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Vera Klement Was Ninety-Four
Painter Vera Klement, who escaped the Holocaust from her native Poland and settled in Chicago, has passed. “From the beginning I experienced a sense of duality the bright light and rhythmic pounding of the sea, and there, rising behind it, the dark forest that held in its silence the northern European legends of evil spirits: witches, erlkings and poison toadstools. Light and dark—good and evil—life and death—that juxtaposition that eventually became the underpinning of my painting,” wrote Klement in “BLUNT EDGE: The Making of a Painter.” Klement, who taught at the University of Chicago from 1969 to 1995, was represented by Zolla/Lieberman Gallery at the time of her death.
Writes her gallery, “Klement’s work was a reflection of her many influences. From classical music to literature to modern art, these themes are filtered through her early formative experience fleeing the Nazis with her family just before World War II and a lifetime examining that loss of home and identity. Born in 1929 in the Free City of Danzig, now Gdansk in Poland, Klement’s childhood was imbued with music and literature primarily from her mother, a pianist. The family fled Europe following Kristallnacht in 1938 and settled in New York, where she studied art and was exposed to Cubism and Abstract Expressionism. In 1964, she moved to Chicago where she became active in the feminist movement, taught for twenty-five years at the University of Chicago, and developed her work into the powerful metaphoric and poetic images for which she became known. Vera was a friend and mentor to many in the Chicago arts community and she will be dearly missed.”
Michiko Itatani Makes New York Solo Show Debut
New York City’s Storage gallery has announced the New York solo debut of “Michiko Itatani: Cosmic Encounters,” a monumental collection of complex, medium and large-scale paintings by the Chicago-based painter Itatani on Friday, October 27. “Cosmic Encounters” “celebrates Itatani’s alchemical range of skills as a color theorist and narrative thinker, with works that inspire focused, generative investigations through visual narratives of science, mathematics and art. Itatani’s paintings depict complex, architectural expanses and mythical spaces, which invite us to philosophize the cosmic possibilities of our future.” More here.
Kerry James Marshall Painting Leads Sales At Paris + par Art Basel At $6 Million
While French galleries made up a third of the participants at the sophomore edition of Paris + par Art Basel, “United States- and Europe-based mega-galleries and mid-tier outfits saw very strong sales. David Zwirner reportedly sold a Kerry James Marshall painting for a staggering $6 million,” bids ARTnews.
“Access For All” For Sixty-Four Museums Via $40 Million Of Walmart Inheritance
Billionaire Walmart heir “Alice Walton’s foundation Art Bridges is providing $40 million in grants to sixty-four museums around the country,” reports NPR. “The grants, ranging from $56,000 to more than $2 million for a three-year period, are intended to fund programs to attract new audiences, whether that means extending free hours or offering free meals.”
Architect Daniel P. Coffey Was Sixty-Nine
Daniel P. Coffey, FAIA, sixty-nine, of Naperville, passed away last Thursday, reports the Sun-Times. He “was a graduate of the University of Illinois Urbana School of Architecture (Bronze Tablet) and Harvard University Graduate School of Design. He studied at the Ecole de Beaux Arts in Versailles, France and later at the Aachen Technische Hochschule in Aachen, Germany as a Fulbright Hays Fellow studying under Gottfried Böhm.”
“He founded Daniel P. Coffey & Associates, Ltd., an architectural firm, in 1984 and completed many projects with an emphasis on historic and adaptive re-use renovations and restorations throughout the country including the Chicago Theatre (1986 restoration), the DePaul Center, the Auditorium Theatre and Radio City Music Hall. His last completed project was the Warner Theatre in Erie, Pennsylvania, which reopened in January, 2022. He also was the inventor and patent holder for a high-capacity urban wind power device.” (A 1993 Reader profile of Coffey and his work, “The Architect Who’s Rebuilding Chicago” is here.)
DINING & DRINKING
The Chicago New Normal Of Restaurant Pop-Ups
“Chicago has built a thriving pop-up restaurant culture over the past decade—the byproduct mostly of the city’s onerous food truck laws. For the chefs behind pop-ups, a brick-and-mortar restaurant used to be the eventual goal. That’s changing fast because of exorbitant (and rising) fixed costs, ongoing worker shortages and the physical and mental toll of running restaurants,” reports WBEZ. “Now some pop-up owners in Chicago are choosing to permanently live the nomadic life, opting for roving collaborations, restaurant and bar residencies, catering and wholesale production. Other chefs are sitting on the fence a little longer, and seeing if a fast shifting industry settles.”
