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Kongkee: Warring States Cyberpunk At Wrightwood 659
“Kongkee: Warring States Cyberpunk” features the work of London-based Chinese artist and animation director Kong Khong-chang, known as Kongkee. Through multiscreen videos, wall projections, neon installations, vibrant graphic works, narrative texts and ancient Chinese objects, the exhibition tells the story of poet Qu Yuan, who lived during the Warring States Period (circa 481-221 BCE), as his soul journeys from the ancient Chu Kingdom to a retrofuturistic Asia, where he is reborn as an android in a psychedelic cyberpunk landscape. Originally conceived by Kongkee as a comic series in 2013, the exhibition transports viewers into an imaginary world where past and future collide.
“Kongkee starts his creative process by researching and allegorizing the historical figures of the Warring States period,” Abby Chen, senior associate curator of Contemporary Art at the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco says. “He brilliantly draws ancient artworks into his own dazzling vision, revealing how the past haunts the present and helping us imagine what a vibrant strain of ‘Asian Futurism’ can look and feel like: one full of energy, music, and color that creatively entwine the enigma of the past with caution toward cutting-edge technologies yet to be discovered.” The exhibition is presented by Alphawood Exhibitions at Wrightwood 659, April 14-July 15. Tickets here.
$50 Million Press Art Collection At Christie’s
“Christie’s will offer a $50 million collection that belonged to the late Alan and Dorothy Press, a Chicago-based couple who started buying art together soon after they were married in 1970,” reports the Financial Times. “The Press offering is topped by Ed Ruscha’s ‘Burning Standard’ (1968), bought by the couple in 1991 and estimated at $20 million. Ruscha made six paintings of the Standard petrol stations, including two that feature an imagined fire, which ‘totally disrupts the pristine angularity of the picture,’ says Ana Maria Celis, head of Christie’s postwar and contemporary art. Alan Press, a commodities trader who died in 2021, and his wife Dorothy, who died at the beginning of this year, collected relatively few artists but those in depth. As well as two other works by Ruscha, the auction will have three paintings by Philip Guston… and pieces by Man Ray, Henri Matisse and Ken Price.”
“The Sum of Its Parts” By Phillip J. Capuano And Eleftheria Lialios At Linda Warren
In collaboration with Linda Warren Projects, Kerrigan Arts is presenting its inaugural pop-up exhibition. “A Sum of Its Parts,” with select work by Chicago artists of many decades, Phillip J. Capuano and Eleftheria Lialios. Capuano is known as a sculptor, though also a documentary filmmaker and photographer, and Lialios is a photographer, filmmaker, image-maker and educator. Capuano’s sculptures are an amalgamation of found objects combined with his clay creations, often using kiln breakage or discarded pottery as pieces to assemble into new objects and installations. Lialios, born in Ioannina, Greece, immigrated to Canada and the United States with her parents–Greek refugees from Albania. To describe Lialios’ evolution in image-making as innovative and experimental is to understate her achievements. On display will be a range of her work, from the 1970s to the present, covering periods of black-and-white, as well as saturated colorful documentary photography, large-scale color transparencies that take on the physical presence of sculpture and have often been used to create large-scale interactive installations. Saturday-Sunday, April 1-2, Linda Warren Projects, 1134 West Hubbard. More here.
Times On “The Black Artists Claiming More Space Than Ever Before”
“New monumental works are filling landscapes and galleries, where they argue for the freedom and power to play,” reports the New York Times. “Black artists have long staked large-scale claims to the visual landscape of the United States—whether by painting the community-based Wall of Respect mural created by the Organization of Black American Culture (OBAC) in Chicago in 1967, tagging the New York City subways with graffiti or creating outdoor sculptures such as Tyree Guyton’s Heidelberg Project, a series (begun in 1986) of brightly painted abandoned houses on Detroit’s east side. But the canvases for these works were typically pre-existing structures, and making them was relatively inexpensive (and, in the case of graffiti, often illegal), whereas today’s free-standing sculptures require social sanction and robust institutional support. According to the art historian Gwendolyn DuBois Shaw, new, ‘high-profile, well-funded commissions’ are at last going to Black artists.”
City Looks Toward 150 Miles Of Bike Lanes
The Chicago Department Of Transportation “wants to make bicycling safer in the city. It proposes 150 miles of new bike lanes, but some activists are concerned the new mayor may take a different path,” reports the Sun-Times.
Mars Wrigley To Work With Oak Park On Vacated Site
“Mars Wrigley will evaluate the community’s draft plan as it reaches a final decision on the future development of its Mars Wrigley candy factory at 2019 North Oak Park after it closes in 2024,” reports Oak Park’s Wednesday Journal. “When announcing its closure, the company said it would donate the land to whichever developer or organization the community chose.” Mars Wrigley “said after gathering community input… it is moving into the project’s next phase [which] includes internally evaluating the community’s proposal and determining a timeline to engage potential developers. The final decision ‘will depend on zoning approval, market demand and changing conditions.'”
