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Sculptor Sarah Montani Introduces World Expo+ Sculpture Exhibition In Thirty Museums At Once, Including MCA
Swiss artist Sarah Montani has introduced “World Expo+,” “an avant-garde sculpture exhibition concurrently showcased in over thirty leading museums worldwide, made possible through augmented reality (AR). Visitors can experience the sculptures on the museum grounds for free and without an app via their smartphones. With this project, the artist addresses the gender disparity in museums, where on average only ten percent of displayed artworks are by women. Montani occupies the museums with her piece of art—an oversized steel female sculpture—thus setting a sign, visible only through the smartphone… for the invisible women.” The U.S. outposts include LACMA, MOCA, MOMA, the Guggenheim, the Whitney, the Smithsonian’s Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden and MCA Chicago. More here.
The United Colors of Robert Earl Paige At Hyde Park Art Center
Hyde Park Art Center has announced “The United Colors of Robert Earl Paige,” a career-spanning survey of the artist, designer and educator. With multimedia works made between 1964 and 2024, this solo show is the largest presentation of the Chicago native’s work to date and brings together a selection of his fabrics and textile work, and rarely seen drawings, assemblages and ceramic objects that explore the artist’s lifelong quest for beauty. A highlight of the exhibition is the debut of recent clay, wall and floor paintings, and collages made during his Radicle Residency at Hyde Park Art Center in 2022-23. The show runs April 6-October 27, 2024. More here.
CTA Holds Public Meeting Tomorrow Night
The CTA will host a public hearing regarding the 2024 Fiscal Year Budget, 2024-2028 Capital Program of Projects and the 2025/2026 Financial Plan on Thursday, November 9 at 6pm at CTA headquarters at 567 West Lake. Members of the public may make in-person requests while the hearing is in process. These requests will be accepted 6pm-7pm. Individuals who preregistered to speak will be heard first. Individuals who request to speak while the hearing is in progress will then speak in the order their request was received. Details on the CTA page here.
Landmarks Illinois Wins National Award For Saving Ebony Test Kitchen
Landmarks Illinois has received an Advocacy Award of Excellence from Docomomo US for its years-long effort to save the Ebony Test Kitchen—a culturally significant part of the Johnson Publishing Company legacy and prominent feature in its former headquarters in Chicago. “The award was given as part of the 2023 Modernism in America Awards that highlight preservation projects across the country.” Landmarks Illinois president-CEO Bonnie McDonald accepted the award at a public ceremony in New York City with these project participants: Lisa DiChiera, former Landmarks Illinois Director of Advocacy; Sandra Rand, Landmarks Illinois Board Member and Chair of the Landmarks Illinois Ebony Test Kitchen Advisory panel; and Michael Johnson, Landmarks Illinois volunteer. “It is an honor to be recognized at the national level for what has become one of Landmarks Illinois’ biggest preservation success stories in its fifty-two-year history,” said McDonald. “Over the past five years, Landmarks Illinois and the many project partners have remained dedicated to ensuring this incredibly important place in African American culinary history is preserved and celebrated.” The Ebony Test Kitchen, “designed by Palm Springs-based interior designers William Raiser and Arthur Elrod, was used for decades by Ebony Magazine food editors to test recipes that would appear in the popular publication. Landmarks Illinois’ work to save the iconic kitchen from demolition began in 2018, when the Johnson Publishing Company Building in Chicago was about to be redeveloped into rental apartments.” More here.
DINING & DRINKING
HOLU Steakhouse Expanding
HOLU, Chicago’s Asian steakhouse and seafood destination in Chinatown on South Jefferson, will receive a full redesign, adding more than a hundred seats including a sushi and omakase bar, private dining and an outdoor terrace. Phased construction will be guided by Yongmi Park of MIW Architects LLC beginning January 2024. HOLU only serves USDA Prime Dry-Aged Beef (minimum forty-five days), American Domestic and Australian Wagyu (M9-M12), Japanese Miyazake Kobe (A5) and Spanish Iberico Pork (Bellota Level). Cuts on offer include Ribeye, New York Strip, Filet Mignon, Short Rib, Zabuton, Culotte, Skirt Steak, Hanger Steak, Flat Iron Steak and Wagyu Beef Tongue. Once guests make their selection at HOLU, all meats are cut and trimmed in the kitchen and cooked without any marinades on tabletop Japanese grills, which are built into each dining room table. This technique relies on making only the highest quality meats available while allowing their natural flavors to be extracted during the grilling process. More here.
