Potter & Potter Auctions Name Aron Packer To Fine And Outsider Art Department
Potter & Potter Auctions has announced Aron Packer as a director and specialist for the company’s Fine and Outsider Art department, which was established after the debut Fine and Outsider Art Sale in December. The company plans to expand to several similar events each year, increase in-house expertise and make themselves available to collectors and sellers looking to buy or deaccession quality fine and outsider art and related materials. Potter & Potter, founded in 2007, is a Chicago auction house specializing in paper Americana, vintage advertising, rare books, playing cards, gambling memorabilia, posters, fine prints, vintage toys, and magicana. Upcoming: the Ricky Jay Collection on February 25. More here.
Painter Peter Doig Awarded $2.5 Million In Dispute Over Work He Denied
“The artist Peter Doig, who fought efforts by a former corrections officer and a gallery to attribute a painting to him—even going so far as to sue him when he denied painting it—has won a $2.5 million judgment against those parties and their former lawyer,” reports the New York Times. “A lawyer for Mr. Doig, Matthew S. Dontzin, said in a statement that Mr. Doig would donate any share of the money he received from the ruling to a nonprofit that gives incarcerated people opportunities to make art.” Among those involved: “Peter Bartlow, a Chicago art dealer who agreed to help sell the painting… Bartlow said he still believed that the evidence would ultimately show that Mr. Doig had created the painting.”
Detroit Museum Seeks Dismissal Of Van Gogh Lawsuit
“A Detroit museum displaying a 1888 painting by Vincent van Gogh as part of a showing of eighty of his works said it shouldn’t be pulled into a dispute over ownership of the multimillion-dollar artwork,” reports AP. “The Detroit Institute of Arts said federal law gives it immunity in a lawsuit by a Brazilian collector who claims to be the owner of the painting, ‘The Novel Reader.'”
Art On THE MART Launches Guest Digital Art Curator Program
Art on THE MART Foundation will have a guest digital art curator program. “The selected curator will contribute to programming through commissioning new work and advising on the long-term curatorial strategy for Art on THE MART, the world’s largest digital art experience, which transforms an architectural landmark into a two-and-a-half-acre outdoor canvas along Chicago’s Riverwalk. The program is an eighteen-month position and will integrate global perspectives into the platform while continuing Art on THE MART’s project of bringing dynamic and engaging visual art to downtown Chicago residents and visitors. Curators specializing in time-based media art with a background in site-specific video, video projection mapping and audio components are invited to apply.” Proposals due by March 6 here.
Dinkel’s Neon Might Stay To Decorate Proposed Apartment Development
A proposed development on Lincoln Avenue would have forty-two apartments and first-floor retail space, sweeping up five lots, including two that used to be Dinkel’s bakery, reports Block Club. “The design of the building would use much of Dinkel’s façade and its sign.”
Metra “Paris Metro” Entrance Doomed
“A plan to renovate the city’s Van Buren Metra Station underneath Grant Park was approved Wednesday by City Council, including a plan to remove an iconic entryway that mimics a Parisian train station,” reports Block Club. ADA accessible entrances are being added and will displace parts of the present station. “Designed in 1896, the station is one of the oldest in the Metra system… ‘Paris Metro’ will be removed at the beginning of construction and be… installed at a location selected by the city in consultation with the Park District” and others.
The Dead-End Of “Single-House Porn”
“Architecture critic Kate Wagner dissects the profession’s—and the media’s—pre-occupation with opulent single-family homes” at Azure. Architecture and architectural media seem “to still regard the bespoke single-family home as a kind of pure expression of the craft—simple, formal and unbothered by the peskier plagues of public and large-scale projects. If the affordable multi-family five-over-one is harried by the drudgery of design reviews, zoning battles and budgets, the single-family home in an idyllic site is a pleasurable, aestheticized execution of the architectural ideal, which is to say, architecture as an expression of form and the execution of good taste. It’s a piece of art that just so happens to be inhabited (something that’s oft forgotten as many architectural photographs lack within them human subjects)… I get it. Yet, the more ‘house porn’ I consume—and I have to consume it for work—the more I find myself rolling my eyes, wondering: who exactly is this for? Who lives like this? Why should any of us normal people—or even the field itself— care so much that you’ve created a sweeping villa featuring an athletic concrete cantilevered roof that pays homage to the peaks of mountains and the vernacular architecture of xyz? I’ll take the polemical stance: we shouldn’t.”
