Calendar for April 23, 2015


Ride the Waves: Exploring our Natural Connections

Ride the Waves is an unhurried group bike ride through Bronzeville, Chinatown, and surrounding communities intended to bring bicycling to all parts of the city. This ride is not the time to show off your speed or your Spandex, but is instead a meditative, languid turn through parts of the city unaccustomed to seeing many bikers. Part of a series of weekly rides organized by Slow Roll Chicago, whose mission includes making the whole city safe for biking, this week’s ride explores the near South Side. More well-behaved bicyclists on the streets in all parts of Chicago will make our city friendlier, slower, and safer for all. While the pace of the ride is comparable to the leisurely rolling of molasses out of a jar on a warm spring day, your bike ought to be in good working order. Don’t forget to pack a smile, and be ready to make new friends. Ain’t She Sweet Cafe, 526 E. 43rd St. Wednesday, April 29. Meet 6pm, ride 6:30pm. Free. (708) 831-3570. (Lara Kattan)

Stage and Screen

Susan Giles: Scenic Overlook
In Susan Giles’ new exhibition, “Scenic Overlook,” one can view some of the world’s tallest buildings from above. Giles’ installation consists of large wooden sculptures modeled after the four highest observation towers in the world, the Tokyo Skytree, Canton Tower, CN Tower, and Ostankino Tower, all held up horizontally by steel structures. Giles takes advantage of the two-floor gallery space to allow observers to view these famous architectural wonders from above. Giles, a professor in art at DePaul University, get her MFA from Northwestern in 2009 and is known for her large-scale installations in venues across Chicago including the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago and the Elmhurst Art Museum. Visit the Hyde Park Art Center to witness Giles’s exploration of the power of perspective, tourism, and architecture. Hyde Park Art Center, 5020 S Cornell Avenue. Sunday, April 19 – Sunday, July 26. Monday-Thursday, 9am-8pm; Friday-Saturday, 9am-5pm; Sunday, noon-5pm. Free. (773) 324-5520.  (Clyde Schwab)

Loo Presents: We
Martha Clippinger’s art is loud, colorful, and, often literally, off the wall. Her work hangs in the space between painting and sculpture, exploring the effects of color, as well as shape, in three dimensions. Fittingly, the piece that is being used as a promotional image for her new exhibit, “Loo Presents: We” at Slow gallery, is bright orange and yellow, countered by a serene blue wave pattern, the corners of the paper curling away from the wall and projecting into the space beyond it. “Loo Presents: We” is a group exhibition featuring Clippinger’s work alongside pieces from video and performance artist, painter, and musician Guy Richards Smit and Chicago based fibers artist Allison Wade. In the words of the gallery, “It’s not a competition, but they’re all number one.” Slow, 2153 W 21st St. Saturday, April 25-Saturday, May 16. Saturday, noon-5pm. Free. (773) 645-8803. (Robert Sorrell)

Project 1915
In 2012 artist Jackie Kazarian executed an intensely painful, personal exhibition in a hospital. Entitled “Breast Wallpaper,” her work drew on her own experiences with breast cancer, publicizing a personal trauma and offering an empathetic hand to others dealing with the disease. This year she is working to address another kind of trauma: the 1915 Armenian Genocide in which one-and-a-half million Armenians were massacred. one hundred years after the genocide, Kazarian, who has Armenian heritage, has created a massive mural to commemorate the event and to explore the intersections of memory and trauma, again in a deeply personal way. The comparisons to Picasso’s “Guernica” are apt, but the artist is taking on this difficult subject in her own style. The piece will premiere in Chicago at MANA before touring nationally and internationally. Mana Contemporary, 2233 S Throop St. Open through Friday, May 29. Monday-Friday, 9am-5pm; Sunday, noon-5pm. Free. (312) 850-8301  (Robert Sorrell)

Dmitry Samarov: Between Beverly & Bridgeport
Life through the lens of Russian artist Dmitry Samarov is intense: vivid colors and bold strokes bring otherwise ordinary images to a point of spirited, acute, and confused meditation. Documenting the two Chicago neighborhoods the artist has lived in, Bridgeport and Beverly, Samarov’s show will include pictures of interiors, still-lifes and cityscapes whose strength, according to the painter, comes as a welcome respite from the flashing screens and “bloops and bleeps” of digital life. Samarov, born in Moscow in 1970, immigrated to the US in 1978, attended the Parsons School of Design, Art Institute of Chicago, and Indiana University, and has worked as a cab driver since 1993. In 2011, he published Hack: Stories from a Chicago Cab, a book combining dreamy watercolors, gritty drawings, and wild tales from his time as a cabbie. The event is hosted by Rational Park, a Chicago event space, gallery, and creative studio. Rational Park, 2557 W North Ave. Friday, April 17-Friday, May 1, hours by appointment. (Clyde Schwab)

Old Wicked Songs

First produced in 1996 by Jon Marans, Old Wicked Songs is the story of an aging Viennese music professor and his prodigal but burnt out piano student. In a story that takes teacher and student to emotional extremes while discussing the ramifications of the Holocaust in Austria, Old Wicked Songs shines as a valuable lesson that reflects the importance of healing, music, and remembering one’s past. The play closely follows the “Dichterliebe” (A Poet’s Love), a collection of songs by Robert Schumann. The play is presented by Provision Theater, a Chicago company that broke into the scene in 2004 with an acclaimed production of Cotton Patch Gospel. Provision has since followed with productions including Smoke on the Mountain, the Boys Next Door, and Gospel. Provision Theater Company, 1001 W. Roosevelt Rd. April 29-June 7. Fridays, 8pm; Saturdays, 8pm; Sundays, 3pm. $10-$32. (312)455-0066. (Clyde Schwab)

