All posts tagged: Chicago Cultural Center

Locating Your Practice in ‘African American Designers in Chicago: Art, Commerce and the Politics of Race,’ with D. Denenge Duyst-Akpem

A century’s legacy of Black designers working at the nexus of the quotidian, politics, history, and market capitalism is brought into focus through African American Designers in Chicago: Art, Commerce and the Politics of Race, on view at the Chicago Cultural Center until March 3, 2019. The show’s objects and design content show generations of Black designers fusing a shared past and visions of the future within their historical contexts. This chronicle highlights designers and artists producing in many mediums including Charles Dawson, Charles White, Jay Jackson, Zelda “Jackie” Ormes, Charles Harrison, LeRoy Winbush, William McBride, Sylvia (Laini) Abernathy, and Emmett McBain. Particular emphasis is given to how 20th century Black designers and artists in Chicago reframed the conception of the Black consumer within the market economy. By the same token, the concerns, aesthetics, pressures, and values of Chicago’s dynamic Black communities are embedded in each object. Dr. Margaret T. Burroughs expressed this responsiveness when discussing the origins of the South Side Community Arts Center, quoted in the exhibition materials: “As young black artists, we looked …

Featured image: Maggie Robinson and Allison Sokolowski performing in “I Am” at the Chicago Danztheatre Auditorium, as part of the Body Passages culminating event. Maggie balances with one foot, knee, and hand on the floor, as Allison stands on Maggie’s lower back. The performers hold each other’s left hands and look at each other. Both are barefoot and wear white t-shirts and jeans. Behind them is a well-lit stage, with a string of colorful paper suspended across it. Still from a video by John Borowski.

Body Passages: Culminating Collaborations

This is the fourth and final article in a series about Body Passages, a partnership between Chicago Danztheatre Ensemble and The Chicago Poetry Center (the first, second, and third pieces can be found here). These articles provide brief looks into a 10-month, interdisciplinary creative process between Body Passages poets and dancers, documenting and reflecting on aspects of that process as it happens. Launched in 2017, Body Passages is an artist residency and performance series curated and produced by Sara Maslanka (Artistic Director of Chicago Danztheatre Ensemble) and Natasha Mijares (Reading Series Curator of The Chicago Poetry Center; Natasha also writes for Sixty). Trigger warning: The performance “Blood Memory,” discussed below, contains references to sexual assault, including in childhood. During a culminating event featuring groups’ final performances, the Body Passages artists offered the audience sugar cereal, sparkling cider, and glowsticks; invited us to dance with them and record ourselves reading their poetic curations; and asked us to travel back in time with them to New Year’s Eve 1998. Especially appropriate given Body Passages’ collaborative focus and …

November Art Picks

Our Art Picks are created in collaboration with The Visualist, Chicago’s leading visual arts calendar, and cross-promoted through Windy City Times, one of the longest locally-published LGBTQ weeklies with a national reach. This is a growing list, so check back often for new additions. Throughout 2018 we will be highlighting exhibitions and events that are part of Art Design Chicago , a year-long celebration of the unique and vital role Chicago plays as America’s crossroads of art and design, creativity and commerce, organized by the Terra Foundation for American Art. As part of an editorial partnership with Illinois Humanities, Sixty will also be highlighting events that are part of Envisioning Justice , a 19-month project that looks into how Chicagoans and Chicago artists respond to the the impact of incarceration in local communities and how the arts and humanities are used to devise strategies for lessening this impact. November Art Picks Thurs, Nov 1, 11am Art Against the Flow Summit  Ace Hotel Chicago: 311 N Morgan St, Chicago, IL 60607 Free Thurs, Nov 1, 2-4pm Chicago New Media Symposium  Gallery 400: 400 S Peoria St, Chicago, IL 60607 Free Thurs, …

Featured image: Udita Upadhyaya at the book release for “nevernotmusic,” at TriTriangle. The artist leans over a table, looking down as she writes in gold pen inside a copy of her book. Next to her is another copy, open to its centerfold, where gold thread is visible. The artist wears a light-colored, textured sweater. Photo by Caleb Neubauer.

Beyond the Page: Udita Upadhyaya’s “nevernotmusic” (the book)

“Beyond the Page” digs into the process and practice of writers and artists who work at the intersection of literary arts and other fields. This interview is the third of three with interdisciplinary artist Udita Upadhyaya about “nevernotmusic” — a solo exhibition of scores activated by curated, collaborative performances — and her process of developing these scores into a book (the first and second interviews are online). After the book’s release in September, I met with Udita to reflect on the book, the process of creating it (and personalizing each copy), and the connection between music and grief in her work. Get a copy of the limited edition book by contacting Udita. Find @uditau on Twitter and Instagram. This interview has been edited for length and clarity.   Marya Spont-Lemus: How are you feeling about Saturday’s book release event? Udita Upadhyaya: I’m still processing, but I am feeling good. It was great to see the book in its final form. The book is really beautiful! I have not spent enough time with it yet, but …

Body Passages: Exploring Visual Art with Poets Lorraine Harrell and David Nekimken