Mondelez Set To Boost Prices On Oreos And Other Products
“Cocoa futures in New York [are trading] at [the] highest since 1978,” shops Bloomberg. “Mondelez International Inc., the maker of Oreo cookies and Toblerone chocolates, will raise prices next year on some of its products as the company faces pressure from cocoa and sugar costs. The cocoa price rally, in particular, is ‘so important’ that the company will need to do a ‘straightforward price increase,’ CEO Dirk Van de Put said… Just making adjustments through ‘shrinkflation,’ or reducing product sizes, ‘won’t solve this inflation at this stage.'”
Starbucks Denies Raises, Added Benefits To Union Shops
“The exclusion of unionized workers for some new perks underlines the continuing tension between the Seattle coffee giant and the union trying to organize its U.S. stores, including those in Chicago,” reports AP (via the Sun-Times). “At least 366 U.S. Starbucks stores have voted to unionize since 2021… But Starbucks and the Workers United union have yet to reach a labor agreement at any of those stores. Starbucks has 9,600 company-operated stores in the United States.” Starbucks says “it will increase wages—which average $17.50 per hour—starting January 1. Employees at both union and nonunion stores who have worked four years or less will get raises of three percent or four percent depending on years” at the job. “Starbucks said it is also shortening the time hourly employees must work before accruing vacation days from one year to ninety days. That benefit is also only available to workers at nonunionized stores.”
FILM & TELEVISION
The Actors’ Strike And The Unbearable Likeness Of Being
The strike against film studios and streamers continues, largely over the issue of AI; the AMPTP is sticking to its contention that any actor who makes over minimum wage will consent to having their body scanned and will sacrifice their likeness in perpetuity, writes the Hollywood Reporter. “The Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers is seeking to secure AI scans for… guild members who earn more than the minimum for series regulars ($32,000 per TV episode) and feature films ($60,000). The companies’ suggested clause would require studios and streamers to pay to scan the likeness of [these] performers. SAG-AFTRA is seeking to attach a compensation for the re-use of AI scans as AMPTP member companies would also need to secure consent from the performer. The language… in the AMPTP’s offer would see the studios and streamers secure the right to use scans of deceased performers without the consent of their estate or SAG-AFTRA… ‘This is one of the biggest reasons SAG did not accept the “last, best and final” offer from the AMPTP. We could not allow that language to stand,'” a union source told the Reporter. “This is massive. Every A-, B-, C-, D- and E-lister—all the higher-paid performers—who think this is a minimum wage strike, they must know they are in this fight. They have to realize that this is about protecting them. This is their strike now when they realize what’s on the line.”
TV writer David Slack writes in an X/Twitter thread: “This ‘Zombie Clause’ from the AMPTP is obviously reprehensible and grotesque. It also makes clear that NO member of SAG-AFTRA is safe from the studios’ greed… SAG-AFTRA isn’t just fighting to protect their lowest-paid members. They’re fighting to protect every performer in their union—and thousands of other jobs in the entertainment industry. If all these performers were scanned once and then never hired again, that would eliminate thousands of jobs across our industry… This is a nightmare scenario. An episode of ‘Black Mirror.’ It’s the cheap, dark future studios want. Right now, SAG-AFTRA is the only thing preventing it… If all these performers were scanned once and then never hired again, that would eliminate thousands of jobs across our industry.” Culture writer Brendan Hodges posts on X/Twitter: “Actually terrifying the AMPTP are making their biggest issue the chillingly dystopian insistence of ownership of people’s appearance and digital bodies to use more or less however they want with fuzzily defined and pressured consent. very proud of SAG telling them to fuck off.” New York and RogerEbert.com contributor Matt Zoller Seitz: “Implied and assumed self-ownership of one’s own image and likeness should be a constitutional right, and a company’s ability to exploit that should be confined to the individual job itself, not in perpetuity. I.e., I work as an extra in a film, it’s fine for the production company to own my image AS IT APPEARS IN THAT FILM, and in the footage that makes the Final Cut. But they should not be able to endlessly repurpose it across various media. That’s virtual servitude.”
