I met Cecil McDonald, Jr. at the same time that I met Dawoud Bey–which was during the Photo I class at Columbia College Chicago that I didn’t need to take but wanted to as a fan of both of their work. Since that day, I never imagined that Cecil would be the kind of person who would continue to offer me some of the most exciting and terrifying growth opportunities that I would have in my recent career. First, he asked me to write about his series Domestic Observations & Occurrences for the 2014 Contact Sheet, which is also known as the Light Work Annual. This marked my first piece of writing published on a renowned and national platform. I was terrified and honored–which I can feel between the words whenever I read back on that essay. Then, years later, when Cecil was working on his new monograph, In the Company of Black, he asked to use that essay for the foreword of the book, but I insisted on writing something new. After knowing him for …
Margot Harrington is a designer, but even as I write that statement it seems inadequate. While she has worked on and led projects centered around shaping websites, creating brands, dreaming up site-specific installations, and composing publications, the way she speaks of her work makes it clear that her design practice isn’t simply an occupation–it’s a lifestyle. Starting from her days growing up in a word and image-loving family in Minnesota, to now being a freelance designer with her company Pitch Union Design, an art director for Bitch Media, and a multidisciplinary artist, Margot’s design style has been developing and evolving in quiet and significant ways since before she was even exploring the question of what her lifework would be. Given the fact that she is an artist with a wide practice that collides with a mix of experiences and influences, our conversation touched on a range of topics. We discussed everything from the ways we stumble magnificently in order to discover what does and doesn’t work for our lives, to the importance of eastern medicine and self-preservation …
When talking to artist Preetika Rajgariah about how she arrived at her most recent body of work, I was struck by how a lexicon of movement naturally developed. She spoke about the strategies her family used to recreate the feel, warmth, and comfort of a home that was thousands of miles and oceans away after they settled in the city of Houston. She talked about how travel and relocation punctuated significant shifts in her work. She told me how one of her most commercially successful bodies of work addresses concepts of migration and accumulation but also whispers to how, aesthetically, macro perspectives mimic the micro and cellular. But while motion might be one of the most immediately legible themes that one can draw out of her work, it is stillness that has actually allowed her practice to move forward in substantial and illuminating ways. Having discernment around what advice, suggestions, constructive criticisms are valid and useful and which ones counter her progression has allowed her work to bloom in ways that disrupt her original understandings of …
A recent history of Women of Color who are space-makers, curators, and decision-makers in the arts, and a look into the work of Dr. Margaret Burroughs, Sydney Stoudmire, Julie Rodrigues Widholm, and other game-changers.
An interview with musician and actor Mykele Deville about his West Side roots, the range of roles he takes, and what it means to start and maintain cultural spaces in Pilsen.
An interview with writer, reporter, author and life-long South Sider Natalie Y. Moore about her relationship to the South Side of Chicago, challenging perceptions of the area, and how she eventually landed in Hyde Park.
A reflection on the exhibition and an interview with curator Jonathan David Katz.
An interview with Washington, D.C.-born and now Chicago-based filmmaker, animator, painter, sculptor and sound artist.
Discussion on Art + Love with Isis Ferguson & India Martin, Jeffrey Michael Austin & Eileen Walsh, Jennifer Patiño & Reuben Westmaas, J. Gibran Villalobos & Wil A. Ruggiero, James T. Green & C’ne Rohlsen, and Erin Babbin & Michael Sullivan.
Two filmmakers on the division of expertise in their collaboration and how they make art, love and a relationship work.
A discussion around photography, happenstance, and how they make art, love and a relationship work.
On collaboration, shared living space, trial collaborations and how they make art, love and a relationship work.
A discussion with the curating duo on where it all started and how they make art, love and a relationship work.
On sharing space, inspiration in times of keyboard depression and how they make writing, love and a relationship work.
A discussion with newly Brooklyn-based artist duo on where it all started and how they make art, love and a relationship work.
