Art Institute of Chicago Appoints Associate Curator Of Modern And Contemporary Art
The Art Institute of Chicago has announced Giampaolo Bianconi as its associate curator of modern and contemporary art. “I’m thrilled to be joining the Art Institute of Chicago at a crucial moment for thinking about art, museums, and society,” says Bianconi in a release. “I look forward to working with so many inspiring colleagues on the art of our time.” Giampaolo is a curator at the Museum Brandhorst in Munich, where he recently organized the experimental platform, “Site Visit” (2022), featuring weekly installations, talks and workshops by local and international artists. Earlier, he was a curatorial assistant in the Department of Media and Performance Art at the Museum of Modern Art, New York. During his tenure at MoMA, he not only acquired works for the collection but organized exhibitions, performances, and events. Ann Goldstein, deputy director chair and curator of modern and contemporary art, says in the release, “Giampaolo’s artist-centered vision and scholarship is propelled by thoughtful curiosity, versatility and broad-ranging interests, as well as extensive experiences with time-based-media, performance, and a multi-faceted knowledge of contemporary practices in Latin America and the Caribbean. I eagerly anticipate his contributions to our ongoing commitment to reconsidering the history of contemporary art.”
AIA Chicago Lifetime Achievement Award Honor To Ralph Johnson
AIA Chicago, the second-largest chapter of the American Institute of Architects, has announced that Ralph Johnson, FAIA, LEED AP, Principal and Global Design Director of Perkins&Will will receive the 2022 AIA Chicago Lifetime Achievement Award. Johnson will be given the award on September 12 at Pritzker Pavilion during Designight 2022, the first free and public ceremony for AIA Chicago’s signature award program which honors the global design achievements of Chicago architects. “Generations of Chicago architects have learned from Johnson’s mentorship over the years and his constant push for design excellence,” said Drew Deering, AIA, president, AIA Chicago. “These diverse projects that focus on the users of the space are recognized globally for their influential design. At the local level, every Chicagoan knows a Ralph Johnson project.”
Private Astor Club Opens Soon In Former Maxim’s Space
“This building rose in 1962, the work of revered architect Bertrand Goldberg, who is most famous for creating that iconic structure that is Marina City. This was the Astor Tower Hotel, where The Beatles, among many famous folks, once stayed,” writes Rick Kogan at the Trib. Maxim’s “was as opulent a restaurant as this city has ever known, a stylish Art Nouveau-inspired space, all dim lighting, plush furniture and artful design. It served meals that earned it a place on Life magazine’s list of the top six gourmet restaurants in the country. But it also housed what was then the city’s first discothèque.” The Bilters, the couple building out the new private club, have a list of almost a hundred members. “A few of them are famous and some I know… but the Bilters are not naming names—to them private is private. ‘Many of the members are from the neighborhood,’ says Adam Bilter. ‘We have been doing a lot of outreach so that everyone knows what we are doing.'”
Chicago Ranked Tenth-Best Thrifting City
“To mark National Thrift Shop Day on August 17, nationwide landscaping company Lawn Love ranked 2022’s Best Cities for Thrifting, looking at how many thrift stores, consignment shops, flea markets…. outlets and other specialty thrift shops are in each city,” reports the Sun-Times. “New York City ranks as the country’s No. 1 city for thrifting… When it comes to sub-categories from the report, the city ranks fifth in consignment shops and fourth for thrift stores. Over the last year, in average monthly Google searches for ‘thrift store,’ ‘flea market’ and ‘thrift store near me,’ Chicago ranks second.”
September Groundbreaking For Covent Hotel Redevelopment In Lincoln Park
“After six years of approvals and planning, construction is set to begin on the mixed-use Covent Hotel redevelopment,” reports YIMBY Chicago. “Planned by NHP Foundation, who had purchased the property in 2016, in partnership with Drummond Development, the project at 2653 North Clark will reuse the existing Covent Hotel building while adding a seven-story edifice to the parking lot behind the existing building. Overseen by Weese Langley Weese Architects,” the renovations will turn “sixty-four single-room occupancy units into thirty affordable studio apartments. The street-facing ground level will provide 4,700 square feet of retail space along Clark Street.”
DINING & DRINKING
Mercat a la Planxa Arrays Fiesta De La Tomatina Menu
A Fiesta De La Tomatina menu will be available at Mercat a la Planxa, the Catalan-inspired tapas restaurant within the Blackstone Hotel, from August 29–September 4. “Dating back to 1945, the La Tomatina Festival takes place annually in Buñol, a small village near Valencia, Spain annually on the last Wednesday of August,” the restaurant relays. “Known as ‘The World’s Biggest Food Fight,’ the uproarious event brings tens of thousands of participants together in the streets to pelt each other with more than a hundred metric tons of over-ripe tomatoes. Paying homage to the Spanish tradition, Mercat a la Planxa’s Fiesta De La Tomatina menu will showcase tomato-centric delicacies including a specialty cocktail made with dried tomato, cucumber and cilantro liqueurs; smoked tomato gazpacho; herb-marinated prawns with heirloom tomato and green tomato romesco; as well as filet mignon with crab-stuffed vine tomato and truffle mash and sundried tomato demi.” The Fiesta De La Tomatina menu will be available for dinner a la carte alongside executive chef Gee Cuyugan’s selection of traditional Spanish tapas. More here.
