CTA Expands Public Art Along Blue Line
The CTA announced the addition of new works of public art, added to the Western and Addison Blue Line stations and serve as the finishing touch to station improvement work performed as part of the $492 million Your New Blue program to modernize the O’Hare branch. “We are always proud to expand our public art collection with the addition of stunning new artworks,” CTA president Dorval R. Carter, Jr. says in a release. “These exciting and engaging pieces are not only to beautify the facilities, they are also there to inspire and bring a burst of refreshing energy for our riders and the surrounding communities.” The CTA’s public art holdings have “nearly doubled over the last decade to include more than 70 permanent works of art across all eight rail lines and multiple bus facilities. This dynamic and immersive collection of public art includes mosaics, art glass, sculptures and interactive installations created by nationally and internationally acclaimed artists, many of whom are local.”
At the Addison stop: “Replacing forty clear glass window panels throughout the Addison stationhouse is the vibrant art glass installation known as ‘Constant Flow Into Multitudes Of Specific Form,’ by Francesco Simeti of Palermo. To create this ornate and organically lush scene, the artist combined illustrations of indigenous trees, plants and wildflowers. Woven within the landscape are fragments of Louis Sullivan-designed architectural ornamentation in homage to the legendary architect’s work in the vicinity of the Addison station.”
At Western: “Remnants | Restos”… “was created by the Chicago-based artist team of Edra Soto [Newcity Art 50] and Dan Sullivan. Intended to be a ‘functional sculpture’ (furniture) this artwork was fabricated of cast concrete with blue terrazzo embellishments and are attached to the plaza with galvanized steel supports. In collaboration with the artist-team, CTA added in-ground lighting in the plaza and relocated a bicycle rack for improved function of the outdoor space. The artists state that the sculptures present recognizable architectural forms and shapes that celebrate the culture and heritage of the adjacent communities which include Bucktown, Wicker Park and Humboldt Park.” More here.
Architectural Digest Visits Kavi Gupta’s Loft
“Kavi Gupta transforms the loft above his gallery into a family haven that’s ready for guests and ready for art,” Architectural Digest reports in a photo spread. “There are no quick visits with Chicago couple Kavi Gupta and Jessica Moss. Anytime that curators, collectors, or artists drop by Gupta’s namesake Washington Boulevard gallery—the first two floors of an industrial building in the West Loop—they inevitably make their way to the couple’s home upstairs, where Moss will ask if anyone cares for a nosh, and Gupta will dive into his wine collection… As talk strayed from interior design to the future of the art market, he uncorked a rosé, a Sancerre and a Syrah. It was daylight as the tour began and nearly midnight as it ended. When Gupta bought the building in the late nineties, he recalls, ‘My dream was to have a salon-style space,’ He refurbished the interiors and opened his gallery in 2000, settling into a bachelor pad on the second level to which he ultimately added another story, creating [a] mega loft. ‘There were barely any doors, and they were to the bathrooms,’ recalls Moss, who moved in six years later. The pair married in 2008, and Moss, an art historian and curator, joined the gallery in 2017, where she is now principal and head of exhibitions. Representing contemporary artists who include Jessica Stockholder, Mickalene Thomas, and founding members of the AFRICOBRA group, such as Jae and Wadsworth Jarrell, Kavi Gupta|Chicago has expanded to a total of five exhibition spaces, with three buildings in Chicago and one in New Buffalo, Michigan. There is also a conservation and research archive and a publishing division.” More here.
“Limited Exposure” Exhibition For Twenty-Four Hours This Weekend
Refractory is part of the “Limited Exposure” art show hosted and curated by White Studio, featuring for only twenty-four hours a collection of paintings, furniture and objects. Refractory co-founders Angie West and Alberto Velez join artist Lonney White of White Studio, Lawrence Converso of Converso Modern, Deborah Colman and Neil Kraus of Pavilion Antiques and 20th Century. The private preview is Friday, November 12, 5pm-9pm, and opens to the public Saturday, November 13, 11am-5pm, at White Studio, a 7,800-square-foot example of industrial, minimalist architecture that is the showroom and studio of artist Lonney White, at 3845 South Winchester. More here.
D’Angelo Lovell Williams And Derrick Woods-Morrow In Gallery 400 Gallery Talk
Exhibiting artist D’Angelo Lovell Williams and Chicago-based photographer Derrick Woods-Morrow will hold a conversation today via Zoom about their relationship with photography and performance. “Williams stages poignant portraits exploring Black queerness through affectionate encounters between friends, family and self while Woods-Morrow employs the medium to manifest Black queer futures,” the gallery writes in a release. “Moderated by Denny Mwaura, Gallery 400’s public programs manager, the artists discuss the performative aspects of making images outlined by kinship and friendship structures that chronicle Black social life.” Via Zoom, Thursday, November 11, 5pm-6:30pm. More here.
