Author Archive

Taking Back Bohemia

Taking Back Bohemia
Talking to an NYU friend on the phone the other day, she brought up the East Village beats on Mad Men. “They remind me of me and my friends in a lot of ways,” she commented. I’d thought the same thing when I saw them. It was easy for me to use the words “beat”, “beatnik”, or “bohemian” when talking about these people from the past, but when I look at my own self and friends, I wonder,... 

American Mangaka

American Mangaka
The way that many young Americans discover Japanese culture is through its cartoons and comics. While many Japanese people may be discovering American culture today through Disney, “Adventure Time”, and “SpongeBob” (all quite popular among my students), the same cannot be said for our comics. Japan has the world’s largest comics industry, and indeed, comics in Japan account for 40% of all... 

Naoshima: Art and Life in Harmony

Naoshima: Art and Life in Harmony
Traditionally, art and life flowed seamlessly together. To commemorate a historical event, people would carve totem poles or chisel marble statues. To celebrate a graduation or birth, a parent would sew a quilt. In these ways, art was made in response to, and as a part of, everyday life. It’s a familiar story that over time the majority of artists moved away from traditional processes and styles.... 

Big Ideas: The Ideal Wall Text

Big Ideas: The Ideal Wall Text
This article is part of Big Ideas, a series exploring Chicagoan’s thoughts about contemporary art. To explore new approaches to wall text, I asked three Chicagoans to offer alternatives to the current style. Below is the second response by Greg Harris, Assistant Curator at the DePaul Art Museum. Writing wall text for an exhibition is one of the trickiest things I do as a curator. The objectives... 

Big Ideas: The Ideal Wall Text

Big Ideas: The Ideal Wall Text
This article is part of Big Ideas, a series exploring Chicagoan’s thoughts about contemporary art. In winter of last year, I attended an exhibit with two friends at the Elmhurst Art Museum. As we worked our way through the show, I found myself in a familiar role: wall text translator. The friends I was with are not unfamiliar with art exhibits, and one of them even holds a degree in philosophy.... 

Artist at Large with Zachary Johnson

Artist at Large with Zachary Johnson
Last August I moved from Chicago to Amakusa, a rural island in southwestern Japan. Here the nearest shopping mall, movie theater, and art museum are all three hours away. In contrast, the nearest rice polishing station is a ten-minute walk from my apartment. I’ve spent the last six months discovering the culture here, and it breaks many of my preconceptions about rural Japanese life. For example,... 

Big Ideas: The Artist’s Role Today

Big Ideas: The Artist's Role Today
This article is part of Big Ideas, a series exploring Chicagoan’s thoughts about contemporary art. The role of the artist has differed throughout time and place. He or she has been a craftsman, an illustrator of texts, a decorator of religious structures, a luxury goods producer, a rebel, and the savior of mankind, among countless other types. As culture has changed, so has the artist’s role;... 

Avant-garde Animation Finds a Home

Avant-garde Animation Finds a Home
Now in its third year, the Eyeworks Festival of Experimental Animation is the creation of artists Alexander Stewart and Lilli Carré. In the coming months, with their help, we will be featuring various animated works from the festival on Sixty Inches. To kick off this collaboration, I spoke with Alexander and Lilli to learn about their passion for animation and their work with Eyeworks. Zachary Johnson... 

Big Ideas: The Future of Art

Big Ideas: The Future of Art
This article kicks off Big Ideas, a new series exploring Chicagoan’s thoughts about contemporary art. In college I was told again and again that the avant-garde is over. Art is no longer focused primarily around advancement, progress, and originality. Since the early 1970′s, art’s only rule has been “anything goes”. I quickly fell into the thinking of some historians that if artists... 

The Man Behind the Murals

The Man Behind the Murals
After first glimpsing the work of Mental 312 from the Green Line in the winter of 2010, I’ve been on the lookout for more of the street artist’s large artworks. On foot, El, Metra, and CTA bus, I’ve come upon Mental’s bold colors and distinct style all over the city. Last month I finally caught up with the man behind the murals and talked to him about his process, inspiration, and ideas for... 
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