Gapers Block has ceased publication.

Gapers Block published from April 22, 2003 to Jan. 1, 2016. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
 Thank you for your readership and contributions. 


Sunday, May 19

Gapers Block

Gapers Block on Facebook Gapers Block on Flickr Gapers Block on Twitter The Gapers Block Tumblr


Review Mon Dec 28 2015

At the MCA: Pop Art Design Gives Us a Refresher Course on the '60s and '70s

Pop Art Design at MCA Chicago
Pop Art Design exhibition view. Photos by Nathan Keay.

It may be your father's pop art, but the work shown in the new exhibit at the Museum of Contemporary Art is still fresh and fun. The art that shocked the elite art world 50 years ago still has a story to tell today.

The new Pop Art Design exhibit at the MCA pairs 150 art works and design objects in an exhibit that sparkles with wit and irreverence. And it reminds you of how Andy Warhol's "Campbell soup can art" was first received with non-connoisseurs. That was just about the time that the elite collectors woke up and began buying Warhols.

Continue reading this entry »

Nancy Bishop

Art Thu Oct 22 2015

MCA to Auction Works by 100 Artists Friday

MCA art auction

This year will mark the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago's 17th Benefit Art Auction after a five-year break. Works by more than 100 artists, ranging from painting to sculpture, will be included in the auction that begins this Friday with over 500 guests in attendance.

The MCA has a successful past with previous art auctions for the museum. In 2010, the museum raised $2.8 million from bidders and was able to spread out the proceeds for several fiscal years. "All of the money goes right back into supporting the MCA's core mission," says Michael Darling, James W. Alsdorf Chief Curator, whose role includes fundraising for programs and education within the museum.

Continue reading this entry »

S. Nicole Lane

Museums Wed Oct 21 2015

Newberry's Stagestruck City Explores Chicago's Long Theater History

The venerable Newberry Library, best known for its genealogical and local research facilities, now has on display a fascinating exhibit about Chicago's early theater history, leading up to the founding of the Goodman Theatre in the 1920s.

Stagestruck City: Chicago's Theater Tradition and the Birth of the Goodman takes up three rooms at the Newberry's landmark 1887 building on Walton Street between Dearborn and Clark.

Edwin BoothMaking use of materials from the Newberry's archives, the exhibit tells the story of Chicago theater history starting with pre-fire days, the late 19th and early 20th century. Most of the performances in those days were by traveling stock companies, although there were some local productions. Famous actors such as Edwin Booth (shown at left) performed in Shakespearean productions at the McVickers Theatre (on Madison Street between State and Dearborn). One playbill illustrates his 1876 performances in Much Ado About Nothing, Hamlet and Richard II. (Yes, Edwin Booth was the brother of the Lincoln assassin, John Wilkes Booth, whose reputation unfortunately overshadowed that of his talented actor brother.)

Continue reading this entry »

Nancy Bishop

History Wed Jul 01 2015

July 4th Celebration at Chicago History Museum Features Chicago Film Premiere and New Facilities

By Jen Kraakevik

GB-ChiHistJuly4.jpgFace painting, speeches, musical performances, crafts and other all-American activities are on the agenda for the Fourth of July celebration at the Chicago History Museum from 10am to noon Saturday.

Afternoon events at the History Museum will include a premiere of the film The Great Chicago Adventure in the renovated Robert R. McCormick Theater. Visitors can explore a wall-to-wall map of Chicago and other interactive art pieces in the grand opening of the Guild Gallery. President Gary T. Johnson said in a press release. "We couldn't pick a better day to showcase these fantastic new experiences that celebrate Chicago's place in American history."

Continue reading this entry »


Art Thu May 14 2015

Sonja Thomsen "Glowing Wavelengths In Between" @ DePaul Art Museum

Milwaukee-based artist, Sonja Thomsen, will be featuring her photographs, sculptures, and installations that focus on the quality of light at the DePaul Art Museum opening today. By utilizing the weightlessness in contrast with dimensionality, Thomsen visually examines the tension between color and light.

Thomsen stated in an interview with Columbia College Chicago Photography Department's Jennifer Keats, that she was a "...student of science. That language is something I'm drawn to in a poetic way, where knowledge is always in a state of becoming. I'm interested in the synergy that happens in the studio as catalyst for new understandings, never quite satisfied with conclusions that may eventually be disproved." She continues by explaining her influences, "How do we locate ourselves in the world? A multiplicity of ways, an always a shifting matrix, never a fixed point. I see each of my photographs and installations as a way to measure that locale, a way to assess the space between the mountain, the self and the light. My goal as an artist is to construct an authentic experience in which to recalibrate our perceptions..."


