Chicago had a bout of heavy rain storms yesterday evening and when things started to clear the sky began to glow bright yellow. For a few fleeting moments a pair of rainbows emerged, captured here by Mike Eisenberg who seemed to be at the perfect vantage point.
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Photographer Paul Octavious captured the above image using a drone in his Chicago neighborhood, editing the image with red marks in post production as a reaction to the hostile environment escalating both in the city and across the country. By using a drone to photograph the thermometer-like image Octavious was also able to capture the landscape surrounding his street intervention, adding a deeper context to his work by providing a glimpse of Chicago’s own streets.
“While photographing a street in my neighborhood from above, I immediately picked out the shape which resembled that of a classic glass thermometer,” said Octavious. “As I painted over the asphalt with red in post, it started to take on something more to me. With everything that’s going on right now in this country, and the violence happening on our streets, the boiling point is at an all-time high. I think while creating this, I had a few things on my mind.”
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From the smallest details expressed on canvas to the cracked facade of a multi-story building, Dutch artist Collin van der Sluijs is comfortable investigating what he refers to as “personal pleasures and struggles in daily life.” Working without sketches or notes, the artist dives into each artwork with spray paint, acrylics, and ink as ideas take hold and images slowly emerge. He frequently examines themes of the natural world such as the cycle of life, the depictions of various species of birds, and the psychology of beings both human and animalistic.
Van der Sluijs was most recently in Chicago where he completed a tremendous mural in the south loop as part of the Wabash Arts Corridor that depicts two endangered Illinois birds amongst an explosion of blooms. He also opened his first solo show in the U.S. titled “Luctor Et Emergo” at Vertical Gallery, featuring a wide range of paintings and drawings. You can follow more of his work on Flickr.
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Moving the art viewing experience from a linear surface to a three-dimensional environment, the Art Institute of Chicago is launching an interactive experience alongside their latest exhibition—entry to a full-size replica of Van Gogh’s painting The Bedroom. The room, available on AirBnB starting today, includes all the details of the original painting, arranged in haphazard alignment to imitate the original room.
The installation was built to celebrate the exhibition “Van Gogh’s Bedrooms,” a show which centers around three paintings of his domestic space he created from 1888 to 1889. The exhibition also serves as the first time the paintings will exist within the same space in North America. The first of the three paintings was produced shortly after moving into his “Yellow House” in Arles, France, yet suffered water damage soon after its completion. Van Gogh painted two other versions of the paintings to preserve the composition, one while at an asylum in Saint-Rémy in 1889 and the other as a present for his mother and sister.
Visitors will experience an immersive journey back to Van Gogh’s Yellow House, which is located outside of the museum’s campus in Chicago’s neighborhood of River North. The bedroom runs for just $10 a night and is part of a larger apartment. Dates will be released through the posting monthly and fill up quickly.
“Van Gogh’s Bedrooms” features approximately 36 works by the artist and will run through May 10, 2016. Make sure to keep updated on new listings for Van Gogh’s bedroom on the Art Institute of Chicago’s Facebook and Instagram page here.
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Hatched from a Discarded Egg on a Chicago Windowsill, ‘Camp’ the Pigeon Becomes a Muse for Adele Renault’s Giant Oil Paintings
In the summer of 2013, Chicago artist George Keaton and photographer Mariah Naella were preparing for their engagement party in Wisconsin when they made a seemingly insignificant discovery that would soon dramatically impact their life. Repairmen who were replacing old window frames in their apartment had quietly left something on their kitchen counter: a tiny egg. The workers had inadvertently destroyed a pigeon nest while fixing windows and randomly decided to salvage the egg.
The couple tells the Chicago Sun Times that in the process of discarding the egg outside, Naella realized something was moving inside of it. Within minutes—and to their great astonishment—it almost immediately began to hatch. Late that night the couple purchased a small syringe at Walgreens to use for feeding, and the next few weeks were dedicated to rearing a peppy little pigeon they named Camp.