Marktown Demolishes Historic Homes
“A contractor razed two city-owned homes in the oasis of worker housing designed by the noted architect Howard Van Doren Shaw that’s nestled amid vertically integrated steel mills, oil refineries and some of the heaviest industry on earth,” reports the Times Northwest Indiana. “East Chicago said the homes were deemed unsalvageable as the city is about to embark on a renovation project in which homeowners can get up to $40,000 to fix up their properties… Residents were caught by surprise when the homes… came down on the Martin Luther King Jr. Day holiday. They said four other houses were demolished in the last few weeks.”
DINING & DRINKING
Logan Square’s Ground Control Closing After Ten Years
“After ten years of running Ground Control, we will be closing our doors,” post the owners of the Logan Square vegan-vegetarian eatery on Instagram. “Our last day will be Saturday, January 21. Thank you for all of your support over the years. We are grateful to have been able to do this for so long.” Husband-and-wife owners Dan Hanaway and Carrie Haase, report Block Club, “both worked in the restaurant industry for years before they decided to strike out on their own and open their own spot in 2012.” Effects of the ongoing pandemic, staffing issues and price hikes are among the factors Hanaway, “a former member of Chicago’s punk music scene,” cites.
Dallas’ Kessaku Comes To Maple & Ash For Omakase Experience
Double Michelin-starred chef Danny Grant will fly in from steakhouse Maple & Ash’s sister restaurant from the Lone Star State for one night for an eight-course Omakase experience in the enclosed atrium of the space. Collaborative menu items include dry-aged Wagyu strip as well as Kessaku staples like nigiri flights, uni bucatini with purple sea urchin, and the Kessaku Tower plated on an extravagant ice sculpture featuring sashimi, tuna and truffle, hamachi and crispy ginger, oysters, caviar and prawns. The team will also offer cocktail and sake pairings in collaboration with Suntory. The menu includes nigiri: itoyori dai, hamachi toro, toro, snapper, uni, a5 wagyu; Uni Bucatini, or purple sea urchin, lemon, nori; an intermission of caviar bumps and sparkling sake; all followed by two kinds makimono, a spicy tuna roll and a salmon miso roll; Koji dry-aged Wagyu strip with maitake mushroom, yakiniku and okazu, finished off with Matcha Mochi Cake. The event is Tuesday, January 24, 5:30pm-8:30pm. Tickets for the $275-per-person evening are here.
A History of Chicago Popcorn
“Since at least the 1870s, Chicago has been a hotbed of popcorn innovation. Part of that has to do with Chicago’s role as a transportation hub for grain in the Midwest. But the entrepreneurial spirit of its citizens certainly helped,” reports Nick Kindelsperger at the Tribune in an extended piece on how popcorn’s been covered, liked or loved.
Milwaukee’s Lakefront Beer Drops Bottles For Cans
Milwaukee’s Lakefront brewery, home to the fictional “Laverne & Shirley” brewery, says its move to cans-only is “a way of being environmentally friendly and more economically efficient.” “It’s just what consumers are asking for, [and in Wisconsin] people prefer cans,” Lakefront president Russ Klisch said. “Cans are easier to store and ship so it just makes sense to make the change now,” reports the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “We will still pay homage to the bottle line and we are looking into installing a small bottle line so we can continue to have it as part of the tour experience… We will find a way to make it work.”
FILM & TELEVISION
An Avalon Regal Theater Update
“Despite a history of nearly a century of cultural significance, the theater has sat mostly empty since 2003,” reports WBEZ “Curious City” via the Sun-Times. “Several owners have tried to restore the building to its past grandeur, including current owner Jerald Gary of Community Capital Investment. Gary’s dream is to transform the space into a hub of art and culture on 79th Street… Getting the Avalon Regal to reopen has been a real saga. His ownership of the theater is currently hanging by a thread.”
