By what right does someone exhibit a doormat as artwork? Billy McGuinness’s twelve-foot wide dirt-monument gets on the wall as part of “Migrant Files,” a three-artist—McGuinness, Jaxon Pallas, Austen Brown—show currently up at ACRE Projects in Pilsen, on the basis of a pretty good idea. McGuinness’s mat began as a strip of canvas—the same stuff you’d stretch into a painting. He laid it on the floor, just past the visitor’s door to Division XI of the Cook County Jail. It ended as an intricately anonymous record of human movement over time and a self-proclaimed (although decidedly tongue-in-cheek) “high-modernist object.” Continue reading
Curator Ed Marszewski grabbed me by the shoulder. “You have no idea how seriously these kids—,” he checked himself mid-sentence, nodding at the grey heads in the crowd, “these old men take this!” Continue reading
A lot of good design went into giving the Washington Park Arts Incubator a welcoming and airy street-side façade, with its big, vulnerable glass windows. An artwork like Alfredo Salazar-Caro’s “In and Out, In and Out, In and Out” demonstrates just how easy it is to shut that illusion of openness down.
In 1951, Robert Rauschenberg exhibited a series of canvasses painted white all over, in part to test how we might think about the simple play of gallery lights and shadow on a surface. Roberto Adrian Rodriguez, in his recent solo show “Air Affair” at BLUE1647 in Pilsen, took that same historical interest in the insubstantial qualities of a painting, smashed it together with extensive 3-D graffiti practice, piped it through an airbrush, and mixed it with some actual grit. Continue reading
So how does that feel, to be in a position of power like that?” The young woman in the frame tossed her head at the invisible interviewer. Artist Carlos Matallana and I were sifting through raw, man-on-the-street footage from the first beta run of his large-scale roleplaying simulation, “The Anger Games.” Continue reading
“This is what this café looks like, at this moment,” said Willy Chyr, a video game developer based out of Hyde Park.
Video games get a rough shake. If they’re not openly denounced as child’s play, few people give the rhetoric of procedure—the idea that “playing” can impart something unique—a second glance. As a visual art installation focused on video game aesthetics, “Bit Wars: Art Tribute to 8bit and 16bit Videogaming” had its work cut out for it from the start. Continue reading
The engineer with the lost headlamp slipped as a shower of cinders, a flaming plank, caved out right before him. One leg dipped into the river. He laid there a moment, straddled half-off the pontoon.
“We’re having some electrical difficulties.”
Bridgeport on a Sunday morning: a seating queue winds snugly around the corner of the organic eatery Nana, its outdoor café space buzzing both with young brunchers and the bees that dive-bomb them from the planters. There’s a sidewalk sale assembled on the stoops of Jackalope Coffee and Tea House, attracting a crush of folks who are perhaps too cool for you. Continue reading
It’s something captured by a war reporter; it’s lifted from a horror film. Raw hamburger sloughs off the artist’s face and naked body, held in various poses. Photography flash-freezes four individual moments of sloppy decomposition. The resulting pictures are part of “Gratification,” a joint exhibition between six artists out of the School of the Art Institute (SAIC), hosted in unit 410 at Mana Contemporary, a satellite space of the Chicago Urban Art Society.