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. 


Saturday, May 25

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Photography Wed Dec 09 2015

Review: Richard Nickel: Dangerous Years: What He Saw and What He Wrote

The interior of Louis Sullivan's National Farmers' Bank.

Students of Chicago's history, photographers and preservationists have been steeped in Richard Nickel's odes to the city and his memory. But the typical discussion about Nickel is only as a legend: the man who gave his life for architecture.

Fortunately, Chicago-based City Files Press published its second book about the photographer and activist, Richard Nickel: Dangerous Years: What He Saw and What He Wrote. This book is a special opportunity to simultaneously experience Nickel's work and understand him as a person through more than 100 photographs and another 100 documents, many of them handwritten by Nickel.

A spread featuring a letter declaring Nickel's studies at the Institute of Design and an early self-portrait.

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David Schalliol

Photography Thu Dec 03 2015

Century of Progress Book Documents Images from 1933-34 Chicago World's Fair

Century of Progress bookNo, it's not the most famous world's fair ever hosted in Chicago. The fame of the 1933-34 Century of Progress exhibition is eclipsed by the renown, the infamy and the iconic images of the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition held in Jackson Park and the south shore of Lake Michigan to commemorate the 400th anniversary of Christopher Columbus' arrival in the new world. The 1893 fair became even more familiar with the popularity of Eric Larson's 2003 book, Devil in the White City.

The 1933-34 Century of Progress celebrated Chicago's first century of industrial and scientific achievements. More than 48 million people visited the fair, which stretched for 3.5 miles along the lakefront at the present site of McCormick Place and Northerly Island. (The entire US population at the time was about 125 million.) The fair was considered so important that it became the fourth star on Chicago's municipal flag. And in the Gapers Block nameplate.

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Nancy Bishop

Photography Fri Nov 27 2015

Iranian Photographers Show Contemporary View of Iran at Bridgeport Art Center

By Yasmeen Ahmed

A rare exhibit by eight young Iranian photographers representing diverse geographic areas of their country opened recently at the Bridgeport Art Center, 1200 W. 35th St. The exhibit is open through today.

A Journey Inside

A Journey Inside presents the work of a much larger project involving eight Iranian photographers and a compassionate portrayal of their country. The project consists of two parts. First, the artists participated in a training segment to learn from others in the industry through workshops and other resources. The exhibit is the second part of the project.

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Feature Wed Oct 07 2015

Outgoing Signal: A Grateful Essay About the End of a Theater Company

By Johnny Knight

signal ensemble 2009
Signal Ensemble company portrait, 2009. Photos by Johnny Knight.

Tonight I witnessed the beginning of the end. Signal Ensemble Theatre, the company whose productions I've photographed more than any other, announced that this season will be their last.

Over the past 10 years I have taken production photos during dress rehearsals for 25 of their shows. That's 25 times in my life I have shown up at their space (on a quiet corner on Berenice Avenue near Ravenswood) and been their first audience, watching the show through my lens as they performed it. Besides the production photos, I've done 27 of Signal's PR/poster photo shoots, 13 headshot sessions for their ensemble members, and five weddings that involved at least one member of their artistic family.

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Art Tue Sep 22 2015

An Interview with Marc Fischer of Public Collectors: Hardcore Architecture

Defoliants - Hardcore Architecture
"Defoliants" Street View image, part of the Hardcore Architecture series by Marc Fischer.

Artists like Jon Rafman or Paolo Cirio, who work primarily with Google Street View as a medium, have created images that are evocative and disturbing, often blurring the line of legal privacy issues. While capturing the individuals who fill the streets, alleys and lawns of the world is captivating, these artists have drawn on the public and an additional tool to conceptualize the public sphere. Since 2007, the launch of the panoramic technology featured on Google Maps and Google Earth has become an eccentric and often easy way to view places one may never go or places one desires to see.

Enter Marc Fischer, his project Public Collectors, and his recent exhibition at The Franklin, Hardcore Architecture. I interviewed Marc before his opening reception via email correspondence.

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S. Nicole Lane

Photography Mon Jul 27 2015

Paul Natkin Relives His Life in Rock Photography, From Abba to ZZ Top


Paul Natkin sat on a stool Saturday and told us about his life for an hour. His life as a rock and roll photographer, shooting concerts and backstage portraits and touring with some of the iconic rockers of the 20th century. Then he said, "Yesterday I shot eight basketball games and I have two to shoot tonight after I leave here."

That's the arc of Natkin's life and 40-year career, as he told his story surrounded by his "Superstars" photography, now on exhibit at the Ed Paschke Art Center in Jefferson Park.

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Nancy Bishop

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.

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S. Nicole Lane

Photography Thu Apr 30 2015

Ed Paschke Art Center to Show Paul Natkin: Superstars Rock Photography

GB-EPAC-Prince.jpgAn exhibit of the work of legendary rock photographer Paul Natkin opens Saturday at the Ed Paschke Art Center in Jefferson Park. Superstars, Natkin's first career retrospective, includes more than 20 images of musicians shot over the last 40 years of his career, such as Miles Davis, Johnny Cash, Ice Cube and Guns and Roses. The exhibit includes images of on-stage performances and intimate, personal portraits.

Natkin, a native Chicagoan, is the son of photojournalist Robert Natkin, who inspired him to pursue photography. Paul Natkin began shooting live concerts in the 1970s. His photographs have appeared on countless magazine covers as well as album covers. Natkin's photos have also been shown in solo exhibitions at the Chicago Cultural Center and the Elmhurst Historical Museum.

Paul Natkin: Superstars will be shown through June 14 at the Ed Paschke Art Center, 5415 W. Higgins Ave. Hours are 10am to 7pm daily and admission is free. For more information, see the website or call 312-533-4911.

Paul Natkin image, Prince, 1984.

Nancy Bishop / Comments (2)

Feature Mon Jun 09 2014

I Grew Up in a Big Ol' Gay Disco: an Interview with Oli Rodriguez

By H. Melt

Oli Rodriguez is an interdisciplinary artist working in film, photography, and performance. His art often queers notions of family, desire, and collaboration. I recently attended two of his exhibits, Love to Love You at Roots and Culture with Sara Condo and I want something more than my husband and my house with Jovencio de la Paz at Chicago Artists Coalition. His latest exhibition, The Human Space with Andy Karol, opened at Beauty & Brawn Art Gallery and Think Space this weekend. I sat down with him to find out more about his relationship to Chicago, the city's queer history, and how it impacts his artmaking.

oli rodriguez, artist
Oli Rodriguez

You were born and raised in Chicago, right? In Humboldt Park specifically?

We moved around a lot but it was Humboldt Park first and then I moved to West Town, which didn't exist as West Town then. It was around the Grand section. I'm considering Grand Avenue as this invisible barrier where literally, it was like a racial line. So if you follow Grand, all the way west from Western to Harlem, there's this division that exists. It's a line of division with black folks south of Grand.

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Art Sat May 17 2014

Family Photography, Appropriation and Respect: Final Week

I think we can all agree photography is not what it used to be, and that the appropriation of found photography as a practice can overstep the bounds of respect, creativity and artfulness pretty quickly. Recent cases of appropriating found photography — meaning using photos taken by other people as the core of your practice — although seemingly accepted in the wide world of fine art, has left a pretty distinct foul taste in my mouth. Polly Yates, a British artist currently living and working in Chicago, uses found photographs in a very distinct and interesting way. When I walked into Roman Susan Gallery to see Unhomely, I initially thought I was simply looking at old photographs that were grouped, mounted and framed but as I stepped closer it was so much more.

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Review Mon May 05 2014

Derek Weber @ The Peanut Gallery


The Peanut Gallery, a small creative space in Humboldt Park, is featuring the artist Derek Weber until May 18 for his exhibition entitled Melting. Weber's work is all-encompassing -- ranging from drawings, video, installation and sound. The exhibition at the Peanut Gallery focuses on the natural world, sensory elements and psychedelia within the work of Weber's various mediums.

Upon entering the space, there is an overhead projector which shoots a surreal and unearthly image onto a white wall, while on the other side a more familiar scene is being displayed -- swimming at Devil's Lake. Throughout the exhibition, familiar, yet hypnagogic images can be examined by the viewer.

Derek Weber's interest in all mediums is something that creates a sensory successful exhibition. He includes CDs, pins, photographs and interactive black lights while walking through Melting.

The Peanut Gallery is free and open to the public. It is located at 1000 N. California Ave.

S. Nicole Lane

Preview Sat Apr 05 2014

Preview of Ross Sawyers @ Hyde Park Art Center

Thumbnail image for SawyerRoss.jpg

The Hyde Park Art Center, located at 5020 S Cornell Ave, is a wonderful addition to the Hyde Park neighborhood. The center holds exhibitions as well as artist residencies and classes for adults and children. While walking from the Bridgeport Coffee shop to the opposite side of the center, one cannot help but notice the new and alluring photography exhibition that the art center has recently installed. Typically, their is a large exhibition space which holds artwork, however, this presentation is located in a pathway and smaller gallery space--a perfect chance for us to take in the work of Ross Sawyers, a professor at Columbia College whose project beautifully documents "the rise and fall of the United States housing market."

At first glimpse, these images are abstract, surreal even. In almost every photograph, their is a glowing light drawing the viewer in, however, the light is too bright to fully contemplate what is there. Upon reading further into the images, one can conclude that Sawyers' work is focusing on the abandonment, manipulation and destruction of the housing market in the U.S. Traveling from the beginning to the exhibition until the end, the viewer is able to see the deconstruction of something that so familiar to all of us. In the beginning of his series, he depicts a closed space--claustrophobic and quiet--and by the end the image are torn and and tattered, yet beautiful and exposed.

The exhibition, Model Pictures, will have its opening reception Sunday, April 13 from 3 to 5pm. A gallery talk is also occurring on Wednesday, April 30 at 6pm.

