Chicago

Posts tagged
with Chicago



Art

Nevermore Park Manifests the Fictional Universe of Hebru Brantley’s Flyboy and Lil Mama

March 5, 2020

Grace Ebert

All images © Amy Lombard, shared with permission

Packed within a 6,000-square-foot space on Chicago’s south side is a fictional universe teeming with pinned up newspaper clippings, towers of retro electronics, and tons of vintage advertising from McDonald’s to Vienna Hot Dogs. It’s the world of Hebru Brantley’s iconic characters, Lil Mama and Flyboy, whose enlarged head rests on the floor in one room of the immersive installation, titled Nevermore Park. Moving through the pathways lined with plastic toys and paint-spattered pallets, visitors pass a downed spaceship and a brick wall of street art, elements that structure Brantley’s narrative for the surreal environment.

The Los Angeles-based artist cites the tales of the superheroes and comic books he engaged with during his childhood living in Chicago as directly impacting his current projects. “I’m in love with creating and I have so many stories I want to tell,” he tells Colossal. “I want my work to create a narrative that hasn’t been told before, in ways others haven’t seen expressed. I’m working to create the things I wished existed.”

Although Brantley created many of the objects specifically for Nevermore Park, he also amassed thousands of pieces of real ephemera that create a strong undercurrent of Chicago’s history as expressed through pop culture, toys, magazines, and found objects. The periodicals lining the newsstand, for example, belonged to his grandmother. “She had saved a number of them and it created a unique opportunity for me to incorporate these real historical artifacts into my body of work for visitors to experience. Everything weaves together with the goal of staying authentic to the stories I wanted to tell,” he says.

Nevermore Park, though, is intended “to be a total sensory experience,” inspiring Brantley to collaborate with WILLS on the audio component, offering a soundtrack that he says visitors always ask about. “Bringing people into a space they wouldn’t normally occupy with sounds that are familiar, amplify the story and culture even more,” he writes. “Sight is an important aspect of the experience but so is the sound piped into each section.”

If you’re in Chicago, there are tickets available to visit Nevermore Park through May 3. Otherwise, head to Instagram to keep up with Brantley and see what’s next for Flyboy, Lil Mama, and Nevermore Park.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Christopher Jobson 🦦 (@christopherjobs) on

 

 



Art

26 Contemporary Chinese Artists Explore Materiality in ‘Allure of Matter’

February 13, 2020

Grace Ebert

Zhu Jinshi, “Wave of Materials” (2007), Xuan paper, cotton thread, bamboo, and stones. Installation view at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, image © Museum Associates/LACMA

CHICAGO—Containing a massive paper wave, a tower of leftover fat, and a tiger-skin rug of 500,000 cigarettes, The Allure of Matter: Material Art from China encompasses 48 works from 26 contemporary Chinese artists in an exhibition on view now in Chicago. Focused on the materiality of seemingly every day objects, the exhibition prompted artists to explore how substances like tobacco, plastics, and Coca-Cola could be fashioned anew. “Taken together, the works introduce a broader framework for understanding global contemporary art, which I call ‘Material Art’ or caizhi yishu, where material—rather than image or style—is the paramount vehicle of aesthetic, political, and emotional expression,” said co-curator Wu Hung.

The Allure of Matter is an extension of a trend artists in China began in the 1980s as they experimented and “exploded fireworks into paintings, felted hair into gleaming flags, stretched pantyhose into monochromatic artworks, deconstructed old doors and windows to make sculptures, and even skillfully molded porcelain into gleaming black flames,” a statement about the exhibition says.

Today, artists involved in the project, like Ai Weiwei (previously), Hu Xiaoyuan, and Cai Guo-Qiang (previously), are engaging with that provocative tradition through their multi-media works that often fill entire rooms, like gu wenda‘s human hair structure that is suspended from the ceiling. “Their monumental works represent a multifaceted phenomenon that inspires us to ask big questions about our relationship to the everyday material world around us as well as the interrelationship between Chinese art and broader trends in contemporary art globally,” co-curator Orianna Cacchione said.

If you’re in Chicago, make sure to check out the exhibition at both the Smart Museum and Wrightwood 659 before it closes on May 3.

gu wenda, “united nations: american code” (2019), human and synthetic hair. Installation view at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, image © Museum Associates/LACMA

Ai Weiwei, “Tables at Right Angles” (1998), Tables from the Qing dynasty (1644–1911). Stockamp Tsai Collection, New York

Liu Jianhua, “Black Flame” (2017), 8,000 flame-shaped black porcelain pieces. Collection of the artist, courtesy of Pace Gallery. Installation view at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, image © Museum Associates/LACMA

Gu Dexin, “Untitled” (1989), melted and adjoined plastic. Installation view at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, image © Museum Associates/LACMA

Song Dong, “Water Records” (2010), four-channel video projection. “Traceless Stele” (2016), metal stele, water, brushes, and heating device. Collection of the artist, courtesy of Pace Gallery. Installation view at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, image © Museum Associates/LACMA

Shi Hui, “Float” (2000/2007/2013), wire mesh and xuan paper pulp. Installation view at China Academy of Art, Hangzhou

Ma Qiusha, “Wonderland: Black Square” (2016), cement, nylon stocking, plywood, resin, iron

Xu Bing, “1st Class” (2011), 500,000 “1st Class” brand cigarettes, spray adhesive, and carpet. Installation view at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, image © Museum Associates/LACMA