Thomsen's pieces were made during her residency at Latitude Chicago, where she had support from Hahnemühle FineArt.

Continue reading this entry »

S. Nicole Lane

Art Mon Feb 23 2015

Doris Salcedo: Where Lives are More Than Data @ The Museum of Contemporary Art


The commotion (and borderline hysteria) over the recent David Bowie exhibition [PDF] at the Museum of Contemporary Art in January has ceased -- the elaborate costumes and platform boots have bid adieu to Chicago and are traveling across the ocean into another realm of dreaminess and glamor.

The aura, subsequently, has changed. Visually powerful, elegantly arranged, and rich with conversation, the museum has welcomed sculptor Doris Salcedo in a retrospective that spans her 30-year career. The Colombian artist's exhibition opened Feb. 21 and will be on view until May 24.

Salcedo, a public-works artist, has transformed the fourth floor of the MCA into an installation that urges viewers and visitors to slow down, meditate, and remember the lives that she chooses to commemorate. Each death and each disaster draws Salcedo into a creative process involving found objects, every-day materials, and findings from the earth. While her works are created due to specific events, each piece acknowledges universal loss and bereavement. Salcedo urges viewers to never forget; the reminder is crucial.

Continue reading this entry »

S. Nicole Lane

Art Wed Dec 17 2014

focus: Lucy McKenzie Exhibition @ The Art Institute of Chicago

Upon walking into the Art Institute's Modern Wing, the beloved exhibition of Josef Koudelka is now removed and a new exhibition sits in its place -- quite literally. Before entering the space, Lucy McKenzie is projecting towards her audience. One mechanically operated sign moves up and down, another swirls in a circle, and a seated mannequin sits pretty between them both. Like out of a small town storefront window, the exhibition begins.

Lucy McKenzie.jpg

Once inside, the noise of the moving signs takes hold of the viewer as one wanders the space through a series of large canvas paintings which propel from the ceiling. "Manhattan (Phallic map mural for brasserie scene in unrealized Kubrick film)," is a piece, among several others in a series which re-images a Kubrick movie scene. The meticulous realism that McKenzie presents in this collection is contrasted with slight oddities and occasional humor in her exhibition at the AIC. Her realistic pieces are oddly composed, the majority are cropped on the sides to feature an off-centered piece. However, the script beneath the paintings, for example, "Sweden & Finland" or "Geneva," are delicately placed and perform for the viewer as a delicate, yet important, attribute to the entirety of the piece.

Continue reading this entry »

S. Nicole Lane

Preview Fri Mar 21 2014

Photography and Motherhood @ MoCP

10_Press Image_Home Truths_ES.jpg

Starting April 18, The Museum of Contemporary Photography will be presenting the works of nine photographers in an exhibition entitled, Home Truths: Photography and Motherhood. The opening reception, held from 5 to 7pm will introduce gender roles, domesticity and identity.

Continue reading this entry »

S. Nicole Lane

Preview Sat Mar 15 2014

UChicago Presents: Art and Anatomy

Photo by UChicago Arts

Are you intrigued by anatomy and art? Are you interested in (literally) looking inside of yourself? This spring, UChicago Arts will be hosting a multi-venue exhibition entitled Imaging/Imagining that incorporates both the artistic and the scientific history of the body.

This exhibition will be held in various locations across the campus, including the Special Collections Research Center (The Body as Text), the Smart Museum (The Body In Art) and the Crerar Library (The Body as Data). Each space will introduce the history of anatomy in a specialized and organized category. The Body as Text explores the history of medical illustration as well as when the partnership of art and science were separated due to the invention of the x-ray. The Body as Data focuses on modern anatomy and the introduction of computers. The exhibition at the Smart Museum, The Body as Art, focuses on the subjective imagination within the medical illustrations that were once incredibly important for anatomists.

Continue reading this entry »

S. Nicole Lane

Museums Wed Oct 23 2013

The Field Museum Opens Its Vaults: Revisit The World's Fair of 1893


It's been said that there are more treasures in the basement of the Louvre than those that grace its upper galleries, and this week, you may discover that the same holds true for Chicago's Field Museum.

