zimmermann. Throughout Chicago Artists Month, Zimmermann was on site installing the work and opening up a conversation to the public. His work mixes iconography, popular culture and symbolism and come together to allow the viewer to create their own narrative and enter at several points. On November 18th he walked through his work in a gallery talk. The following is the first part of the talk, with an introduction by the curator of exhibitions at the Chicago Cultural Center. Artist Talk with Jeff Zimmermann from Tempestt Hazel on Vimeo.

In The Studio with Jennifer Taylor

Jennifer Taylor has always been more comfortable in creative settings. She has had a successful career as an actress and simultaneously kept her home occupied with repainted and re-appropriated items and her own paintings. Inspired by a mixture of life experiences and NPR broadcasts, Taylor’s work would fit comfortably with the work of early widely praised twentieth century western art movements. In the summer of 2010, SIFC took a brief tour of her Riverside studio and asked her some questions about her work and career. Tempestt Hazel: Tell us a bit about your self and your artwork. Jennifer Taylor: I’ve always doodled – literally, in the margins of my grade school papers – but in 1985 my husband gave me a Christmas gift of oil pastels and paper. A switch went off and I started spending every free hour of my day drawing with those pastels. Then I moved to oils. TH: How does living/working or being from Chicago influence your creative practice? JT: Chicago is a working city. I’ve lived in NY and LA. …

Chicago Artist At Large with Caitlin Cherry: “We Want In!” Open House/Open Studios at Columbia University

Chicago Artist At Large is an ongoing series about native Chicago artists working and studying outside of their home town. As part of Sixty Inches From Center’s Chicago Artists at Large Series, we invited Columbia University MFA candidate and Chicago native Caitlin Cherry to tell us about some of her experiences in New York City’s art scene. For her first entry Caitlin tells us first-hand about her experience during Columbia University’s Open Studios, which is a showcase of the work being done in the studios of the second-year MFA candidates. There was something sobering about helping to organize Columbia University’s MFA Open House for prospective students this past Sunday. Thinking about the statistics of the program, I realized that out of the estimated 200 bushy tailed individuals that I welcomed and ushered into classrooms for presentations only 2 will get in – if even that. I’m so sober. Fellow 1st years students and I were overwhelmed standing in front of a full capacity room of these prospective students asking personal questions about our experiences since …

Bucktown Arts Festival Turns 25

This past summer marked the 25th anniversary of the Bucktown Arts Fest. As a new resident of the neighborhood, I welcomed the festival as a chance to connect with my local community and see some great art. I dove right in and signed up as a volunteer for both days of the event. On Saturday I arrived at the information tent ready to get my hands dirty. Coordinators Laura Doede and Brett Mackie put me to work selling posters and water. The environment was loose, as patrons with their dogs strolled by, volunteers drifted in and out, and artists stopped by to chat. Our posters, all emblazoned with goat heads, sold like hotcakes, but also raised a common question. “Why the goat?” people asked me. One story is that Bucktown gets its namesake from the goats (a male goat is a buck) that frequented the neighborhood back in the 1800’s, when Poles and Germans populated the area. Living in Bucktown, I’ve found other Chicagoans often lump my neighborhood in with Logan Square or Wicker Park. …

Girl, Please: Looking Forward

Girl, Please is an exhibition that attempts to push the boundaries and blurred lines of contemporary social politics relating to gender and sexual identity. Situated in the lower level of Woman Made Gallery, Emanuel Aguilar and Kristen Carter (jurors and curators) selected a body of art work based not only on aesthetic qualities and the nature of the work but also arranged the layout in such a way to create a specific relationship to potentially ignite critical conversation. This exhibition is one of few focusing on this theme that effectively attempts to eloquently add and synonymously strip away the standard. And instead, focus on a new way to think critically.