Hyde Park art center is free and located at 5020 S. Cornell Ave. For more information call 773-324-5520

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

Photography Mon Jan 27 2014

Photo Exhibition Documents Japan Pre-Disaster

Tohoku, the northern part of Japan's main island, is home to some of Japan's most striking natural wonders and archeological sites dating back to the country's first settlers during the Jomon period (ca. 10,500-300 B.C.). Far from the robust and glamorous temptations of Tokyo, many of this region's lively festivals pay tribute to these roots.

One moment three years ago, however, changed this region's legacy forever. The March 11, 2011 earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster destroyed several coastal towns and forever linked the name Tohoku with the Great East Japan Earthquake.

Though some normalcy has returned to the damaged areas, the ensuing nuclear crises continues to displace many in Fukushima, and the rural areas of this area may never regain an economic base. In some towns, suicide rates have spiked dramatically and those who have not left for the big cities struggle to find jobs.

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Sheila Burt

Photography Wed Oct 02 2013

Naja Lerus Photography: The Newborn Niche

Thumbnail image for NAJA LERUS 2.jpg

Have you ever just nonchalantly walked by or scrolled past a picture of a baby? Of course you haven't--you can't! But if you'd actually admit to being able to resist the urge to belt out an "Oooh!" or "Awww!" at the sight of a little one, report to 'The Wizard' immediately, Tin Man!

Photographs of babies are indeed automatic attention-grabbers; it is nearly impossible to see one and not gush or gasp out of pure excitement, no matter whose baby it is. For Chicago-based newborn photographer Naja Lerus, gushing and gasping are more than welcome; as a mom of three, she understands the emotions of new parenthood. "I know how important those first pictures are of your new baby. There is no love in the world like the love one feels for their new baby," said Lerus.

Lerus grew up in France and has now laid down roots in the Windy City. With a professional photography career that is just over three years old, she has photographed dozens of Chicagoland newborns and boasts a clientele that includes Chicago Bulls star Derrick Rose and Chicago Bears running back Matt Forte. Here, Lerus discusses her passion for newborns, challenges on "the set," and photographing the babies of two major Chicago sports figures.

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LaShawn Williams / Comments (2)

Photography Tue Aug 13 2013

The Curious Case of Vivian Maier's Copyright

By Julia Gray

Photo by Vivian Maier, courtesy of Ron Slattery
A photo by Vivian Maier, courtesy of Ron Slattery
Vivian Maier found fame after her death through the efforts of the collectors who own most of her prodigious work. But depending on how U.S. copyright law is interpreted, the ultimate benefactor of Maier's fame may turn out to be the state of Illinois.

Born in 1926 in New York City to a French mother and an Austro-Hungarian father, Vivian Maier was a nanny by trade. She worked for several families in the Chicago area, and was known to be an extremely private person who her charges say seemed to bask in the shroud of mystery surrounding her. Although she was rarely without a camera, snapping photos while on duty and on her off days, her employers knew little about her talent as a photographer.

The sale at auction of her unpaid storage lockers in the fall of 2007 was the key to her discovery as an artist, but it wasn't until just before Maier's death in April 2009 at age 83 that her identity was learned. Her photos were soon electrifying the art world with their gritty depictions of life on the streets of Chicago and other cities.

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A/C / Comments (19)

Photography Mon Mar 18 2013

"The Power of Music": Where Photography Meets Jazz

Photography by John Broughton: Miles Davis tribute 2012 &emdash;

Miles Davis Tribute 2012; Photo by John Broughton.

On its own, jazz music naturally evokes poetic, visual imagery; from sultry saxophones to tuneful trumpets, for many, this musical genre is an integral part of the arts, and perhaps holds an even more special place in the world of photography.

Through its new exhibit, "The Power of Music," iRock Jazz recognizes the photographers who have helped shape and advance its mission of honoring past and present legendary jazz musicians and their contributions to the art form. The exhibit features the work of Chicago-based photographers including John Broughton, Foster Garvin, Farrad Ali, and more.

"The Power of Music" opens Thursday, March 21 at eta Square, 7558 S. Cottage Grove; photographers featured in the exhibit will greet jazz fans from 6pm-8pm. The exhibit runs through May 12; for more information, call 773-752-3955.

LaShawn Williams

Event Fri Mar 08 2013

ASMP/APA Bar Night -- A Chance to Network

On the second Wednesday of every month, the American Society of Media Photographers and American Photographic Artists (with the help of either ProGear, Dodd Camera, or Calumet Photographic) turn DeLux Bar and Grill, 669 N. Milwaukee Ave., into Chicago's photography networking headquarters.

Bar nights are meant to be fun, and this one doesn't disappoint. There are always drink deals and some kind of food provided. It seems one of the sponsors does a prize-draw every time, and a business card is all that's required to enter. Yet, with events like this, I always wonder if professionals are actually forming connections, or if this is just a chance to party on someone else's tab.

When I asked Brian Eaves, "photographer first," and "digital tech. second to pay the bills," he said that it is a very important event that offers a multitude of opportunities that may not immediately meet the eye. "It's great for networking," he said, "'cause every now and then you do find some good people here that you've never met before." Eaves told me how a whole community of photo-related professionals ranging from makeup artists to printers surface at the allure of a more informal setting.

This informal setting also offers the opportunity for up and coming artists to rub elbows with the more established folks in order to make the connections that may eventually lead to the coveted photography assistant job.
The bar night has a long history, beginning before ASMP and APA took the event on, maintained by devoted artists until the present day. "There was always like ten of us that would do this," said Eaves, "Everyone that pretty much worked off of Grand Avenue, between Foster and Damen and south to Lake St. -- we would page each other... everyone would come and just talk."

The event still sustains that important human element and cultivates the spirit of creation. The next bar night will be Wednesday, Mar. 13 at DeLux Bar and Grill, 669 N. Milwaukee Ave. It's free to go -- bring a business card to enter the drawing.

Sarah Shuel

Art Sun Dec 09 2012

See Potential's First Project Launches

See Potential
Photograph by David Schalliol

See Potential, a collaboration between photographer Emily Schiffer, the Center for Urban Transformation's Orrin Williams and a variety of other partners, launched its first project today at the future site of Kusanya Cafe, 825 W. 69th St. Photographs have been installed at the site to "beautify the community" and raise awareness of food access issues in Englewood.

David Schalliol / Comments (2)

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

Photography Fri Jun 29 2012

Opening: Vivian Maier: Vintage Prints

Vivian Maier self-portrait
Untitled (Self-portrait), Vivian Maier
Gelatin silver print, no date
3 3/8" x 3 1/4"

Corbett vs. Dempsey, 1120 N. Ashland Ave., 3rd floor, opens an exhibition of more than 50 of Vivian Maier's original photographic prints from the collection of Ron Slattery tonight, June 29, from 5pm to 8pm.

Vivian Maier, as you may recall, was a North Shore nanny whose passion was street photography. Her brilliant artistry only came to light after her death, when large portions of her output was sold at auction and collectors of street and vernacular photography took notice. Slattery was one of the collectors who purchased prints at that auction in 2007, while others have exhibited their collections and produced books, he has kept his stash of photos a secret until now. The vintage prints in this show, all no larger than drug store snapshots, have never been exhibited to the public.

Interestingly, gallery co-founder Jim Dempsey knew Vivian Maier in real life. When he was manager of the old Film Center, she was a regular film-goer. Dempsey nicknamed her "Frau Blucher" for her heavy accent and idiosyncrasies, but over time became a friend.

Continue reading this entry »

Andrew Huff

Photography Tue May 29 2012

Through Her Eyes Project Explores Women In the World of Sports

With the WNBA, along with athletes like Mia Hamm, Michelle Wie and Venus and Serena Williams, women's sports have a global presence and impact on young girls; in Elizabeth Stanton's Through Her Eyes Project, that impact is featured via a multimedia exhibit of film shorts and over 50 photographs, designed to showcase girls and women from developing countries and the physical, social and other beneficial aspects of participating in sports and sports-related activities.


An opening reception of Through Her Eyes Project will be held at the Chicago Art Department, 1932 S. Halsted, Friday, June 1 from 6pm to 9pm; the exhibit runs Saturday and Sunday, June 2nd and 3rd, from noon to 5pm. For more information, visit the website.

LaShawn Williams

Sixty Inches from Center Sat May 05 2012

From Ansel Adams to Ol' Dirty Bastard: A Conversation with Mike Schreiber

by Tempestt Hazel


SIFC-GB-Featured.jpgIn one of my favorite Black Star tracks, "Thieves In The Night", rapper Mos Def challenges listeners to "separate the real from the lie." Maneuvering comfortably in the classic techniques and processes of analog photography, New York-based artist Mike Schreiber works to achieve exactly that by creating images which resonate globally with music lovers and photography aficionados alike. Whether it is of musicians who regularly occupy the headphones and speakers of millions of music fans, or the people on the streets of Cuba and Jamaica, Mike's portraits place emphasis on the humanity of his subjects. His photographs remind us that these people are just that-people. He does not attempt to make them into caricatures of themselves or play into a larger-than-life persona. Mike pushes in the antithetical direction with the goal of making a photograph that brings out, as he puts it, a version of themselves that "their mother would recognize."

Fittingly titled True Hip Hop, Mike's recent book reflects the results, experiences and anecdotes of a career that has brought him and his camera in front of everyone from B.B. King to Voletta Wallace, the mother of the late Notorious B.I.G. In light of his upcoming debut exhibition in Chicago and book signing at The Silver Room, I spoke with Mike about his signature style, starstruck moments and what it means to be a photographer's photographer.

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Photography Wed Dec 14 2011

The Lost Panoramas of the Chicago River Reversal

A boat heads east on the Chicago River through the State Street bridge in 1910.