On Friday, October 25th, the Museum debuts "Opening the Vaults: Wonders of the 1893 World's Fair", an exhibit that will bring to light many of the forgotten treasures of the event that was without a doubt one of the most important in the city's history. As the Museum's website reveals, "Not only the birthplace of the Juicy Fruit chewing gum and the Ferris Wheel, the World's fair also marked the triumphant debut of our very own Field Museum."

Nobody who has read Erik Larson's The Devil in the White City (2003) or pounded a can of Pabst Blue Ribbon will fail to be intrigued by the museum's wonderful collection of artifacts from the Exposition. Catch your breath as you view the meteorite that terrorized fair visitors. View exclusive photographs and imagine Midwestern Americans rubbing elbows with international cultures they'd only imagined in their wildest dreams. Just as the visitors to the World's Fair were the first to sample many of the products we take for granted today, like a bowl of Shredded Wheat or a ride on a Ferris Wheel, so too will the visitors to the Field's exhibit be the first to uncover how the fair exposed previous Windy City residents and travelers from far and wide to unique marvels.

Visitors to the Field Museum (1400 S. Lakeshore Drive) will be able to explore the exhibit between October 25th, 2013 and September 7th, 2014. For more information, visit the Museum's website or the exhibit's microsite.

Photograph courtesy of The New York Times photo archive, public domain

Kara VanderBijl

Preview Fri Feb 01 2013

Preview: artEdge Annual Fundraising Benefit at the MCA

Fitz and the TantrumsThe romance of the Industrial Age will sweep through Chicago for one night only -- this Saturday, Feb. 2 -- when the Museum of Contemporary Art hosts its annual fundraising benefit, artEdge.

MCA's Warehouse location will be transformed into a work of functional and live art reminiscent of days past and of the building's own history as a bakery. The benefit will include a meal and a concert, but is much more than the sum of its parts. Guests will be treated to a complete experience from beginning to end, and with the proceeds going back to the museum, the event is not to be missed.

Attendees will enter through the back alleys of the warehouse, a throwback to Chicago as a city of bricks, and then make their way up a winding, wrought-iron staircase to the first course of their meal, hors d'oeuvres strung from chain-linked walls. Next, guests will find themselves in an industrial-chic wonderland of light and metal created by Heffernan Morgan Designs and Event Creative.

The event guarantees not only a treat for the tastebuds, but also a symphony for the other four senses. As the party-goers make their way through the Chain Link Room, Automation Room, Corrugated Room and Chain Room, they'll experience dinner served on moving conveyor belts, whirling ceiling fans, state-of-the-art manufacturing presentations, and special live performances curated by Peter Taub, the MCA's Director of Performance Programs.

The soiree will conclude with a dessert bar, a VIP Rubber Bar, and a concert by indie pop group Fitz and the Tantrums.

The event takes place on Saturday, Feb. 2, from 7pm to 11pm. Individual tickets are available for $1,000, which includes the cocktail reception, dinner, dessert reception and concert performance. Table packages begin at $15,000. Concert tickets are available for $150 and include the dessert reception, open bar and concert performance. To purchase tickets, table packages, make reservations, or to inquire about sponsorship, email or call (312) 397-3868.

Sarah Shuel

Museums Fri Dec 07 2012

Unfinished Business: 21st Century Home Economics @ Jane Addams Hull-House Museum

You might think that home economics and political activism are completely unrelated. As it turns out, the first generation of home economists championed equal rights, public health, labor reform, immigration reform, sustainability and other ideas that transformed society for the better and are still relevant today.

To celebrate this legacy, Jane Addams Hull-House Museum's upcoming exhibit, Unfinished Business: 21st Century Home Economics, explores the untold stories of the intersection between home economics and Hull-House's social welfare advocacy, along with the future potential of home economics to complete the "unfinished business" Addams and other reformers started work on over a century ago.

Continue reading this entry »

Jason Prechtel

Art Wed Oct 31 2012

High Design for the Right Now: Bivouac at the MCA


Installation view, Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec: Bivouac, MCA Chicago. October 20, 2012 - January 20, 2013. Photo © Studio Bouroullec

Truly great design is invisible. It exists outside of our day-to-day interactions, instead seamlessly blending into everything else we do - the work, the play, the relaxation at home. You don't want a designed object to insert itself in the things you need to do, only help facilitate what happens from morning to night.

