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.
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Thursday, November 30

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Preview Tue Nov 04 2014

Mint & Serf: Support, Therapy and Instability


Never in our wildest dreams did we think that graffiti and street art would be making its way into art galleries -- from the streets to the white walls, running from the law to running into Shepard Fairy. Since the 1980s, graffiti has found a nice warm home inside of the ever-changing and always surprising, contemporary art world.

Mint & Serf, the art duo from NYC will showcase their large scale paintings at the Maxwell Colette Gallery in their Chicago debut of, "Support, Therapy and Instability." The relationship between contemporary art and graffiti is also one that in constant flux and one that makes a memorable conversation. Mint & Serf are two artists who are combining these two worlds in the form of a canvas and a spray can. Utilizing the raw forms that graffiti art thrive around, Mint & Serf have created canvases which reflect buildings in a city or an underpass that has been decorated and adorned with bold lettering and ripped flyers from a previous life.

The collaborative duo layers tags, neutral tones, metallic paint ink and paper for their active and lively pieces which both reflect fine arts and street art.

The opening reception will be held Friday, Nov. 7 from 6pm-9pm at Maxwell Colette Gallery, 908 N. Ashland Ave. The exhibition will be up until Dec. 31. Hours for the gallery are Wednesday through Saturday, noon until 6pm. For more information contact 312-496-3153 or email

S. Nicole Lane / Comments (1)

Burlesque Thu Oct 17 2013

A Complete Guide to Halloween Performances & Theater

zombieprom2013.jpgThe weather is getting crisp, the leaves are turning colors and costumes of all kinds are festooning store windows. Must be getting close to Halloween! If you're like me, you want to start celebrating early. Check out some of these performances to whet your Halloween whistle.

For traditional spookiness, check out Nightfall with Edgar Allen Poe, theatrical adaptations of The Telltale Heart and The Raven, among others, at Center Stage Theater in Naperville now through Oct. 20 ($16) or Creature Feature Radio Hour: The Wolfman on Mummy Island -- a ghostly Halloween radioplay -- at Chemically Imbalanced Theater. If you're into camp, take yourself to Nightmares on Lincoln Avenue, B is for Blood at The Cornservatory Oct. 17 - Oct. 31 ($7-$15) or The Rocky Horror Show (the classic, sans "Picture", with a steampunk theme) at the Chopin Theatre Oct. 24-27 ($20).

If you like a side of showtunes with your horror? Check out Zombie Prom at Mayne Stage (Oct. 19, Oct. 25 and Oct. 31, $20) with a special zombie prom-themed afterparty on Halloween and The Musical of the Living Dead at Stage 773 now through 11/9 ($25).

Continue reading this entry »

Jeanne Newman

Street Art Fri May 18 2012

Galerie F: Walk-Ins Welcome

The cool cats over at FugScreen screenprinting studios have a conundrum (albeit a pretty good one to have): too much art, not enough space. So they're opening a gallery in Logan Square this July to exhibit the best work that's run through their hands by their cohorts. With a focus on poster and street art, Galerie F has a unique ethic: fully functional six days of the week, all day long, with no appointments required. In other words, an "open door gallery". This is important to them because they want to be accessible -- they want people to be able to wander in and browse at their own pace. And as cool as Chicago's plethora of artist-run, DIY spaces are, you just can't do that at most of them.

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Kelly Reaves

Art Wed Apr 11 2012

The red, black and GREEN Movement

54a2cTheaster and Bamuthi 13.jpg

Photo: Bethanie Hines

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

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

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

Continue reading this entry »

Britt Julious

Street Art Fri Mar 02 2012

The Franklin: Not Your Typical Yard Art


The Franklin, currently on view at NEIU's Fine Arts Center. Photo courtesy of Edra Soto.

Local artist Edra Soto and her husband Dan Sullivan recently completed a project titled "the Franklin" -- an outdoor exhibition space currently installed at NEIU Gallery for a show titled Living By Example (a damn good show, mind you.) When the show finishes we it will be deconstructed and moved to Soto and Sullivan's backyard in East Garfield park, where it will be permanently installed. NEIU helped pay for materials, but in order to complete the project they need to purchase additional materials for the roof, deck and footings.