Independent Chicago publisher City Files Press just relased a new photography book documenting the reversal of the Chicago River. The Lost Panoramas: When Chicago Changed its River and the Land Beyond draws from nearly 22,000 photographs made between 1894 and 1928 for the Sanitary District of Chicago. The result is a gorgeous volume chronicling the development of the engineering marvel, its context and its effects. As Booklist reviewed, "Williams and Cahan profile the players, elucidate the technological innovations, track the politics, and document the beneficial and catastrophic consequences of this massive and hubristic tinkering with nature."

Check below the fold for a video providing an overview of the book as well as some additional sample photographs.

The book is available for purchase directly from City Files Press.

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David Schalliol / Comments (1)

Sixty Inches from Center Fri Sep 16 2011

The Only Game in Town: Interviewing Chicago Community Darkroom


This article was originally published on Sixty Inches from Center on Sept. 12.

By Miles Johnson

The invention of the camera gave the world the ability to capture a single moment and preserve it on film. No longer would people have to rely on paintings or their own murky memories to recall the past. In a photograph one could peer into yesterday just as it was then. With photography one could effectively stop time. So how ironic is it that film, this original vehicle of permanence, has been powerless to halt the rise of digital photography? Now anyone with a cellphone, much less a camera, can snap a picture and view it instantly. If one requires a physical copy any Walgreens or computer printer can print one out . Cameras, as they have transitioned from skilled tool to everyman's toy, have transcended the need for film.

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Art Thu Aug 11 2011

Shipping and Handling: BUILT Festival

Although the more underground, independent, and emerging Chicago art scenes and artists might be overshadowed by larger fairs and urban coasts, alternative events still foster and support local practitioners. BUILT Festival, a two-day event founded by Chicago artists Tristan J.M. Hummel and co-produced by David Dvorak, allows contemporary artists and curators the space to transform unusual, transportable, and seemingly temporary environments - shipping containers - into alternative and guerrilla venues in an empty lot on Milwaukee avenue.

The theme for this initial festival is "urban culture" and audiences will get the chance to witness more than 100 projects, exhibitions, and performances inside and surrounding these containers from local spaces and institutions such as the Chicago Urban Art Society, Spudnik Press, and the Chicago Artists Coalition. In addition to the array of visual and performative art projects, visitors can listen to music by musicians and DJ's such as White Mystery, Raj Mahal, and Tim Zawada.

Tickets for BUILT Festival can be purchased online or at the door for $10. All-weekend BUILT VIP passes are also available online today and include $6 worth of drink tickets. BUILT Festival takes place in the empty lot at 1767 N. Milwaukee this Friday from 5:00pm-10:30pm and Saturday from 12:00pm-10:30pm.

Britt Julious

Art Fri May 27 2011

The Grid: Community Supported Art at Threewalls

Nonprofit arts organization Threewalls is connecting artists and collectors by adapting a model better known for supporting local farmers.

About The Grid

The Grid is a series profiling Chicago businesses, subcultures and landscapes. These short, lyrical documentaries aspire to be art cinema, ethnographies and experiments in form. Ben Kolak and Brian Ashby's directorial debut, Scrappers, won Best Documentary at the 2010 Chicago Underground Film Festival and made Roger Ebert's top 10 list of documentary films in 2010. Editor Dave Nagel is a recent University of Chicago graduate.

David Schalliol

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)

Gallery Fri Apr 15 2011

Art Around Town




Kelly Reaves / Comments (2)

Sex & Sexuality Fri Mar 25 2011

Dry Humping 101

Photographer Todd Diederich has been documenting the city's ball scene as part of an ongoing project funded by The Propeller Fund. Earlier this month, he arrived at a South Side karate studio for a ball, and instead found himself at a seminar on "dry humping" for lesbians.

Read the whole story and see more photos on Diederich's blog, and learn more about Chicago's underground ball scene in our recent feature.

Andrew Huff / Comments (2)

Photography Fri Mar 18 2011

Making it Look Easy

This review was submitted by Anna Wolak.


Steve Schapiro: "Jodie on Couch" (1975); photo courtesy of Catherine Edelman Gallery.

To have Francis Ford Coppola and Martin Scorsese secure brilliant, attractive actors as your subjects, to have the perfect movie set as your background, to have the lighting already flawlessly arranged for each shot, then for the two famous directors to invite you in to capture it all on film - that is a photographer's dream. Steve Schapiro is a lucky bastard.

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Photography Tue Mar 15 2011

Get Your Hands on Some Black & White Gold


Vivian Maier, Self-portrait, 1968; silver gelatin print - available now through Russell Bowman Art Advisory

There has been a lot of talk (and a little controversy) about nanny-cum-street photographer, Vivian Maier, whose work was discovered in 2007 when storage units containing it were emptied due to late payment and the work was sold to an auction house. Maybe you've even seen her exhibition at the Cultural Center (up through April 3). In a sense, she is our new Henry Darger--a talented Chicago-based outsider artist whose work has earned her posthumous fame. The difference is that her work is genuine documentation of the city and the people in it rather than the zany imaginings of a madman (not that there's anything wrong with that).

But just like the prices for Darger's work rapidly skyrocketed, Maier's are on their way up, and now you have a chance at a piece of the pie.

Continue reading this entry »

Kelly Reaves / Comments (10)

Photography Thu Mar 03 2011

Fresh and Local


Woman Market Vendor: Bogotá, Colombia. Photo © Brian Leli.

Former Gapers Block contributor, banana enthusiast and (above all) photographer Brian Leli has begun selling prints of his photographs on his website to facilitate the taking of more photographs. Prints are $80 each and come with a hand-written letter from Leli and (apparently) a date (if you live in Chicago). Good deal. Pictured above is the first print for sale on his website.

Kelly Reaves

Art Wed Mar 02 2011

Matthew Austin at Johalla Projects


Leaving through the back door (first photograph of the trip), silver gelatin print, 2010

ACRE, in conjunction with Johalla Projects, presents TALKING WITH FEAR ABOUT DYING TOMORROW, a solo exhibition of new works by Chicago-based artist and educator Matthew Austin. The latest installment in ACRE's year-long series of solo exhibition by 2010 ACRE summer residents, Austin's new work was born out of a month-long road trip following his summer residency.

In his series of photographs, Austin carves into trees or poses for a tourist photo as a means of exploring and documenting the ways in which an individual interacts with his or her environment. Austin reiterates personal messages and tangible artifacts of an individual experience as a way to highlight the universality of such interactions.

In addition to the photographs, Austin will be releasing an edition of news prints and a monograph of new work. On Saturday at 4 pm, Austin will also exhibition his first contribution to HomeSchool, a traveling institution for experimental pedagogy.

Matthew Austin: TALKING WITH FEAR ABOUT DYING TOMORROW opens Friday, March 4 from 7 - 10 pm. The exhibition closes this Saturday, March 5. Johalla Projects is located at 1561 N Milwaukee and is open Thursday, March 3 from 3 - 7 pm and Saturday, March 5 from 1 - 6 pm.

Britt Julious

Photography Sun Feb 13 2011

Chicago Defender: "The Journey to Empowerment"

To celebrate Black History Month, the Chicago Defender presents "The Journey to Empowerment," a photography exhibit that showcases various images of history-making African-Americans.

This year's exhibit, now in its fifth installment, is comprised of a collection of the newspaper's archived photographs of movers and shakers, who are mostly from Chicago, from the world of business and politics. One of the highlights of the exhibit includes a photograph of Benjamin Lewis, Chicago's first African-American alderman, who was murdered in 1963. Another exhibit highlight is the "Wall of Firsts," which features African-American trailblazers, most notably, Mayor Harold Washington and President Barack Obama.

"The Journey to Empowerment Exhibit" is on display at the South Shore Cultural Center, 7059 S. South Shore Dr., now through March 15. The exhibit is free and open to the public; hours are 9am-9pm daily. Contact 773-256-0149 for more information.

LaShawn Williams

Art Thu Feb 10 2011

Nicholas Knight: Declaimed @ 65GRAND

Taking Pictures (Marilyn), (2007)

In Nicholas Knight's latest solo exhibition, Declaimed, at 65GRAND, the artist subtly re-purposes images or the idea of the image to create one unified whole. The image become something new and complete, even as it breaks down the context of and the relationship between the audience and the image itself. His works are re-purposed both tangibly and symbolically.

We live in a world of "declaimed" images and as Knight reiterates in works such as Double Dramatization (2010) and Screen Images Simulated (Youthful Hercules) (2010), it is a matter of breaking down and rediscovering (perhaps even creating) the truth out of the inauthentic image. The questions of authenticity also play a main role in Knight's images: What is true and not true? Are we as cognizant of the false images and ideas that stem from these images as we imagine?

In other, non-photographic works, Knight breaks down the idea of the image to its most singular of definitions: forms captured. Each new piece in the exhibition becomes more and more difficult to identify as just prints or as manipulated images from Knight's psyche. Knight responds to the idea of the manipulated image, in turn making something that is "untrue" but still tangible.

Declaimed closes this Saturday. 65GRAND is open Friday and Saturday from 12 pm to 5:30 pm, or by appointment. The gallery is located at 1369 West Grand.

Britt Julious

Feature Thu Feb 03 2011

Deciphering the Chicago Look


All photos by Isa Giallorenzo, used with permission.

It's all about the details. A great outfit is comprised not only of fashionable, quality clothing, but also the personal touches-- a perfectly folded cuff, a slew of gold buttons-- that distinguish one pretty young thing from the rest. On her popular street style blog, Chicago Looks, Brazilian-native Isa Giallorenzo hunts down the stylistically distinguishable Chicagoans roaming the galleries, music festivals, and vintage fashion sales that litter the neighborhoods. In one photograph, a young Black man's hair is wrapped and tied in a brown turban. He leans against a stone wall, hands stuffed within the pockets of loose army green pants as his chest, covered in a salmon pink t-shirt and thick suspenders, is thrust out proudly. In another snapshot, a twenty-something woman stays warm in a dramatically long blue coat seemingly cut to compliment the white-blonde bangs that nearly cover her eyes. Each photograph is a portrait of Chicago, a moment of time documenting one person in a city of millions.