Continue reading this entry »

Britt Julious

Museums Thu Oct 11 2012

Experience India's Great Kings

maharaja.jpgMaharaja: The Splendor of India's Royal Courts opens at The Field Museum, 1400 S. Lake Shore Dr., next Wednesday, Oct. 17, and continues until Feb. 3, 2013. The exhibition, which was organized by London's Victoria and Albert Museum, will make the final stop on its world tour in Chicago.

The exhibition welcomes attendees to step into the colorful and exquisite realm of India's maharajas, who ruled the large nation from the 1700s to the 1940s. Their absolute rule, including immense military and religious influence, caused them to play a significant role in both the cultural and political history of India. To this day, they are still a very important national symbol.

Maharaja teaches its visitors the rich background behind India's royal duty, including stringent expectations and guidelines.

The exhibition features over 200 regal artifacts, including ornate jewelry, instruments, artwork, clothing, furniture, and weaponry. Experience the decadence first-hand by viewing the bejeweled every-day objects of India's "great kings."

Admission to Maharaja: The Splendor of India's Royal Courts is included in The Field Museum's Discovery and All-Access passes.

Brianna Kelly

Photography Sun Jul 08 2012

Malaria: Blood, Sweat, and Tears @ The Field Museum

malaria2 copy.jpg

A photo from The Malaria Consortium's Malaria: Blood, Sweat, and Tears currently on exhibit at the Field Museum. Photo credit: Adam Nadel.

The Malaria Consortium's exhibit Malaria: Blood, Sweat, and Tears is currently on display at the Field Museum, having been previously displayed in New York, Atlanta, Geneva, Switzerland, Paris, and Ghana. Photographer Adam Nadel spent five weeks in Cambodia, Uganda, and Nigeria documenting the lives of people affected by malaria, a disease who's prevalence was estimated at 216 million cases in 2010 by the World Health Organization.

There are reasonable ways to combat malaria, principal among them sleeping under mosquito nets that have been impregnated with insecticide. The nets cost $5 each, but due to a number of factors are not always easy to come by. The Malaria Consortium's goal is to control malaria and other communicable diseases in Africa and Southeast Asia, and is hoping to raise awareness with this exhibit. They have an impressive list of donors, including the Roll Back Malaria Partnership, the Global Fund, WHO, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, USAID and the President's Malaria Initiative.

What is startling about the photographs is that they are beautiful in their depictions; I can't think of another time I've seen photographs of a disease has been documented so artistically. The exhibit has 36 images in all, and is on display at the Field Museum through September 16. More information on malaria is available online at the Malaria Consortium website, on Facebook, and on Twitter @FightingMalaria.

J.H. Palmer

Art Fri May 04 2012

Heaven + Hell

2012-05-04 13.20.26.jpgHell, at the Intuit, is a bright collection of work that takes a hard look at the evils of life. The artists that are in this show obviously deal, or dealt with, these ideas regularly in their daily lives rather than, like most of us, deep inside ourselves. Being so familiar with the material, they are able to conjure up imagery that most artists would feel might be too overt, and for them it very well may be. Without a formal arts education to decipher for them a random group of rules, they are free to examine art however they feel.

Continue reading this entry »


Art Wed Apr 11 2012

The red, black and GREEN Movement

54a2cTheaster and Bamuthi 13.jpg

Photo: Bethanie Hines

It is not that Marc Bamuthi Joseph sees the world differently, but that he sees the world - and some of the world's problems and challenges - more clearly than others. Much of his past work and his current performance project investigates and dissect issues of the environment for the underserved and communities of color. The rise of the green movement - despite the movement's power and importance - has also created a limited, often one-sided interpretation of and reaction to environmental issues.

"It became clear," Bamuthi began, "that there was a homogeneous population with a certain kind of literacy and a certain kind of vocabulary that bordered on jargon in terms of environmental consciousness and environmental actions."

Bamuthi's latest project at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago (MCA), red, black and GREEN: a blues, a multimedia performance work combining text, dance, and visuals and in collaboration with Chicago-artist Theaster Gates, addresses the discrepancies of the goals and actions of the environmental and green movements with the various communities often ignored.

Continue reading this entry »

Britt Julious

Art Wed Apr 04 2012

$10 Million Gift for the MCA

The Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago (MCA) today announced a gift of $10 million from Stefan Edlis and Gael Neeson. Long-time supporters of both the arts and the MCA, Edlis also serves as an officer of the MCA Board and an MCA Trustee. Edlis led the museum's Collection Committee from 2004 to 2008. Neeson serves on the Exhibition Committee.

