Conceptual Artist Mel Bochner’s Drawings At Art Institute
“At the forefront of Conceptual Art since the 1960s, Mel Bochner has produced works in almost every medium—painting, photography, sculpture, prints and books—yet drawing has always been foundational to his practice,” the Art Institute of Chicago announces in a release. “Mel Bochner Drawings: A Retrospective” is the first show of the artist’s work to use drawing as its focus. Nearly ninety works, including several from the museum’s collection of Bochner’s earliest drawings, highlight all phases of the artist’s career. Spanning traditional techniques on paper in ink, pencil, and charcoal; oil paint on newspaper; wall drawings in powder pigment; and even stones arranged on the floor, Bochner’s pioneering works helped to redefine traditional boundaries of drawing. “The materiality of a drawing is central to its meaning,” Bochner has remarked. “Every medium reveals something but hides something else.” The work is on view at the Art Institute of Chicago through August 22. More here.
GRAY Chicago Features David Klamen
American artist David Klamen debuts a series of twelve ceramic sculptures in a solo exhibition, “Life Trophies.” Constructed in recent years, Klamen’s “Life Trophies” are “an accumulation of visual fragments, mementos, and experiences that bring material reality to personal or forgotten history.” “Life Trophies” runs at GRAY Chicago, 2044 West Carroll, May 5-June 24. More here.
Weinberg/Newton Gallery Announces Exhibition On Housing Crisis
Weinberg/Newton Gallery, the non-commercial gallery dedicated to promoting social justice causes, is partnering with Mercy Housing Lakefront to present “Key Change.” Addressing the housing crisis, “Key Change” will feature works by Gabrielle Garland, Tonika Lewis Johnson, Maymay Jumsai, Riff Studio and Southside Home Movie Project. “Key Change” is curated by Weinberg/Newton Gallery Director Nabiha Khan-Giordano. Spanning painting, collage, sculpture, video and large-scale installation, the exhibition “addresses the contested history of housing practices while also proposing alternative ways of urban living, specifically in the context of Chicago.”
Architectural collages demonstrate housing as a temporal exercise in which various influences and precedents engage in dialogue with future possibilities. Silent home movies and idiosyncratic sculpture subsequently suggest that housing is a productive place in which intimate moments, lifelong memories and nurturing meals are created and shared. “Our communities are deeply dependent on meeting individual housing needs—an essential human right. Like most other private ventures, there is a tremendous amount of asymmetry in private housing, and it is this very unevenness—as it presents itself both in appearance and in practice, that many of the participants in the exhibition are compelled to represent,” says Khan-Giordano. The exhibition runs from April 29-July 16. More here.
Federal Charges Of Art And Sports Memorabilia Fraud
“Federal charges unsealed in Chicago allege three dealers participated in a massive art and sports memorabilia fraud scheme spanning some fifteen years involving forged signatures of baseball greats Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig and Cy Young, as well as phony paintings purportedly by artists such as George Ault, Ralston Crawford and others,” reports the Trib. “Charged in the thirty-four-page indictment were brothers Donald Henkel, sixty-one, of Cedar, Michigan, and Mark Henkel, sixty-six, of Ann Arbor, Michigan, as well as Raymond Paparella, fifty-nine, of Boca Raton… The three pleaded not guilty during their arraignments in federal court… The wire fraud charges alleged Donald Henkel purchased items such as paintings, baseballs, baseball bats, celebrity photographs and books, record albums, programs and even ‘vintage pens’ for use in the scheme.”
New York Times Reports From Chicago On Transit Crime
“Just as a number of major cities are trying to lure people back to formerly bustling downtowns, leaders are confronting transit crime rates that have risen over pre-pandemic levels,” reports the New York Times, with the requisite editorial flourishes. “Stories of violent assaults, muggings and stabbings on buses and trains dominate the evening news and worried conversations in neighborhood apps. Low ridership has left many passengers saying they feel more vulnerable than before.” In many cities, “there are fewer crimes being reported than in 2019, but the crime rate is up because there are so few passengers… Restoring confidence in subways, commuter rail and buses, officials say, could help rescue local economies from two years of the doldrums, encourage more workers to return to urban offices and make tourists comfortable moving about cities freely. In densely populated places like Chicago and New York, where public transit is essential for millions of people, the well-being of the system can feel like a proxy for the city itself.”