Giallorenzo works not unlike a documentarian. She takes not only full-body shots but also close-ups of the little details that make an outfit pop. It is no surprise then to learn that the photographer comes from a journalism background. The role of a street style photographer entails investigating a look. The image is a form of storytelling as well as the answer to an abundance of questions: Why does this outfit work when others don't? Does the person make the style, or vice versa? Can anyone really pull off that look?

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Britt Julious / Comments (1)

Feature Fri Jan 21 2011

Strike a Pose: Chicago's Thriving Underground Ball Scene

This story was submitted by Rachel Rabbit White. All photos by Edmund X. White.


It's a snowy December night on the South Side and the ballroom has filled up quickly. There are guys in tailored suits, girls in red-heeled Louboutins. There are pop-gothy capes and futuristic glasses. The crowd is gathered around a catwalk -- and everyone is young, black and queer.

This is a ball. An underground LGBTQ contest where participants compete by "walking" -- showing off themed outfits and voguing -- a stylized house dance that continues to evolve. They are competing for trophies and the hope to become "legendary" -- famous not only in Chicago but the entire community, which now spans the globe. Balls found fame with Paris is Burning, a documentary about the New York scene, but Chicago's had its own ball circuit for as long as New York -- one that has its own trends, culture and history. And as the Internet popularizes the community, Chicago is seeing another wave in the resurgence of balls.

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A/C / Comments (5)

Photography Tue Jan 11 2011

Fear into Fire: Reclaiming Black Male Identity Through the Art of Tattooing

Tattooing--a practice that is deviant to some; to others, however, it is classified as a form of art that is integral to culture and identity in society. For black men, especially entertainers and athletes of the hip-hop generation, tattooing, or "ink," is almost ritualistic, and is used by many as the ultimate form of self-expression and individuality.

To showcase this ideology, Columbia College Chicago presents Fear into Fire: Reclaiming Black Male Identity Through the Art of Tattooing, a photography exhibit that explores black men and tattoos. Curated by alumna Nicole Harrison and featuring artists including Jabari Zuberi and Shasta Bady, the exhibit centers on "the meanings and connections of the body and the tattoo" and seeks to explain "the body as an alternative space where masculinity and identity formation can occur" as it relates to black men.

Fear into Fire: Reclaiming Black Male Identity Through the Art of Tattooing will be displayed from January 24 through March 2 at Columbia College Chicago's Arcade Gallery, 618 S. Michigan Ave., Second Floor; gallery hours are 9am-5pm, Monday through Friday. An opening reception will be held on Thursday, February 3. This exhibition is free and open to the public. For more information, contact Mark Porter, 312-369-6643, or

LaShawn Williams

Feature Thu Jan 06 2011

Getting the Right Angle on Vivian Maier

A self portrait by Vivian Maier; photo courtesy of Ron Slattery

By now you may have heard about Vivian Maier, the secretive North Side nanny with a French accent and bad manners whose astonishingly prolific habit of taking really good photographs has earned her posthumous fame. Her story was featured in Chicago Magazine, on "Chicago Tonight," the Suntimes and dozens of blogs just in the past two weeks. Since her death in April 2009, her work has been exhibited around the world, with an exhibition opening at the Cultural Center this Friday.

Maier is not the only one getting famous off her photographs, though, because the story of their discovery is almost as exciting as the photographs themselves. According to legend, a young real estate agent and third-generation flea market seller named John Maloof stumbled across a box of Maier's negatives at an estate auction at the RPN auction house in 2007, put in an absentee bid, and won it for $400 with the hope of using some of the images for a book he was putting together about Portage Park. After a swift run-through of his winnings, he found nothing he could use for the book, so he stashed them away for a few months. Later, when he was able to spend some quality time with the photos, he found himself captivated.

"I thought at first that my interest in her work was just an unusual obsession," he said. "People who were much bigger experts in the field told me that there was nothing unique about this work. Given that I was a real estate agent, I initially took them at their word."

One person Maloof was in contact with, however, shared his passion for the photos. And this is where the legend gets a little weird.

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Kelly Reaves / Comments (4)

Photography Wed Nov 17 2010

Still Life Photography in the Modern Food Wars

Stephanie Dean is focused on food. Her photography is informed by Dutch Still Life painting and she uses the same sort of tools as they did to raise questions about the state of our food supply today.


Art Thu Nov 04 2010

Women & Women

One of the cultural institutions I have often overlooked has been the Instituto Cervantes, or the Cervantes Institute. Upon arriving at the opening of Women & Women, a traveling show featuring 5 female photographers, I quickly realized how much I was actually missing. It is odd for me to have not frequented the Instituto Cervantes, as both an artist and a Spaniard, I could have been influenced by a culture I am proud to be connected to, but if I were to be honest, know very little about.

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Call for Artists Wed Nov 03 2010

Too Hard to Keep?

Chicago-based artist Jason Lazarus has started an archive of photographs deemed "too hard to keep," and he's looking for submissions from the public. Submissions may include photos of friends, family, pets, places/objects that are too painful to view again. If you've got photos to send him, be they digital or analog, click here for submission details.

Kelly Reaves

Feature Mon Oct 25 2010

What We Do Is (Unintentionally) Secret


Beidler Elementary students performing at the "Forms of Spectacle and Solutions to Vacancy" Unveiling Ceremony. All photos by the author unless otherwise noted.

Everyone knows the story of gentrification. Artists and other progressive people move to low-income neighborhoods looking for a good deal on a big space in the city. This attracts investors and developers, and the next thing you know, the original occupants of the neighborhood — including small businesses, families and even the artists themselves — are priced out of their homes to make room for culturally bankrupt replacements. The charm of the neighborhood is beaten out of it.

Because of the housing market crash, along with foreclosures, the gentrification process has pretty much come to a halt in many parts of the city. A classic case of this in Chicago, for better of worse, is Garfield Park. Real estate in the neighborhood was highly sought after during the real estate boom because of its proximity to downtown and to the CTA and Metra trains, as well as the beloved Garfield Park Conservatory and the sprawling park itself, but has since been given up on by many developers. Now it is home to clusters of vacant lots and buildings, but what a lot of people don't realize is that a surprising number of the buildings that are occupied are occupied by artists. Not just any artists, either. Artists who aren't afraid to take risks, who dance to the beat of their own drums, who make some of the most engaging work and eclectic work around.

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Kelly Reaves / Comments (4)

Art Tue Sep 28 2010

Chicago Artists Month Kickoff Exhibition This Friday


Chicago Artists Month launches this Friday from 6pm to 10pm with an exhibition organized by the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs, the Chicago Arts District and Gapers Block. The exhibition will also be open from noon to 7pm on Saturday and Sunday. Visit it at the Chicago Arts District space at 2003 S. Halsted Street. Complimentary drinks provided by local beverage start up Greater Than.

Participating artists include:

David Schalliol / Comments (1)

Photography Mon Aug 16 2010

Why Bands Shouldn't Play in the Darkness

Karen O of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs at the Aragon Ballroom

I've been a concert photographer based in Chicago now for about four years and I've seen a startling trend...increasingly more bands think it's "cool" to play in the darkness. It's the opposite of reality, this idea that dark and red lights look great to the audience, and I'm here to set the record straight.

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Kirstie Shanley

Art Fri Jul 23 2010

Call for Artists: Chicago Artists Month Exhibition


Chicago area visual artists are encouraged to submit work to an art exhibition to kick off Chicago Artists Month that will sponsored by the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs, the Chicago Arts District and Gapers Block. A panel of three Gapers Block staffers will curate the show, and selected artists will participate in the exhibition on Friday, October 1 from 6-10pm at 2001 S. Halsted Street.

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David Schalliol / Comments (1)

Photography Mon Jun 21 2010

Aaron Fowler's OCEAN @ HungryMan Gallery


Fowler's "Ocean"

Last Friday at HungryMan Gallery, (2135 North Rockwell Street,) Aaron Fowler's opening reception of OCEAN debuted. Curated by Jason Lazarus, this show is a conglomeration of Fowler's photography created over an extended period of time. Running until July 11, a commonality extracted from OCEAN is the avenue of mnemonic transition of time which recalls the passage of travel as the measure of memories encapsulated.

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Hiba Ali

Photography Tue Jun 08 2010

San Francisco in the 1970's: Photographs by Jerry Pritikin, at Gage Gallery

Jerry Pritikin, gay rights activist and photographer, has experienced a tumultuous chapter of U.S. history and lived to tell about it. San Francisco in the 1970's is the title of his photography exhibit at Gage Gallery, as well as a simple explanation for the framework of his life as a gay man.

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Britany Robinson / Comments (10)

Photography Tue Jun 08 2010

Art and Sport Ahead of the World Cup

This Friday is the start of the World Cup and what better way to start that off than to grab your copy of "The Globe" by local photographer Chester Alamo & Costello at The Globe and talk international sport with people from around the world. Joined by a myriad of writers, contributors local art and sport buffs Chester will be selling and signing his newest book of photographs at 7pm at the Globe Pub, 1934 W. Irving Park Rd.


Photography Sun Jun 06 2010

Zombie March Chicago 2010

gapers block zombie fav.jpg

Philippe Halsman once said that the act of jumping allowed a person's personality to be freed up in a way that revealed the true self. No doubt he'd find the act and art of becoming a zombie an even greater revelation. Choosing the most high profile spot in the city, zombies met in downtown's Millennium Park and marched from 4-6pm this past Saturday even with gusts of heavy rain coming down unpredictably. They had an energy recalling any of the best marches. (Chants included: "What do we want? BRAINS! When do we want them? NOW). Zombies journeyed from Millennium Park to the Marina Towers made famous by Wilco's Yankee Hotel Foxtrot album to Daley Plaza to Buckingham Fountain. One thing was clear throughout their trek: no matter what age, gender, or race a little fake blood has the possibility to bring people together for a truly shared experience like none in the alive world. Perhaps it take a little death to make us all appreciate the goodness in life.