In 2000, Edlis and Neeson gave a major gift to establish the Edlis/Neeson Art Acquisition Fund that has enabled the MCA to acquire significant works for the collection, including Maurizio Cattelan's Felix (2001), Thomas Schutte's Ganz Grosse Geister (Big SpiritsXL) (2004), Jenny Holzer's For Chicago (2007), and Olafur Eliasson's Your eye activity field (2009).

Continue reading this entry »

Britt Julious

Museums Fri Mar 02 2012

Join the Feast, Witness Radical Hospitality in Action

I've had several run-ins with food-related arts events of late.

There was "The Dinner Party" on Jan. 30--a monthly, streamed-live meal/performance featuring artists Tony Fitzpatrick, Jon Langford, and Rachel Rockford, as well as chef Homaru Cantu of Moto (see for more). Coming soon, "Food & Performance", a two day installation of interactive, edible performances, will be held at Defibrillator March 17 and 18.

And, I forgot to mention all of the odd salons/underground dinners/etc. that seem to be sprouting up around the city faster than I can say grace.

Where does our fascination with the intersection between art and food come from?

The Smart Museum's newest exhibit, Feast, sets out to chart our obsession with food, drink, meal-sharing, and art in a new, interactive series of installations and events in Hyde Park. It not only chronicles the history of the "artist-orchestrated meal", but also brings that history to a more contemporary table in which audience is asked to assess, participate, and celebrate in its meaning.

Continue reading this entry »

Alexa DeTogne

Art Mon Sep 19 2011

Glass Curtain's CoLaboratory Puts the Art in Your Hands


photo courtesy of Columbia College

Columbia College's Glass Curtain Gallery has taken interactive art to another level with their current exhibition, CoLaboratory. Two artist collaboratives - ED JR. and (f)utility projects have joined forces to create a site specific video installation with moveable screens that, although quite beautiful in its own right, is made manifest by you - the visitor. Visitors are invited to adjust the structures on which video projections are shown, amending and re-forming the evolving images as they move. If that's not enough interaction for you, check out one of ED JR.'s free, public workshops at the gallery (Thursday, September 22, 6-8pm; Saturday October 1, 3-5pm; Thursday October 27, 6-8pm), where you can get your hands dirty and be featured in a video, which will be later projected in the space.

Continue reading this entry »

Kelly Reaves

Art Mon Aug 22 2011

Hennessey Youngman at the Museum of Contemporary Art

youngman.jpgInfluential humorist and art commentator Hennessey Youngman will visit the Windy City on September 7 to join "The Dialogue," an annual live-chat panel on "museums, diversity, and inclusion" at the Museum of Contemporary Art Theater. This year's event with Youngman will focus on Millennials and their effect on museum issues, alongside "Chicago's Commissioner of Cultural Affairs, Michelle T. Boone, and our newest curator, Naomi Beckwith, formerly of The Studio Museum in Harlem." While some concerns with Youngman's gender politics have been voiced among those in the art crowd, his highly entertaining video segments are largely appreciated for gleefully punching holes in otherwise hyper-serious art world conventions. The MCA's press materials describe Youngman as "You Tube's most followed art theorist," and points out Art in America's description of his satirical Art Thoughtz program performances as "Ali G with an MFA."

The characterization seems apt. In response to this writer's recent romantic breakup and search for art to make/look at appropriate to the moment, Youngman had the following hilarious advice (intentional spelling errors and grammatical breakages left in): "Break up art? Break into her/his house and lay naked in their bed until they come home from work and recite TLC's "Waterfalls" while they call the police. Videotape the whole ordeal, show the video of you waiting in bed on one channel projected onto the wall, then the police beating and crying on another channel, but way smaller. This way, the audience connects more with your interpretation of your ex's arrival, and your humiliation is underplayed and dismissible, also take every Macbook photobooth photo you've ever taken with them and make a rapid slideshow of the images to enduce nausia."

The Museum of Contemporary Art, 220 E. Chicago Ave. Program and reception $35. Program only: nonmembers $10; MCA members $8; students $6. If you can't make it to the live event, check out the Live Tweet at @mcachicago, using the #thedialogue to participate in the conversation via tweet. Twitter comments can also be followed live during the event at the MCA's website.

Youngman's You Tube channel home is here, and the announcement on the MCA Chicago's site is here.

