All posts tagged: SAIC

In Our Bodies, Together: Disability Art Showcase and Maker-Space

Creative, connecting, and celebratory—these were the intentions laid out for people at the start of the Disability Art Showcase and Maker-Space on April 16th. The event organizer, Bri Beck, a disability artist/advocate and art therapy graduate student from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, hosted between sixty and seventy participants at Access Living, downtown Chicago’s main Center for Independent Living, for an evening of art-making and community-building.   Systemically divided groups of disabled people, veterans, scholars, art therapists, artists, activists, and more, were invited to utilize the arts “to share the varied story of disability and to bring together those that are disabled and those that work within this community to further grow and define a collective voice and community”—per Beck’s design. Image: Two people, one kneeling and one standing, work together on a colorful wall tapestry made of various fabric strips. Photo by Ryan Edmund. Guests contributed to a group tapestry, created disability pride buttons, wove fibers alongside someone new, participated in a #DisabledIAm photobooth, and engaged with artwork created by disabled artists …

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 …

‘The Artist as a Catalyst of Social Change?’ Part 1: Nicole Marroquin

As many contemporary artists, arts organizations, and other cultural laborers continue a decades-long trajectory of reorienting their practices more deliberately towards and within the social world, forms and approaches have morphed through a collective re-imagining of the production, dissemination, and sociopolitical potential of art. These modes have sought to broaden access and participation in the arts, transform relationships between people, forge practices rooted in ethics as much as in aesthetics, and other similar gestures toward aligning art with notions of social justice and reform. Yet amidst this grappling, a number of unresolved riddles remain regarding art’s place in daily life: who is art’s “community,” and what exactly do we mean by “community”? What is art’s relationship to democracy? Can increased access to the arts also advance civic participation more broadly? What is the role of the artist in society? Can art and artists be catalysts for social change — and should they? Such issues and questions reverberate through the Jane Addams Hull-House Museum’s current exhibition Participatory Arts: Crafting Social Change, which explores the influence that Addams …

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 …

Intimate Justice: Marzena Abrahamik

“Intimate Justice” looks at the intersection of art and sex and how these actions intertwine to serve as a form of resistance, activism, and dialogue in the Chicago community. For this installment, we talked to Marzena Abrahamik about women in the cannabis industry, friendship, and sisterhood.  S. Nicole Lane: What brought you to Chicago? How has the community influenced your practice? Marina Abrahamik: I was born in Poland, raised in Greece, and arrived to Chicago at the end of the summer before my freshman year of high school. I went to a Catholic high school in the city for a year and then to a public high school in the suburbs. I went to Loyola for my undergrad and then attended SAIC before grad school. Having the opportunity to experience different cultures and neighborhoods made me outgoing, easygoing, and independent but also awakened a curiosity for the unknown and to love open ended questions. In a similar way, each body of work is composed of photographs that have been made not only in various locations, but also in …

Intimate Justice: Amanda Joy Calobrisi

“Intimate Justice” looks at the intersection of art and sex and how these actions intertwine to serve as a form of resistance, activism, and dialogue in the Chicago community. For this installment, we talked to Amanda Joy Calobrisi about the confrontation of a body, ending war by lifting skirts, and Boudoir photographs in Amanda’s Pilsen apartment over donuts.  This interview has been edited for length and clarity. S. Nicole Lane: What brought you to Chicago? Amanda Joy Calobrisi: I went to SAIC for graduate school. So Charlie and I moved out here for that. It was a big move. It’s scary, to move states. It’s really intense, there’s something of course exciting about it but it’s also kind of scary. And my mom—I grew up with a single parent—so it also felt like I was abandoning my family. That was kind of huge. But once we got here, we were pretty excited to be out of Boston. I don’t think we realized how settled we were there, not because we wanted to be but because it was comfortable. SNL: Yeah, and the …