View the complete photoset on flickr here.

Kirstie Shanley / Comments (3)

Contest Fri May 14 2010

Contest: Show Us Your Neighborhood Landmarks!

Homemade sculptureGapers Block is teaming up with Explore Chicago for a photo contest -- and the winner gets to fly a friend here to Chicago for a weekend!

To enter, take a photo and write one or two paragraphs about a "personal landmark" in your neighborhood -- not necessarily something huge and obvious, like the Bean, but something that helps guide you or your friends through your neighborhood -- like the weird Mr. Potatohead sculpture shown here. Send the photo (or a link to it on flickr or other image hosting service) and your writing to by midnight on Friday, May 21, with the subject line "landmarks."

All entries will be compiled into a feature posted here in A/C, and two entrants will win a round-trip voucher for a friend to fly into Chicago on Southwest Airlines!

Good luck, and look forward to seeing your neighborhood landmarks!

The fine print: One entry per person. Travel must be completed by July 31. Friend must live in a Southwest market. Not open to Gapers Block or Explore Chicago staff.

Andrew Huff

Art Mon May 10 2010

The Globe: a Photo Book of Soccer Fandom

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Photography Wed May 05 2010

Peter Magubane's Mandela: Man of the People

"Mandela: Man of the People," Peter Magubane's exhibit that features former South African President Nelson Mandela, will be on display at Primitive, 130 N. Jefferson. Magubane is widely recognized as South Africa's most renowned photojournalist who also served as Mandela's official photographer.

The opening reception for this 104-photo exhibit, which coincides with the 20th anniversary of Mandela's release from prison, is Thursday, May 13 from 5:30pm-8:00pm, and runs through Saturday, May 22. Gallery hours are from Monday-Friday, 10am-6pm.

For more information, contact the gallery at 312-575-9600.

LaShawn Williams

Art Tue Apr 20 2010

Don't Miss Version Fest

version10.jpgThe illustrious Version festival starts this Thursday with Territories, a group exhibition at the Zhou B. Art Center. Also, starting that night at midnight Version fest presents six episodes of experimental television featuring works submitted to this year's festival. Watch every night of the festival at midnight to view a 30 minute episode on Chicago Cable Access Channel 19 (CANTV).

On Friday the opening party for Version Festival kicks off at 8pm at Co-Prosperity Sphere, promising more unabashed creativity and wild rock and roll than any one human being could hope to completely absorb in one night. The meat and potatoes of the show Friday will most likely be the live music by amazing local acts including Mahjongg, Brilliant Pebbles, and Mr666 (among others), but the show will be garnished by art and entertainment by Telefantasy Studios-- a group of artists specializing in Sci-Fi/fantasy film productions who claim that their aim is to "transport people to realms never before imagined and to tell heroic stories with dazzling special effects." For the Version fest opening party they will create a temporary soundstage for performance, and they want everyone to come in costume as a Sci-Fi/fantasy character to be filmed, photographed, interviewed, and auditioned.

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Kelly Reaves

Art Tue Apr 13 2010

John Fjortoft Captures Chicago


Photo by John Fjortoft

Jon Fjortoft is a little known and self-taught photographer whose black and white photos are on display now at The Chicago Cultural Center. The show is divided into two bodies of work: street photos of downtown Chicago and warehouses from neighborhoods in the western suburbs of Chicago.

The street photos sometimes capture the rare momentary solace the city can provide: a woman walking down the street, surrounded by no one or a someone waiting for the walk signal. Other times, he exposes the choreography of commuters who dance across the city stage. Sometimes, they line up perfectly along the geometry of a building or skip across the crosswalk.

Fjortoft also has a subtle, ironic sense of humor. There are a couple photos that illustrate this humor while exhibiting the way the city can reflect and interact with its inhabitants. One photo shows an American flag waving over the Michigan Avenue Bridge whose image is mirrored in the design of a (presumably) tourist's windbreaker jacket in the foreground. Another is of a homely, over weight woman who stands, transfixed by an advertisement at her bus stop that depicts a car full of beautiful women. The street photos are delicate and powerful, graceful and graphic. Fjortoft has a talent for seizing fleeting and beautifully understated moments that, had they not been captured on film, may have never caught the city-dweller's eye.

Jon Fjortoft will be speaking at the Cultural Center at 12:15pm on June 3. It is FREE.

Whitney Stoepel / Comments (1)

Photography Thu Apr 01 2010

Bureaucratics at the University of Chicago

Boliva-08/2005 [Tin., CAVC (b. 1950)]
Constantino Ayaviri Castro (b.1950), previously a construction worker, is a police officer third class for the municipality of Tinguipaya, Tomás Frías province. The police station does not have a phone, car or typewriter.
Monthly salary: 800 bolivianos ($189)

Bureaucratics, an exhibition by Dutch photographer Jan Banning, opens this Friday in the University of Chicago's Harper Commons, 1116 E. 59th Street. The 50 images in the exhibition are the result of years of photographing bureaucrats behind their desks on five continents. Banning's photographs express the relationship between bureaucratic work, identity and the state, all the while maintaining the cultural and institutional differences of each represented bureaucracy.

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David Schalliol

Art Tue Mar 23 2010

Mike Nourse and Marta Sasinowska's Looking For: New Works at Salvage One


Familiarity featuring Lauri Apple, Writer/Artist

We all know the feeling. Job-hunting can be the most daunting, soul-sucking, ego-crushing activity that all must at some point endure- these days especially. Mike Nourse and Marta Sasinowska's collaborative project, Looking For: New Works, captures this tumultuous and timely experience through photographs of people looking for work, which have been transferred onto the glass of salvaged windows. Nourse and Sasinowska collected resumes from their subjects and asked one simple question- "what are you looking for in life?" In doing so, they managed to wade through the hopelessness of searching, to find and capture peacefulness in possibilities, and the thrill of eventually finding.

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Britany Robinson

Art Mon Mar 01 2010

William Eggleston at The Art Institute


Memphis 1969/70 by William Eggleston

"Does anyone have a cigarette?! Does anyone have a cigarette for William Eggleston?!!," an assistant yelled to the masses of people waiting for Mr. Eggleston to sign their books. People desperately shot their hands up, hoping to give the icon a smoke. Eggleston, pioneer of color photography, was on hand at The Art Institute's Modern Wing on Saturday for the opening of his retrospective, Democratic Camera, Photographs and Video, 1961-2008.


William Eggleston. Photo by Whitney Stoepel.

The show is huge, exhibiting his early black and white photos, every image from William Eggleston's Guide, video, and paraphernalia from commercial projects like the album cover for Memphis band, Big Star. Eggleston is a legend. His imprint on art, photography, and American culture is so large, this enormous retrospective still doesn't do it justice. Although I didn't have a cigarette to give him, standing 15 feet from him felt pretty cool. Democratic Photos closes May 23, 2010.

Whitney Stoepel

Art Sat Feb 27 2010

Farther Where Art Thou: The Depletion of a National Resource at Blanc

life cycle4x6.jpgMy first visit to Blanc, on S Martin Luther King Dr was for the photography of Bryant Johnson. If it is true that nobody reads artist statements at an art opening, Bryant is lucky to say the least. His show, Farther Where Art Thou: The Depletion of a National Resource was, as you might guess, topical to say the least. He was using the ever-present push to live green as a way to address the treatment of black males in Chicago, possibly the United States. Bryant's statement rambled on about how everyone is working at living green while there is a natural resource that is going untapped, namely the black male. Unfortunately it was unclear in the photographs, close up head shots of middle aged black males, how the connection was being made.

His photographs, which I found out from talking with Bryant, were of homeless men he had encountered in Chicago. These were printed on what I would consider to be cheap paper, then mounted with wheat paste on a shallow metal sheet or a wood backing with black frame. Bryant's approach to displaying his work may have been lacking only in an explanation. His photos were powerful, referencing iconic images of black men like Martin Luther King, Rev. Al Green, and Sonny Stitt. Making images like this and treating them like street posters is absolutely no mistake and as intriguing as the show was, I couldn't help but think the statement and the message of living green confused the point that every man is a son and every father is a hero.

Blanc is open Weds through Fri 11am-3pm and Sat by appointment only, and is located in Bronzeville at 4445 S. Martin Luther King Drive. Check out this show and let me know what you think.


Photography Wed Feb 24 2010

"When Does Similar Become Too Similar?"

J.M. Colberg, the author of the contemporary photography blog Conscientious, spent the last few weeks exploring issues of similarity and plagiarism in art. In what appears to be Colberg's final post on the matter for now, Chicago-based photographer Brian Ulrich submitted an interesting exploration of his thoughts on the matter as it relates to his artistic practice. [You'll need to scroll down a bit to see Ulrich's material.]

David Schalliol / Comments (1)

Art Tue Feb 09 2010

Hamza Walker Wins Ordway Prize


Hamza Walker, Image courtesy of the School of the Art Institute

On February 5, it was announced the $100,000 Ordway Prize would be awarded to Hamza Walker, the Director of Education and Associate Curator at The Renaissance Society at the University of Chicago. In 2001, The New York Times named him one of the most influential American curators. The New Museum describes the prize as, "acknowled[ing] the contributions of a Curator/Arts Writer and an Artist whose work has had significant impact on the field of contemporary art, but who has yet to receive broad public recognition. Nominees for the Ordway Prize are midcareer talents between the ages of forty and sixty-five, with a developed body of work extending over a minimum of fifteen years." Walker curated a solo show of Chicago-based photographer Anna Shteynshleyger which is on view at The Renaissance Society until this Sunday, February 14.

