Though this is the twentieth time we’ve published a Breakout Artist edition, it’s the first one I’ve personally overseen, as we’ve had an art editor in place all the other times. This gave me the opportunity to incorporate valuable community input into the selection process, while leaning, as we always have, on our writers to help make final selections as well as to make the deep dives into the artistic practices of these amazing creators to put together our biggest Breakout Artists issue.
In 2021 we launched a companion public exhibition of Breakout Artists, which this year opens April 12 at the Chicago Artists Coalition (CAC) space and runs through May 19. This means I am also curating an exhibition for the first time, a learning process I am looking forward to, but that is far from done as we go to press. Occasionally doing—whether writing a play, producing a movie or, now, curating an art exhibition—increases my understanding of the creative process when I practice journalism.
This edition aligns with the EXPO Chicago art fair, celebrating its tenth anniversary, which turns the entire city into a celebration of visual spectacle in April. Bundled with this issue is EXPO Chicago’s official guide, which we publish in conjunction with the art fair. In the spirit of the month, you’ll see expanded coverage of art in this issue—beyond Breakout Artists—and you will see us in person, not only at our opening events at CAC but at our booth at EXPO’s Navy Pier location.
Art is not the only thing we’re covering this month, as we include our regular mix of section features and reviews, original poetry and comics along with a major feature on the battle to save the Will County Courthouse Building, located in downtown Joliet, my hometown. Longtime Newcity writer and friend Ted C. Fishman, who is working on a book about concrete for W. W. Norton, dug into this story with a depth of understanding not only about the Brutalist structure’s material composition, but also the architectural history and social forces at work.
If you are a subscriber to Newcity, you’ve also received, with this issue, the first edition of Folio, our new series of collectible, limited-edition prints from some of Chicago’s leading artists. I’m framing mine and recommend you do the same! (And if you’re not a subscriber, what are you waiting for?)
A special thanks to Jason Pickleman, who organized Folio for us. Jason is a singular force in Chicago’s creative life—he’s in our Design 50 Hall of Fame and has overseen the visual identity of EXPO Chicago since day one. Beyond that, he’s a collector, a curator, a connector and an artist himself. And his singular joie de vie fills the air at countless art events across the city. As we were in the late stages of working on the launch of both Folio and the EXPO Chicago guide, Jason was diagnosed with brain cancer, a devastating development for him and for all of Chicago. But if anyone can beat this with good medicine and great karma, it’s Jason. He recently went public on social media with his diagnosis, and hundreds of you responded with heartfelt expressions of love. We join all of Chicago in sending Jason our love and all the positive energy we can.
Look for Newcity’s April 2023 print edition at over 300 Chicago-area locations this week or subscribe to the print edition at Newcityshop.com.
IN THIS ISSUE
A Return to Mona Hatoum at the MCA
An Artistic Project
Portable Gray at Ten (Issues)
Beauty or a Beast?
What the Fight to Save a Building Means for the Future of Joliet—and for a Vital Architectural Movement Worldwide
Ten creative forces you need to know
A new comic by Abby Jo Turner
A new poem by Rebecca Morgan Frank
And so much more…