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A Retelling of Contemporary Art History at The Block Museum

Featured Image: Dawoud Bey, Untitled (Chicago), 1993. Polaroid color prints. Gift of Sari and James A. Klein in honor of Lisa Corrin and Peter Erickson, 2014.4.5a-b. © Dawoud Bey. Two side-by-side photographs of a young man and a young woman show them with subtly different poses and expressions. Image courtesy the artist and Stephen Daiter Gallery, Chicago. I spent more than 20 years of my professional career as a museum educator. My self-proclaimed mission was to help visitors connect with artworks in ways that were meaningful, accessible, and interesting. After seeing Who Says, Who Shows, What Counts: Thinking about History with The Block’s Collection, I came to more fully understand my role in a system that privileges certain voices and viewpoints. While exhibitions are generally created by curatorial teams, it’s people like me who also help create legacy by selecting which artists and artworks to discuss with the public. Although museums and galleries are becoming more inclusive and are offering alternative histories, the standard trajectory of art history is one that has been dominated by …

Jeffrey Michael Austin in their home studio performing A Place You Can Go. They are playing a keyboard and seated in front of three windows which are illuminating the room with natural light. The space around Jeffrey is filled with different types of houseplants.

A Place You Can Go, an at-home performance by Jeffrey Michael Austin

Featured image: Jeffrey Michael Austin in their home studio performing A Place You Can Go. They are playing a keyboard and seated in front of three windows, which are illuminating the room with natural light. The space around Jeffrey is filled with different types of houseplants. Jeffrey Michael Austin is an artist, musician, and maker living in Pilsen, Chicago. As a musician, they compose, perform, and produce for Growing Concerns Poetry Collective (in collaboration with McKenzie Chinn and Mykele Deville), Daisy Days (in collaboration with EJ Hill), and under the solo moniker Young Elder. Their at-home performance, A Place You Can Go, was performed and recorded during the summer of 2021. Alongside this featured performance, we asked Jeffrey a few questions about its creation. Jeffrey Michael AustinCancer Sun / Cancer Moon / Leo AscendantResidence: Pilsen, Chicago Sixty Inches From Center: Is there a story, path, or journey that you were thinking about while creating your at-home performance, A Place You Can Go? Jeffrey Michael Austin: Much of the process of producing this video felt like …

After, Other, and Before: An Interview with Kehayr Brown-Ransaw

Featured Image: Nico Sardina, Here We Are All Up In Arms (Ultimate Henry’s Comfort Zone PT 2), 2021. A pair of documentation photos where the left image shows a sculpture of a house, multi-colored and slightly askew. The house is made out of different fabrics with many patterns and colors. The image at right shows a close up of the back of the house where a soft body-like form occupies a cavity in the house. Photos by Michelle Caron-Pawlowsky. This interview is the first in a series with each of the current fellows at the Emerging Curators Institute (ECI), a Twin Cities-based organization that supports emerging curators through a year-long fellowship program that incorporates mentorship-based learning, professional development, and financial support. ECI is the first organization of its kind in the Twin Cities region and provides curatorial opportunities to Minnesota-based curators that are otherwise hard to come by. ECI supports four curators each year and is currently in its second fellowship cycle. Operating within the Minnesota arts community, ECI connects its fellows with local curators, …

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Saint Vitus Dance: Holy Things Dripping Sweat in Lauren Wy’s AUTODESIRE VOL. 1

Featured Image: Installation shot of AUTODESIRE in Gallery Two of Western Exhibitions. Center image sits a square wooden table and two chairs where visitors can request specific volumes of AUTODESIRE. To the right of the table, volumes of AUTODESIRE are closed and mounted on the gallery wall. Each piece’s wooden spine lists the artist’s last name, volume number, and title where appropriate. To the left of the table, two pieces are exhibited on the gallery wall. A final piece is displayed on the wall directly behind the central viewing table. Photo by James Prinz, courtesy of Western Exhibitions. Alice through the looking glass, St. Teresa’s translucent veined ecstasy, Sylvia’s rhinestone tears trickling to wet the country ground. Fantasy is hard work; tell that to the Sadeian Woman or Louise and her spiders. Our scene opens at the end of the world, it’s a blazing stage. Take the man at his word when he says, “I am become death.” Lights, camera, ACTION! Beneath the desert’s floodlight suns and Planet Hollywood’s unearthly glow, a champagne orgy twitches …

An abstract image made from varying colored tissue papers. Illustration by Ryan Edmund Thiel.

October Art Picks

Featured Image: An abstract image made from varying colored tissue papers. Illustration by Ryan Edmund Thiel. If you’ve followed us for a while, you know that our Art Picks offer a wide scope of events that are relevant to our audiences because we and the artists, cultural workers, curators, spaces, and projects we support live full lives that know no boundaries. We maintain expansive practices and work toward justice for BIPOC, LGBTQIA+, and disability communities in Chicago and the Midwest.   Created in collaboration with The Visualist, Chicago’s leading visual arts calendar. Click here to get our Art Picks and latest articles delivered to your inbox monthly. This is a growing list, so check back often with new additions. This month, the first Chicago Arts Census will be initiated. The Chicago Arts Census is the first comprehensive, cross-discipline data collection effort in the city created by and with the art workers of Chicago. The Census is a collaboration between ACRE and Annas in partnership with Sixty Inches From Center, DataMade, and C.A.M.P. The Census is built to amplify our voices …