Art Seen: Chicago

In a (Black) Way // Three Chicago Artists Push the Limits of Blackness

By Susan Mackey In the catalog essay for the 2016 exhibition Blackness in Abstraction at Pace Gallery, curator Adrienne Edwards writes, “Blackness fundamentally has to do with the realm of possibility.”1 The three Chicago-based artists profiled here—Nneka Kai, Unyimeabasi Udoh, and Rohan Ayinde—are all using blackness in abstraction as a formal and conceptual tool in[…]

ANNE IMHOF: SEX // THE ART INSTITUTE OF CHICAGO

By Jill Danto There is a beginning somewhere, but it is unclear where to place it. It can start inside of the gallery—realizing each performer, standing at their perch or lying on a mattress elevated above the crowd. Or, it begins with Jacob Eilinghoff, dressed in all black, and Stine Omar, in an oversized Grateful[…]

THE CHICAGO IMAGISTS, THEN AND NOW // In Conversation with Sarah Canright

By Barbara Purcell Artist Sarah Canright’s 50-year career has been impressive from the start, beginning in the late 1960s, when she began showing with the Chicago Imagists, a group who aesthetically defied New York’s minimalism and pop art scene with more colorful, figural artwork. A circle of friends who initially met at the School of[…]

UNCANNY CARS // STEVE REBER’S ANEMIC COMPASS

By Bert Geyer Assemblage is classified as an additive process within the methodology of sculpture, combined parts produce a sum. The assemblages in Steve Reber’s exhibition, Anemic Compass, at the Hyde Park Art Center are additive in construction yet subtractive in effect. Rather than creating frankenobjects, the exhibition assumes the object to which it is[…]

Proposals for an In/Exhaustible Image of Identity

PRISONER OF LOVE // MUSEUM OF CONTEMPORARY ART CHICAGO By Jameson Paige It is challenging to describe an exhibition where the central artwork is so overwhelmingly exhilarating, present, and difficult. Yet, such is the predicament for viewers of Prisoner of Love at the Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA) Chicago. Curated by Naomi Beckwith, the show[…]

The Panoptic Loop

ANNA MARTINE WHITEHEAD // IN CONVERSATION By Mary L. Coyne On a windy evening, I spoke with Chicago-based dance artist Anna Martine Whitehead, who recently completed a residency at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago (MCA). The following transcription traces our conversation, which considers the landscape of dance and performance venues both in Chicago and[…]

Under the Cover of Night

KLEINE WELT // PART II By Dieter Roelstraete From January 17 until April 6, 2019, the Neubauer Collegium for Culture and Society at the University of Chicago hosted Kleine Welt, an exhibition devoted to the idiosyncratic art of the book cover named after a 1918 etching by Paul Klee. Kleine Welt (which translates to Little[…]

Colonial Consumption

YINKA SHONIBARE CBE // RICHARD H. DRIEHAUS MUSEUM By Joel Kuennen It is the late 1800s. Robber barons roamed the land like the herds of bison that once had, hoovering up the capital generated by the violent, colonialist westward expansion across the Great Plains. Transcontinental railways, scarring mines, and cotton farms tilled by newly freed[…]

Forgotten Forms

EDRA SOTO AND YHELENA HALL // CHICAGO CULTURAL CENTER By Susan Snodgrass “Memory’s architecture is neither palatial nor theatrical but soft,”1 writes Lisa Robertson. In her manifesto of “soft architecture,” Robertson rejects the “structural deepness” of architecture, embracing instead the surfaces and materials of the city with its textures of the everyday. The exhibition Forgotten[…]

Laurie Simmons

BIG CAMERA, LITTLE CAMERA // MUSEUM OF CONTEMPORARY ART CHICAGO By Natalie Hegert We may already think we know her, Laurie Simmons—she is part of the Pictures Generation; she did the dollhouse photographs; and we might recognize her from her performances on film. Maybe from her full-length movie, My Art (2016), but most likely from[…]

Stateless

VIEWS OF GLOBAL MIGRATION // THE MUSEUM OF CONTEMPORARY PHOTOGRAPHY By Noah Hanna I am acutely cognizant of the repetition in which the discourse of artistic practice finds itself negotiating the infringed humanity of migrants and refugees. In September 2017, THE SEEN featured the work of Moroccan-French artist Bouchra Khalili, whose minimalist and celestial topographies[…]

The Weight of a Line

ART AND COMICS // YVAN ALAGBÉ, JESSICA CAMPBELL, AND EDIE FAKE By Coco Picard An age-old mode of artistic research involves bringing a sketchbook to a museum and sketching a painting or drawing in order to understand its operations. Such efforts can yield different insights at different times. The following graphic review follows a similarly[…]