Xu Bing, “1st Class” (2011), 500,000 “1st Class” brand cigarettes, spray adhesive, and carpet. Installation view at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, image © Museum Associates/LACMA

Liang Shaoji, “Chains: The Unbearable Lightness of Being” of Nature Series No.79 (2002–7), polyurethane, colophony, iron powder, silk, and cocoons. Installation view at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, image © Museum Associates/LACMA

 

 



Design Photography

Dramatic Views of Worldwide Architecture Captured by Gareth Pon (with a Hidden Twist)

January 27, 2020

Grace Ebert

Ponte, Johannesburg. All images © Gareth Pon, shared with permission

Photographer Gareth Pon (previously) encourages his audience to join in his reinvention of Where’s Waldo. His architectural photography relies on depth, pattern, and symmetry, often framing a small piece of the city he’s visiting, like the water-covered street below Chicago’s “L” or a multi-colored building complex replete with balconies and air conditioners in Hong Kong. But every image has one signature twist: Pon hides a small rocket in each of his structural pieces. On his wildly popular Instagram, the photographer shares that his lifelong dream is space travel, perhaps explaining his use of the flying object. To join Pon’s ongoing game of spot the rocket, check out his Facebook.

Chicago, Illinois

Atlanta, Georgia

Chicago, Illinois

Hong Kong

Atlanta, Georgia

Hong Kong

Chicago, Illinois

 

 



Design History

A Yellow Brick Road is Paved in Chicago to Mark Former Home of ‘Wizard of Oz’ Author L. Frank Baum

November 4, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

Photographs: Bickerdike

Follow the yellow brick road to 1667 N. Humboldt Boulevard in Chicago. The address is home to recently rehabbed affordable housing in the rapidly gentrifying Humboldt Park neighborhood. It’s also where author L. Frank Baum penned “The Wizard of Oz” in 1899 (though the author’s residence has since been demolished). The 70-foot long section of sidewalk is now paved with yellow bricks, a nod to one of the most famous stories in American popular culture, thanks to nonprofit developer Bickerdike. An upright rounded wall will also feature an Oz-themed mural commission from Chicago-based artist Hector Duarte.

In an interview with Block Club Chicago, Bickerdike clarified that the whimsical touches were not part of the core affordable housing budget; the project partners including the architect, general contractor, an an outside foundation paid for it out of pocket. (via Block Club Chicago)

 

 



Art Colossal

Submit Your Idea For an Artistic Mini Golf Course Hole by October 31st for ‘Par Excellence Redux’ at the Elmhurst Art Museum

October 22, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

Submissions close on October 31, 2019 for next year’s Par Excellence Redux. If you’ve been sitting on a great idea, now’s the time to send it in! The 18-hole artist-designed golf course will be fully playable, installed in 2020 at the Elmhurst Art Museum. Par Excellence Redux is a contemporary reimagining of the landmark exhibition in 1988 at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, curated by Colossa’s Editor-in-chief Christopher Jobson. Find out more and submit your idea here! Selected artists will be allotted $1,300 as a combined honorarium and materials budget.

 

 



Art Colossal

Open Call: The Elmhurst Art Museum Resurrects ‘Par Excellence,’ an Artist-Designed Mini Golf Course from 1988

October 2, 2019

Colossal

In a unique collision of recreation and art, the Elmhurst Art Museum will commission an 18-hole artist-designed golf course in homage to the wildly popular 1988 exhibition Par Excellence at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. The fully playable course will be conceived and fabricated by a new group of contemporary artists, designers, and architects selected through an open call process. Designed to fill the entirety of the museum’s interior galleries, the course will be comprised of a surprisingly varied collection of themes and forms, promising an unusual twist on a familiar pastime.

The extraordinarily popular exhibition was the brainchild of sculptor Michael O’Brien and opened to lines down the block. The show sold out daily and found its way to the pages of the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, People Magazine, CNN, and the Chicago Tribune among others. The course went on tour to downstate Illinois before returning to Chicago as a rebranded commercial miniature golf course called ArtGolf at 1800 N. Clybourn in Lincoln Park (currently the site of Goose Island Brewery).

Artist-designed golf courses are now a popular addition to many Midwest museums such as the Walker Art Center, The Sheldon, and Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, but Par Excellence is widely believed to be the first.

Par Excellence Redux is curated by Colossal’s founder & editor-in-chief Christopher Jobson. To learn more about the open call process and submit your ideas for a hole, head on over to the Elmhurst Art Museum for more info.

Archival photos of Par Excellence & ArtGolf 1988-1992

 

 



Art

Plein Air Oil Paintings of Chicago Architecture, Parks, and Landmarks by Luna Prysiazhniuk

August 26, 2019

Kate Sierzputowski

Luna Prysiazhniuk creates sharp oil renderings of Chicago architectural scenes in plein air. The Ukrainian architecture student views the paintings as an alternative mode of thinking about the architecture that surrounds her, and uses it as a way to work through new projects and conceptual designs for her classes. In the paintings you can spot an icy Chicago River beneath a lifted bridge, scenes from above and below the elevated train platform, and iconic buildings seen through the openings of crowded city streets. Each painting is layered with colorful and dynamic reflections that fill large pane windows and slick pavement. You can follow her oil paintings within and beyond Chicago on Instagram.