“Austin Osman Spare: Psychopathia Sexualis” At Iceberg Projects Via The Kinsey Institute
Iceberg Projects and the Kinsey Institute, Indiana University present “Austin Osman Spare: Psychopathia Sexualis,” the artist’s first solo exhibition in North America. “This landmark exhibition celebrates the centennial anniversary of a rare folio of erotic drawings from the Kinsey Institute’s Collections. The works on display depict tableaus of a grotesque bacchanalia featuring monstrous figures, satyroi, animals and even portraits of Spare himself.” The unveiling of this folio, on view in its entirety for the first time, contributes forty-four new works to Spare’s oeuvre. Curated by Rebecca Fasman, Ryan M. Pfeiffer and Rebecca Walz, the show runs March 19-May 22. More here.
“Pop Stars! Popular Culture and Contemporary Art” Opens at 21c Museum Hotel
21c Museum Hotel Chicago’s new on-site exhibition, “Pop Stars!” opens Monday, March 21. “The multimedia exhibition illuminates the intersection of celebrity, commerce, technology and the media,” the hotel relays, including notable works by Nick Cave, Brendan Fernandes, Titus Kaphar, Hank Willis Thomas and Kehinde Wiley. Spanning all 10,000-plus square feet of the 21c Museum Hotel Chicago’s gallery space, “Pop Stars!” features over ninety works of art by fifty-five artists from around the world. Curator Alice Gray Stites says that “Superheroes and celebrities, totems and toys: the imagery of manufactured fantasy is reframed in the visual language of historical iconography. With unprecedented access to an audience of one’s own, we find affirmation onscreen, and venerate fame as a final destination. As the real and the virtual increasingly collide, boundaries between art and media further blur, inspiring new mythologies realized in new materials: stars of stage, screen, and sport are reenvisioned, offering insight into how desire shapes identity. References to religious iconography are integrated into a spectrum of artworks that illustrate the persistent, powerful impact of technology on who we are and what we want.” The opening reception is Thursday, March 24, with curator’s remarks and a conversation with featured artist Brendan Fernandes. More here.
Columbus Controversy Cues Closed-Door Curses
A lawsuit, filed by former Chicago Park District deputy general counsel George Smyrniotis against the city and Mayor Lightfoot, alleges the Mayor in contentious form: “At the meeting, Smyrniotis alleges, Lightfoot ‘proceeded to berate and defame’ the lawyers… ‘Where did you go to law school? Did you even go to law school? Do you even have a law license?’ … Lightfoot told them that they had to submit their pleadings to a city lawyer for approval and were told ‘not to do a f—ing thing with that statue without my approval… Get that f—ing statue back before noon tomorrow or I am going to have you fired.’ The lawsuit also alleges that she called the men ‘d—s’ and asked, ‘What the f— were you thinking? You make some kind of secret agreement with Italians… You are out there stroking your d—s over the Columbus statue, I am trying to keep Chicago police officers from being shot and you are trying to get them shot… My d— is bigger than yours and the Italians, I have the biggest d— in Chicago.’” Fran Spielman: “A civic leader is demanding that Mayor Lori Lightfoot apologize for the obscene and derogatory remarks a lawsuit alleges she made about Italian Americans.” WGN-TV: “The city has not commented on the lawsuit.”
Minnesota Police Built “Shadowy Surveillance Machine” To Monitor Protestors After George Floyd Murder
An investigation by MIT Technology Review reveals a sprawling, technologically sophisticated system in Minnesota designed for closely monitoring protesters. “Cops built a shadowy surveillance machine in Minnesota after George Floyd’s murder… Run under a consortium known as Operation Safety Net, the program was set up a year ago, ostensibly to maintain public order as Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin went on trial for Floyd’s murder.” The MIT Technology Review investigation states “that the initiative expanded far beyond its publicly announced scope to include expansive use of tools to scour social media, track cell phones, and amass detailed images of people’s faces. Documents obtained via public records requests show that the operation persisted long after Chauvin’s trial concluded. What’s more, they show that police used the extensive investigative powers they’d been afforded under the operation to monitor individuals who weren’t suspected of any crime.”