Hoosier City Of Pierogis Goes Empanada
The Whiting Hispanic Heritage Organization introduces the inaugural Whiting Empanada Fest in Northwest Indiana. Attractions include sweet empanadas from Burrito Stop, along with Easy Peazy’s chicken, beef or apple pie empanadas. A lineup of free musical performances includes Mariachi Sirenas, Chicago’s first all-woman Mariachi; and Impacto Boricua, celebrating Puerto Rico’s musical tradition. Ballet Folklórico Yolotzin will perform Mexican traditional folklore dances. The sixteen-member Banda Venenosa brings regional sounds of México. Headlining the event is fan-favorite Latin Satin Soul Band playing Latin music. Details here.
Fora Opens In West Loop At Emily Hotel
Fora is open at The Emily Hotel (311 North Morgan), a seafood-driven restaurant inspired by the cuisine of Tulum, Mexico City and Oaxaca with a focus on seafood, raw plates and a masa program. “The team has prioritized fresh, high-quality ingredients (some grown on the hotel’s rooftop garden) to create dishes that pay homage to traditional methods.” Fora was developed by chef Billy Caruso (Rye Deli + Drink) and will be headed by executive chef Matt Danko (Grace, Sink | Swim, Trentina, Greenhouse Tavern). Cocktails are selected by beverage director Cristiana DeLuca (The Office at The Aviary, Maple & Ash, The Drawing Room). “Fora will mirror the hotel’s expressive sensibility, while serving up a Tulum-inspired menu, through Japanese techniques and French execution.” Opening menu highlights include Kanpachi (Aguachile Rosa, Smoked Beets, Butterfly Sorrel); Hamachi (Pomelo, Avocado, Yuzu Kosho, Hoja Santa); Carne Apache Tostada (Lime, Salsa Seca, Magic Oil); Chayote Salad (Mint, Basil, Pepitas, Green Goddess, Citrus Lace) and Tetelas (Summer Squash, Goat Cheese, Pine Nuts, Tlatonile). More here.
Mariano’s Will Stock Moor’s Brewing Product
“Beer from a Black-owned brewery that celebrated its first anniversary this Juneteenth will be sold at Mariano’s in the coming weeks — and the brewery is planning a standalone brewhouse in Chicago,” reports Block Club Chicago. “Moor’s Brewing Company, which sells a session ale, an IPA and an imperial porter, [said] that the grocery chain will sell Moor’s.”
Daily Herald Columnist Burt Constable Gives Exit Interview
Eric Zorn blogs his closing conversation with exiting Daily Herald columnist Burt Constable after taking a buyout along with seven other staffers, including Robert Feder.
Zorn: “So what are your plans for retirement? More writing?”
Constable: “Oh, no! [Daily Herald hand-turned-novelist] Charlie Dickinson, he has to write, he’s a novelist. You have to write. Mary Schmich has to write. I’ve never felt that compulsion. It was a nice job, and I really did love the reporting and writing, but I don’t know if I’ll ever write anything again.”
Tribune Food Editor’s Ask For Food Donation Questioned
At The Hunger, Michael Nagrant questions an “ask” for a food donation by Tribune food editor Ariel Cheung. “Did the Chicago Tribune food editor just use her implicit clout to publicly ask the industry she covers to donate food to a third-party organization that she’s president of to benefit her and forty-nine other journalists? … I reached out and asked her about the request. I also reached out to various publicists and chefs who I thought may have seen the request to see if anyone was participating/donating. No one would go on record, because (and this is part of the problem), they didn’t want to offend or get in any trouble with the Tribune… I also know that people who thought about making offers and those who did all basically told me the same thing, something along the lines of ‘Of course I’m doing this. You have to.'”
Musing On The Future Of Chicago Outdoor Music Fests
“There’s no reason for a private company to have that much control of what happens in a public park. I don’t care how much you love seeing Muse or Red Hot Chili Peppers headline Lollapalooza,” writes Leor Galil at length at the Reader newsletter. “There is no worthwhile argument for ceding decision-making power over public land to a private company, never mind one that is owned by the largest multinational company in live entertainment: Live Nation. If the city is interested in music festivals because these mega-events bring in big cash infusions, who does it help to give decision-making power to an arm of a company that’s consistently charged with behaving like a monopoly? (In January, a group of Ticketmaster customers filed a class-action lawsuit against Live Nation.) Why is the city hamstringing other promoters from planning something unique in Grant Park?”