DINING & DRINKING
Old Town School Unlikely To Buy The Grafton
“The Old Town School of Folk Music’s plan to reopen The Grafton Irish Pub and Grill under a new name is not moving forward because another buyer has decided to purchase the property, school officials said,” reports Block Club. CEO Jim Newcomb told the publication, “After a couple of weeks of trying to get the deal done, we have come to the conclusion that it is unlikely to go through. We have paused any and all activity on the Grafton until we know if the building will go to the other buyer or not. We are in limbo, technically, but we do not believe that it’s going to go through at this point. Obviously, it is a huge disappointment.”
How Chicago Magazine Picks Its Best New Restaurants
Restaurant reviewer John Kessler talks to the Fooditor about making choices: “Um… a place that has some personality, that seems like it will last. That I liked enough to want to go back to. A place where I could just feel that thing where it was working well. Where you really want to go to have a good time. And there ain’t no better time right now than Obelix. Thank God for that place… Oh man… it was a hard year. It felt like people were opening big restaurants, but a little nervously. Everything seems a little too… test-marketed… Another place I spent a lot of money was Bazaar Meat, which is on the list, and which I liked. But boy, it’s so expensive to try and figure out what to get there. I spent a lot of money on this ishiyaki, you know, really expensive Wagyu beef cooked on a stone. They bring a hot stone and they cook it at the table and it was like the stone wasn’t hot enough and the whole thing wasn’t done right. And that seemed like a big waste. But then once you start eating all those cool appetizers and drink the good wine they have, have a nice piece of meat, I really felt like I could get into the rhythm of the place.”
Intermittent Starbucks CEO Outraged By Impertinent Questioning By Congress
Multibillionaire Starbucks founder Howard Schultz lashed out at Bernie Sanders during a Senate hearing for identifying him as “a billionaire.” It’s “unfair,” he said. “I came from nothing… Yes, I have billions of dollars—I earned it. No one gave it to me. And I’ve shared it constantly with the people of Starbucks.” (By “sharing,” Schultz is referring to paying his workers.) Sanders: “Over the past eighteen months, Starbucks has waged the most aggressive and illegal union-busting campaign in the modern history of our country… led by Howard Schultz, the multibillionaire who is with us only under the threat of subpoena… In this difficult time in our country, to try and destroy the spirit of thousands of people who are fighting for justice—that, in my mind, is unforgivable.” Observes Steve Albini: “Nobody earned a billion dollars. It’s literally impossible to be paid for work and end up with a billion dollars. You get a billion dollars by having other people work for it, then taking it.” Reports the New York Times: Schultz “chafed at what he described as ‘the propaganda that is floating around’ the hearing and told Senator Bob Casey… that ‘I take offense with you categorizing me or Starbucks as a union-buster.'”
FILM & TELEVISION
Ebertfest Announces Full Roster
Roger Ebert’s Film Festival has announced the full lineup of films and filmmakers who will participate in the twenty-third annual event, April 19-April 22 at the Virginia Theatre in Champaign. “As this year marks the tenth anniversary of Roger’s death, the program reflects his guiding principle of empathy,” Chaz Ebert, who co-founded and hosts Ebertfest, says in a release. “In Roger’s memory, we will gather together in what Roger called the temple of cinema to reaffirm our connections to each other.” The program for Ebertfest 2023, “Empathy at the Movies,” was curated by festival director Nate Kohn and Chaz Ebert and includes eleven films, two short films, twenty guests and three musical performances. Details and tickets here.
Missouri Legislature Proposes Removing Funding For Public Libraries
The Missouri state budget “is roughly $2 billion less than the one proposed by Gov. Mike Parson, containing multiple cuts and funding shifts,” reports KSMU public radio. “Some of the changes include the elimination of funding for a pre-kindergarten program and funding for public libraries… The debate over public library funding continued from the House Budget Committee to the floor. Last week, [Representative Cody Smith, R-Carthage], proposed a cut of $4.5 million in state aid to public libraries. Smith cited a lawsuit filed against the state by the ACLU of Missouri on behalf of the Missouri Association of School Librarians and the Missouri Library Association as the reason… The lawsuit seeks to overturn a state law… that bans sexually explicit material from schools and has resulted in school districts pulling books from their shelves. ‘I don’t think we should subsidize that effort, so we’re going to take out the funding,’ Smith said.” Representative Peter Merideth, D-St. Louis, sought to restore that funding: “I don’t think it’s appropriate for us to defund state aid to public libraries, because we’re mad that libraries are suing to question what turned into a book ban passed by this state.”