NOT QUITE PLATONIC: MURMUR // DANIEL G. BAIRD

By Gareth Kaye The first things you notice are the sound of water and the conspicuous absence of light. The reciprocal senses of sight and sound heighten the effect of their respective other. A pool of water like an uneven horseshoe made of Plexiglas lines the walls in front of you. On the right are[…]

RAFAEL SOLDI: LIFE STAND STILL HERE // FILTER PHOTO

By Jill Danto   It is easy to get lost wandering through the dreamy warehouse Filter Photo resides in, alongside several other galleries and artist spaces. And when found, you may be greeted with extreme contrast: the white wall blinding the eye to the details of the nearly blackened photographs mounted upon it. But as[…]

UNDER THE COVER: ISSUE 08

Announcing Issue 08 in Print THE SEEN announces the Spring / Summer preview titles launching Issue 08 in print this April 2019, featuring a 10,000-count run available for distribution at multiple public locations throughout the city of Chicago, as well as select national and international distribution. With Staff Writers reporting from around the world, each issue of THE SEEN features in-depth[…]

CHANEL CHIFFON THOMAS: FRACTURED REALITY // GOLDFINCH PROJECTS

By Amarie Gipson Walking into Chicago’s Goldfinch Projects gallery space, a cluster of paintings greet and orient viewers in the interior of a Black family’s home: an infant sleeping on the chest of a resting father, a smiling mother and her two children, a little Black boy and his father seated at the kitchen table.[…]

THE LAST ACTS // ATLAS UNLIMITED: LOGAN CENTER EXHIBITIONS

By Gabrielle Welsh “She’s here! She’s arrived.” You are greeted by a gallery attendant, no, beckoned in with a yell. Barely four steps into the exhibition hall, you do not have an option to politely wave your hand, nor retreat back into the lobby of the space. An eccentric young man pulls you into a[…]

GAYLEN GERBER // ARTS CLUB OF CHICAGO

By Noah Hanna In 1953 Marcel Duchamp distributed candy to the guests of a Bill Copley exhibition in Paris. The individually packaged treats were wrapped in foil and bore the statement: ‘A Guest + A Host = A Ghost.’ Though Duchamp was no stranger to wordplay in his work, nor was this small performative gesture[…]

ASHA SCHECHTER // SHANE CAMPBELL LINCOLN PARK

By Jacob Stewart-Halevy In 1963, the artists Konrad Lueg and Gerhard Richter sat on brown woolen couches beneath kitsch paintings in a furniture store in Düsseldorf. Pretending to be bored watching television, they were Living with Pop, or at least making fun of those who did. The performance was an important moment in postwar art.[…]

DOUBLE EDGED ADORNMENT // EBONY G. PATTERSON

By Caroline Picard Currently on view at Monique Meloche Gallery is new work by Ebony G. Patterson, …for those who bear/bare witness…, a solo show that explores the slip between human visibility and invisibility within our societal and material conditions. Patterson’s primary tool is aesthetic: intricately layering textiles and garden imagery, she creates a sensual[…]

LET ME CONSIDER IT FROM HERE // THE RENAISSANCE SOCIETY

By Ryan Filchak Once a street is well equipped to handle strangers, once it has both a good, effective demarcation between private and public spaces and has a basic supply of activity and eyes, the more strangers the merrier. —Jane Jacobs, The Death and Life of Great American Cities Curated by Solveig Øvstebø, this latest exhibition[…]

BETHANY JOY COLLINS: UNDERSONG // PATRON GALLERY

By Amarie Gipson “Language is the foundation of civilization. It is the glue that holds a people together. It is the first weapon drawn in a conflict.” -Arrival (2016) In the work of Chicago-based artist Bethany Collins, language is both the subject and material. Language is a prism through which she explores American history and[…]

DAVID HOCKNEY: TIME AND MORE, SPACE AND MORE… // RICHARD GRAY GALLERY

By Noah Hanna In the Gallery of Modern Art in Glasgow, Scotland hangs David Hockney’s 1995 photograph, Photography is Dead, Long Live Painting. The image depicts two purple vases of sunflowers, one captured from life, the other its rendering in watercolor. I have always been particularly fond of this work, a sort of Joseph Kosuth[…]

LETTER FROM THE EDITOR

Some myths are absorbed through tradition, and others are ascertained by feeling through how to describe the structures and subjects of our times. The tactic of mythology, as a form to describe broader experience, acts as a primer for many of the pieces included in Issue 07 of THE SEEN, whose newly commissioned texts explore[…]