Photo courtesy of Hennessey Youngman

Michael Workman

Museums Thu Aug 18 2011

The Father of Modern Technology Returns to Chicago

By Emma R. Dutton

A free exhibit, "The Genius Spark of Nikola Tesla," will be at Chicago's Navy Pier Aug. 6-28, co-sponsored by the Chicago Council on Science and Technology and the Belgrade Committee of Chicago Sister Cities International. Nikola Tesla invented alternating current electricity, which lit the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago in 1893 and which still flows through power outlets today.

A/C / Comments (1)

Art Fri Jul 08 2011

Go Figure at the Smart Museum

Nick Cave's "Soundsuits" at the opening reception

The Smart Museum in Hyde Park has a really great-looking exhibition up right now, illustrating pivotal moments in figurative art of the last sixty years through the work of nine exceptional (mostly local!) artists: Nick Cave, Leon Golub, Yun-Fei Ji, Kerry James Marshall, Christina Ramberg, Martín Ramírez, Ravinder Reddy, Clare Rojas and Sylvia Sleigh.

Continue reading this entry »

Kelly Reaves

Museums Sat May 28 2011

Jim Nutt Closes at MCA

nutt.jpgJim Nutt is amazing. I finally got over to the MCA and saw Coming into Character. This is a show of portraits over anything else, with a selection of pieces from his "Harry Who" days, overshadowed by his exploration in the imaginary women portraits.

nutt1.pngWhen Jim Nutt was making his wild Plexiglas reverse paintings he used text to indicate and address things within the work, he also used mutations, growths and sales ads renderings. The use of all these devices was necessary to emphasize the work being made. Having painted them on Plexiglas, the nature of these early pieces were to be slick, but in order for that to work with his style they had to be dramatic. This is where there is a huge leap from the early work of Jim Nutt and his Imaginary Women.

Continue reading this entry »


Art Wed Apr 20 2011

A Different Kind of Art Fair

Chicago's largest art fair, Art Chicago, has taken a hit in recent years due to mismanagement and other logistical issues. For the local art community, the fair - now a massive four-day event encompassing multiple floors of the Merchandise Mart - often isolates or ignores the eclectic, diverse, and ever-changing Chicago and Midwest-based art galleries, publications, and institutions.

Three of Chicago's most celebrated art entities-- threewalls, Roots and Culture, and Public Media Institute-- present the MDW Fair, a celebration and gathering of Chicagoland area independent art initiatives, spaces, galleries, publishers, and artist groups, and something of a response to the much larger fair which takes place the following weekend. Running April 23 and 24, the fair aims to "demonstrate the diversity, strength, and vision of the people/places making it happen in the art ecology of our region."

Continue reading this entry »

Britt Julious / Comments (2)

Art Wed Apr 13 2011

Naomi Beckwith Named Curator at the MCA

8c492NB2.jpgMichael Darling, the recently appointed James W. Alsdorf Chief Curator of the MCA, announced the appointment of Naomi Beckwith as the museum's newest curator yesterday. For the culturally diverse yet fractured city of Chicago, Beckwith's new appointment could potentially usher in a new wave of eclectic and inclusive programming from the museum. Currently the Associate Curator at the Studio Museum in Harlem, Beckwith's curatorial projects frequently focus on themes of identity and conceptual practices in contemporary art and artists of African descent. A native Chicagoan, Beckwith begins work at the MCA on May 11.

In a press release about the appointment, Beckwith noted the importance of the museum in the development of her education in contemporary art. Recent Studio Museum projects include Zwelethu Mthethwa: Inner Views, the critically acclaimed exhibition of photographs from the South African photographer.

Britt Julious / Comments (1)

Art Wed Mar 02 2011

First Fridays: Robots @ the MCA


Photo © Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago.

The Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago's re-vamped monthly party, First Fridays, continues to combine music, visual arts, and exclusive events. March's theme is Robots and includes selected tunes by DJ Josh Madden and an appearance by Billy Bot of Slideshow Theatre.

Compared to previous iterations of the event, March's celebration is fantastically heavy on the museum's bread and butter, the arts. Club Nutz return to the museum after a week-long summer residency as part of Here/Not There. In its latest presentation, visitors can view a robot stand-up comedian, a robotic magic show, an open mic, and DJ dance parties. Visitors also get a behind-the-scenes look at the filming of artist Kirsten Leenaars' soap opera based on MCA staff members. As well, Takeshi Moro, the latest artist in the UBS 12 x 12: New Artists/New Work series open his solo exhibition of photographic works and designed objects.