Whitney Stoepel

Art Tue Feb 09 2010

Martin Parr at Stephen Daiter


Martin Parr from his series, Playas

Stephen Daiter Gallery recently moved to 230 W. Superior and the first show in their new space features the amazing Martin Parr. Parr's supersaturated color photos with blazing flash can be slightly grotesque. Photos of food or tourists or fellow Brits, Parr's camera always seems to tease its subjects a bit. Some of Parr's work will also be featured in the Art Institute's In the Vernacular exhibit, up until May 31. Jeriah Hildwine has some good photos on Art Talk Chicago and you can hear the artist speak at Stephen Daiter Gallery on March 12, 5-8pm.

Whitney Stoepel / Comments (1)

Art Sat Feb 06 2010

Adam Eckberg's Elements of Photography


Adam Eckberg, Saturday Night, 2009

Chicago-based photographer Adam Eckberg's show, In the Between, closes today at Thomas Robertello Gallery but if you missed it, don't worry. Eckberg's work is also featured in the Elements of Photography exhibit at the Museum of Contemporary Art and Bad at Sports has posted a great interview with him.

Whitney Stoepel / Comments (1)

Art Wed Feb 03 2010

Cellphone Photography is SO 2010

Almost every day I discover a new cellphone artist. It started with the iPhone Therefore iArt show last month, and hasn't stopped since. Remember when people were complaining about how digital photography allows "just anyone" to be an artist? Now, cellphone cameras allow anyone to be an artist, at any time, without even requiring the forethought of bringing a camera with you when you leave the house.

Sure, this means we're all going to be exposed to even more crappy art. But every once in a while, we'll run into some nice stuff that is beautiful in its spontaneity, like Jeremy Edwards' From the Pocket photos and Sarah Best's Daily Photos series, which will be exhibited at Antena Gallery in Pilsen, opening on February 19.


Photo by Sarah Best

Kelly Reaves / Comments (1)

Art Wed Jan 20 2010

Art Shay at Thomas Masters Gallery

Interview with Art Shay from ThomasMastersGallery on Vimeo.

"I'll start with the sixties."
"Fine. You were probably more interesting then. I understand everybody was."
-From Jitterbug Perfume by Tom Robbins

Art Shay's footprint on Chicago photography is colossal. Shay's (unbelievably) first color exhibition opened at Thomas Masters Gallery on North Avenue in Old Town last Friday. The homey vintage space with creaky floors made Thomas Masters a perfect host for this show.

Shay shot for Time, Sports Illustrated and was a Chicago-based photojournalist for Life. In the entrance is a list of quotes from celebrities like Roger Ebert, Hugh Hefner, Studs Terkel, and David Mamet who said "I have one of Art Shay's pictures over my desk. It reminds me every morning of my Chicago roots. Art photos, like me, have the Chicago accent, which is to say he's telling you the truth."

The show is packed with recognizable faces like President Kennedy, Andy Warhol, Johnny Cash, Jimmy Hoffa, and a few wonderfully moving pictures of and about Martin Luther King, Jr. After the assassination of King, Shay talked his way into the building across from the hotel and snapped a photo of the murderer's handprint on the wall, highlighted by police fingerprint dust. It took my breath away.

It would be easy to spend a good hour in Thomas Masters, wandering from each photo to the next. There is a description or anecdote from Shay under every photo, which heightens that magical feeling of finding dusty boxes of old magazines in your grandma's attic and experiencing nostalgia whether or not you lived through the sixties.

Whitney Stoepel / Comments (2)

Art Mon Jan 04 2010

iPhone Therefore I Art

Technology has done wonderful things for art. One of my personal favorite new tools is the cell phone camera, as I have never been in the habit of carrying a camera around, and I used to miss priceless photo opportunities on a daily basis. Now, when I see a car on fire, a porch with 15 tricycles on it, or a girl peeing in the middle of the sidewalk in Wicker Park, I whip out my phone and capture it instantly. When I do, I amuse myself by deeming it art, and apparently I'm not the only one.

The Chicago Art Department has organized an exhibition of new art made with iPhones, most likely because there's so darn much of it. Plus, if you think about it, we are in the midst of an incredible technological revolution and iPhone art is a symptom of this distinct moment in time (whether you like it or not). And that's pretty cool.

The show, amusingly titled iPhone Therefore I Art, is the culmination of a class led by CAD artist Mike Nourse, in which ten local artists met weekly, working towards a completed project in the forms of photo, digital sketching (finger painting), animation, sound, and video--all made with iPhones, of course. For this exhibition, in addition to local artists, Nourse brought in iPhone artists from as far away as Russia, Norway, Spain, France, and Germany. The end-result is a comprehensive investigation and celebration of this fancy new tool. iPhone Therefore I Art addresses issues dealing both the identity of the artists using iPhones and the identity of art itself. Check out the show to see how the ubiquitous iPhone has worked its way into contemporary art, and to imagine where it will go next.

iPhone Therefore I Art opens this Friday, January 8, at Chicago Art Department (1837 S. Halsted). The public reception is from 6-10pm.

Kelly Reaves

Art Tue Dec 29 2009

Apostles of Beauty: Arts and Crafts from Britain to Chicago

artscrafts_lg.jpgRecently, trends like the Renegade Craft Fair and the Slow Food Movement have shown people are recoiling from today's mass produced, dehumanized, and automated way of doing things. On the heels of this trend is the Apostles of Beauty exhibit at the Art Institute of Chicago. Much like today, the Arts and Crafts movement stemmed from an anti-industrialist mentality that placed an importance on thoughtful design and handmade artifacts. The exhibit is vast and varied and what is truly fascinating is every piece of art came from private collections in the Chicago area.

Although most people were huddled around the pictorialist photography portion of the exhibit, the most "wow" inducing segment was the Japanism display. By the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition, Japanese style and woodblock prints were wildly popular (Frank Lloyd Wright was an avid collector). A Japanist-style Tiffany Lamp brilliantly glowing against the wall is hard to miss. Its dragonfly shade and mosaic base detail is breathtaking.

This is a nicely curated show, especially for those interested in interior design, architecture, and Chicago history. It closes January 31st.

Whitney Stoepel

Photography Wed Dec 16 2009

Young Photographer at a New Gallery

Untitled-1.jpgMegan Baker, a Chicago Photographer, has a show opening Friday at the new AJ Kane Gallery at 119 N Peoria. I met with Megan to see her work and talk about her process as well as her relationship to photography; how it has evolved, and her plans for continuing to hone that relationship.

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MartinJon / Comments (1)

Art Sat Dec 05 2009

"Snowflake" Bentley at Carl Hammer

Last night was the opening for Wilson "Snowflake" Bentley's photomicrographs at the Carl Hammer Gallery. Bentley was the person to discover no two snowflakes are alike. The photomicrographs on display are small (only 3"x3.5") so you'll find yourself bent over, face inches away, examining the first photos ever taken of snow crystals. This show makes for a perfect holiday-themed outing without any of the commercial cheesiness so prevalent this time of year.

Bentley, a farmer, captured these images by adapting a microscope to a bellows camera in 1885. He took pictures of over 5,000 snowflakes in his lifetime. In 1925, Bentley described the wonder of snowflakes, "Every crystal was a masterpiece of design and no one design was ever repeated. When a snowflake melted, that design was forever lost. Just that much beauty was gone, without leaving any record behind." This show is up until January 30th, so stop in while snow still seems beautiful because by February it will have lost its wonder for any Chicagoan.

Whitney Stoepel

Feature Mon Nov 30 2009

Photo Essay: Edgar Miller and the Handmade Home

Local publishing house CityFiles Press's newest volume is Edgar Miller and the Handmade Home: Chicago's Forgotten Renaissance Man, by Richard Cahan and Michael Williams, with more than 400 beautifully reproduced photographs by Alexander Vertikoff.

The book is the first major monograph about Edgar Miller (1899-1993), who was internationally heralded for his organically modern reinterpretations of Victorian-era Chicago buildings beginning in the 1920s. In his transformations, Miller used painting, glasswork, woodwork and other fine art techniques to construct wholly new environments.

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David Schalliol / Comments (3)

Art Sat Nov 07 2009

Barbara Crane: Challenging Vision

Age 81 and still taking pictures every day, Barbara Crane's career retrospective, Challenging Vision, at the Chicago Cultural Center (CCC), hardly scratches the surface of her incredible body of work. She has shown in 170 group exhibitions, 75 solo exhibitions, and her work is included in the permanent collections of the Art Institute of Chicago, the Museum of Modern Art, and the Museum of Contemporary Photography. Crane also taught at the School of the Art Institute for 28 years, making Chicago a central player in her canon of work.

The historical CCC, "The People's Palace," is an excellent home for this show. Nestled among Chicago skyscrapers is the most fulfilling way to view Crane's graphic explorations in her Chicago Loop Series, 1976-78 or her photos of Chicago commuters pummeling the viewer in her Commuter Discourse, 1978. Chicago Beaches and Parks, 1972-78 captures Windy City summers with glossy, bikini-clad bodies that look like stills from a multi-racial version Beach Blanket Bingo.

Crane never stopped exploring images or how to capture them.

The key to viewing this exhibit is time. This is Crane's life's work in which her constant curiosity is deeply evident. Viewers should explore this retrospective the way Crane would--contemplate each photo and allow every to subject reveal its individual narrative.

The show is up until January 10 with gallery talks held November 19th with Crane essayist Abagail Foerstner, December 17th with curator Whitney Bradshaw, and on January 7th with the artist herself.

Whitney Stoepel / Comments (1)

Art Mon Nov 02 2009

The Calumet Region, An American Place: Photographs by Gary Cialdella

calumet cover.jpg

A collection of Gary Cialdella's photographs of an area that begins in southern Chicago, and ends somewhere in Northwest Indiana, has just been published in a new book. This book of photographs took me a long time to digest, mainly because I know the Calumet region and was not very familiar with this sort of documentary photography. I don't know the area quite as well as Gregg Hertzlieb, editor and contributing essayist for this book, but I have spent enough time in the area to be familiar with the subject matter. It isn't easy to look at photograph after photograph of things you've seen before, all taken in black and white from a six foot eye level. It becomes monotonous and tiring after a while, but I am beginning to understand that there is a lot more here than was originally able to see.