Intimate Justice: GLAMHAG

“Intimate Justice” looks at the intersection of art and sex and how these actions intertwine to serve as a form of resistance, activism, and dialogue in the Chicago community. For this installment, we talked to GLAMHAG (née Molly Hewitt) in the Pilsen neighborhood about compulsions, empowerment through a chosen identity, and queer sexual narratives.  S. Nicole Lane: What does performance mean to you? Are you always in character? Who are you right now? GLAMHAG: I guess I’ve always been compelled to perform in my work, whether that’s live performance or in my video work. I think it’s really a compulsion. I do feel that with the kind work I’m making, communicating with my body when it’s so much about my body—other bodies—and sexuality, using my body makes the most sense. I do definitely have a compulsion to perform. And then I also do things that come along with a lot of other performers too, I definitely have exhibitionist tendencies. I like attention. SNL: Where are you from originally? GH: I’m from England originally, I was born in London. …

Chicago Archives + Artists Project: Full Interview with D. Denenge Duyst-Akpem

This interview took place as part of an initiative of the Chicago Archives + Artists Project. CA+AP serves as a laboratory and pipeline for the community preservation of artist’s archives. We want to find creative ways to care for an ever more accessible, playful, and diverse compendium of artists voices, process and ephemera. We believe in the power of stories in many voices, on many platforms, past, present and future. This interview, conducted by Sabrina Greig, will be contributed to D. Denenge Duyst-Akpem’s file at the Chicago Artist Files at Harold Washington Library. Sabrina Greig: I’m here with Denenge in her home studio in Chicago. It’s summertime and a beautiful warm day overlooking the city and Lake Michigan. So, Denenge, tell us about your work and your space here. D. Denenge Duyst-Akpem: Thank you for being here and welcome to my space! So, to give some background for the work, I was born and raised in rural Nigeria in a small town called Mkar, Benue State, Nigeria, and it was very spare but rich cultural upbringing. …

Chicago Archives + Artists Project: Interview with D. Denenge Duyst-Akpem

This interview took place as part of an initiative occasioned by the first Chicago Archives + Artists Festival, held at the Chicago Cultural Center in May 2017. The festival kicked off a series of in-depth artist interviews, including this one with D. Denenge Duyst-Akpem, which will be contributed to the Chicago Artist Files at Harold Washington Library. This series of interviews was conducted with a group of artists, curators, instigators, and organizers who we believe are essential to the history of Chicago art. The interview with Denenge was conducted by Sabrina Greig and is excerpted below. In addition to this smaller group of Sixty-interviewed artists, a call was put out to ALL the city’s artists: #GetArchived! The core of the free festival was a pop-up archive processing center staffed by Sixty Inches From Center and volunteers. Many partners lent their time, resources, and high-res scanners(!) to this endeavor, including LATITUDE, the Visualist, and Read/Write Library. Sixty Inches From Center is excited to be continuing the Chicago Archives + Artists Project with support from the Gaylord and Dorothy …

Intimate Justice: Lauren Steinberg

“Intimate Justice” looks at the intersection of art and sex and how these actions intertwine to serve as a form of resistance, activism, and dialogue in the Chicago community. For this installment, we talked to Lauren Steinberg in the grass of Lincoln Park about a queer future, pop culture, and rolling around online.  S. Nicole Lane: We can begin with your background. You’re from New York City.  Lauren Steinberg: Yeah. I grew up in New York City. Manhattan. My dad, he’s 75, he’s an older dad. He grew up there too, and he never left. He refuses to leave. He kind of tried to instill that in me. It worked for a while, I ended up going to undergrad at Pratt in Brooklyn. I think I wanted to punish myself a little bit for being an artist. Not that I didn’t love Pratt, Pratt was amazing, but it was definitely the most rigid school that I got into at the time. I was like, “If I’m really going to do this and suffer, because everyone tells …

Shared Work: Ryn Osbourne on Empathy, Relationship Building, and Transparency

Ryn Osbourne is a visual artist and arts administrator originally from Ohio and based in the Midwest.  Osbourne has worked in direct service as an educator and mentor, facilitating arts-based activities with youth of all ages. As co-manager of MINT Collective (2015–present) in Columbus, OH, Osbourne has helped carry out multiple community programs including “Junk Dada Super Sunday” for the Wexner Center for the Arts.  She has worked with VISIBLE:INVISIBLE, a program which hosts studio art workshops for homeless youth in Columbus, OH, and AXIOM: A Judgment Call for the Arts helping to organize artists to participate in art making workshops with inmates of Merion Correctional Institution in Ohio and providing project direction aligned with ethical community practice. After relocating to Chicago, IL in 2016 to pursue her M.A. in Arts Administration and Policy from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Osbourne has worked with the Hyde Park Art Center as an education and programming intern assisting with community focus group research, has provided administrative support for Gary Lights Open Works, a social practice project based in …