Picturing DePaul’s School of Cinematic Arts
There’s an informative overview of the opportunities to a new generation of film students at DePaul’s School of Cinematic Arts in “partner content” in the Hollywood Reporter.
How McDonald’s Heiress Joan Kroc Transformed NPR Twenty Years Ago
Late billionaire Ray Kroc had “transformed the fortunes of NPR, a nonprofit that had struggled since its founding to keep its transmitters humming. The contribution—which ultimately hit more than $230 million once the final amount was transferred several months later—was by far the largest in public broadcasting history and, at the time, the largest monetary gift to any American cultural institution. It was more than twice NPR’s annual operating budget that year,” reports the Washington Post (free link). “‘I burst into tears,’ recalled Susan Stamberg, one of the original on-air hosts for NPR, which began broadcasting in 1971. ‘Those of us who’d been there a long time had never lost the sense that we lived on the edge and might not make it through… Suddenly, we had a future.’ NPR spent some of the donated funds, but most of it, $194.4 million, went into an endowment. NPR hasn’t touched this principal in twenty years. The annual interest and dividends flow into NPR’s operating budget—about $174 million to date.”
Artforum Speech Free-For-All Still Playing Out
“The touchstone art publication’s editor David Velasco decided, along with some members of his staff, to post an open letter in support of Palestinians amid the Israel-Hamas war. The repercussions, which included his firing, are still playing out,” reports Vanity Fair. “The days that followed saw the publication of an opposing open letter signed by… art world heavyweights; reactions from… nervous, off put, or offended advertisers; defections from the original letter by famous artists and curators; the sacking of Velasco for an alleged breach of protocol; an uproar from staffers who quit in protest; and a hundreds-deep list of writers who have vowed not to write for Artforum again. There are undoubtedly much more serious ramifications of the Israel-Hamas war than the fate of a seventy-something-year-old critical journal. But as the conflict continues to unfold, America’s most respected art publication has also now become an emblem of the cultural arguments raging around it. Whether Artforum will make it out, stature intact, is currently an open question.”
Staff Writer Jazmine Hughes Leaves New York Times Over Signing Protest
“Jazmine Hughes, an award-winning New York Times Magazine staff writer, resigned from the publication… after she violated the newsroom’s policies by signing a letter that voiced support for Palestinians and protested Israel’s siege in Gaza,” reports the New York Times. “While I respect that she has strong convictions, this was a clear violation of The Times’ policy on public protest,” wrote Jake Silverstein, the editor of The New York Times Magazine. “This policy, which I fully support, is an important part of our commitment to independence.” “The petition Ms. Hughes signed about the Israel-Hamas war was published online… by a group called Writers Against the War on Gaza.”
Firings And Filth At Alden Global Media Workplaces
“The Alden playbook is pretty clear: They buy distressed newspapers. They strip out and sell whatever assets they can of value, like real estate. They cut staff mercilessly until there’s a fat profit margin. They don’t invest those profits back into their newspapers. And they exist for as long as they can make money off of print advertising,” reports NiemanLab on the state of the San Diego Union-Tribune. “Newspapers under Alden don’t aspire to be Netflix. They’re content to be Blockbuster, doing what they’ve always done until the last DVD players get sent to the electronics recycling plant… Working for Alden brings with it not just job insecurity, but also actual health hazards: In the Philadelphia suburbs, workers at an Alden-owned paper said they navigated gross bathrooms, rats, mildew and fallen ceilings. In Denver, where Alden cut the newspaper staff by at least seventy-five percent, employees that remained reported breathing problems after being moved to a plant with poor air quality. In Monterey, California, the hot water got cut from the [washrooms].”