Two months later, following advice from a wildlife expert, they decided Camp was large enough to release into the wild, but upon opening the window they discovered he was completely uninterested in leaving. Camp has since become accustomed to flying near their Lincoln Square home, and is free to come and go as he pleases, but has never traveled far and always returns home. The pigeon is now a part of the family, and has become a bit of a local celebrity whose daily adventures are shared on Instagram. He’s even spawned an entire line of prints, jewelry, and and shirts.
On learning about Camp’s story randomly through Instagram, Belgian painter Adele Renault realized she had a new muse. Renault is known for her large-scale photorealistic portraits of people and pigeons, and it wasn’t long before she began documenting the Chicago bird’s adventures in lockstep with Naella and Keaton. A selection of her giant oil on linen paintings depicting Camp during several stages of his life will be on view starting tomorrow at Havas Annex in Chicago. (via Colossal Submissions)
Follow the daily adventures of Camp the pigeon on Instagram.
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Artist Theaster Gates Bought a Crumbling Chicago Bank for $1 and Turned it Into a World-Class Arts Center
One might think that an abandoned 1920s bank on Chicago’s South Side, crumbling from top to bottom—the roof long collapsed, exposing the interior to snow and rain for years—would be destined for a wrecking ball. Like so many other decaying structures in the area, that was certainly the fate of the Stony Island Savings & Loan building before artist, urban planner, and Chicago resident Theaster Gates intervened.
Armed with only a vision to carry him through, Gates acquired the 20,000-square-foot bank for $1.00 from the city of Chicago and set about an unbelievable restoration. This month, amidst all the hubbub of Chicago’s Architecture Biennale, the doors were thrown open and the public was given the opportunity to walk through the new Stony Island Arts Bank. While construction is complete, several details of the bank’s history including peeling paint and damaged ceiling tiles have been preserved to physically merge the past and present.
The Stony Island Arts Bank is a place that proudly defies convention. A community savings and loan bank shuttered since the 1980s turned into a world-class arts center in the middle of a greatly under-resourced community most in need of bold ideas. It’s the kind of place that civic leaders propose and residents dream of, but for a thousand reasons it never seems to materialize. And yet here it is.
Gates’ idea has now manifested itself as a platform for site-specific exhibitions and commissions, artist residencies, and as a home for the Rebuild Foundation, a nonprofit organization founded by the artist in 2010 that seeks specifically to foster culture and development in underinvested neighborhoods. In addition, the arts bank houses the vinyl archive of Frankie Knuckles, regarded as the “Godfather of House Music,” as well as 60,000 glass lantern slides from the University of Chicago and the School of the Art Institute. You can also find the personal magazine and book collection of John H. Johnson, founder of Ebony and Jet magazines.
In a press release Gates describes the Arts Bank as “an institution of and for the South Side,” “a repository for African American culture and history, a laboratory for the next generation of black artists,” and “a space for neighborhood residents to preserve, access, reimagine and share their heritage, as well as a destination for artists, scholars, curators, and collectors to research and engage with South Side history.”
The building’s first exhibition is by Portuguese artist Carlos Bunga, whose installation Under the Skin introduces towering cardboard columns to the bank’s towering first-floor gallery. The facility will undoubtedly be used as a place for black artists, community members, and other individuals to experiment with and engage with the South Side, in an environment Gates refers to as a “laboratory.”
“Projects like this require belief more than they require funding,” Gates tells Fast Company. “If there’s not a kind of belief, motivation, and critical aggregation of people who believe with you in a project like this, it cannot happen. The city is starting to realize that there might be other ways of imagining upside beside ‘return on investment’ and financial gain.”
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For the third year in a row Chicago artist Jim Bachor (previously here and here) has taken it upon himself to preemptively fix city potholes by filling them with themed mosaics. This year Bachor decided on a series of 10 pothole mosaics called Treats in the Streets featuring different kinds of ice cream. At the latest count, four artworks have appeared in locations around Chicago, and he traveled all the way to Jyväskylä, Finland last week to do three more mosaics including a local popsicle-like dessert called Amppari-mehujaa. Bachor says to keep an eye out for three more pieces back home in Chicago sometime before spring is out.
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