Continue reading this entry »


Photography Mon Nov 02 2009

New CMAP Photography Contest

CMAP_photo_contest.pngThe Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning just announced a new photography contest for images of Northeastern Illinois. They're requesting images in the following categories: diversity, community vitality, natural environment, architectural/urban design and transportation, so if you want to contribute your shots, you have a chance to win photography classes, books, vegetables and walking tours, among other prizes.

David Schalliol / Comments (1)

Photography Mon Oct 26 2009

Sexy People on Sexy Bikes

bianchi.jpgLooking forward to January? No? Maybe this will help-- the new year means new calendars. New calendars means a new Thought You Knew (TyK) calendar. What? You don't know about TyK calendars? Let me tell you.

The TyK calendar project was born last year, as a result of frustrated female cyclists in Chicago. Sick of being pegged as either mechanically savvy but asexual, or cute but inept with their bikes, they sought out a new way to represent themselves.

Continue reading this entry »

Kelly Reaves

Feature Tue Oct 20 2009

Sneak Peek: Keith B. Evans' Unreleased Backgrounds

On Friday, Simple Gallery will present Unreleased Backgrounds, a show of Keith B. Evans' photography at Michelle Geoga Photography Studio. In advance of the show, we asked Keith for a few words about Unreleased Backgrounds. Selected images follow.

Continue reading this entry »

David Schalliol

Photography Wed Oct 14 2009

Vivian Maier, Street Photographer


It's a shame that we're finding out about street photographer Vivian Maier after her death -- no doubt had her talent been known, she would have, if not celebrated alongside Robert Frank, been recognized like Gary Stochl for her keen eye and skill at capturing Chicago. Born in France, she lived in Chicago for more than 50 years, and documented the city with her camera throughout the 1950s, '60s and '70s.

To discover street photographers working here today, check out this pool on flickr.

Andrew Huff / Comments (2)

Photography Fri Oct 09 2009

Friday Flickr Feature

A painting by local artist Lauren Karrenberg. Thanks to istorija for sharing.

Jamie Smith

Photography Fri Oct 02 2009

Friday Flickr Feature

Taken by fotomattic at last weekend's Hyde Park Jazz Festival.

Jamie Smith / Comments (1)

Photography Fri Oct 02 2009

A Park District Photography Contest

The Chicago Park District's Nature Areas Program has started a photography contest to "illustrate the natural beauty and biological diversity" of Chicago. Winners will participate in a traveling exhibit, among other prizes.

David Schalliol

Photography Fri Sep 18 2009

Friday Flickr Feature

A close-up of Chen Wenling's "Valiant Struggle No. 11," which is part of Millennium Park's series on contemporary Chinese sculpture. Photo taken by Dashiel Hermann.

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Jamie Smith

Photography Mon Sep 14 2009

Pat Arnow's Photographs of the Chicago Board of Trade, 1971

Chicago Board of Trade, 1971, by Pat Arnow

In her words:

In 1971, when parts of the Chicago Board of Trade building were about to be remodeled, a manager asked me, a young and green photographer, to take some pictures of the construction. The trading pit wasn't slated for renovation and was generally off-limits to visitors, but he got me in and allowed me to take some pictures.

Continue reading this entry »

David Schalliol / Comments (4)

Photography Fri Sep 04 2009

Friday Flickr Feature

A scene from "Rollin' Out of Here: A Big Lebowski Burlesque" by Vaudezilla. Photo by JOE M500.

Jamie Smith

Photography Fri Aug 28 2009

Friday Flickr Feature

Visitors to Olafur Eliasson's exhibit at the Museum of Contemporary Art admire his "Inverted Berlin Sphere." Photo by oceandesetoiles.

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Jamie Smith

Music Fri Aug 21 2009

Friday Flickr Feature

Chicago's only circus punk marching band, Mucca Pazza. Photo taken at their Jackhammer show by sierraromeo.

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Jamie Smith

Photography Thu Aug 20 2009

Behold, Chicagohenge!

I'd rewrite this, but it's so short as to be silly. The estimable Whet Moser writes in Chicagoland...


My colleague Will Atwood Mitchell tipped me off to a phenomenon called "Manhattanhenge," "a biannual occurrence in which the setting sun aligns with the east-west streets of Manhattan's main street grid." Naturally, it works here in Chicago as well: 9/25 at 6:41 AM and 6:42 PM. The screencap is taken from the outstanding program The Photographer's Ephemeris.

Andrew Huff

Photography Fri Aug 07 2009

Friday Flickr Feature

The carrying of the Olympic...sofa? Photo of sculpture in River North by swanksalot.

Jamie Smith

Art Mon Jul 06 2009

Call for Artists: "Chicago Week" from GB and Wall Blank

Chicago visual artists are invited to submit their work to a competition sponsored by Gapers Block and the Rockford-based arts purveyor Wall Blank.

The four winning artists will be featured on Gapers Block, and their work will be offered as prints for sale on Wall Blank during "Chicago Week" in August 2009.

Continue reading this entry »

David Schalliol

Photography Fri May 29 2009

Friday Flickr Feature

taking the dog for a ride.PNG
I'll let contributer spencewine explain the cool concept behind this photo:

Double Exposure experiment with Robert Botey Beguiristain from Girona, Spain. The experiment was to expose a roll of film twice with scenes from our respective cities. What could be shot was open to interpretation. These photos contain one image of Girona, Spain overlapped with an image of Chicago, IL, USA.

Jamie Smith

Photography Fri May 22 2009

Friday Flickr Feature

Shiny happy people viewing art: starvingcat took this shot of the Art Institute's new Modern Wing.

Jamie Smith

Photography Fri May 01 2009

Friday Flickr Feature

I don't know if there's such a thing as hot dog weather, but I hope it gets here soon. Thanks, Bill Guerriero.

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Jamie Smith / Comments (2)

Photography Thu Apr 23 2009

"It seemed like a good idea at the time."

Coudal Partners is requesting photographs for an anti-caption contest. All you need to do is submit a photographic response to the caption "It seemed like a good idea at the time." by Friday, May 1. Submissions should be sent to steve [at] coudal [dot] com with "Whoops" in the subject line. The three funniest entries will get all sorts of Coudal goodies.

David Schalliol

Photography Mon Apr 06 2009

Opening Tonight: Stephanie Bassos

stephaniebassos.jpgPhotographer Stephanie Bassos loves her LOMO camera, and shoots some fantastic work with it. The Post Family's new COOP coworking space is showing a collection of Bassos' work, and is celebrating with an opening reception tonight from 6 to 9pm at 845 W. Fulton Market. Drinks are complimentary, there's a DJ and a $5 raffle for a print. More info here.

Image: The Neglected Velveteen by Stephanie Bassos

Andrew Huff

Architecture Mon Apr 06 2009

Do You Know of Any Green Stone Façades?

Inspired by Pullman's distinctive serpentine limestone Greenstone Church, GB flickr pool member chicago boulevardier is seeking other Chicago green stone buildings to photograph, like this one.

David Schalliol

Photography Fri Apr 03 2009

Friday Flickr Feature

Contributor Angevinn says: "I found these two head sculptures (busts) by the trash when I was out for a walk. They looked so lonely and kind of sad sitting by the garbage."

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Jamie Smith

Photography Fri Mar 27 2009

Collecting Art on the Cheap

Back in 2008, two prints from Chicago photographer Colleen Plumb's series "Animals Are Outside Today" were selected to participate in 20x200. "Field Museum Sue" and "Tiger Rug, Cabrini Green" were offered at a range of prices, but you can still get versions of both on the cheap. If you'd like to check out other Chicago-affiliated artists, you can do that too.

David Schalliol

Photography Mon Mar 23 2009

The Fifty Nifty United States

The 50 States Project was launched this year to document life in, well, the 50 states. Illinois' representative is Chicagoan Brian Ulrich. Ulrich submitted a photograph entitled "Home of Former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich After Impeachment, January, 2009" for the assignment "People." Five more photographs from each contributor will be posted over the course of the year. If you want more detail, Ulrich posted a little background about his participation on his blog.

David Schalliol

Photography Fri Mar 06 2009

Friday Flickr Feature

Modesty (Take II)

This beautiful black-and-white was taken by A/C Flickr Pool member Angevinn at the Art Institute of Chicago.

Andrew Huff / Comments (1)

Photography Tue Mar 03 2009

Warp Speed in a Convertible

Speaking of making things, GB flickr pool member Derek Wiebenson shows us how to take pretty amazing portraits while driving.

David Schalliol

Photography Fri Feb 20 2009

Friday Flickr Feature


One good thing about expecting 4-9 inches of snow this weekend is that we can also look forward to scenes like this one captured by phule.

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Jamie Smith

Art Sun Feb 15 2009

Presidents in Cupcakes!

Baker/artist extraordinaire Zilly Rosen created an amazing 5,900 cupcake mosaic featuring President Obama and Lincoln in honor of President's Day.

Check out Illinois' Presidents in all their butter cream glory here on Cake Wrecks.

I desperately want to see a sped up version of the web-stream from that day if anyone has a link.

Kristin Barrick

Photography Fri Feb 13 2009

Friday Flickr Feature


Christopher Hiltz has been taking candid portraits of unsuspecting visitors to the Court Theatre's production of "The Wild Duck" by Henry Ibsen. The photographs, including the one seen above, are currently on display at the Court Theatre until March 17, when they'll be given away to anyone who wants to claim them. For more on the project and to see the entire set of portraits, visit Hiltz's flickr stream.

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Jamie Smith

Craft Mon Jan 26 2009

Want Aretha's hat?