This is the second article in an ongoing series about Body Passages, a partnership between Chicago Danztheatre Ensemble and The Chicago Poetry Center (the first is here). This series gives brief looks into a 10-month, interdisciplinary creative process between Body Passages poets and dancers, documenting and reflecting on aspects of that process as it happens. On an afternoon in early May, I showed up to watch an “open rehearsal” at the Chicago Cultural Center’s dance studio only to find myself a participant. This opportunity became even more exciting when the people I was there to see—Lorraine Harrell and David Nekimken, two delightful and effervescent poets who were in residence through Body Passages—invited me to join them as they sought inspiration and inputs in the galleries. We spent an hour together exploring the Cultural Center’s first-floor exhibitions, as the pair shared their observations and perspectives about visual artworks, made connections to their own lives and practices, and generated ideas for a joint creative project—an interdisciplinary, in progress work, prompted by their participation in Body Passages. A …

Featured image: This is a photograph of a group of people in a dance studio, sitting in a circle of chairs. Some people have their backs to the camera, and other people are shown straight-on or in profile. The two chairs nearest the camera are unoccupied, creating a window to the speaker, a man holding a microphone. Photograph by Hannah Siegfried.

Body Passages: Poets and Dancers Discuss Collaborative Processes In Progress

This is the first article in an ongoing series about Body Passages, a partnership between Chicago Danztheatre Ensemble and The Chicago Poetry Center. This series gives brief looks into a 10-month, interdisciplinary creative process between Body Passages poets and dancers, documenting and reflecting on aspects of that process as it happens. Launched in 2017, Body Passages is the brainchild of co-founders Sara Maslanka (Artistic Director of Chicago Danztheatre Ensemble) and Natasha Mijares (Reading Series Curator of The Chicago Poetry Center; Natasha also writes for Sixty). This innovative, interdisciplinary partnership brings together artists of various forms—poets and dancers, ostensibly, but many with practices extending beyond those bounds—over the course of 10 months to create original, collaborative work engaging language and movement. The 2018 cohort is comprised of 14 broadly diverse artists at different points in their artistic growth, who are together interrogating this year’s theme—“Activation”—and developing new work in response. Following December auditions, their process formally began in January when selected poets and dancers were assigned into groups and will officially conclude in October with final …

Dissenting through Craft with Aram Han Sifuentes

Born out of frustration at the country’s current political state and feeling unsafe to protest, fiber and social practice artist Aram Han Sifuentes began making fabric protest banners the day after the 2016 Presidential election. During her residency at the Chicago Cultural Center, she presented the Protest Banner Lending Library where the public could make, donate and check-out protest banners at no charge. The ongoing library invites people to support movements of dissent through making something with care: dynamic banners on novelty fabric that proudly wear slogans such as “Multi Culti Cuties Unite,” “Too Cute To Be Binary,” and “The Future is Female and Brown.” Hundreds of banners later, it is still a practical resource for organizers and activists who need the assistance and encouragement. Since then, the library has been presented and activated at Alphawood Gallery in Chicago and is currently at the Pulitzer Foundation in St. Louis, where Sifuentes is an artist in residence this summer. The Protest Banner Lending Library was an act of catharsis and solidarity for the artist, bringing people together …

‘Go Fuck Yourself with a Cactus’: On the Politics of Space, Chicago Art, and Mexican Aesthetics with Yvette Mayorga

I watch people warn each other about which Chicago neighborhoods they shouldn’t go to, which streets they shouldn’t live past – all the time. Neighborhoods that are mostly white or halfway gentrified are safe, they tell each other. The neighborhoods I grew up in or live in now, communities of color, are cordoned off as unsafe. I watch people pass on patterns molded by the history of segregation in this city, unaware of the ugliness of what they are actually doing, patterns they carry with them into what they view as this city’s culture. If they’ve never been to certain parts of the city, our aesthetics are alien. But it is impossible to know Chicago art if you don’t know Chicago past the parts that have been marked safe for you. And that is the genius of a show like The Subject is Chicago: People, Places, Possibilities. It challenges passed on patterns and notions of what makes up the Chicago art scene by gathering artists from each of the city’s 50 wards and introducing viewers …

Inferno, Purgatory, or Paradise: An Interview with Sabina Ott

I call Sabina Ott “my eyes and ears to the Chicago art scene.” Her endless ability to wow with her art, which was on view from August 30 to January 4 in the huge-scale “here and there pink melon joy” at the Chicago Cultural Center, is matched by her commitment to present and support artists. She is intellectually and materially ambitious, and over the years I’ve developed a deeper understanding of her sensibility. Profoundly influenced by her mother, her work as an artist, teacher, and presenter is informed by a feminist ethic and explores the complicated, and at times ecstatic, space of transformation. Melissa Potter: What inspired you to become an artist?  I know your mother was a big influence on your work. Sabina Ott: I was always aware of my position as a woman artist—even if my response to cultural bias against women was sometimes confused. As a child, I wanted to have what I now call the privilege of the authoritative I: the privilege to access my subjectivity with the freedom that men seemed …

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.