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Kelly Reaves

Event Thu Jan 12 2012

WBEZ's Winter Block Party for Chicago Hip Hop Arts


For the best mix of hip hop and the arts, you won't want to miss WBEZ's annual Winter Block Party for Chicago's Hip Hop Arts. Now in its fourth year, this free, all-ages event, the ultimate showcase of the city's hip-hop arts scene, features visual and performance art, poetry, dance, film and music.

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LaShawn Williams / Comments (2)

Art Fri Sep 30 2011

Art on Track 2011

By Nicolette Caldwell.


Thumbnail image for SIFC-GB-Featured.jpg

September marks a special time for the visual arts in Chicago. It is the annual kick-off to what is known as the art season. Out of the many art happenings that took place this month, Art on Track might possibly be one of the most anticipated annual events. It is an intriguing combination of site-specific installations on one of the Orange Line CTA train cars circling the loop.

Continue reading this entry »


Street Art Wed Sep 28 2011

Meeting of Styles (MOS) 2011

By Nicolette Caldwell

SIFC-GB-Featured.jpgMeeting of Styles (MOS) is an annual meet-up of graffiti writers and aficionados. Artists are invited and assigned to an area on stretches of wall space. Public focus is emphasized at the main wall called the "Wall of Style" located at 30th and Kedzie Avenue. The remaining permissioned wall locations are segmented in general proximity to the Wall of Style. To get a good perspective about the event and it's general history, graff writer and organizer of Meeting of Styles (MOS) Đmn ÔloǤy chatted it up with me regarding his experience and involvement with the event and graffiti writing culture. In addition to speaking with the organizer, two former participants provided a better understanding about their experiences with participating in past MOS events.


Nicolette Caldwell: How many times have you participated in MOS?

Đmn ÔloǤy: Well, since I am one of the organizers, I have been involved since the inception of Chi MOS, starting in 2003, 7 times... but I have also participated in several MOS outside of Chicago, in Germany, Los Angeles, and the Bay Area.

Continue reading this entry »


Sixty Inches from Center Thu Sep 15 2011

Street Art Approval


This article was originally published on Sixty Inches from Center on Sept. 5. This is the first of a series of content exchanges with them.

By Zachary Johnson


Last week, while exploring Chicago's Polish Village, I interrupted my friend mid-sentence as a familiar sight came into view. "Another one!" I exclaimed. Quickly, we crossed Milwaukee and headed towards a wall featuring the street art of Mental 312. Mental's thick, blue lines were similar to his other pieces: bold and expansive, almost Aztec in their geometric style. I didn't know how old the piece was, but judging from what I've observed of Mental's other works, it may have been around for a while. What strikes me about the pieces is that people don't seem to mind them. The ones that first went up last winter along the Garfield and Indiana Green Line Stations are still there, and those at the Sheridan and Bryn Mawr Red Line stops have stayed up for months as well. In fact, the Bryn Mawr piece looks even older, as if it's been around for years.

Continue reading this entry »

A/C / Comments (3)

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

Feature Tue Jul 05 2011

The Urban Canvas

guitar mosiac
Music mural at Prescott Elementary School. All photos by Alan Lake unless otherwise noted.

Chicago is well known for dynamic architecture, but many of our public spaces are also transformed by expressive works of art -- some rock for our solid. "Cloud Gate" and interactive video fountains hold court at Millennium Park. Just across Randolph Street, a sound sculpture resides. As the wind blows, so hum long metal wheat-like reeds that sway in a faux field as if an aeolian harp.

Chagall's "Four Seasons" mosaic mural dominates a plaza nearby. Picasso and Miro face off at Daley Plaza while Dubuffet watches from the Thompson Center as Claes Oldenburg bats clean up. The list is long and impressive. Frank Gehry, Sir Henry Moore, Richard Serra, Isamu Noguchi and Frank Stella to name a few.