March Couture Auction Led By Collectors Susan Gutfreund And Jacqueline Leeds
Hindman Auctions will present its “Spring Fashion: Centuries of Style” auction on March 16, featuring private collections of significant haute couture headlined by New York fashion collectors Susan Gutfreund and Jaqueline Leeds. “Through these remarkable garments, we begin to understand not only the women who wore them, but also their lifestyle and knowledge of fashion history. Gutfreund and Leeds cultivated relationships with the trailblazing designers and couturiers that created the fashions in this sale. Beginning with items that date to the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, the women represented in this sale documented almost three centuries of fashion, through their discerning eye. The collections comprise some of the world’s most influential and inspiring fashion designers and couturiers,” which includes over fifty haute couture creations by Chanel, Givenchy, Philippe Venet, Madame Grès, Yves Saint Laurent, Emanuel Ungaro, Jean Paul Gaultier and Christian Dior, dating from 1969 to 1997. These collections also incorporate custom-made and ready-to-wear designs by American and British designers, such as Halston, Ralph Rucci, Vivienne Westwood, Alexander McQueen and John Galliano. Catalog here. Auction details here.
One of a Kind Show Returns to theMart
Bringing 300 jury-selected independent artists from across North America for a weekend of shopping and entertainment, the One of a Kind Show has announced their return to theMART for their sixth annual Spring Show, Friday, April 29-Sunday, May 1. Shoppers can find a unique assortment of products spanning twenty categories including everything from fashion to fine art to homewares, accessories and gourmet goods. Show attendees will be able to talk to the artists to understand their processes and inspirations behind each piece. To add to the experience, live music, gourmet cafes and hands-on workshops will be offered throughout the weekend. Ten-dollar tickets and more here.
Empty Storefronts Replaced By “Dark Stores”
Curbed looks at the phenomenon of disused commercial storefronts in New York City, but the story could be the same here. “‘Chain stores are all we had left, so when they are gone there’s nothing left!,” a commenter offered. “As it turns out, this was a shade too optimistic. What came next—dark stores, those spaces used by grocery-delivery apps as warehouses and aren’t open to the public—is, from the standpoint of a streetscape, worse than nothing… So far, grocery apps have opened six dark stores on the Upper West Side… Their arrival feels like the grim destination we have been moving toward as a city for some time now, and at a frenzied clip since the start of the pandemic when New York split into distinct classes: people holed up in their apartments and the people who brought them stuff.”
Rockford Loft Apartment Project Geared Toward Artists, Entrepreneurs
Rockford architect Gary Anderson’s Studio GWA has teamed with Gorman & Co. to convert a pair of historic Cedar Street buildings into live-work loft apartments—”one geared toward artists and another toward entrepreneurs,” reports the Rockford Register Star. “The estimated $20 million project would convert aged warehouse space into sixty-five market-rate units in the two buildings combined. The buildings would help fulfill a more than decade-old promise to create an ‘innovation ecosystem’ of entrepreneurs and artists in downtown Rockford.”
Fastest-Growing Landlord In Midwest, Monarch Investment And Management Group, “Popping The Clutch” On Tenants
“Despite billions spent by the federal government to protect and support the vulnerable during the pandemic, companies took advantage of weaknesses in the law to churn tenants with little knowledge of their rights and few options. One of the most successful was Monarch Investment and Management Group of Franktown, Colorado,” Bloomberg CityLab reports. “As middle America’s fastest-growing landlord, specializing in places with widespread poverty and few protections, closely held Monarch had its best year ever in 2020 — despite the pandemic, despite the ravaged economy and despite federal rules to protect renters. Eviction bans, owner Bob Nicolls told investors in a videotaped meeting in September, were ‘more of a nuisance than anything else.'” About a week after “the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the Biden administration’s first eviction moratorium, Nicolls said the end of the ban, scant new housing supply and a return to full employment would create ideal circumstances for ‘popping the clutch.’ It was an opportunity, unprecedented in his lifetime, to raise rents. ‘Where are people going to go?’ Nicolls said on the video. ‘They can’t go anywhere.'”
Spudnik Press Collective Regroups
“The staff are committed to collaborating with us as we work toward change. As a largely new board, we are committed to positively shaping the culture at Spudnik to ensure we’re living our values across all facets of the organization. As part of these efforts, this year we’ll be adding two board seats dedicated to Spudnik community members, without annual dues. We are working on revising our grievance process to ensure that staff feel safe and supported, and we will revisit the salaries of current staff,” Spudnik Press says in a release. “We have heard from many of you – both current and former community members and staff – on areas we need to improve to ensure Spudnik is an approachable, inclusive, respectful, and nurturing community space and workplace… We will also commit to engaging our community member base on more ways we can improve in the coming weeks. As we begin our search for a new Executive Director, we are committed to finding a strong leader and team builder that shares our values… This is a difficult time for all of us. Please know that we will do what we can to move in a positive direction.”
DINING & DRINKING
James Beard Outstanding Chef Semifinalists Include Jason Vincent Of Giant
“A Chicago chef was left off the list of James Beard Award semifinalists that was released last week due to a clerical error,” reports Eater Chicago. “Jason Vincent of Giant was added to the outstanding chef category on the James Beard Foundation’s website yesterday, six days after the list of nominations was originally released.”
