All posts tagged: SIFC

A Look at Woman Made Gallery's 14th International Open

For nearly twenty years, Woman Made Gallery has ceaselessly promoted and supported the artwork of women in Chicago. A not-for-profit organization sustained largely by volunteerism, the gallery has nonetheless managed to host regular educational programs, workshops, and exhibitions in its airy, two-story space, and last week it welcomed the public to its 14th International Open.   The opening reception, which took place on Friday, March 4th, was a resounding success. Crowds of art enthusiasts braved wind and freezing rain to admire the works of 37 artists from the U.S. and abroad. Many of the artists were present during the opening, and guests were encouraged to approach them with questions about their work. Chicago based artist Joanna Moscoco —decked out in a strange ensemble made from second-hand Mary Kay bags—drew a particularly impressive flock of gawkers. Moscoco’s face was almost entirely obscured by her creation, and her arms were completely encased in fabric. According to Moscoco, her piece, Mary Kay Protection Device, makes a cynical jab at the way in which humans often transform objects into …

All for Art: An Interview with Robin Rios, PART II

Balancing the integrity of an artist with the acumen of a businessperson, distinguishing between Pilsen and Bridgeport, and telling misguided young artists that their work is mediocre at best… no topic is off limits for the owner of 4Art Inc. Gallery. What follows is the second part of my conversation with Robin Rios in anticipation of her gallery opening on Friday, March 18, from 7-10pm. Read PART I here. Jenny Lam: As an artist and a gallery owner, you’re able to see both ends of a spectrum. How do you strike a balance between being a businessperson and an artist? Robin Rios: It’s hard. It’s hard not just because of the business aspect of it. It’s hard because I feel like a lot of artists just aren’t as excited as I am about what we do, creating art. Sometimes artists are way too hard on themselves. They’re not enjoying art anymore; in fact, they’re tortured by it. Art is an emotional thing, and I think when people meet me, their first instinct is that I’m …

"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 …

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

Frontispiece and The Uncanny Imagination are projects by Becket Flannery and Grant Ray, respectively, that constitute a two-person exhibition at ACRE Projects. Part of ACRE’s year-long series of shows by 2010 summer residents, their work finds common ground not only through the photographic medium, but also through their exploration of the narrative and the dynamic between images and narratives, often social in derivation. As the artists began installing their exhibition on March 8, I spent the afternoon with them discussing, among other topics, political theorists, hoaxes, New York nostalgia, and late-night woodshop dance parties. Frontispiece and The Uncanny Imagination opened on Sunday, March 13, and will be on view through Monday, March 14, from 12-4pm. Becket Flannery: Thank you so much. Basically, I just took a week off from work and flew out here yesterday. Jenny Lam: What do you do for work? BF: I work at the Institute of Contemporary Art, which is a wonderful organization in Philadelphia outside of UPenn. It’s actually a really incredible organization. They’ve been around for forty, fifty odd …

The Logan Square Comfort Station: In the 'Art' of a Community

Last fall, as the end of sweater weather drew near, three local artists took advantage of the final surge of Logan Square outdoor market goers to breathe new life into a neighborhood landmark.  If you live or work in the area, you’ve probably passed by it a hundred times, that little Tudor-style building across from the Logan monument.  For years the building dubbed the “Comfort Station” sat empty and untouched, slowly deteriorating.  It was not forgotten, however, and this past fall the City of Chicago leased the turn-of-the-century building, newly restored, to Logan Square Preservation, the volunteer organization responsible for the National Historic District and City Landmark District designations of Logan Square and its boulevards.  This change of hands marked a new era for the Comfort Station that once served as a refuge for streetcar commuters along Milwaukee Avenue.  Within two weeks of the acquisition, Logan Square homeowner, preservation member and artist, David Keel, initiated and executed the Comfort Station’s inaugural gallery exhibition in collaboration with Chicago artists Josh Crow and Terry Swafford. “It’s something …

Fresh South Side Street Art

As of about ten days ago, there’s something new to look at from the left side of the Green Line train when heading north from Garfield. A formerly empty wall has been transformed into a piece of teal, geometric street art. I recommend braving the cold and taking a closer look. Discover more Mental 312 here.

Bucktown Arts Festival Turns 25

This past summer marked the 25th anniversary of the Bucktown Arts Fest. As a new resident of the neighborhood, I welcomed the festival as a chance to connect with my local community and see some great art. I dove right in and signed up as a volunteer for both days of the event. On Saturday I arrived at the information tent ready to get my hands dirty. Coordinators Laura Doede and Brett Mackie put me to work selling posters and water. The environment was loose, as patrons with their dogs strolled by, volunteers drifted in and out, and artists stopped by to chat. Our posters, all emblazoned with goat heads, sold like hotcakes, but also raised a common question. “Why the goat?” people asked me. One story is that Bucktown gets its namesake from the goats (a male goat is a buck) that frequented the neighborhood back in the 1800’s, when Poles and Germans populated the area. Living in Bucktown, I’ve found other Chicagoans often lump my neighborhood in with Logan Square or Wicker Park. …