Court Theatre Names Associate Artistic Director
Court Theatre has named Gabrielle Randle-Bent as associate artistic director. Randle-Bent will advise in season planning, manage the development of new work, and, as a part of Court Theatre’s new engagement division, participate in and set and articulate strategies for engagement with the many communities Court serves. “She is an immensely talented artist and fabulous fellow collaborator,” says artistic director Charles Newell. “Her singular clarity of vision sets her apart and makes her an asset in any given room. She will bring a refined artistic eye, academic excellence, and a level of expertise that will usher us into an exciting and bright future. I am overjoyed that she will be a part of Court’s artistic leadership.” More on Court Theatre here.
ARTS & CULTURE & ETC.
USPS Hiking Postage To Meet Corporate-Styled Goals
Postage prices will be jacked up again under the hand of a Trump appointee, Postmaster General Louis DeJoy. “The price hike would be part of the Postal Service’s ten-year plan to avoid some $160 billion in projected losses,” reports WGN-TV. “Earlier this year, the USPS slowed delivery times for many of its first-class packages to cut costs.”
Latest Local Mass Tech Layoff: GoHealth Fires 800
“The online insurance seller joins Groupon in announcing massive layoffs as cutbacks roll through tech,” reports Crain’s. The Trib quotes from a note to employees from CEO Vijay Kotte. “We are taking the difficult, but necessary, step of significantly reducing our agent workforce and support teams… It was only after an exhaustive analysis of our business needs and extensive consideration that we agreed this was the path forward to secure our long-term future and enable GoHealth to achieve its full potential.”
Cubs Players On Wandering Through Cornfields
The Cubs and Reds played in Thursday’s “Field of Dreams” Game sequel in Dyersville, Iowa, reports the Sun-Times. “Several players said they were most looking forward to walking through the cornfields. [One player] loved the way the teams took the field for pregame festivities last year, with Kevin Costner, the star of the film, leading the way out from the towering stalks.” “It was almost a continuation of him coming out of the movie,” he said. “You see it on TV; it’s fake until you’re there.”
Ricky Gervais Adopts Case Of Cook County Coyote
Performer Ricky Gervais is getting involved in a fight over Rocky, a four-year-old coyote in Cook County, reports WGN-TV. “Rocky was surrendered to a facility four-years ago because someone thought he was a puppy. The animal lives at a forest preserve in Northbrook because officials say he can no longer survive in the wild.” Gervais said, “Rocky’s physical and psychological deterioration must end. The fact that Rocky is on antidepressant and anti-anxiety medications is evidence of his inhumane captivity and urgent action is needed to help him.”
Forty Striped Surfperch Birthed At Shedd
Shedd Aquarium is home to a school of tiny fish with the recent birth of around forty striped surfperch (Embiotoca lateralis), the Aquarium relays. “The forty juvenile striped surfperch are visible to Shedd guests in the Estuary habitat in Secluded Bay, where they are currently the only fish in the habitat. These fish are identifiable by their compressed, oval body and their coppery color cut through with the horizontal, iridescent blue stripes for which they are named. Striped surfperch are viviparous fish, meaning they do not lay eggs. Instead, the young develop inside the female, and then the whole group of fully developed juveniles is birthed over a day or two. These fish are native to the western coast of the North American continent, tracing from Alaska all the way to northern Mexico. All aquarium births are celebrated at Shedd; breeding and successful birth are excellent indicators of healthy, thriving animals.” The Shedd site is here.
Bally’s Application For Casino Filed
“Bally’s filed its application with the Illinois Gaming Board on Wednesday, taking a major step in the process to build Chicago’s first casino and the flagship property for its fast-growing company,” writes Robert Channick at the Trib. The application will be posted online soon.
NASCAR Maneuvering Questioned; Mayor Cites “Closeted NASCAR Fans”
“The lack of deliberative transparency under Mayor Lightfoot has become increasingly disquieting. Lightfoot, who ran under the slogan ‘Bring in the Light!’ to underscore her commitment to open government, has become something of an autocrat, and members of the City Council are justifiably frosted by the recently revealed terms of the NASCAR deal,” writes Eric Zorn at his Picayune Sentinel, while reviewing reports on resistance to the deal from local media. Lightfoot, reports WGN-TV, said: “I think that what you received is a park district contract which is obviously not comprehensive… So again, I’m not going to get into the specifics. We continue to work with NASCAR and make sure that we minimize the disruption to traffic and that we minimize any damage to our roads. The level of excitement that I have seen from people, who frankly, were closeted NASCAR fans, all across our city, I think is off the charts.”
Brookfield Zoo Names Senior Vice President, Development
The Chicago Zoological Society, which operates the world-famous Brookfield Zoo, has announced the appointment of Kate Brueggemann as senior vice president of development. Her appointment completes an extensive search for a successor to Cindy Zeigler, who led the Society’s philanthropic and development efforts and spearheaded significant changes in the fundraising program over the past fourteen years. Brueggemann brings deep experience in fundraising for not-for-profit organizations and cultural institutions, as well as in marketing and communications. Most recently, she was vice president of development for the Adler Planetarium. In her new role at Brookfield Zoo, she will oversee efforts to raise mission, capital, and annual funds through individual giving, foundations, grants, corporate gifts, government contributions, special events and the Society’s membership program.
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