River North Clark Dining And Pedestrian Usage Ends This Week; Gamblers Part Of Rationale
From a weekend message to 42nd Ward residents from alderperson Brendan Reilly, via Twitter/X: “Since July 2023, Clark Street, between Grand Avenue and Kinzie Street has been closed to vehicular traffic to allow expanded outdoor dining (EOD) for over a dozen neighborhood restaurants. The street closure permits for Clark Street, issued by the Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT), are set to expire on October 31, 2023. Clark Street, between Grand Avenue and Kinzie Street, will be re-opened to vehicular traffic at that time.”
“The program received high praise from 42nd Ward residents, and is credited for keeping dozens of locally owned restaurants afloat and several thousand people employed during the recent COVID crisis and ensuing economic disaster. Due to the opening of the temporary casino, Kennedy Expressway construction, and other projects that have impacted traffic patterns downtown, the Clark Street closure will not be renewed in 2024. Thank you for your help and cooperation in making the closure a success.”
FILM & TELEVISION
Chicago International Names Winners Of Fifty-Ninth Outing
The winners of this year’s Chicago International Film Festival include the Gold Hugo in the International Feature Film Competition to Gábor Reisz’s “Explanation For Everything,” a multilayered coming-of-age story; and Rodrigo Moreno’s “The Delinquents,” “an unexpected fable which joyfully plays with film genres,” picks up the Silver Hugo. In the New Directors Competition, the Gold Hugo goes to Amr Gamal’s portrait of complicated everyday lives in Aden, Yemen, “The Burdened,” and “Sweet Dreams,” a biting satire from Bosnian director Ena Sendijarevic, picks up the Silver Hugo. Mohamed Kordofani’s “Goodbye Julia” takes away the Roger Ebert Award. In the International Documentary Competition, Tatiana Huezo’s poetic Mexican “The Echo” wins the Gold Hugo, and “In The Rearview,” a Polish-Ukrainian production about refugees fleeing the war in Ukraine wins the Silver Hugo.
The Chicago Award goes to Minhal Baig’s “We Grown Now,” which was the opening night presentation. “A rich, complicated, and lyrical Chicago story set in the Cabrini-Green housing project in 1992, the film is grounded in empathy as it follows two ten-year-old boys navigating the heartbreak and joy of a community that is in the midst of upheaval.”
Northwestern Radio-TV-Film Department Seeks Narrative Fiction Prof
Northwestern University’s Department of Radio-Television/Film is looking for “an outstanding professor of media production specializing in narrative fiction for cinema and television, to teach narrative techniques and aesthetics to undergraduate students and graduate students in our MFA in documentary media program. This is an open-rank, tenure-eligible position, hiring at any appropriate rank, up to full professor. We seek a filmmaker with an established or emerging national and international reputation, who has an impact on the field with an innovative body of work directing and/or producing theatrical features and/or scripted episodic television… We welcome candidates who work across different media—we have strong ties to the department of theater, the department of performance studies, and the department of communication studies—and ideally, we seek candidates with an emphasis on underrepresented voices.” The position begins in September of next year. More here.
Apple Dispenses Abruptly With “The Problem”: Jon Stewart’s Not “Aligned” With Corporate
“Jon Stewart’s show on Apple’s streaming service is abruptly coming to an end.” Stewart “told members of his staff… that potential show topics related to China and artificial intelligence were causing concern among Apple executives,” reports the New York Times. Adds the Hollywood Reporter, “There had been tension between Apple and Stewart ahead of the show’s third season return over topics… Apple approached Stewart and informed the host that both sides needed to be ‘aligned’ regarding topics.” Stewart “balked at the idea of being ‘hamstrung’ by Apple, which threatened to cancel the series.” Stewart “wanted to have full creative control of the series and, after Apple threatened to cancel the series, told the tech company that he was walking away from the show rather than have his hands tied.”
Netflix Not Waiting For Actors’ Contracts, Jacks Premium Plan To $23
Netflix has hiked the cost of some plans in the United States. “The prices for the basic plan—the lowest tier plan without advertising, which is no longer available to new members—will increase from $9.99 to $11.99, while the premium plan, which allows users to watch in Ultra HD on supported devices and download on six supported devices at a time, will increase from $19.99 to $22.99. The plan with ads, at $6.99, and standard plan, at $15.49, will remain the same price,” budgets the Hollywood Reporter.