Designing for a Fertile Future

As a designer who is concerned about the future of the planet, Jessica Gorse thinks sustainability is not a sufficient goal. If humans are to stem ongoing environmental and political crises, according to Gorse, they need to get more imaginative and take up regenerative projects that grow better future worlds. To that end, Gorse—who went back to school at age 28 for a degree in Designed Objects at SAIC—investigates the possible lifespans of materials we use every day. This takes form in her work with Fertile Design, a project she started with fellow SAIC students Erin Delaney and Soniya Khasgiwale. Together, they experiment with making plastics out of food waste that are then embedded with seeds and nutrient-rich natural dyes such that through biodegrading they replenish the soil and germinate. What is so great about Gorses’s work is that it is both idealistic and completely practical. She calls this practice “futurist world-building.” When I met Gorse in her studio at SAIC, we began by watching two of her experimental video projects before digging into Fertile Design. “Fusion Vision” is a lo-fi cartoon music video featuring a guitar-plucking …

An Interview with Jovencio de la Paz

For those who aren’t convinced of the complexities that abstraction can hold, I offer the work of Jovencio de la Paz to persuade you. Once you get past the boldness of his large fabric or felted surfaces and move through the elegance of overlapping shapes lingering in space, you’ll find something symbolic, celestial, ancestral, and deeply political. The way he approaches form and materials evidences a careful consideration of the heavy repercussions of colonialism and trade, art history, and contemporary life. He takes these anchors and combines them with a personal yet widely relevant symbology that embraces the range of his cultural inheritance. He employs all of it and then some from his perspective as an immigrant to the United States from Singapore, as an artist harnessing the tools of queer aesthetics, and as a maker using materials and processes that have countless generations of makers behind them. The result is a synthesis and translation of a highly personal and global visual language. After receiving his MFA at Cranbrook Academy of Art in Michigan, de la …

"Frontispiece // The Uncanny Imagination": An Interview with Becket Flannery and Grant Ray, PART II

After wandering through Pilsen, Becket Flannery and I returned to ACRE Projects, where Grant Ray had finished hanging his work for The Uncanny Imagination. As Becket installed his collages for Frontispiece, Grant explained to me his interest in using the photographic medium as a means of documentation, of using scientific processes to present seemingly mundane information and consequently create a social, cultural dialogue. The following conversation proceeds from that explanation and is the second part of my interview with the two artists as they prepared for their exhibition opening. Read PART I here. Jenny Lam: How and when did you first become interested in this kind of documentation? Grant Ray: About a year after my undergraduate studies at the School of Visual Arts in New York, I was really influenced by Gregory Crewdson and Jeff Wall. I came from a street photography background in which I took photographs of things as they existed, and I got not bored with it, but interested in how I could use photography to tell a story that didn’t necessarily …

The Independent Professional: An Interview with LVL3 Gallery

What started as a simple passion and an opportunity to showcase new and emerging Chicago-based artists turned into something more. In early 2010, artist Vincent Uribe founded LVL3 Gallery an independent gallery in Wicker Park. Studying Art History and Arts Administration,  Associate Director Allison Kilberg began assisting Vincent shortly after. From their inaugural show entitled, Maybes to recently celebrating their one-year anniversary, LVL3 is going strong and expanding the programmatic scope of things evermore. I initially met Vincent during the beginnings of Sixty, last spring. We talked about some of the tribulations that are part of creating an art space or small organization. Everything has a place and purpose in the art world—whether commercial, not-profit or independent. And Chicago is brilliantly pieced together by so many spaces (different and alike) introducing all types of art to the world. All of this is hard to follow but Sixty is taking that challenge. The list is ever-growing and adding to that list we would like to introduce, LVL3 Gallery. Tell us about the LVL3 alternative space from …

Take Five: Memorable Art of 2010

As Sixty Inches From Center continues to grow and explore all facets of visual art in Chicago, we asked some of our contributors to reflect back on this past year and discuss the most memorable encounters of 2010. Atomic Sketch Author: Meggie Hankel My Best Of 2010 choice is something I didn’t discover until late in the year: the live art- making event known as Atomic Sketch. What exactly is Atomic Sketch? Once a month, local artists gather at the evilOlive in Wicker Park and produce series of original work throughout the night. This work is tacked on a display board and then sold at extremely affordable prices (on average, $5-15 per piece). Onlookers can grab a drink at the bar and socialize with fellow art lovers or with the artists themselves. Though a panel of artists is typically selected for each event, anyone is welcome to bring their own supplies and drop in and create work, space permitting. Atomic Sketch does not collect commission, and all proceeds go directly to the artists. More interactive …

My name is Tia Jones-Etu.