Jeffrey Gibson Solo Show Opens At Kavi Gupta
Kavi Gupta presents “Beyond the Horizon,” a solo show of new works by Jeffrey Gibson, acclaimed visual artist and 2019 MacArthur Fellow. “Gibson’s aesthetic position is rooted in the spaces where narratives collide,” the gallery writes in a release. “The work recontextualizes relationships between popular culture, identity politics, personal experience, memory and canonized versions of history, inviting viewers to question the myths and assumptions that empower contemporary social structures. For ‘Beyond the Horizon,’ Gibson brings together four bodies of work, integrating a broad mix of source content, including a dazzling new series of ‘Quilt Block Paintings.’ The pastiche appearance of these ambitious works is a material reflection of the intertextual narratives within. Says Gibson, ‘My grandmothers made quilts, and I collect quilts. I’m drawn to their patchwork quality. If you know where the fabrics are coming from, there’s a story that can be played out through material culture.’ Images of Indigenous people appear throughout the ‘Quilt Block Paintings,’ [questioning] differences between how Native Americans represent themselves and how they are represented by others. Also interwoven into many of the panels are delicate, beaded objects dating from the mid-nineteenth to mid-twentieth centuries. Taken from Gibson’s private collection, these items were often made for personal reasons by their intended users, and other times made as ‘whimseys,’ so-called because of their value to tourists as objects of wonder and amusement.” More here.
Local Pols See Fed Infra Bucks In Ike Rebuild
“Local leaders want money from the federal infrastructure bill to go toward rebuilding the Eisenhower Expressway,” reports WGN-TV. “There has been a plan to reconstruct I-290 in the works for a while but it hasn’t had the funding. That could change as Illinois is set to take in about $17 billion of the new $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill waiting to be signed by President Biden.” The Sun-Times: “The proposed $2.7 billion project would rebuild the Eisenhower from Racine Avenue in Chicago to Wolf Road in west suburban Hillside. It would create 22,000 jobs, each paying on average $80,000 a year, and reduce travel times by twenty-five-to-fifty-six percent, according to Mary Tyler, a transportation researcher with the Illinois Economic Policy Institute… The organization released a report on the proposed project Tuesday. ‘Overall this project is creating a modern transportation corridor, it’s not just a highway project that’s focusing on road and bridge improvements, it also includes pedestrian and transit access, adds express bus opportunities and promotes carpooling.'”
Archer Avenue Artery Of Asian American Growth?
“The 2020 census shows Asian Americans for the first time are the biggest ethnic or racial group in Bridgeport… the onetime home of the Daley family dynasty, where they now outnumber whites for the first time in history… and are seeing big gains in many areas along Archer Avenue,” reports Manny Ramos at the Sun-Times.
A Second Life For American Jails?
“At ninety-six acres, Cook County Jail is the largest single site jail site in the U.S., and a powerful presence on the city’s West Side,” writes Zach Mortice at Bloomberg CityLab. “But it’s shrinking: After bail reform in 2017 required Cook County judges to set bail amounts that are ‘considerate of financial ability of the defendant,’ the jail population dropped sixteen percent, down from 7,000 (though these numbers have since rebounded). This year, the Illinois Pre-Trial Fairness Act abolished cash bail entirely; once fully implemented in 2023, this stands to bring down the number of people detained at Cook County further. At nearly a hundred years old, its Division 1 section has long been vacant and, along with several other older parts of the complex, is now being demolished. [Maria] Gaspar’s newest project (still in the early stages) will work with formerly incarcerated people to respond to Division 1’s demolition, asking, ‘What does abolition look like materially, through destruction, through the appearance and disappearance of the oldest part of the institution?'”
DINING & DRINKING
Virus Climbing, Mask Mandates Hold For Eateries And Pour Houses
Eater Chicago chronicles the status of the still-in-force mask mandate in Chicago and Illinois. “Chicago’s winters are boons to delivery and carryout sales under normal circumstances. However, bars do substantial business during the colder months. Business owners say that they’re frustrated and fatigued. They are warning Pritzker and Lightfoot that they don’t want state and local officials to prematurely lift the mask mandate and then bring it back after a few weeks or months. The city and state’s vaccination rates will influence those decisions. The city’s goal is seventy-seven percent, to match the number of Chicago neighborhoods. The good news is that the city is close as the latest figures show sixty-five percent of Chicagoans twelve or older have received at least one dose.”