Former Tribune Columnist John Kass Has Stroke
Blogger and podcaster John Kass is recovering from a stroke. On his WGN podcast, Kass narrates, “Men in hospitals are really big fat babies… We expect our wives to take care of all our needs, and all our wants, without having to mention anything. To mention it would be, maybe, weakness? … I’ve had a stroke… Stroke done, where do you go, how do you proceed?” Kass relates his treatment after a quadruple bypass. “I’m just gonna continue to work the way I can, best I can, one foot again, after the other, just one little step after the other… Human beings let people down; what I will do is give you everything in my heart, everything in my mind, every fiber of strength that I possess, to write you a regular, decent news story.”
Reuters To Hire A Hundred And Erect Paywall
“Reuters will create a hundred new editorial roles around the world and recommence its plan for a [consumer-facing] paywall under an expansion of its partnership with the London Stock Exchange Group,” reports PressGazette.
TicketMaster-Taylor Swift Senate Hearing Planned
“The company is under fire by both fans and lawmakers who say its near-monopoly on ticket sales has done a massive disservice to consumers,” reports The Huffington Post of the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on January 24. Minnesota Senator Klobuchar: “Consumers have faced high fees, long waits, and website failures, and Ticketmaster’s dominant market position means the company faces inadequate pressure to innovate and improve… We will examine how consolidation in the live entertainment and ticketing industries harms customers and artists alike.”
Fall Out Boy Guitarist Steps Away
Fall Out Boy guitarist Joe Trohman posted on Instagram that he’s stepping away from the band. “Neil Young once howled that it’s better to burn out than to fade away. But I can tell you unequivocally that burning out is dreadful… I must disclose that my mental health has rapidly deteriorated over the past several years. So, to avoid fading away and never returning, I will be taking a break from work which regrettably includes stepping away from Fall Out Boy for a spell. It pains me to make this decision, especially when we are releasing a new album that fills me with great pride… Will I return to the fold? Absolutely, one-hundred percent. In the meantime, I must recover which means putting myself and my mental health first.”
A Generation Of Classical Artists Is Ending
New York Times’ classical music critic, Zachary Woolfe, looks at the “moving final chapter” of “a mighty generation of musicians.” Woolfe notes two recent shows: “Like Michael Tilson Thomas’ Mahler, Daniel Barenboim’s Schumann and Brahms were autumnal but vigorous, more present-tense than elegiac. While neither man seemed interested in denying reality, both made clear their intention to affirm life while it lasts.” He writes, “These were among the most poignant spectacles I’ve witnessed as a concertgoer…Although in fine health, Riccardo Muti, eighty-one, is stepping down as music director of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra this season.” Surveying other older artists, he notes, “Last year, a fall caused Herbert Blomstedt, ninety-five, to briefly interrupt his calmly authoritative, jaw-dropping tour of the world’s top orchestras.”
Pulling Strings At The Chicago International Puppet Theater Festival
Rick Kogan goes back: “Lying next to a giant Frankenstein monster’s head one night in 1996, under the stage at Steppenwolf Theatre, I was told by a man named Blair Thomas, ‘We are aware that we are making things that people have never seen before. In that sense we are alchemists. We want to startle and awaken, to allow people to discover the honesty in the way a puppet or object is used,'” he writes at the Trib of the Fifth Chicago International Puppet Theater Festival that comes from around the world, which began on Wednesday and continues through January 29. “It is the largest such event of its kind in North America, presenting a hundred-some shows at such venues as Studebaker Theater in the Fine Arts Building, the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chopin Theatre, DuSable Black History Museum, Harold Washington Library and the Chicago Children’s Theater.” (The festival link is here.)