In Florida, Law Enshrining Right Of Anyone To Shut Down Any Book Is In Motion
The crackdown on books in Florida advances, writes Greg Sargent at the Washington Post. A proposal “which appears to have the governor’s general support, would require the instant removal of certain books targeted for objections, even before any sort of evaluative process unfolds. Advocates for free expression say this represents something new… Books and other materials would be removed before something akin to due process occurs. Such objections could be lodged not just by a parent, but any resident in the county, meaning anyone could get a book removed more easily than before… If the new bill passes, it would become statewide policy that [a book like Toni Morrison’s ‘The Bluest Eye’]—or others with similarly peripheral ‘sexual conduct’—must be banned from a given district’s schools immediately upon the objection of one resident of that county.”
Kara Gross, legislative counsel for the ACLU of Florida tells Sargent,“It grants enormous power to a single bigoted individual to dictate and control what books other parents’ kids have access to.” This “could make it easier for bad-faith actors to nix books while avoiding a process in which baseless objections might initially get dismissed. As [Jeffrey Sachs, a political scientist] put it, ‘the automatic removal provision will be abused and lead to widespread censorship.’”
What A TikTok Ban Would Mean To Music; What A TikTok Ban Would Mean To Movie Studios
“The entertainment industry has become so reliant on TikTok that banning the app could hurt business,” writes Taylor Lorenz at the Washington Post. “Since the last time the U.S. government considered banning TikTok, in 2020, the app has evolved from a social platform supporting a robust ecosystem of content creators and small businesses to an entertainment powerhouse, upending Hollywood power structures and rewriting the rules of the entertainment landscape. A ban now would threaten not only the livelihoods of TikTok’s biggest stars and thousands of small businesses, but it could also deal a massive blow to the entertainment industry, forcing movie studios, record labels, casting directors, Hollywood agents and actors to radically shift the way they do business.”
The Los Angeles Times: “Short-form video platform TikTok has become the most significant generator of music hits since the heyday of MTV. What would a ban mean for artists and labels? …Artists from Doja Cat to Lizzy McAlpine to Ice Spice… have enjoyed meteoric rises thanks in part to the platform, connecting with fans through humor, authenticity or both. The app has also given second life to songs whose moment had seemingly passed—look no further than Fleetwood Mac’s 1977 hit ‘Dreams,’ which resurfaced on the Billboard Hot 100 in 2020… TikTok currently boasts one billion monthly active users worldwide, 150 million of whom live in America.”
Gannett CEO Wants To Sell Off More Newspapers
The CEO of the nation’s largest newspaper publisher, Mike Reed, “said on last month’s earnings call that the company ‘would entertain bids on any of our markets,'” reports Axios. “Gannett has tried to focus on selling its newspapers—often to local or family-owned chains—rather than shuttering them, but some have still been squeezed.”
Gannett Innovates: The California Newspaper With No Reporters
“Owned by the largest newspaper publisher in the nation, Gannett, the venerable Californian [of Salinas] now carries stories from the chain’s USA Today flagship and its other California papers. The only original content from Salinas comes in the form of paid obituaries, making death virtually the only sign of life at an institution once considered a must-read by many Salinans,” reports James Rainey at the Los Angeles Times. “The lack of local reporting has drawn complaints from the mayor, a county supervisor and everyday citizens who say the public life of their community has been diminished by the lack of a dependable source of local news.”
Profiling Susan V. Booth And The Goodman’s New Era
“I’ve seen some really audacious, brave programming in theaters around town. And I’m looking at an audience that is hungry for that work and it just makes my heart glad,” Goodman artistic director Susan V. Booth tells Mary Houlihan at the Sun-Times. Her goal with the new season is “to put as many voices and points of view—both aesthetic and cultural—on stage as possible.”
ARTS & CULTURE & ETC.
20×2 At GMan on Sunday
20×2 Chicago is a live event “where twenty creative people from all different walks of life—writers, musicians, filmmakers, web geeks and other bon vivants—are asked the same question and given two minutes each to answer in any way they choose. The results may take any form, from spoken word to music to film, and can be as varied as the emotions and reactions they evoke. Speakers talking to co-producer Andrew Huff are Brandy Agerbeck, Lily Be, Cate Brecht, Ada Cheng, Aaron Cynic, Norm Doucet, Elizabeth Gomez, Nestor Gomez, Josh Hehner, Jill Hopkins, Jitesh Jaggi, Felix Jung, Robert Loerzel, Juan Martinez, Dawn Xiana Moon, Evan F. Moore, Eden Robins, Lucianne Walkowicz, Don Washington and Erin Watson. This edition’s question is “What Did You See?” The gathering is Sunday, April 2 at GMan Tavern, 3740 North Clark, 7pm. Tickets are $20. More here.
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