Independence Tap Sold But Will Remain A Bar
“Independence Tap’s retiring owner has sold the neighborhood bar after running it for more than twenty-five years,” reports Block Club Chicago. “The bar at 3932 West Irving Park opened in 1970 and is known for its live music, open mics and low-key neighborhood feel with tin ceiling tiles, exposed brick walls and wooden floors. Outgoing owner George Lacon has run the bar since 1995. He decided to put his bar and the building that houses it on the market earlier this year so he could retire.”
Kirin Holdings Buy Bell’s Brewery
Bell’s Brewery, the nation’s sixteenth largest brewing company has been bought by Lion Little World Beverages, a global craft beer division of Japan’s Kirin Holdings, reports Sightlines. Kirin acquired New Belgium in 2019, “and the latest move is the largest craft beer company sale since. Bell’s produced nearly 462,000 barrels of beer in 2020, sold in forty-three states and Puerto Rico… Kirin now owns two top-20 U.S. breweries in terms of production. ”
FILM & TELEVISION
Betsy Leonard Named Kartemquin Executive Director
Kartemquin Films, the Chicago-based documentary nonprofit, has named Betsy Leonard as Executive Director. Leonard will oversee all aspects of operations, programs and serve as Executive Producer on all of Kartemquin’s documentaries. Founded in 1966 as a documentary collective, Kartemquin helps develop filmmakers, produces films, and advocates for the field of documentary. Leonard joins Kartemquin after twenty-nine years at Heartland Alliance, where she played mission-critical roles. While at the organization, KTQ relays, “she designed and implemented a restorative, anti-racist learning and development strategy for its global workforce and transformed its culture through a multi-year, trauma-informed organizational development plan. She also played a key role in business and contributed revenue development, helming Heartland’s efforts to successfully expand fundraising by forty-percent to $8 million in diversified, private contributions, including a $1.9 million annual fund.”
“I am excited to be joining the staff, filmmakers, board members, and supporters who have envisioned a radical new future for Kartemquin, one that builds off the significant legacy of the past and interrogates the possibility for the future,” Leonard says in a release. “There is urgency in visualizing and voicing issues impacting civil society, and I feel confident in the commitment, conviction, and courage I see in the people who make Kartemquin great—and of those who have yet to make their imprint on the organization and its mission.”
51st Ward Books Launches Latinx Holiday Pilsen Pop-Up
“51st Ward Books & Amigxs Mercadito Navideño” is a Christmas holiday retail pop-up in Pilsen Arts & Community House that “aims to fill the gap in bilingual, bicultural literature, learning tools, and toys available to this community in our city. To meet this need, 51st Ward Books is partnering with six local Latinx makers and small businesses to feature toys, lifestyle goods, and clothing items that reflect our diverse communities,” the store writes. “Chicago is a People of Color city with a Latinx future. 51st Ward Books is committed to partnering with like-minded businesses to expand access to culturally responsive and culturally affirming products for children,” Nina D. Sanchez, co-founder of 51st Ward Books says in the release. “This is more than just business—it is a mission to ensure that Latinx children see their language, skin, and culture reflected back to them on the bookshelf or the toy shelf.” The market is open through December 24, and the grand opening is from 1pm-3pm, Saturday, November 13 at Pilsen Arts & Community House, 1637 West 18th.
U.S. Journalist Danny Fenster Charged By Myanmar Military Dictatorship With Sedition, Terrorism
“U.S. journalist Danny Fenster, who was arrested as he tried to leave Myanmar in May, has been charged with terrorism and sedition, his lawyer tells AFP, and could face life in prison if convicted,” reports Agence France-Presse. Fenster’s family spoke to Detroit television in October. It’s Day 170 at “Bring Danny Home” on Facebook: “We know everyone is concerned about the mounting charges against Danny and you may have wondered how the daily hearings are going. We wish we had the answers and we wish more than anything, that Danny would be brought home to this community that loves him so.” AP via Detroit Free Press on November 5: “Testimony by prosecution witnesses… in the case of Danny Fenster, a U.S. journalist who has been detained in Myanmar for more than five months, established that official records did not accurately show where he was employed, his lawyer said. The point may be crucial because it appears that Fenster is being prosecuted for alleged offenses committed by a news outlet at least seven months after he stopped working there. Authorities have not clearly described what he is accused of doing. The trial is closed to the media and the public.”
