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, April 13

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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.

Continue reading this entry »

David Schalliol

Event Thu Jan 19 2012

Lightness & Darkness Wants to be Your Friend


Brand-spankin' new multimedia book project Lightness & Darkness will throw its release party and first performance on January 28 at Happy Dog Gallery (1542 N. Milwaukee), a Wicker Park apartment gallery and alternative art space.

Continue reading this entry »

Kelly Reaves

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.

Continue reading this entry »

David Schalliol / Comments (1)

Art Thu Sep 01 2011

What's Happening with Jettison Quarterly

Local online and print art publication Jettison Quarterly made a splash at NEXT as part of the larger Art Chicago weekend with their newly formatted print edition of the magazine. Their latest issue -- featuring artist Scott Reeder and former MCA curator Tricia Van Eck -- promises to deliver on locally focused news, art and culture. To celebrate their latest release, the publication will be joining Old Style and Longman & Eagle for a free block party on Kedzie and Schubert. The event will feature a pig roast and dance party with tunes spun by DJs from the ever-popular Windy City Soul Club. The What's Happening!! block party takes place this Sunday, September 4 from 4pm to 10pm.

Additional copies of Jettison Quarterly will be available Sept. 9 at the Kavi Gupta gallery as part of the opening night for the fall art season, the Renegade Craft Fair on Sept. 10-11, and at various cafes and venues in the city.

Britt Julious

Art Sun Feb 27 2011

Last Minute Plans: Twice Removed Publication Launch

TwiceRemovedCover540.jpgIndependent curator and arts administrator Karly Wildenhaus' latest solo exhibition, Twice Removed: a Survey of Take Away Work, has already garnered extensive press coverage for its crafty exploration of an object's meaning and place in contemporary art long after its initial exhibition run. Featuring prints, buttons, posters, and other ephemera, Twice Removed is a unique and expertly constructed exhibition based solely on others' work.

Local artist book shop Golden Age will launch the publication component of the exhibition today, from 3 to 5 pm. Wildenhaus, who also wrote the publication, will be on hand to discuss both the exhibition and the publication.

Golden Age is located at 119 North Peoria #2D.

Britt Julious

Art Thu Dec 09 2010

Select Media Festival Begins Tonight


SMF7, 2008. Photo by Eric Bartholomew.

Inspired by artists and designers who use available analog and digital tools to communicate complex data from the everyday to the very obscure, the Public Media Institute presents Select Media Festival 9: Infoporn II this weekend as an homage to their love for data visualization. A selection of works from around the world takes form in installations, a publication library, interactive projects, and infographics. The exhibition itself will be viewable at Co-Prosperity Sphere for two days only: Friday, Dec. 10 from 7pm to 1am and Saturday Dec. 11 from 2 to 9pm.

Tonight they open SMF9: Infoporn II with the release of their own contribution to the information overload, Proximity Magazine: Issue 008. Themed "Education as Art," their newest issue is a 230-page opus and represents their latest and greatest effort in publishing. Stop by the release party at Maria's Packaged Goods & Community Bar to get a copy at a discount ($10), enjoy some beverages and meet the creators/contributors to the issue.

Continue reading this entry »

Kelly Reaves

Publication Thu Sep 16 2010

Kanye West: The Candid Columnist


Kanye West: Rapper, producer, and magazine columnist?

Well, maybe not permanently, but for now, he has in fact thrown himself into the magazine world for the first time ever with XXL, a popular publication dedicated to hip-hop.

Not only is West featured on the cover of the October issue, he also wrote the cover story--on himself, of course--and he even took things a step further by also serving as the creative director for this special issue.

So what exactly does he write about? Why, Taylor Swift, of course!

West acknowledges the consequences of his outlandish behavior (albeit a year later) in a way that he apparently never has before. According to XXL staffers, the rapper "speaks on the reaction he received from the infamous 2009 MTV Video Music Awards debacle" and that afterwards, "he immediately dedicated himself to the studio" to avoid dealing with the ramifications from the incident.

The "all-Kanye" issue also features articles on rapper Kid Cudi, who is managed and produced by West, and G.O.O.D. Music, his artist management and production company.

The October issue of XXL hits newsstands on Tuesday, September 28.

LaShawn Williams / Comments (1)

Publication Fri Jul 09 2010

Taking a Jet Down Memory Lane

Thumbnail image for bernie-mac-cover-jet-magazine.jpg

Johnson Publishing
, headquartered in Chicago, has long been considered by many to be the premiere media entity dedicated to the lifestyle of African-Americans. Its magazines, Ebony and Jet, have been a staple in black households since they were first published in the 40s and 50s, respectively.

For those who are nostalgic and want to catch up on a bit of history, complete, back issues of Jet (published weekly) are now available online. It is interesting to see the evolution of the magazine from its inception (it started out at just 15 cents per issue) to the present, complete with features on major historical events, classic product ads, entertainment and political news, and of course, the "Jet Beauty of the Week."