When I first met Tia Etu-Jones’ two years ago and saw her work I was impressed by her different choices of medium and themes which the resulting works explore. Not limiting herself to one medium and style has allowed her the freedom to create interactive sculptures, paintings, assemblages, murals and even fullyfunctioning marionettes. In her work it is not uncommon to see found objects, tree branches, twine, paint and other familiar materials used in a way that questions language, art history, memory, urban culture, nature and gender roles, among many other things. These themes and mediums weave together to create stories that allow viewers to dive into complex and self-determined interpretations while appreciating something aesthetically beautiful. Sixty sat down with the Chicago-based artist to learn more about how she got to this moment in her career. Tempestt Hazel: Tell us a bit about your self and your artwork. Tia Jones-Etu: My name is Tia Jones–Etu. I am a graduate of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago where I received my B.F.A. I have …

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 …

10 Minutes with Patricia Stewart

1. Tell us a bit about yourself and your artwork. I earned a fine arts degree from Southern Illinois University and a master’s degree from Chicago State University. I also studied at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, the International School of Art and Design in Miami, Florida, and the Savanna College of Art and Design in Savanna, Georgia. I retired from a successful art teaching career, Art Curriculum Developer/Coordinator, Lead Teacher, Standards Based Curriculum Coach, and graphic artist for the Chicago Public Schools. I exhibit collections of paintings and abstract assemblages which employing both vibrant and muted colors often infused with metallic accents. The sculptural nature of leather initiates large bas-relief assemblages. Found objects integrated into the pieces transform traditional uses. Leather’s ability to be mutilated and colored lends itself purposefully to sculpting. The use of exciting colors, overlapping construction, and original shapes, combine past cultures with contemporary forms. I received numerous awards for my work from various institutions. My paintings, sculptures, and jewelry have been exhibited at the Neleh Art Gallery, …

Transformers: Nick Cave at the 2010 CAA Conference

Ever since I first saw one of Nick Cave‘s Soundsuits, I’ve been fascinated with them. Then I got the opportunity to see one in person at the Rubell Family Collection Museum in Miami this past summer. So, imagine my excitement to discover that he would be presenting his work during the Transformers panel with Sabrina Raaf and Jason Salavon. Cave later went on to elaborate on his video installations and one of his latest projects, “Bunny Boy”. Bunny Boy is a pink, yellow or blue bunny who is “out and about, moving through the city and hitchhiking.” His intention for Bunny Boy is to have him in different places around the city. The piece happens once the interaction with the person picking him up begins. Would you pick up Bunny Boy? I entered the session as Cave was describing his “Tondos“, which are large, circular, 6 to 18 feet in diameter pieces. He described them as constellations, sequined and beaded works. They are the “world in which the Soundsuits exist.” Lately, he has spent his time doing performance labs …

Et Cetera: Soundsuits, The Dorchester Project, SSCAC, Intuit, and KJ Marshall Speaks Truth…again.

This past weekend there were intimate places in the city where amazing art conversations were being had–all of which you will see in more detail when the Sixty Inches From Center: Chicago Arts Archive and Collective Project is launched in October.  The first of those places was at the Hyde Park Art Center Open Crit with Kerry James Marshall and Dawoud Bey.  Now, much of what KJM said were things that fester in the back of my mind regularly, but how clearly and effectively he articulated the function of art made these ideas come crashing to the forefront of my thoughts.  Here are some of my favorite quotes from the Open Crit on Friday, Sept. 10. “The truth is the artwork that matters to me, and that matters to the Hyde Park Art Center, is work that’s in conversation with other artwork.  With other painters.  With the history of painting. That’s what really matters.  If its just to satisfy you, if it satisfies your friends, the people in your family, then by all means keep …