Duncan Mackenzie at the 2010 CAA Conference

Duncan Mackenzie, wears many hats. Along with being a professor of fine art at Columbia College Chicago, he is a practicing artist and also collaborates on a weekly podcast and blog called Bad At Sports (how great is that title for an art blog/podcast?!). This collaborative project offers informative, revealing and incredibly entertaining reviews and interviews with everyone in the arts–from curators to individual artists to art publishers to arts advocates, and everyone in between. Once I discovered this blog, it quickly become a regular on my iPod. In addition to this, somwhere between all these things, Mackenzie works on various other collaborative projects. This brief interview gives you a snapshot of his world which includes national developing projects and words of wisdom, with a touch of that Duncan Mackenzie humor. Take five minutes for these ten questions–you’ll be happy you did! 1. Briefly tell me about yourself. What is your current role in the arts and how did you get there? Artist, Journalist, Educator, “Conversation-ist,” and person of questionable virtue and foolish commitment. 2. Is …

Joyce Owens

In February of 2010 the College Art Association held the 98th Annual CAA Conference in Chicago, Illinois.  Before the conference, panelist Joyce Owens took a moment to answer a few questions about the future of her art practice, the Women’s Caucus for Art panel she will be serving on, which asks “Are women only institutions and spaces still necessary?”. 1. Briefly tell me about yourself. What is your current role in the arts and how did you get there? I am a visual artist, a professor and curator for my university (Chicago State University). Huge question; the answers start from childhood. I made art from childhood. Lucky for me, people thought I had “talent” even then and I was not discouraged from pursuing art. I studied art at Yale University (MFA) and Howard University (BFA) and have always taught in schools, city programs and camps. I decided to start curating shows for Sapphire and Crystals when I was the artist who identified the venues, except one time. I had ideas I wanted to implement. It’s …

Art Here Art Now

The great thing about attending events with professional  photographer friends is that they steal your camera and start snapping great pictures.  Jabari Zuberi, an artist who has a solo show at UIC in December, acted as my personal photographer for the evening.  Last night for the Kick-off of Chicago Artists Month, Jabari and I met in Hyde Park for Art Here Art Now, a show coordinated by the wonderful Dara Epison in association with the University of Chicago.  The show featured an open-storefront studio where artists Cydney Lewis, Michelle Weber, and Marty Burns will be working alongside installations by Andre Callot, Danielle Paz and Peter Zeigler.  The studio artists were working each Saturday in October, with doors open for the public to come and take a peek into the creative process.  I spoke with Cydney for a brief moment about working in a public studio such as this one, and she spoke briefly about how different it will be to work in such an open space when people can come in to have a conversation and ask …

A Night With The Renaissance Society

On September 11, I put on my dress shoes, slacks, black dress shirt, and purple tie and took the orange line down to Bridgeport. There I joined other young volunteers, mostly UChicago and SAIC students, for Of The Moment, the Renaissance Society’s annual gala. The location of the event was East Bank Storage, a large, old warehouse that now contains artists’ studios. For the gala, the top floor had been converted into a lavish gallery, auction, and dining space. As the main fundraiser for “The Ren”, tickets to the event ran $350. Needless to say, the guests arrived in their best attire. Outside of working opening nights of NEXT, the affluent, upper class side of the art world is one I rarely see and often forget about. Monitoring auction bids and taking coats at Of The Moment, however, I got a chance to take in the unfamiliar crowd. Gallerists, art collectors, and at least one Sotheby’s employee were all in attendance at the event. I’d heard the Chicago art world was quite close knit, and …

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 …

The Kids Might Stand A Chance…

On Friday I made my way out to KVG Gallery, a spot run by the magnificent Anna Kunz who will be going off to New York very soon for a year-long residency.  The exhibition, titled Indestructible Youth, was co-curated by brilliant artist and painter, and now curator, Erol Scott Harris II.  The essay that went with the exhibition was written by writer, art historian and educator Debra Riley Parr and offered me a moment in the middle of the opening activity to reflect on my own relationship with the concept of indestructible youth.  After quoting lyrics from Neil Young, Parr states: “Forever young is not attractive.  Everyone needs to pack up and leave Sugar Mountain sooner or later.  And yet, the yearning to live in that space lingers.  Indeed, the appeal of youth and youth cultures holds strong in a young culture like that of the US where being young is cool, powerful, sexy and dangerous.  The Italian Futurists of the early 20th century thought similarly about the attractions of being young, and they clearly …

Hyde Park Op Shop 3: Where PBR meets S.Pellegrino…

If you know EJ Hill then you’ve probably gotten food for your mind, body and intellectual soul from him.  You’ve probably entered a very inviting environment.  You are probably an amateur artist without even knowing it–just by being who you are and doing what you do, and participating when invited. For “Us”, the closing event for Op Shop, EJ invited the public to participate in a potluck in Hyde Park.  While I’ve been to the Op Shop on the corner of Lake Park and 53rd at an abandoned, former Hollywood Video, this particular Op Shop brought up old memories of good music and my days as a High Fidelity-esque record store snob.  See, this particular location was once Dr. Wax–the place that people in-the-know went to purchase tickets to the best shows and get the scoop on new music from the guru of all that’s good, Duane Powell.  It was Dr. Wax that introduced me to Jaspects, Bilal Salaam and 4Hero.  It was where I bought my Foreign Exchange tickets.  (Insert Deep Sigh Here). I …