Visual Arts

Imaginary Landscapes
Returning to a space of your past is the best way to wipe away the rose-colored nostalgia tint from your glasses. Through Imaginary Landscapes, Mana Contemporary presents an exploration of the relationship between space, time, and memory. Four Midwest-based artists delve into the uncertain space at the nexus of the three, and the result is a collection of sculptures and images gathered by Chicago-based curator Allison Glenn. Lisa Alvarado’s work features elements of shamanism as she critiques cultural appropriation and assimilation; Assaf Evron toes the line between photography and sculpture; deconstructing the mundane, Robert Burnier explores failed utopia; and, last but not least, Caroline Kent harnesses narrative and storytelling to ruminate on what it means to be an outsider in another country. Delve into the uncertainty that spans space and time. Mana Contemporary, 2233 S. Throop St., 4th floor. April 4-May 31. Monday-Friday, 9am-5pm. Opening reception April 4, 6pm-9pm. (312)850-0555. Free. (Kristin Lin)

Nature’s Matrix
Like many of their fellow artists, Charles Heppner and Diane Jaderberg have turned to nature for inspiration. Instead of capturing the astonishing might of an ocean, or the tranquility of a peaceful sylvan landscape, they channel elements from nature and turn them into visual motifs, repeating and abstracting them to create pieces which are not just strange but nearly unrecognizable. Also important for their work and their new installation is the interaction between technology and nature, which is mirrored in Heppner’s use of digital media and computer software to create prints. Their joint exhibition, “Nature’s Matrix,” is taking place at the Hyde Park Art Center, where the two have been studying and creating since the mid-2000s. Hyde Park Art Center, 5020 S. Cornell Ave. April 5-July 5. Opening reception Sunday, April 19, 3pm-5pm. (773)324-5520. (Robert Sorrell)

Joe Hill 100 Years Part 4
Since his 1915 execution before a firing squad in Utah, Swedish-American labor activist and songwriter Joe Hill has become emblematic of the struggle of itinerant workers in the United States. To mark the hundred-year anniversary of Joe Hill’s death, the URI-EICHEN Gallery in Pilsen will be showcasing the politically charged works of a dynamic duo of social activist artists: the late Colombian cartoonist Jorge Franklin Cardenas and the New York-based painter James Wechsler. Cardenas’ work, which includes caricatures of Che Guevara, John Lewis, and Francisco Franco, will be displayed for the first time in over forty years, after being released to the public by his Hyde Park-based daughter-in-law. Weschler will showcase his “Freedom of Information” series of paintings, inspired by the FBI’s Cold War era files on artists and writers. URI-EICHEN Gallery, 2101 S. Halsted Ave. Opening reception April 10, 6pm-10pm. By appointment through May 1. Free. (312)852 7717. (Lauren Gurley)

Gallery Guichard’s next exhibit, LURE, is encapsulated by its acrostic tag line: Love, Urban, Rawness, and Energy. Featuring six Midwest-based African-American artists, LURE draws upon a wealth of experience and artistic talent. James “Drew” Richardson renders the disparate experiences of young individuals; Derrock Burnett uses figure and portrait to evoke the visual sound of hip-hop; Roger Carter bridges the gap between graffiti and abstract expression; Walter Bailey is a pioneer of aCRYLONIC aRT, a technique of graphic design on acrylic polymer panels; Rodney Wade draws upon his experiences growing up on the South Side; and Just Flo is, among numerous roles, a tattoo artist and a mural painter. Explore the ways in which these artists probe broad questions of experience and identity. Gallery Guichard, 436 E. 47th St. Opening reception April 24, 6pm-10pm. Free. RSVP required at (773)791-7003 or (708)772-9315. (Darren Wan)

Go Away, Ghost Ship!
Ranging across wallpaper, found wood, house paint, photographs, fabric, steel, and plaster, there’s a type of media to please almost anyone in this group show by four 2015 UofC MFA students. This thesis exhibition represents the blood, sweat, and tears the students have put into their work over their two-year program. Alex Calhoun, Sara Rouse, Zachary Harvey, and Autumn Elizabeth Clark have been working together since arriving at the UofC, and the show’s name is a cheeky reference to the cartoon mystery they all watched as children, Scooby-Doo. Sometimes making art is a matter of solving the mystery—exploring form, material, and content in order to create a final object. Let’s hope they have Scooby Snacks. Logan Center, 915 E. 60th St., Gallery 107. Through May 14, Tuesday-Saturday, 9am-8 pm, Sunday, 11am-8pm. (773)702-2787. (Lara Kattan)


The word “snuff” conjures up different things for different people, whether it be a video of murder, the 1976 splatter film, or for those of us still into the nineteenth century, fine-ground tobacco. But next weekend, Slow is taking on the heavy topic in an art show featuring Tony Balko, Todd Chilton, Jeffery Grauel, and Diego Leclery.  Slow, an independent exhibition venue, features contemporary art that is “introspective and vulnerable (read slightly nerdy),” demands exploration, and is brutally frank and witty. From Balko’s flashing-color nostalgia to Chilton’s vibrant pattern painting, from Grauel’s seemingly barren work to the over-my-head work of Leclery, if you want a take on snuff, some excellent art, or a chance at free booze, visit Slow next weekend. Slow, 2153 W. 21st St. Opening reception Friday, April 25, 6pm-9pm. Through May 16, Saturdays 12-5pm. Free. (773)645-8803. (Clyde Schwab)

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