The Jean Banchet Award Nominations Are Out
The 2022 Jean Banchet Award nominations are out, reports Eater Chicago. “Finalists for Restaurant of the Year include the recently refurbished fine dining destination Oriole in West Loop (a regular in the category), innovative Uptown restaurant Brass Heart, elegant Korean tasting menu spot Jeong in West Town, farm-to-table stalwart Lula Cafe in Logan Square, and Moody Tongue, the world’s only two Michelin-starred brewpub, in South Loop.”
Reservations Are Hard To Get, But More Restaurants Closer To Closing Than Ever
“Restaurants aren’t working at full capacity,” reports Axios Chicago. “Staffing shortages and financial losses mean they are not staffing to fill every single table, which is why you may see empty tables in restaurants that say they are sold out… ‘Restaurants are closer to permanently closing than they have ever been,'” Boka Group co-owner and Illinois Restaurant Coalition co-founder Kevin Boehm tells Axios. “The IRC delivered a letter to President Biden signed by over 10,000 restaurant owners, employees, and suppliers asking to replenish federal funds for pandemic relief.”
Alpana Singh’s Got A New Resto
“Alpana, the Gold Coast spot from sommelier and former ‘Check, Please!’ host Alpana Singh, opens this month, and it showcases both the type of food she wants to eat and the types of women she admires,” reports Chicago magazine. “This isn’t Singh’s first restaurant — she’s previously run two Chicago places, Boarding House and Seven Lions, and one Evanston restaurant, Terra and Vine—and she’s taking everything she learned from those experiences and putting it together at Alpana. Part of that means she’s made the choice to not have a chef… ‘When I’ve worked with a chef, you hire them, they have their artistic vision… and you feel like you have to do what they want… I’ve been studying food for twenty years, and I love cooking.” So “she’s creating and refining the entire menu herself. The food will have strong influences from Mediterranean and Asian flavors that match Singh’s preferences.”
Lease Issues Shutter Afro Joe’s Coffee Shop For Now
“Afro Joe’s Coffee & Tea on South Halsted is closing April 10 after more than a year serving specialty coffee and treats, owners Kendall and Aisha Griffin said,” reports Block Club Chicago. “The Auburn Gresham staple will temporarily relocate to another neighborhood… until they can find another permanent home in Auburn Gresham.”
Cracked Joins Chicago Pizza Fray
“What’s tavern-cut, you ask? A thin crust, usually pretty crunchy, cut into preferably asymmetrical squares. Dibs on the corners and at least two middle pieces,” writes Chris Corlew at Cracked. “Tavern-cut pizza was designed—you’re not going to believe this—to be eaten at taverns, where Chicago’s immigrant and working-class populations could gather for a beer after a long day of slaughtering cattle and tossing their bodies into the river… until a fire broke out or they invented the eight-hour workday and the concept of weekends. Taverns were especially valuable spaces for Polish, German and Italian immigrants to establish communities… A long factory shift plus a pitcher of beer is not a great recipe for being able to stand up when you get home to your wife and probably consumption-ridden children. So the small, square cuts of tavern pizza slices were a way to sop up alcohol and not ruin your dinner when you eventually stumbled in.”
FILM & TELEVISION
Cinespace Names Ashley Rice President And Co-Managing Partner
Cinespace Studios has appointed Ashley Rice as president and co-managing partner, reports Reel Chicago. “Rice joins Cinespace from Legendary Television where she managed operations, including production, post-production and production finance, and worked as VP of production at ABC Studios.” Rice joins COO Eoin Egan and CFO Keith Gee as co-managing partners as a team to manage and build upon the 1.45 million square-foot campus, purchased for $1.1 billion from founders Alex Pissios and Nick Mirkopolous by TPG Real Estate Partners.
Amazon Abandoning Brick-And-Mortar, Including Southport Bookstore
Amazon has confirmed the “closing all of its bookstores as well as its 4-star shops and pop-up locations as the online behemoth reworks its physical footprint,” reports AP via the Sun-Times. “The move, which affects sixty-six stores in the U.S. and two in the United Kingdom, enables it to concentrate its efforts on Amazon Fresh, Whole Foods Market, its convenience concept called Amazon Go and its upcoming Amazon Style stores. Amazon Style, which will sell fashion and accessories, is set to open in a Southern California mall later this year.” Reuters: “The company’s innovations were not enough to counter the march toward online shopping that Amazon itself had set off. Its physical stores revenue, a mere three percent of Amazon’s $137 billion in sales last quarter, largely reflective of consumer spending at its Whole Foods subsidiary, has often failed to keep pace with growth in the retailer’s other businesses.” CNN: “It will also continue to focus on Amazon Go, its cashierless grocery store concept.”