Lyric Elects New Directors
Lyric Opera of Chicago announces Sarah Garvey and Philip G. Lumpkin have been added to its board of directors. “These individuals enrich the board with a wealth of experience, expertise, and a decades-long history of involvement with the company,” Lyric advises. “Sarah Garvey, former vice president of corporate relations at the Boeing Company, has an extensive career that included roles in mergers and acquisitions and taxation, making her an asset as Lyric Opera navigates the evolving arts landscape. She has held positions on the boards of the Art Institute of Chicago and the Shedd Aquarium. Philip G. Lumpkin, retired corporate vice president for provider affairs at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois, brings corporate leadership experience to Lyric’s Board. His distinguished career at Blue Cross Blue Shield, coupled with his background in mergers and acquisitions, positions him to contribute valuable insights. As a longtime supporter of Lyric Opera of Chicago, he has served on the Board of Lyric’s Patrick G. and Shirley W. Ryan Opera Center since 2016.”
New Funding Program For Dancemakers From Chicago Dancemakers Forum In 2024
The Chicago Dancemakers Forum is offering a low-barrier funding opportunity for local dancemakers with an investment of over $80,000 locally. “After a successful six-month pilot in 2023 at venues across the city, Chicago Dancemakers Forum announces that the DanceChance program will continue in 2024 thanks to the support of a Chicago Arts Recovery Program grant from DCASE. Starting in January 2024, there will be six DanceChance events at six accessible spaces throughout Chicago. In addition to video documentation and dialogue, eighteen local artists will each receive $4,500 and six weeks to create up to ten minutes of dance works-in-progress to share in a low-tech, informal setting.” More here.
ARTS & CULTURE & ETC.
Vivid Seats Buys Vegas.com For $240 Million
Chicago-based online ticket marketplace Vivid Seats acquired Vegas.com for $240 million, its second recent acquisition, reports Crain’s. Vivid Seats CEO Stan Chia says “Las Vegas is benefiting from multiple tailwinds, including new venues, new teams and successful artists’ residencies… Additional upcoming supply tailwinds include the inaugural Formula 1 Las Vegas Grand Prix later this month and the Super Bowl in 2024.”
Surveying Homeschooling In America
“Homeschooling has become—by a wide margin—America’s fastest-growing form of education, as families from Upper Manhattan to Eastern Kentucky embrace a largely unregulated practice once confined to the ideological fringe,” a Washington Post analysis shows. “The analysis—based on data The Post collected for thousands of school districts across the country—reveals that a dramatic rise in homeschooling at the onset of the pandemic has largely sustained itself through the 2022-23 academic year, defying predictions that most families would return to schools that have dispensed with mask mandates and other COVID-19 restrictions.”
Holocaust Survivor Frank Stern Was Ninety-Three
“Frank Stern shared his story of surviving the Holocaust hundreds of times in communities all over the Chicago area,” reports the Sun-Times. “He often started the story in November of 1938 as he was riding a streetcar to grade school in Frankfurt, Germany, and saw fire engines around the city’s largest synagogue. ‘To an eight-year-old boy, fire engines are very interesting,’ Stern recalled in an interview with the Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center. He had no idea the Nazis had launched… attacks on Jewish businesses, homes and synagogues that became known as Kristallnacht, or ‘Night of Broken Glass.’ … Members of the Gestapo were banging on his family’s apartment door within hours. His family began planning that day to leave the country. Mr. Stern recalled being spit on and kicked and called a ‘dirty Jew’ as antisemitism rose. Mr. Stern told his tale in numerous informal settings as well as before audiences at churches, schools and community organizations as a volunteer speaker with the Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center.”
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