A look back on 32 years of work, play, ethos, and process with the former Associate Curator and Director of Education at the Renaissance Society.
A look into the latest series of publications out of Half Letter Press by Public Collectors.
One of Chicago’s mainstays discusses her beginnings in Dayton, Ohio, relocating to Chicago, and how her poetry and visual work come together through deep poetic, sonic, and visual influences.
A conversation about ReformedSchool’s roots in Gaona’s dance practice and how fashion can be used to spread a message of empowerment and historical awareness.
Artist in residence at Hyde Park Art Center and featured artist for Connect Hyde Park Art Festival discusses her interactive works which speak to international citizenship, global migration, and the power dynamics of passports.
The artist and cyclist behind the Chicago chapter of Sister Cycles and Bronzeville Bike Box discusses her love of bikes, design, and the story behind her featured piece in Connect Hyde Park Art Festival.
Excerpts on passive/active Blackness, oversights and gestures of homage from Daughters of the Dust to Lemonade, redefinitions of Blackness, shadows of Black pessimism, and Kerry James Marshall.
A response to A-lan Holt’s collection of poems on falling in and recovering from love.
Two stories of Harlem told forty years apart through the words and photographs of Dawoud Bey.
A conversation about the supernatural gifts of Black men in the exhibition The In Between Space: Black Magic. Black Manhood. Black Matter. at Rootwork Gallery.
A conversation about radio and making space with artist, designer and Postloudness co-founder James T. Green.
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 …
Tempestt Hazel: I’m curious about your decisions for laying out the East Gallery with the videos. How much of this was your decision? Jan Tichy: All of it. Everything was my choice. It was clear to me that this was the darkest space, and many times when I’m doing work in these dark spaces people relate to them as these dark photographic spaces in which images are being created. It felt natural to create something like what you see here with Installation No. 15 (Siskind). And even the relationship between the street, this gallery and the other gallery is a sort of camera obscura. But I wasn’t interested in recreating that. I’ve had previous pieces dealing with that specifically. But here there is the notion of the dark space that the image is being created in, like in a camera or in our eye. I did think about the space specifically because it’s not a typical white cube. There is this presence of a wall, and it came together with Siskind who was taking pictures …
Forward motion is ineluctable. It is something that most of us accept as a part of life. Art-minded individuals tend to be particularly sensitive to this intrinsic vanward impulse, which makes the occasional chance to stop and reflect something to be appreciated. Almost two years after our initial interview about the series Talking With Fear About Dying Tomorrow, Matt Austin and I once again found ourselves in conversation about the photographic fragments of his travels several summers ago. Only this time around a selection of photos have been pulled from the series and placed within the context of Everyday Always Trying, the inaugural exhibition of The Coat Check at David Weinberg Photography. Revisiting the past isn’t always easy or even desired, but we tried it anyway–perhaps channeling the ideas at the heart of the exhibition. Over drinks on a warm fall evening, I got the opportunity to ask Matt about the different definitions of impulsive, the value in our attempts and who to call if you’re looking for a good time in Fargo. Tempestt …
It is not everyday that we are confronted by work that stops us in our tracks, works at our psyche and leaves us wanting more. When I first laid eyes on the work of Argentinian-born artist Marcelo Grosman, I couldn’t help but wonder who the artist was and who were the people in these spellbinding and unsettling images. Guilty!, the most recent show of Grosman’s work at The Mission Projects, brought together Chicago-specific works that used the open image source provided by the Illinois Department of Corrections Inmate Database to create a show that was not only visually arresting, but act as a window into the disturbing truths that weave themselves into our local and global systems of control. During his visit to Chicago in late September for Expo Chicago, I got the chance to speak with Marcelo and The Mission Projects director, Natalia Ferreyra, about his constantly evolving relationship with photography, process and purity in portraiture, and his desire to reinsert the aura back into the duplicated image. Tempestt Hazel: Before we get into the …