DINING & DRINKING
Another Look At Chicago Magazine’s Appointment Of A New Dining Critic
Fooditor considers Eater’s critique of John Kessler’s new berth at Chicago magazine: “Chicago mag isn’t an alt-weekly where identity representation is a central focus—it’s a mainstream magazine. And that’s okay! If anything in America ought to have different emphases, it’s magazines! So by mainstream standards, Kessler, white dude though he is, was easily the most qualified available candidate, two decades of experience as a reviewer in Atlanta and a recent chair of the James Beard Awards journalism committee. Now, you could argue that other issues (diversity, representation) should trump those attributes, even for a mainstream publication—but you have to actually argue that, which the Eater [Chicago] piece does not; it just assumes. To my mind Kessler, besides being obviously qualified and something of a catch, does represent diversity of a sort—in that he’s not part of the existing critical community (what’s left of it) in Chicago… So he’s not just a defensible choice, but a good one. But not to Eater Chicago, which incidentally has only ever had male lead editors. So they take a piece Kessler wrote four years ago and reduce it to evidence of latent racism (‘Among other things, Kessler called out the restaurants in Chinatown and on Devon for not meeting his standards’—my God, it’s almost like he’s criticizing restaurants!). Because the first job of a critic, of course, is boosterism for Chicago’s Chinese and Indian restaurants. (Which we see a lot of among those ‘fresh voices’ of color in other cities—hence my question to him last week about how plumping for an identity means, to some extent, shifting your primary allegiance away from the reader.)”
AIRE In Loop
AIRE Rooftop Bar, atop the Hyatt Centric The Loop Chicago’s twenty-fourth floor, opens for the summer on May 1. The open-air venue will introduce a new Midwestern-inspired menu, featuring signature cocktails, such as Diosa de Monroe, Floor 24 Old Fashioned and the Summertime Chi. “While taking in the 360-degree views, guests may also enjoy the recently completed 3,800 square-foot mural, which is also visible from street level of the Chicago Loop. The blacklight mural, designed and created by Onur, is meant to immerse viewers in a dream-like vignette, evoking emotional and introspective feelings while drifting amongst the clouds.” Guests are also welcome to outdoor games on the roof, including Jenga, Giant Connect 4 and cornhole. More here.
Dukes Drive-In To Reopen In New Mokena Location
“The popular drive-in, known for its food and cruise nights, closed in Bridgeview in 2019. Now it will have a new home in Mokena in June,” reports Patch. “Hog Wild Express in Mokena closed its doors… April 10, but it didn’t take long for another… restaurant to jump on the chance to take over the space inside the Gas N Wash… Dukes Drive-In was a staple in Bridgeview for 44 years… Under new ownership, Dukes is expected to resurrect itself in Mokena… Patch confirmed the news with management at Gas N Wash.”
Elon Musk Can Haz Your Twitter
Twitter will be acquired by an entity wholly owned by Elon Musk for $54.20 per share in cash in a $44 billion transaction; once complete, Twitter will be a privately held corporation (about six months before the 2022 midterms). The notably litigious Musk says the vast investment supports his interest in “free speech.” The Washington Post, owned by the world’s second richest man, reports that the deal will “put Twitter in the hands of the world’s richest man and one of its most popular users, with more than 83 million followers… Musk is worth about $259 billion according to the Bloomberg Billionaire’s Index, but much of his wealth is tied up in stock.” MSNBC’s Chris Hayes: “Become pretty clear over the past few years that Musk, like Trump, has one true gift perfectly suited for the age: getting attention. The Twitter acquisition makes a lot of sense.” CNN: “Musk has repeatedly stressed in recent days that his goal is to bolster free speech on the platform and work to ‘unlock’ Twitter’s ‘extraordinary potential.'” Economics blogger Joseph Politano: “The clear financial benefit for Elon Musk doesn’t come from Twitter’s returns per se but from his ability to leverage social media to get retail investors to pile into Tesla and his other holdings.” Bloomberg Opinion’s Tim O’Brien: “Musk’s Twitter deal math is sketchy—he’s going to saddle it with billions of dollars of debt, possibly suffocating it. More important: He isn’t up to the task of running a social media company in an era of dangerous and divisive viral propaganda.” Emily Bell, professor Columbia Journalism School: “Taking a moment to think about how utterly crazy it is that in 2022 a company with a significant dataset of private and public communications, that has municipalities, companies and governments on the platform, can switch ownership with pretty much zero scrutiny.” Bell rues the potential loss “for journalists in parts of the world that need urgent real-time communications means at low cost.”
Robert Reich: “Musk’s real goal has nothing to do with the freedom of others. His goal is his own unconstrained freedom–the freedom to wield enormous power without having to be accountable to laws and regulations, to shareholders, or to market competition.” Journalist Judd Legum of Popular Information: “I have no idea if Musk will be able to buy Twitter and, if he does, how Twitter might change. But it underscores the importance of making sure you do not rely exclusively on algorithms controlled by tech companies to get your news. Take control of your information flow now.” James Ball, editor of The Bureau: Musk buying Twitter “would mark the moment social networking sites went from what would make you rich in the first place, to being the trophy asset you buy once you are. Maybe social networks are like newspapers after all.” From Musk’s statement: “I also want to make Twitter better than ever by enhancing the product with new features, making the algorithms open source to increase trust, defeating the spam bots, and authenticating all humans.”