Continue reading this entry »

Alan Lake

Street Art Mon Jun 13 2011

Zombie March Chicago 2011

gapers black swan zombie.jpg

There are a few things that make Chicago remarkable and one of those is the Zombie March every year. This year was a little cooler than last but still a pleasant day for The Walking Dead to gather at the Bean in Millennium Park. The greatness of this city was heightened when once again people of all ages and races were able to join together and march as undead beings united in their quest for brains. Of course, one really did have to feel sorry for all the actual live wedding parties trying to get photographs taken by the Bean, only to have their wedding invaded by two undead wedding parties and hordes of other reanimated corpses, making for a rather surreal scene.

Zombies this year re-enacted Michael Jackson's "Thriller" for the stunned and somewhat fearful tourists and marched throughout the loop, descending on the downtown area with vigor. Highlights of this year included Abe Lincoln zombies, Emergency Room zombies, a plethora of zombie children with their families, zombie couples in love, and punk zombies. If there was any doubt at all about how seriously some Chicagoans take the event, I'll remove all doubt with three words: Black. Swan. Zombie.

Click here to view the entire photoset.

Kirstie Shanley / Comments (5)

Art Wed Jun 08 2011

Doe, a Deer

In the past year, what has become noticeable in Chicago's emerging and contemporary gallery scene is the ubiquitous and relative importance of Anna Cerniglia's Johalla Projects. The space not only provides ample opportunities for many locally-based artists to exhibit their work. It also provides a unique platform for more experimental and brief artist projects that connect a wider variety of artistic practices than the traditional exhibition.

In Urban Dwellers, artist Andrea Jablonski in collaboration with Vicki Fuller of VLF Development created and installed large-scale and glittered deer in the empty lot of 1827 North Milwaukee. The deer serve as a reminder for of the original natural surroundings of the area prior to urban development. Urban Dwellers closes June 11.

Britt Julious

Feature Tue May 17 2011

Co-op Image Group Teaches Kids to Sculpt their Own Art Educations

photo courtesy of Mike Bancroft

There are many ways to a teenager's heart; you just have to know where to start. Co-op Image Group started with a few video cameras and has kept the kids interests by adding stencils, samplers, molten glass and hot sauce.

It all began in 2002 when Mike Bancroft (who was working for Street Level Youth Media at the time) and his sister, Bridget, were working on a project with the SLYM kids called "Post Our Bills." The idea was to use boarded up buildings as exhibition opportunities -- rather than looking at plywood-covered windows, wouldn't you rather look at paintings? Although they didn't get a lot of cooperation from the city, they attracted a lot of volunteers and positive attention from the neighborhood, and before they knew it they received a donated building and a community garden -- now the Campbell Co-op Garden (1357 N. Campbell St.).

Continue reading this entry »

Kelly Reaves

Gallery Thu Mar 24 2011

Weekend Art

If you're looking to see some art, here's a good place to start:


Also, check out the Chicago Zine Fest going on at Columbia College Friday and Saturday.



Holla if you've got stuff to add. Have a great weekend!

Kelly Reaves

Street Art Tue Mar 22 2011

Art is Everywhere


A Gaia poster bomb on 18th Street; photo courtesy of the artist

Internationally lauded street artist, Gaia, is officially here-- all over the place. A series of projects showcasing Gaia's work around town, collectively titled GAIA: Resplendent Semblance launched a few weeks ago with a bunch of work pasted up all over the city, a collection of work at Pawn Works (which opened last Friday) and a show of new, large scale paintings and collages at Maxwell Colette Gallery, which will open this Friday.

Continue reading this entry »

Kelly Reaves / Comments (2)

Street Art Wed Jan 26 2011

Packing Tape as a Vehicle for Change

A video about Piñata Factory

As awesome as Chicago is, we have our fair share of problems, from homelessness to gun violence. As much as many of us would like to ignore these problems, it is important that we don't. Luckily there are artists and activists who have taken it upon themselves to bring attention to these problems in creative, even playful ways, encouraging communities to take responsibility for them. One of these groups calls themselves Piñata Factory. Piñata Factory is an ongoing collaboration between Mike Bancroft, working with the youth he mentors in his organization Cooperative Image Group in the Humboldt Park neighborhood, and Bert Stabler, with the students he teaches at Bowen High School on the southeast side.