First Fridays: Robots takes place Friday, March 4 from 6 pm to 10 pm. Tickets are $10 for MCA members, $13 in advance, or $18 at the door. All tickets include museum admission, live entertainment, and hors d'oeuvres. For more information, visit

Britt Julious

News Tue Feb 01 2011

Midwest Blizzard vs. Chicago Art

The blizzard that is moving in on us at the moment is causing several cancellations and closures in the art world today and tomorrow. Here's what we have so far:

  • The Art Institute closed at 2pm today and will be closed tomorrow, so the Peter Fischli artist talk scheduled for tomorrow at 6pm has been canceled.
  • The MCA closed at 2pm today and will be closed tomorrow.
  • Steppenwolf has canceled their shows tonight and their matinees tomorrow.
  • Goodman Theatre's Wednesday, February 2 Performance of the Trinity River Plays has been cancelled.
  • Tonight's Chicago Symphony Orchestra performance with conductor/pianist Mitsuko Uchida has been rescheduled for Monday, February 7, at 7:30pm. Wednesday's performance by the Cleveland Symphony Orchestra will go on. More info at CSO's website.
  • UIC's Gallery 400 is closed today as of 2pm, and so the Eileen Myles lecture scheduled for 5pm today was postponed. If you plan on viewing Kerstin Honeit: Ambiguity is My Weapon or Bless This Mess in the next two days, call them ahead at 312-996-6114 to find out their open hours.
  • Curating the Turn salon at threewalls has been rescheduled for Feb. 8 at 7pm.
  • Drawing Club tonight at Peanut Gallery has been canceled. Peanut Gallery artists and friends will be participating in a giant midnight snowball fight tonight at Palmer Square, instead.

Please comment on this post with information about other cancellations. The Great Chicago Blizzard of 2011 may have won the battle this week, but art will win the war. Maybe. Or maybe everyone will continue to move to L.A.

Just kidding. Chicago pride 4eva.

Kelly Reaves / Comments (1)

Art Sat Jan 29 2011

Jim Nutt's Coming into Character at the MCA


Jim Nutt made a rare appearance yesterday at the preview of his much anticipated show at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Coming into Character, which officially opens today. Though the Chicago artist does not currently reside in our city, his involvement in the off-beat Hairy Who group and the Imagism movement that can be seen as a quintessential milestone in Chicago art history, makes him a local treasure.

Coming into Character is an extensive collection that exemplifies his work's ability to be simultaneously stunning and grotesque. His acrylics on plexiglass are startlingly colorful and the extensive details of the often vulgar subjects pull the viewer in with a bizarre intensity. Severed limbs, skewed facial features, and unforgiving interpretations of genitalia may confuse some and offend others, but Nutt's ability to capture the senses cannot be denied.

Many of Nutt's pieces in Coming into Character are accompanied by the drawings that he experimented with before jumping into the final project. The ghosts of erased lines provide a fascinating glimpse into the experimental nature of Nutt's process.

Jim Nutt's Coming into Character runs through May 29 at the MCA.

Britany Robinson

Art Wed Jan 12 2011

A Celebration of Satire


Thomas Rowlandson, Miseries of London, 1807.

A delightful celebration of subversion is going up at Northwestern University's Block Museum, with a public opening reception tomorrow (Thursday) at 5pm. Two complementary exhibitions are opening: Thomas Rowlandson: Pleasures and Pursuits in Georgian England, and The Satirical Edge in Contemporary Prints and Graphics.

The former includes 71 drawings, watercolors, prints, and books by Thomas Rowlandson, a popular English satirist who applied his masterful drawing skills and keen sense of humor to colorful, detailed, and sometimes bawdy depictions of everyday life in and around London during the late 18th and early 19th centuries. These works offer an entryway into the social and political life of Georgian England. Rowlandson specialized in capturing the follies and foibles on display in his native city during a time of remarkable population growth and social change, as members of differing classes clumsily mixed and mingled for the first time. Click here for a slideshow preview. (Flash)

Continue reading this entry »

Kelly Reaves

Art Mon Jan 03 2011

A Fire in My Belly

The Smart Museum joins other national museums' decision to screen late artist David Wojnarowicz' 1986-1987 video, A Fire in My Belly. An unfinished and contemplative tribute to the artist's friend Peter Hujar (who died of AIDS), the video was recently removed from the National Portrait Gallery's latest exhibition, Hide/Seek: Difference and Desire in American Portraiture. Despite the exhibition's aim to explore such themes as, "the role of sexual difference in depicting modern America," and how art reflects "society's evolving and changing attitudes toward sexuality, desire, and romantic attachment," museum officials pulled the work following protests from conservative politicians and a vocal religious group.