Reader Co-Owner Misses Promised Weekend Meeting
Leonard Goodman canceled a planned meeting regarding the fate of the Chicago Reader “through his lawyer Saturday morning and tweeted he showed up to the meeting only to get called out by Chicago President of Labor president and board member Bob Reiter for pulling a stunt. This isn’t a game for us. Our jobs are on the line,” posts the Chicago Reader union. Bob Reiter: “Sorry Len. Your lawyer declined the meeting because I was going to be there. So showing up after you declined the meeting is a stunt. And not a well crafted one since there is an e-mail record. Get to the table. Get this done.” Reiter was responding to Goodman: “There is some misinformation out there. I was at Elzie Higginbottom’s attorney’s office today at 10am to meet one on one with Elzie. Neither Elzie nor his attorney showed up.” Reader music writer Leor Galil: “I’ve started working this week unsure how much longer I’ll be paid for my labor, unsure if the Reader will continue to exist. My coworkers and I are doing our part to keep this paper alive. We’re asking Len Goodman to stop playing with our livelihoods… I’m in the middle of setting up interviews for Reader stories that I hope we can publish. It is challenging to convince sources to talk to you under so much uncertainty. Make no mistake: Len Goodman has made all of our jobs vastly more difficult.”
Muti Returns To CSO For Two-Week Residency
Music director Riccardo Muti returns to Chicago to lead the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in works by Beethoven, Bottesini, Mead Composer-in-Residence Jessie Montgomery, William Grant Still and Florence Price during two weeks of subscription concerts and activities, the CSO relays in a release. CSO principal bass Alexander Hanna joins Muti and the CSO to perform Bottesini’s Double Bass Concerto No. 2 in B Minor on a program (April 28, 30 and May 3) that opens with the world premiere of “Hymn for Everyone” by Montgomery and concludes with Beethoven’s Sixth Symphony (“Pastoral”). This program is also presented on the “CSO at Wheaton” series on April 29. Muti goes on to lead the CSO in a program (May 5-7) that features Beethoven’s “Egmont” overture and Fourth Symphony, as well as the Orchestra’s first performances of William Grant Still’s “Mother and Child” and Florence Price’s Symphony No. 3. Before the concerts featuring Price’s Symphony No. 3, patrons can attend a panel discussion about Price and her music, as well as performances of chamber music by Montgomery and Price. Muti also leads an open rehearsal for invited senior and community groups on May 5 as part of his residency activities and an ongoing commitment to create access for a wide array of audiences across the Chicago area. For program, ticket and more information, go here.
Pivot Arts Festival Set For June
Pivot Arts, a hub for multidisciplinary performance, will present the 2022 Pivot Arts Festival, “highlighting artists’ resilience and ability to pivot during the pandemic to film and video works and creatively structured live events.” The festival is June 10–18 at The Edge Theater complex and will feature film and video, live performances, works-in-progress, and community gatherings. Tickets go on sale today here.
Chicago Writers’ Bloc Announces New Play Festival
Chicago Writers’ Bloc has announced attractions for its thirtieth anniversary, beginning with a benefit and then staged readings of ten new works presented as part of its 2022 New Plays Festival, May 23-June 14 at the Raven Theater. The festival features six new plays and four new musicals from twelve local Chicago playwrights, including John S. Green, Chloe Bolan, Joanne Koch, Fern Schumer Chapman, Richard Reardon and Brian Kalz. The festival will launch with a benefit featuring “Motherland” by Schumer Chapman and founding member of Chicago Writers’ Bloc, Koch. Based on a book by Schumer Chapman, the play details the true story of a post-Holocaust homecoming for a Jewish family. The performance will be online as well as in-person. The 2022 New Plays Festival will begin on May 23 with the thirtieth anniversary benefit featuring food and drink, a silent auction, raffle, an in-person performance and online pass to “Motherland,” as well as a pass to see any show in the series. The proceeds from the benefit will go toward continuing Chicago Writers’ Bloc’s mission to develop and present new plays and musicals from Chicago area writers. More here.
ARTS & CULTURE
Change At Chicago Community Trust
“Dr. Helene Gayle is leaving the Chicago Community Trust, one of the city’s biggest and oldest foundations, to lead Spelman College, the historically Black women’s university in Atlanta,” reports Crain’s.
Send culture news and tips to [email protected]