Chad Kouri & The Post Family

I met with Chad Kouri at his home studio and during our session he discussed the path and progress of the The Post Family. They are stepping into their fourth year and not your ordinary group of artists working-in-a- studio-space type of deal. These folk look at art communities as a way to inspire each other and expand on their own art making. It is all give give for them. On The Post Family website they share what interests and inspires them with featured articles about artist studio visits, design related news, how technology effects the arts and really anything that is super cool. The studio space is multi-functional and an incubator for creativity. In the coming months we will have interviews with the rest of the group along with highlights from their spring programming. Chad Kouri and The Post Family from Nicolette Caldwell on Vimeo. _ Featured Image taken from Foursquare. 

Spudnik Press: November Drink and Draw

Two weeks ago I spent my second Wednesday night at the Drink and Draw hosted by Spudnik Press. Every first Wednesday, Chicago artists gather to sketch, doodle, chat, and drink from 7:30 to 9:30 over in Chicago’s eerily quiet industrial corridor. Despite the remote location, the attendance has been high both times I’ve dropped by. On Wednesday, seating was scarce, but whether at a light table or crammed onto the couch, everyone managed to find a place to draw. Though I showed up alone, I soon found a spot at a large table and sat down surrounded by unfamiliar faces. Like most of my visits to Spudnik, an encounter with strangers soon turned into a lively conversation. Working through the night’s theme (imaginary landscapes) and chatting with some East Coast artists about how they made their way to Chicago, before I knew it, it was 9:30. I’ve been criticized for attending an event called the Drink and Draw when I don’t drink and rarely draw. What pulls me in is the feeling of community that …

Sixty in 60: Episode 1 – Hyde Park Arts Center

Sixty in 60. Hyde Park Arts Center from Andrew Roddewig on Vimeo. Clarion New Media, who is sponsoring the current Media Match Drive has produced the first in a continuing web-series entitled “Sixty in 60”. Sixty in 60 is a series focused on Organizations and Institutions that are incubators for the arts in Chicago. Every episode takes a look at a specific place to discover what makes them unique. Our goal is to highlight and promote the organizations and institutions that help the Chicago art community thrive and grow. We are only able to create specials like Sixty in 60 because of support from our community so please donate to the Media Match Campaign, so we can continue to bring art to the center. Episode 1: Hyde Park Arts Center. Located at 5020 S. Cornell Avenue; Hyde Park Art Center (HPAC) has a clear mission to stimulate and sustain the visual arts in Chicago. They have accomplished this mission for over 70 years through exhibitions, education and outreach. As one of the oldest alternative spaces …

Site-Access Symposium with Jillian Soto

The thought of the city as studio can be a very exciting thing. It means no public (and in some cases even private) space is safe when the minds of artists are finding new ways to use it for their own creative practices. Some of the work created during Chicago Artists Month tested new grounds, revisited old grounds and pushed the limits of the type of public art practice that Chicago is accustomed to. As thrilling and provocative as that can be, there is also another side to that and it deals with these public spaces, the needs and wants of the community, and the promotion of understanding and comfort in these creative spaces. Just because the work is in the public doesn’t necessarily mean it is easily accessed by the people who know some of these re-appropriated spaces a regular presence in their everyday lives. How can you tell the difference of when art enhances the community it is planted within, or when it acts as a tool of alienation or insensitivity?  For Art …

AMP-CHI: A Creative Collaboration

Elastic Arts collaborates with many people in the local and national art world to bring Chicago some of the most interesting mixes of creative forms. As part of SIFC Chicago’s Going Mobile campaign, Elastic was one of the stops because AMP-CHI, the brainchild of Alpha Bruton and Susan Fox brought together Chicago artists, musicians and poets for a night of complete sensory stimulation–words for your mind, music for your ears and art for your eyes.  As Artet, the jazz trio headed by Hanah Jon Taylor, played an amazing blend of experimental jazz, Alpha Bruton created live work on a projector through a combination of illustrations on transparencies and the pouring of watercolor, which projected onto the band.  The exchange of inspiration was transferred back and forth from artist to musician–it was obvious how they were reacting to one another.  To learn more about how AMP-CHI came to the Elastic stage, I spoke with Susan Fox, the curator of the event, who also serves as Development & Outreach Coordinator for Elastic Arts. AMP-CHI at Elastic Arts …