Michael Lehrer, Former Second City Actor-Writer, Was Forty-Four
Michael Lehrer, who continued to perform comedy after developing ALS, “‘died with dignity on his own terms,’ says his life partner and caregiver… In his final years, Lehrer [performed] audacious comic monologues” on “life with a neurodegenerative disease. From a wheelchair, in a voice… slurred but robust, he delivered jokes marked by stinging observations and plentiful profanity. ‘I have ALS,’ went a one-liner. ‘One question: Where the fuck did all that ice bucket money go?'”
About Face Adds To Green Room Collective
About Face Theatre has announced theater artists Theo Wampuszyc and Pen Wilder as the 2023 members of its Green Room Collective, a program for early career LGBTQ+ arts leaders. Wampuszyc (he/they) is a trans actor, podcaster and entertainer with a special focus on audio, activism, and joy, and Wilder (they/them) is a playwright and artist focusing on queer theater. More here.
Joffrey Ballet To Remount Yuri Possokhov’s “Anna Karenina”
The Joffrey Ballet remounts Yuri Possokhov’s “Anna Karenina” for the first time since its 2019 world premiere. Based on the novel by Leo Tolstoy, Possokhov’s immersive adaptation features an original composition by award-winning composer Ilya Demutsky, costumes and sets by Emmy Award-winning designer Tom Pye, and lighting by famed designer David Finn. Ten performances, February 15-26, at the Lyric Opera House. Tickets here.
Hell In A Handbag Productions Sets Chicago Premiere Of “Intergalactic Queer Extravaganza”
Hell in a Handbag Productions continues its twenty-first season with the Chicago premiere of “I Promised Myself to Live Faster,” “an intergalactic queer extravaganza featuring closeted extraterrestrials, high stakes pursuits and nuns from outer space,” created and conceived by Pig Iron Theatre Company, with text by Greg Moss and Pig Iron and directed by JD Caudill. March 23–April 29 at The Chopin Theatre. Tickets here.
ARTS & CULTURE & ETC.
AmazonSmile Charity Program Shut Down
Amazon blogs that the company is closing its ten-year-old AmazonSmile charitable program and will “invest in other areas where it can make meaningful change—from building affordable housing to providing access to computer science education for students in underserved communities… With so many eligible organizations—more than one million globally—our ability to have an impact was often spread too thin.” Charities in the program will get a “one-time donation equivalent to three months of what they earned in 2022.”
Starved Rock State Park Nation’s Seventh Most Instagrammed
Illinois’ Starved Rock has 102,801 Instagram posts, reports NBC 5. (Niagara Falls tops a list of ten.)
Cultural Center Explores Giving Traditions Of African Americans
Chicago African Americans in Philanthropy will host “Giving Back: The Soul of Philanthropy Reframed and Exhibited,” opening during Black History Month at the Chicago Cultural Center. The touring exhibition “explores the African American philanthropy experience and giving traditions grounded in faith, mutuality, responsibility and social justice.” The exhibition runs February 1-April 30. More here.
Vape Shops Restricted
“New Chicago businesses that get twenty-percent of their income from the sale of vapes will now be required to obtain a special city license,” reports the Tribune.
Party City Bankrupt
“The largest party goods and Halloween specialty retail chain in the United States said in a regulatory filing that it reached an agreement with debtholders to cut its $1.7 billion debt load,” reports CNN. A $150 million line of financing will allow the 761-store chain to stay open and keep its head count of over 16,000 employees (as of 2021).
Pride Sues Aurora
“Aurora Pride, organizers of the annual Pride Parade in the city, filed a federal lawsuit Tuesday challenging the city ordinance that they said led to the event’s permit being revoked last summer before the parade was eventually held,” reports the Aurora Beacon-News.
Arlington Heights Property Owners Could Cash Out
“If the Chicago Bears move to Arlington Heights, their future neighbors are hoping to cash in on the move. Business owners and homeowners believe a new football stadium on the site of the former Arlington International Racecourse would bring an influx of fans and greater demand for real estate,” reports the Trib. “Median sales prices in the three closest ZIP codes in the village increased fourteen-percent… in the year after the team announced its preliminary agreement to buy the now-shuttered racecourse… while prices in the Chicago metropolitan area rose only five-percent.”
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