So how awesome was Aretha with that church-going hat? How many of us kinda wanted to run right down to the local craft store, buy a Bedazzler and get down to it?

Over at, they've got some talk in their forums (here and here) about how to make one for yourself.

Of course, if you're a little lazy or chained to your computer, have some fun with Photoshop and get yourself and Jack Nicholson an Aretha hat.

Kristin Barrick

Photography Tue Jan 20 2009

Participate in the Photo Swap and Photo Show

Gapers Block and Calumet Photographic invite photographers of all experience levels to participate in a photo swap on Friday, February 6, and an accompanying show that will run from February 3-11.

The photo swap will work like our previous swaps. The event (which will double as the show's opening) will run between between 5:30pm and 7:30pm at the Chicago location of Calumet Photographic, 1111 N. Cherry Ave. Simply arrive at Calumet with five 4"x6" photographs of any subject you like, hang out with other photographers and then leave with five photos from others. We'll have snacks and drinks for all. The actual swapping will begin after 6:30pm, so don't worry if it takes you a little time to get there after work.

If you'd also like to participate in the show, here are the details: the show will be organized around the theme "Intersections," which you may interpret any way you like, provided the images have a Chicago connection. To submit photographs to be considered for the show, add photographs to the GB flickr pool with the tag "Intersections09" no later than January 28. If you have your submissions in earlier than that, send an email to David Schalliol notifying us that your images are in the pool, and we'll review the images ahead of time. If you do not have a flickr account, send low resolution images to David Schalliol by the 28th. Regardless, we'll promptly notify you if your photo has been selected, so you can work on getting the image framed. To expedite the process and make room for as many photographers as possible, accepted photographs should be printed no larger than 8"x12", with frames that are no larger than 11"x14". Additional information will be sent to selected participants.

Any questions about the swap or the show should be directed to David Schalliol.

David Schalliol

Photography Fri Jan 09 2009

Friday Flickr Feature


spudart shows us how the King of the Jungle weathers a Chicago winter.

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Jamie Smith

Photography Fri Dec 12 2008

Friday Flickr Feature


From comes this vibrant photo of Daley Federal Plaza on the night of Obama's win.

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Jamie Smith / Comments (3)

Photography Fri Dec 12 2008

Bettie Page R.I.P.

Pinup icon Bettie Page died on December 11th at the age of 85 from pneumonia after a heart attack eight days earlier.

Best known for the provocative pinup and fetish photos from the late '40s and '50s, Bettie Page was also one of the earlier Playboy centerfolds, posing in the January 1955 issue with nothing but a Santa hat and a suggestive wink. Playboy founder Hugh Hefner called her an American icon and considers her appearance a milestone for the magazine. Page spent time in Chicago after her departure from the pinup world, attending summer classes at Moody Bible College in 1961.

Christian Scheuer / Comments (1)

Photography Fri Dec 05 2008

Photographer Seeking Photography

Photographer Daniel Shea recently moved to Chicago from Baltimore and would like to learn more about the city by checking out Chicagoans' photography. If you have something you'd like to send him, let him know.

David Schalliol

Photography Wed Oct 22 2008

Double-Takes, Books and Boobies


The wonderful vernacular photography blog Square America recently posted a couple new galleries: double exposures, reading people and "Everything You Already Knew About Sex (But Kind Of Wish You Didn't)." (That last bunch is NSFW, obviously.)

Andrew Huff

Photography Mon Oct 20 2008

Articles of Faith

Lost At E Minor interviews photographer Dave Jordano about his recent work in Chicago's storefront African American churches.

David Schalliol

Photography Fri Oct 17 2008

Pilsen Photography Controversy

In the last few days, a photograph by Amir Normandi that was located in the window of the Pilsen Together Chamber of Commerce became involved in a controversy that included threats of violence. It was consequently removed from the exhibit but ultimately reinstalled, albeit in a less visible location.

David Schalliol

Photography Fri Sep 26 2008

Friday Flickr Feature


Inspired by Carl's post on the similarities between nineteenth century Chicago and present-day Asian boomtowns, we chose this picture by spudart of a Chicago under construction. Though it looks as if it came from a bygone era, the photo was taken earlier this year when the CTA was repainting portions of the El tracks.

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Jamie Smith / Comments (1)

Photography Fri Sep 19 2008

Friday Flickr Feature


This gorgeous photo of the staircase at the Museum of Contemporary Art was taken by manuela.martin.

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Jamie Smith

Photography Fri Sep 12 2008

Friday Flickr Feature

This week's Friday Flickr Photo Feature comes to us from Phule, who spotted the Red Ball Project's, er, big red ball on the LaSalle Street Bridge.


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Andrew Huff

Photography Fri Sep 05 2008

Friday Flickr Feature

Haymarket Riot Memorial with Flowers

Every week we're going to highlight a photo from the Gapers Block A/C flickr pool. In recognition of Labor Day, this week we're featuring this photo of the Haymarket Riot Memorial uploaded to the flickr pool by swanksalot.

Jamie Smith

Photography Wed Sep 03 2008

The Lens of Young Chicago

Kids see the world differently -- and while growing up is sort of inevitable, putting on the goggles of youth once in a while can only be a good thing. This week at 826 Chicago (a nonprofit writing and tutoring center in Wicker Park) students unveil the photos that they feel document "their world". Ten middle and high-schoolers spent eight weeks working with National Geographic photographer Mike Hettwer, who sent them out into the city and taught them how to work a digital camera, how to compose a photograph, how to use contrast and layering... and, apparently, how to convince a dentist to let you photograph him. After creating 12,128 photographs (826 Chicago counted!), they selected their favorites and are ready to show them off to the public at a gallery exhibition on Thursday:

Thursday, September 4th
5:30-7:30 p.m.
Elegant Mr. Gallery
1355 N. Milwaukee Avenue, #3
(Second showing Sunday, September 14th, 2:00-5:00 p.m.)

A book featuring the photos called The My World Project will be available for sale, too, so you can take a little fresh perspective home with you.

Lindsay Muscato

Art Thu Jul 24 2008

Here and Now

Photography fans, take note: From now through Aug. 8, the Co-Prosperity Sphere hosts Hic et Nunc_(Here and Now) A Survey Of New Guard Photography, a show featuring work by Columbia College graduates. Photogs Nathan Baker, Jon Gitelson, Jason Lazarus and Brian Ulrich are the "veterans" of the bunch, having attended Columbia at the turn of the millennium. The four are friends, and have all gone on to have their works featured in galleries and museums, or sold to buyers. Meanwhile, Claudia Burns, the team of Terttu Uibopuu and Sarah Mckemie, Sean Fader, Aron Gent, Mandukhai Kaylin and Tealia Ellis Ritter have all just recently graduated from art school. The show is supported by the nonprofit Public Media Institute.

3219-21 South Morgan St. Hours by appointment.

Lauri Apple

Blog Tue May 13 2008

Bey on What's Going On

Dawoud Bey, Chicago-based photographer and professor, has a new blog, What's Going On," covering photography as well whatever other topics strike him; his most recent post about the city's racial segregation and its effects on the local art scene puts an interesting perspective on a long-simmering issue.

(Found via Brian Ulrich's blog, which is well worth reading in its own right.)

Andrew Huff

News Tue Apr 22 2008

Art Institute's Travis Stepping Down

The Art Institute of Chicago announced the retirement of David Travis, chair of the Department of Photography, effective at the end of June.

Travis began his career at the Art Institute as an assistant curator of photography in the Department of Prints and Drawings in 1972 and was a full curator in 1975, when the Department of Photography was officially established. "David Travis has had a long and extraordinarily productive career at the museum, and it is impossible to conceive of the department here without his imprint," said Art Institute President James Cuno.

Travis organized and presented more than 150 exhibitions of photography at the Art Institute, including exhibitions of the work of Walker Evans, André Kertész, Edward Weston, Paul Strand, and Brassaï, and has also guest curated exhibitions shown at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. For his special contributions to the advancement of awareness and understanding of French culture, he was awarded the Chevalier de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French government in 1987. He has also been a guest scholar at the J. Paul Getty Museum and in 2002 he was named a "Chicagoan of the Year" by Chicago magazine. At the Edge of the Light: Thoughts on Photographers and Photography, on Talent and Genius, a collection of his lectures and essays, was published in 2003.

Andrew Huff

Art Mon Apr 07 2008

A Sharp Eye

Through June 29, the Chicago Cultural Center hosts Dean Sharp: Photographs of the Chicago Picasso, a free exhibition of black and white photos on display at its Michigan Avenue Galleries. Curated by Assistant Curator of Exhibitions Sofia Zutautas, and organized by the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs, the exhibit displays photos that Sharp took in 1967, while he was a student at the Layton School of Art in Milwaukee. In wrapping up his final project, Sharp paid a visit to Chicago and was struck by the facial expressions of people who passed by the then brand-spanking new Picasso sculpture in Daley Plaza. Camera in tow, he began photographing the faces he saw. His work both documents human nature and serves as a commentary on the role and impact of public art. On Tuesday, April 17, at 12:15 p.m., Sharp will appear at the Center for a free talk. (Viewing hours are Mondays through Thursdays, 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Fridays, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Saturdays 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sundays, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. The Center is closed on holidays.)

Lauri Apple

Photography Mon Mar 03 2008

Join the A/C Flickr Pool!

A/C has its own flickr pool! Join up and post your own photos of art exhibits, plays, dance performances and other arts & culture events -- or images of your own art, such as drawings, paintings and photography. Images from the pool will stream in the second column of A/C.

Andrew Huff

Photography Mon Mar 03 2008

Chicago’s Other Architectural Disappearances

I found a couple of interesting Flickr groups devoted to the disappearance of Chicago buildings. Chicago - Now Demolished and Vanishing Chicago both document many of the other buildings in Chicago that have met an end. Most of these buildings don't have any historical significance, but are part of Chicago's architectural history nonetheless.

Christian Scheuer

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 »


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