SAG-AFTRA Strike Hits A Hundred
“The SAG-AFTRA strike passed the three-month mark this week, now crossing the hundred-day mark [before] a weekend where zero progress will be made,” writes Sean McNulty at the Ankler. “Scripted production as a whole in Hollywood is about a week away from being shut down for half a year.” Talks are scheduled to resume on Tuesday: “The parties remain some distance apart on the matters of revenue share, minimum compensation, and regulation of AI,” reports Screen International.
Chicago Tribune Among Sixty-Five Alden Global-Owned Newspapers Running Editorial On Hamas
“More than five dozen daily newspapers owned by investment firm Alden Global Capital ran an editorial [last week] urging the news media to describe Hamas as a terrorist organization and its October 7 attack on Israel as a terrorist attack,” reports Axios. “Some newsrooms that are avoiding the term argue it’s become too politicized. Others say the term accurately describes the group and the attack or that avoiding it normalizes Hamas’ actions… The editorials are running across all sixty-five of the daily newspapers owned by MediaNews Group and Tribune Publishing, two local news companies that are both owned by Alden Global Capital… The decision to run the editorial was made by MediaNews Group and Tribune Enterprises leadership, not the editorial boards of each individual newspaper. A source confirmed that company ownership was involved in the decision.”
“Losing Bandcamp Would Mean Losing A Path Into Music’s Future”
“Some of the finest, most filthy-handed music writing being published right now appears on the editorial pages of Bandcamp, the artist-friendly, community-minded music streaming platform which made news earlier this week for having laid off roughly half of its workforce. For years, the site’s Bandcamp Daily page has offered rich, informative dives into unknown names, unheard sounds, unrecognized styles, forgotten scenes and underloved freak stuff of all stripes. With every other music media outlet perpetually acquiescing to the whims of the algorithm, Bandcamp has never had to waste a keystroke on Taylor Swift or Drake,” writes pop music critic Chris Richards at the Washington Post (free link).
“Over the past decade, Bandcamp has grown into an unfathomably deep library of otherground music, allowing artists anywhere on the planet to upload and sell their songs at prices they see fit. All the while, Bandcamp has managed to pay these artists at much higher rates than the other leading platforms… So while Bandcamp’s reputation as a site remains one of genuine communion between artists and audiences, its reputation as a business has taken a bleak twist. Epic Games, the video game development company behind Fortnite, purchased Bandcamp in 2022, only to sell it last month to Songtradr, a music-licensing company who, this week, chopped Bandcamp’s staff in half.”
Mucca Pazza Marches Into Third Decade
“When its standing, two-hour practice sessions came to a dead stop after more than fifteen years at the same location, at the same time, Mucca Pazza was left wondering how it would carry on in the wake of the pandemic,” reports the Sun-Times. “It was difficult enough for artists to survive the months of shutdown, but what about a rockin’ marching band/theater troupe of thirty-odd people? … Formed in 2004 along the banks of the Chicago River, practicing in the parking lot of a steel mill, Mucca Pazza has thrilled audiences from Lollapalooza and the Montreal Jazz Festival to the Lincoln Center with its thunderous live show. A group of talented musicians and respected performance artists from the city’s underground, the group’s goal has been to spread joy through what it admits is ‘goofy’ and ‘absurd,’ but is an act that has provided care and community to more than sixty members since its inception.”
ARTS & CULTURE & ETC.
Bats Are Beneficial
“More bats have been sighted in the Chicago area as temperatures cool and the fall migration of winged creatures takes flight,” reports the Sun-Times. The operation manager of the Cook County Animal Care and Control “cautioned people against calling animal control if they just spot a bat in their backyards or on buildings. The creatures do not pose a threat, but animal control’s policy is to euthanize any bats people ask to have removed from their property. ‘We don’t want to go around killing them. We ask people not to report them if they’re not affecting them. If we pick a bat up, we’re not bringing them back or releasing them,’ Rayburn said. ‘They can just be left alone or shooed away.'”
Pfizer Hikes Paxlovid Price, Too
Pfizer has “raised the list price of a course of Paxlovid—its lifesaving antiviral drug used to reduce the risk of severe COVID-19 in those most vulnerable—to nearly $1,400, more than double the roughly $530 the U.S. government has paid for the treatment in the emergency phase of the pandemic,” reports Ars Technica. (Pfizer’s cost to create the product is estimated at $13: “‘Pfizer treats Paxlovid like a Prada handbag; a luxury for the few rather than a treatment for the many,’ said one consumer advocate.”)
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