Click here to "jet" down memory lane!

LaShawn Williams

Art Mon Nov 23 2009

AREA Chicago Won a MacArthur Grant

2757607464_474d795324.jpgI want to make sure that everyone knows how awesome AREA Chicago is. AREA is a local art/research/education/activism organization that is manifested in both a biannual magazine and a series of sponsored events. For the past four years, since AREA was created in 2005, they have focused on producing and strengthening networks among grassroots practitioners and given a voice to underrepresented Chicagoans and Chicago issues.

I got an email from them on Friday, letting me know that they've just received a $6,000 MacArthur grant for being so awesome. Check out their website, read some articles, go to some meetings if you want, and bathe in the awesomeness yourself. In such a segregated city, it is important that we reach out and stay connected with fellow Chicagoans so we know what's going on around us and so we can network with and support each other.

Kelly Reaves / 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 »


Publication Thu Apr 23 2009

Remedial Reading

Proximity004.jpgThis week, the productive staff of the Chicago-based, community-focused contemporary arts and culture magazine Proximity, releases issue #4, "The Remedies Issue." This, their one-year anniversary issue, offers "perspective on the health of our art ecologies," and features contributions by Ed Marzewski, Rachael Marzewski, Mairead Case, Chad Kouri, Michael Freimuth, Salem Collo-Julin, Brett Bloom, Caroline Picard, James Kennedy, Mark Staff Brandl, Mess Hall, and many more. Its release coincides with the epic, 10-day Version>09 Festival, taking place from April 23-May 2. The magazine will be available on Friday, April 24, at The Audacity of Art event, a night of visual art, live music, and Korean Polish BBQ. For $7, you can experience the audacious art; for $12 you experience the art and also get a copy of Proximity #4.

And check out The (Con)Temporary Art Guide, another new publishing project from this crew. It's a 144-page book that maps and promotes some of Chicago's best cultural offerings during the spring art season. Viva la print!

Proximity Release Party: Friday, April 24, 7 p.m.-2 a.m. / Co-Prosperity Sphere / 3219 S. Morgan

Laura Pearson

Publication Tue Apr 21 2009

Chicago Girl Done Good

Colbert Report head writer and executive producer Allison Silverman is interviewed by Stephen Colbert in this month's Elle. Silverman was a Chicago comedy kid, performing at iO and Amsterdam's Boom Chicago, then she moved up the ranks and wrote for both The Daily Show and Late Night with Conan O'Brien before moving to the Colbert Report. (It's worth reminding everyone that Stephen Colbert started out as a Chicago comedy kid himself.) Allison Silverman has done a lot of comedic ass-kicking, winning both Emmy and Peabody Awards for her work on these shows, and in this month's Elle Stephen Colbert sings her praises as part of a series of interviews with smart women.

Dyan Flores

Publication Wed Mar 11 2009

Photography Book Release Party at Golden Age

On Saturday, March 14, catch a cab (or some other form of transportation) to Golden Age in Pilsen for the release party of Taxis Pleins, Taxis Vides (Full Cabs, Empty Cabs). This limited-edition book hails from French publishing house Je Suis une Bande de Jeunes and features a collection of stark and lovely pictures (depicting "a balanced duality in the world") from 12 international photographers. Writer and art critic Jeff Rian, editor of Purple magazine, wrote the preface. Golden Age is one of only two US retailers to sell the book. Large-scale photographs from Taxis Pleins, Taxis Vides will be available purchase. jsbjtptvpackshot1.jpg

Saturday, March 14, 7-10 p.m. / Golden Age / 1744 W. 18th St.

Laura Pearson

Publication Sun Mar 01 2009

Creativity: Still Alive After 25

Venus Magazine spotlights cool creative projects that women launched after their bright-eyed twenty-something years. They were just over 30 when GB's Cinnamon Cooper and Amy Carlton rallied for local, handmade goods in a "Craftifesto" and launched the DIY Trunk Show, now a staple of the Chicago crafting community (and the place where I buy all my Christmas presents). Other notable women who waited until after 30 to full-on pursue their passions include fashion designer Vivienne Westwood; funny lady/writer/performer Amy Sedaris and... (insert your name here, slacker).

Lindsay Muscato

Art Mon Feb 09 2009

You Decide: the Future of the Hyde Park Art Center

Among cultural centers dramatically affected by the economic downturn, the Hyde Park Art Center (HPAC) has been particularly affected. In anticipation of even rougher times, the Board of Directors has reduced its budget by 15% for 2009 and four employees -- a quarter of the staff -- have been laid off. In response, the HPAC is holding a public forum tonight in which they "want your questions, reactions and suggestions to changes at the Center." The event starts at 6pm in its 4833 rph space, 5020 S. Cornell.