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Kelly Reaves

Performance Thu Dec 23 2010

A Deep and Jazzy Marching Flash Mob

Cauleen Smith, a San-Diego-based artist who has been picked up by Threewalls residency program, is in the process of trying to fund her experimental film and LP project, The Solar Flare Arkestral Marching Band. Basically, this is a marching band flash mob made up of musicians of all ages that appears in different locations around Chicago, gingerly plays a Sun Ra song and then scatters. What's better than that? According to Smith's mission statement, "The Solar Flare Arkestral Marching Band brings many Chicago communities together to interrupt ordinary life in the city with fleeting ecstatic moments of visual and aural incongruence."

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Kelly Reaves / Comments (1)

Film Tue Apr 27 2010

Comedy and Tragedy in Exit Through the Gift Shop

Last week I was lucky enough to catch a preview of the new "street art disaster" documentary, Exit Through the Gift Shop, which opens Friday at Landmark's Century Centre Cinema.

Most of the people I've talked to who have heard something about this film think it's a film about Bansky, and it's not. It's really about the progression of street art as a whole, and how money ruins everything.

Continue reading this entry »

Kelly Reaves

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.

Continue reading this entry »

Kelly Reaves

Art Thu Mar 25 2010

I Rode with James Bruce King at The (Con)Temporary Art Space


If you're downtown and you're looking for something unusual to check out this evening, check out the new show at The (Con)Temporary Art Space (208 S. Wabash) tonight, starting now. Part time cab driver, artist, writer and sometimes homeless 60+ year old gentleman, James Bruce King is showing his hyper, surrealistic, Chicago-centric drawings with Bruner and Bay in the back room and Reuben Kincaid on Youtube karaoke. Click here for details.

Kelly Reaves

News Mon Feb 22 2010

Modern Wing Tagged

The Art Institute of Chicago usually likes to have its paintings on the inside of the building on canvas and the like, not on the actual building. A 50-foot-long piece of graffiti was painted on the east wall of the new Modern Wing by a team of graffiti artists in about 20 to 30 minutes and was caught on tape. Chicago's Graffiti Blasters spent most of the day sandblasting it off the limestone and curators and conservators will assess how to deal with any remnant of paint left. Fat Caps and Chrome has some nice photos of the work before the Blasters got to it.

Christian Scheuer / Comments (6)

Art Wed Nov 11 2009

Art is Everywhere All the Time (Today)

dubi-something-new-229x250.jpgI'll be honest with you. I don't exactly know what the hell is going on. I just found out about this. It sounds pretty darn awesome, though. Apparently what is happening, right now, is a 24-hour decentralized art show all over our wonderful city, ending at midnight tonight.

The show is called "Something New." It was organized and curated by Nikola Tosic (an internet artist and poet based in Serbia) and Sarah Weis (multi-media artist, performer and creative director of i^3 hypermedia.) Check out this webpage to find out exactly what artwork is being shown today and where. The idea is basically to turn the whole city of Chicago into an art viewing space for one day, a sort of choose-your-own-adventure concept, relying heavily on the participation of the audience.

Continue reading this entry »

Kelly Reaves

Street Art Thu Aug 27 2009

Whose Street Art is This?

stikman_figure.jpgReader Seth writes, "Seeing these by crosswalks all around the loop. Cool, because the paint used is the same as crosswalk and traffic line paint. Any info on the artist or explanation? Inquiring robots want to know."

As a matter of fact we do. They're the work of a New York-based street artist known by the moniker Stikman or Stickman. His stuff is all over Brooklyn and the rest of the city, and apparently he recently visited Chicago to lay down some work.

If you're interested in Chicago's thriving street art community, check out the Chicago Street Art group on Flickr.

Andrew Huff / Comments (11)

Art Tue Jul 28 2009

Welcome to Goonsworld


The street artist known only for his Goons now has a website.

Andrew Huff

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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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