Thirty productions had a combined paid attendance of 193,309, about eighty-two-percent of total capacity. The previous week’s attendance was seventy-eight-percent of capacity, reports Deadline.
Theater Workers Aren’t Just Changing Jobs, But Leaving Theater Entirely
“Once-committed arts workers… left not only their jobs but the entire industry, many motivated in part by COVID-era reevaluations of life priorities,” reports the San Francisco Chronicle. “All these sources’ decisions were the result of a compendium of factors—personal, company-specific, cultural, industrywide. But recurring themes, none new, reaffirm how broken the arts’ employment model is. Theater and its sister arts are hardly the only industries that routinely run their passionate workers into the ground. It would be one thing if arts jobs paid commensurately with the college degrees and off-the-clock overtime they usually require. But theater salaries, even for full-time jobs, are so low so often that the weekly nationwide theater newsletter Nothing for the Group recently debuted a section called ‘That’s Not a Living Wage.'”
Chicago Theatre Week Is Back
Chicago Theatre Week, an annual celebration of the tradition of Chicago theatergoing with value-priced tickets, returns for its tenth year, from February 17-27, 2022, spanning a week and two full weekends. As a program of the League of Chicago Theatres, in partnership with Choose Chicago, more than a hundred theater productions are expected to participate in neighborhoods throughout the city and suburbs. The value-priced tickets will be $30, $15, or less. The list of confirmed participating productions will be available when tickets go on sale at 10am, Tuesday, January 11, 2022, here.
First Folio Theatre Will Close When Founder David Rice Retires In 2024
“First Folio Theatre, a longstanding Equity suburban theater company producing at the Mayslake Peabody Estate Forest Preserve in Oak Brook, is to cease operations at the end of the 2024 season,” writes Chris Jones at the Trib (via MSN). “Rice said that the theater’s financial status would not support hiring a full-time staff at appropriate salaries. ‘This has been a labor of love for us… and since we were not wholly dependent on the theater for our income, we were able to plow back that money.'” Rice said that “the board will assist him with an orderly wind-down of operations. ‘We’re in the black and able to produce through 2024… but it only works through then.’ Rice also cited the challenges faced by suburban theaters who find themselves shut out of grants only open to theaters within Chicago.” The Daily Herald: “Of First Folio’s more than eighty productions, fourteen have been world premieres and twenty-five were outdoor productions of Shakespeare plays. Between 1997 and 2019, more than 80,000 tickets were sold for outdoor performances. To date the theater has sold more than 100,000 tickets for indoor shows. The company earned seven Joseph Jefferson Awards including adaptation and music awards for Rice.”
“Futurology” Is Teatro Vista’s Season Theme
Leading Latinx theater company Teatro Vista announced plans for its 2021-22 season, the first guided by co-artistic directors Lorena Diaz and Wendy Mateo. Futurology, or “the study of current trends that forecast future developments,” is the theme for the company’s thirty-first season, “signaling a new future powered by ensemble-driven work,” the group writes in a release. “Under this banner, Chicago’s largest, longest-running Latinx theater ensemble will present live and virtual productions that push boundaries of theatrical expression, propelling the company and its ensemble to a new future of work that encompasses many disciplines of art, genres and expression. Futurology exemplifies how Teatro Vista plans to apply a theatrical process to the medium of film, taking the time to develop three-dimensional characters and new forms of storytelling.” More here.
Lyric Opera Seeks Chief Artistic Administration Officer
The Lyric has posted a listing for applications and nominations for the newly created position of Chief Artistic Administration Officer, available in early 2022.
Remembering The Solo Performance Monologues Of Michael Martin
Curious Theatre Branch is hosting a three-week celebration of the solo performance monologues of the late Michael Martin, curated by Kelly Anchors. “A Michael Martin Tribute” runs November 11-28 at Pride Arts Center, 4139 North Broadway. Tickets at dime.io/c/curious-theatre-branch or at the door ($15 or pay what you can). More here.
ARTS & CULTURE
A Veteran’s Day Program At Pritzker Military Museum & Library
On Veteran’s Day, today, November 11, at 5:30pm, the Pritzker Military Museum & Library will host a free Veteran’s Day program which will be streamed live via YouTube from the Museum. During the program, Colonel Jennifer Pritzker will present the Pritzker Military Museum & Library’s Founder’s Awards to U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth and to Congressman Adam D. Kinzinger. The evening’s program will begin with a brief introduction and then move to veterans asking about the importance of Veteran’s Day while also honoring the hundredth anniversary of the The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
Send culture news and tips to [email protected]