Saying Goodbye To The A.V. Club
In a skein of posts to his nearly 20,000 followers on Twitter, former A. V. Club film editor A. A. Dowd reflects: “Today was my last day at The A.V. Club. I know it’s been pretty weepy around these parts lately, so forgive me for pulling into one last stop on the farewell tour… April would have been 9 years at The A.V. Club for me. That’s the longest I’ve worked anywhere. Serving as the site’s film editor was the most rewarding professional experience of my life. Even when things were tumultuous at this job (which was often), I mostly loved the work itself. How could I not? I got paid to write and think about movies! And to edit the work of people much smarter than me! … What I’m most proud of is the number of brilliant writers I was able to talk into contributing to The A.V. Club… I’m going to go get drunk with my once and maybe future coworkers in Chicago. Thanks for indulging me, and I hope to back in your feed with less melancholy musings soon. Fin!” More in the thread.
Looking Inside The Uptown Double Door
Co-owners Pete Bruce and Sean Mulroney are in the midst of reimagining the former Wicker Park Double Door into a modern club with a basement lounge at the historic Wilson Theater building in Uptown. WGN-TV takes a gander.
Twenty-Five Years Of Deeply Rooted Dance Theater
“We don’t have many institutions that uphold the traditions of Black dance or Black theater. So those traditions can quickly fade away if we don’t grow institutions to hold the information and to pass it on,” Kevin Iega Jeff tells Cheyanne M. Daniels at the Sun-Times in a profile of twenty-five years of Deeply Rooted Dance.
Gift Theatre Announces Season
The Gift Theatre returns to live performances with the Chicago premiere of Naomi Iizuka’s drama “At The Vanishing Point,” directed by Lavina Jadhwani. The Gift also presents the world premiere of “Mud City,” a ten-episode radio drama written by founding artistic director Michael Patrick Thornton and featuring over twenty Gift ensemble members and guests. The season concludes in the fall with the world premiere of Jennifer Rumberger’s drama “The Locusts,” commissioned and developed by The Gift and directed by ensemble member John Gawlik. “At The Vanishing Point” will be presented at Filament Theatre, 4041 North Milwaukee, and “The Locusts” will be performed at Theater Wit, 1229 West Belmont.
The company recently exited its longtime home on North Milwaukee and is in a capital campaign to open a new performance space in Chicago’s Jefferson Park neighborhood. “Our conversations to curate this season were guided by what excited us most: Finding opportunities for different generations of Gift Ensemble to work together; ushering in guest artists who will not only challenge and inspire us, but grow alongside us,” Gift co-artistic directors Brittany Burch, Emjoy Gavino and Jennifer Glasse say in a joint statement, “and finally embracing stories that seek the light amidst a lot of darkness. The role of the storyteller is one that has only become more sacred to us in the last few years. We believe it is a season that is provocative, hopeful and full of new poetry.” Season subscriptions are available here.
ARTS & CULTURE
MacArthur Foundation Statement On Ukraine And Nuclear Weapons
“We condemn the invasion of Ukraine by Russia. Ukraine is a sovereign nation that poses no threat to others, and Russia’s aggressions put lives at risk, have created a massive refugee crisis, and jeopardize the current world order. It is an affront to democracy and international peace,” writes MacArthur Foundation president John Palfrey. “The risk of escalation is real amid this crisis, and it has raised the threat of a nuclear detonation to levels we have not experienced since the Cold War. We stand in support of our Nuclear Challenges grantee organizations that have worked for decades to prevent this. Since 1984, MacArthur has invested over $550 million in international peace and security. Over the last 38 years, a large portion of this grantmaking was devoted to nonproliferation and reducing the threat of nuclear weapons through diplomacy. In the early 1990s, we supported successful efforts to denuclearize former Soviet countries, including Ukraine.”
“The number of nuclear weapons worldwide shrunk dramatically during this period, but nine countries still have approximately 13,000 nuclear weapons today… Nuclear weapons should be viewed as a liability, not an asset… The Ukraine crisis is a horrifying case study of why we must do everything possible to make sure that the world knows that nuclear weapons do not make us safer. The threat of a nuclear detonation continues to pose an existential threat to humanity and our environment. If today’s crisis spins out of control, it could result in losing significant ground toward nonproliferation with countries expanding their nuclear arsenals in response to Russian rhetoric…We cannot allow this to happen.”
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