David Schalliol

Art Thu Jan 22 2009

The Social Force of Art: Q&As with Local Artists

AREA Chicago recently connected with dozens of mover/shaker artists in Chicago to discuss socially engaged art, and pinpoint where art and politics collide to form action. Check out in-depth interviews with folks from Mucca Pazza, Theater Oobleck, threewalls, Experimental Station and more.

Lindsay Muscato

Art Fri Sep 26 2008

Auctioning off the Bunny's Collection

In further Playboy news, the venerable men's magazine is auctioning off 17 illustrations from the archives. Heritage Auction Galleries in Dallas will auction off pieces from "Playboy: The Art of Beauty" on October 15th but bids are already being taken online. Some of the artists include Patrick Nagel, LeRoy Neiman, Erich Sokol, Harvey Kurtzman and pinup master Alberto Vargas.

Christian Scheuer

Art Mon Sep 15 2008

Showing Chicago Artists Some Love

The 77th edition of New American Paintings, a juried exhibition-in-print, is all about the Midwest, and features twenty-one Chicago and Illinois based artist including installation artist Michael Genorese, currently MCA Chicago's Winter Artist in Residence and most recently of the Pedway Project. Other artists of note include Steve Amos, Molly Briggs, Sari Maxfield and Jeff Mueller.

Christian Scheuer

Publication Thu Sep 04 2008

Proximity Magazine #2 Arrives

The second issue of Proximity--a vibrant, densely filled, Chicago-based art magazine--arrives on September 5. The publication explores, illustrates, and celebrates connections within creative communities. In celebration of the new issue, the Proximity crew is throwing a release party at the Co-Prosperity Sphere in Bridgeport. The all-ages event includes performances by Bobby Conn, Bird Names, Magical Beautiful, and Stagecoach. Doors are at 10 p.m., and there's a $10 suggested donation.

Friday, Sept. 5 / Co-Prosperity Sphere / 3219 S. Morgan

Laura Pearson

Publication Thu Jun 05 2008

Mule Magazine Releases Issue 5

Arts and culture magazine Mule celebrates a new issue with a release party on Sunday, June 15, at Heart of Gold (3036 N. Lincoln Ave). This colorfully designed fifth issue includes interviews, artist profiles, music reviews, and even a detachable mini-book written by Joe Meno. The release party kicks off at 9 p.m. and features music by Killer Whales, as well as DJ sets by Reelfoot, Alex Valentine, Aay Preston-Myint, and Hologram Trav. A suggested $7 donation benefits distribution of Mule and gets you a copy of issue 5.

Laura Pearson

Publication Thu May 29 2008

What's Yours Is Ours

Art Institute Director James Cuno has been in the news quite a bit recently in anticipation of the publication of his book “Who Owns Antiquity?” Cuno advances the somewhat controversial position that no one does and he favors the loosening of laws designed to prevent looting in order to facilitate global partage of antiquities. This all sounds fair enough until one considers that historically “partage” has meant removing these objects from their historical context and the cultures that produced them and transplanting them to Western museums.

Continue reading this entry »

Jamie Smith

Publication Sat May 03 2008

The Renaissance Will Not Be Advertised

Have you always wanted to be part of a Renaissance that doesn't end in the word "Faire?" Well, congratulations, because you may already be! According to the book RenGen: The Renaissance Generation, today's cultural consumers are paving the way for a transformation in American culture. The author posits that phenomenon like the rise of the DIY ethic, anti-consumerist movements, and the reinvention of canonical arts institutions (like that collaboration between Chicago Sinfonietta and Poi Dog Pondering?) are evidence that knowledge and creativity are becoming the new social currency.

She goes on to claim that this cultural (and commercial) revolution will change everything from the economy to love and marriage in America. If you're skeptical that the popularity of American Idol isn't a sign of the coming apocalypse but rather an indication that we're ready for a re-birth, then you might consider seeing the author, Patricia Martin, when she comes to Chicago on May 29th to speak to the local Arts & Business Council.

Jamie Smith

Publication Tue Apr 15 2008

Proximity: It's a Small Art World After All

Proximity Magazine, a Chicago-based journal dedicated to contemporary art and culture, will launch this month as part of the Version Festival and NEXT Art Fair. The magazine will focus on the interaction between local and global art in the hopes of mapping the complex ecologies of creative communities. They aim to “connect Chicago’s activities to the rest of the world,” hence the name Proximity.

The inaugural issue will focus on Chicago’s arts and cultural networks, artists, projects, and events. The previews of the issue present both interesting content and design, including a piece which discusses progressive art in Chicago and a map drawing connections between organizations and projects in the city. The magazine will also include profiles of local art spaces like The Suburban in Oak Park. (And while it’s not directly related to Chicago, have you ever seen a cuter tank cozy?)

Complimentary copies will be available at both Version and NEXT. The publishers also plan to distribute in cultural institutions, bookstores and cafés across the city and around the world. If you’re interested in following the progress of the launch or contributing to future issues, visit

Jamie Smith

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