As part of its exhibition, the Smart Museum will screen the original 13-minute version of the film first edited by Wojnarowicz from 1986-1987, as well as an additional seven-minute chapter found in Wojnarowicz's collection. A Fire In My Belly opens tomorrow and runs through February 6. The Smart Museum is located at 5550 S. Greenwood.

Britt Julious

Museums Thu Dec 09 2010

Adopt an Art Institute Dot

adoptadot.jpgThe Art Institute of Chicago has brought back its Adopt a Dot gift concept for the holidays. The deal is, you pay $10 for a button (or three for $25, or $50 for all six) as a token donation in someone's honor. The colors of the buttons are "inspired by iconic works" in the Art Institute's collection.

• Blue = Chagall's America Windows
• Silver = Thorne Miniature Rooms
• Gold = the arms and armor collection
• Red = Seurat's A Sunday on La Grande Jatte
• Dark Green = also A Sunday on La Grande Jatte
• Light Green = uh, A Sunday on La Grande Jatte too

Cheesy or not, the buttons are a nice way to support the museum. Orders must be placed by Dec. 15 to ensure delivery in time for Christmas.

Andrew Huff / Comments (1)

GB store

Architecture Tue Nov 03 2015

Paul Goldberger Describes the "Pragmatism and Poetry" of Frank Gehry's Architecture in His New Book

By Nancy Bishop

Architecture critic Paul Goldberger talks about Frank Gehry's life and work in a new book.
Read this feature »

Steve at the Movies Fri Jan 01 2016

Best Feature Films & Documentaries of 2015

By Steve Prokopy

Read this column »


An Angry White Guy
AREA Chicago
ArchitectureChicago Plus
Arts Engagement Exchange
The Art Letter
Art or Idiocy?
Art Slant Chicago
Art Talk Chicago
Bad at Sports
Bite and Smile
Brian Dickie of COT
Bridgeport International
Carrie Secrist Gallery
Chainsaw Calligraphy
Chicago Art Blog
Chicago Art Department
Chicago Art Examiner
Chicago Art Journal
Chicago Artists Resource
Chicago Art Map
Chicago Art Review
Chicago Classical Music
Chicago Comedy Examiner
Chicago Cultural Center
Chicago Daily Views
Chicago Film Examiner
Chicago Film Archives
Chicago Gallery News
Chicago Uncommon
Contemporary Art Space
Co-op Image Group
Co-Prosperity Sphere
Chicago Urban Art Society
Creative Control
Devening Projects
DIY Film
The Exhibition Agency
The Flatiron Project
F newsmagazine
The Gallery Crawl...
Galerie F
The Gaudy God
Happy Dog Gallery
Homeroom Chicago
I, Homunculus
Hyde Park Artcenter Blog
Joyce Owens: Artist on Art
Julius Caesar
Kasia Kay Gallery
Kavi Gupta Gallery
Rob Kozlowski
Lookingglass Theatre Blog
Lumpen Blog
Mess Hall
Neoteric Art
Not If But When
Noun and Verb
On Film
On the Make
Peanut Gallery
Peregrine Program
The Poor Choices Show
Pop Up Art Loop
The Post Family
The Recycled Film
Reversible Eye
Rhona Hoffman Gallery
Roots & Culture Gallery
The Seen
Sisterman Vintage
Site of Big Shoulders
Sixty Inches From Center
Soleil's To-Do's
Sometimes Store
Stop Go Stop
Storefront Rebellion
TOC Blog
Theater for the Future
Theatre in Chicago
The Franklin
The Mission
The Theater Loop
Thomas Robertello Gallery
Time Tells Tony Wight Gallery
Uncommon Photographers
The Unscene Chicago
The Visualist
Western Exhibitions
What's Going On?
What to Wear During an Orange Alert?
You, Me, Them, Everybody
Zg Gallery

GB store



A/C on Flickr

Join the A/C Flickr Pool.

About A/C

A/C is the arts and culture section of Gapers Block, covering the many forms of expression on display in Chicago. More...
Please see our submission guidelines.

Editor: Nancy Bishop,
A/C staff inbox:



A/C Flickr Pool
 Subscribe in a reader.

GB store

GB Store

GB Buttons $1.50

GB T-Shirt $12

I ✶ Chi T-Shirts $15