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Hirshhorn Acquisitions Include Dawoud Bey
The Smithsonian’s Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, which celebrates its fiftieth anniversary in 2024, “has acquired more than eighty modern and contemporary works by forty-five artists,” reports ARTnews. “According to Hirshhorn director Melissa Chiu, the museum has added to its collection with the goal of reflecting ‘the transitional narrative of modern and contemporary art’ and its commitment to collect artists throughout their careers.” Among the collected artists are Robert Irwin, Nam June Paik, Dawoud Bey, Dindga McCannon, Pacita Abad and Wangechi Mutu, as well as rising talents including Sayre Gomez, Dyani White Hawk and Flora Yukhnovich.
Kerry James Marshall Printmaking Considered; Washington National Cathedral Film Released
“I was probably the only kid in fifth grade in the whole United States who had decals on my notebook [that] were Goya’s ‘Black Paintings,'” Susan Tallman quotes Kerry James Marshall in the New York Review Of Books. “The picture Marshall considers to be his breakthrough work, the first in which he successfully deployed ‘blackness as a rhetorical device,’ is a painting on paper no larger than a standard paperback, executed in egg tempera using Cennino Cennini’s fifteenth-century treatise as a guide.” “Portrait of the Artist as a Shadow of His Former Self” (1980) shows “the head and shoulders of a Black man in a black jacket and black hat against a near-black background. A triangle of white shirt, two eyes, and a spread of gleaming teeth (one missing) disrupt the darkness, but the darkness itself is complicated, existing in different tonalities and depths.”
“Instead of going on to graduate school, he immersed himself in the L.A. art world. With an eye on the example of Romare Bearden, he worked in collage, and the experience of assembling scraps of color magazine pages attuned him to the astonishing chromatic diversity of printed blacks—red blacks, green blacks, warm blacks, cool blacks. Separated, those differences escape notice, but adjacent to one another, they produce optical depth as well as a salutary conceptual adjustment to what we mean by ‘black.’ … Marshall is skeptical of claims that visual art has the power to mobilize viewers politically. What it does have, he observes, is the capacity to direct people’s attention toward things.”
A new short, “Kerry James Marshall: ‘Now and Forever,'” will be released on December 6 by Art21 on its site and YouTube. The documentary looks at his stained glass commission at the Washington National Cathedral. Marshall says what artworks “can do is to invite us to imagine oneself as a subject and an author of a neverending story that is still yet to be told. This is what I’ve tried to do and tried to accomplish with words, images, and colored glass. For right here, and for right now.” The piece follows Marshall’s “commission to replace the Robert E. Lee and Thomas ‘Stonewall’ Jackson windows at the Washington National Cathedral… following Marshall from the fabrication of the windows in Virginia to their installation and inaugural ceremony.”
Casey Kaplan Gallery Takes on Amanda Williams
Chicago-based artist and architect Amanda Williams “has long interrogated the relationship between race and color with a multidisciplinary practice of painting, photography, sculpture, and installation,” relays Art in America. “Williams’ first presentation with the Casey Kaplan gallery will be at Art Basel Miami Beach in December.” Rhona Hoffman represents Williams in Chicago.
Valparaiso Clears Hurdle To Finance Frosh Dorm Renovations By Offloading $10 Million In Art, Including O’Keeffe
“The effort to stop the proposed sale of three major paintings from the Brauer Museum of Art at Valparaiso University in Indiana in order to raise up to $10 million for improvements to freshman dormitories may… have been stopped by a judicial ruling… that dismissed the lawsuit challenging the university’s plans,” relays the Art Newspaper. A superior court judge “ruled that the lawsuit aimed at halting the university’s planned sale of Georgia O’Keeffe’s ‘Rust Red Hills’ (1930), Frederic E. Church’s ‘Mountain Landscape’ (1865) and Childe Hassam’s ‘The Silver Veil and the Golden Gate’ (1914) could not proceed, because the plaintiffs—Richard Brauer, the founding director of the Valparaiso University Art Museum, which was renamed the Brauer Museum of Art in his honor, and Philipp Brockington, a retired professor emeritus of law at the university and a benefactor of a fund specifically set up to endow the museum—lacked standing to bring the action since they were not directly connected to the trust that made the gift of these artworks to the museum back in 1953.”
Yellow Line Suspended Indefinitely
“A reopening date for the Yellow line, which handles about 1,500 commuters every weekday, hasn’t been set,” reports the Sun-Times. “A southbound train struck a snow plow on tracks near the Howard stop,” injuring thirty-eight.
Halsted Landing Offers More Details
More details are available about the mixed-use development at 700 West Chicago in River West. “The large project sits to the east of the intersection with North Halsted and will replace part of the Chicago Tribune facility, directly across the street from the upcoming permanent casino,” reports Chicago YIMBY. “The proposal is being led by Canadian-based developer Onni Group who is working with Goettsch Partners on its design.”
Amtrak Holiday Ridership Back To Pre-Pandemic Levels
“So many riders are hitting the rails that Amtrak has added trains and extra cabs to them,” reports the Sun-Times. The passenger rate is fifteen percent over pre-pandemic levels.
GardaWorld Camp Site Contaminated With Heavy Metals
The proposed eleven-acre Brighton Park GardaWorld migrant campsite is contaminated with heavy metals, reports the Sun-Times. “Mayor Johnson is moving ahead with plans to shelter up to 2,000 asylum-seekers despite protests in the Southwest Side community… The property, previously owned by a railroad company, at one point included a zinc smelter, an operation that uses heat and chemicals to extract metals… The property is owned by Barnacres, an entity connected to city contractor Sanchez Paving in Markham.” The city will pay $91,400 each month to rent the site; an environmental assessment had not been completed when the documents were signed. (Construction of Johnson’s “winterized base camp” was slated to have begun yesterday.) Protesters rallied Sunday (video).
Study: Manhattan Will Continue Sinking From Too Many Skyscrapers
Manhattan “has grown too big for the land it rests on, according to a study,” aggregates Yahoo News, “showing New York City is sinking under its own weight as the waters around it rise. Published in Earth’s Future, the study finds that the… home to more than eight million people, is sinking at a rate of about 0.04-0.08 inches per year. ‘There’s a lot of weight there, a lot of people there,’ Tom Parsons, the study’s lead author and a geophysicist at the U.S. Geological Survey, told Time. ‘The average elevation in the southern part of the island is only one or two meters (3.2 or 6.5 feet) above sea level—it is very close to the waterline, and so it is a deep concern.'”
Milwaukee Boasts World’s Tallest Mass Timber Building
“Many larger buildings are constructed using concrete and steel,” reports Wisconsin Public Radio, but the Ascent, “a twenty-five story building in downtown Milwaukee was built with mass timber, a newer process that consists of multiple wood panels nailed or glued together… Once the building opened last summer, it edged out Mjøstårnet, an eighteen-story mixed-use building in Brumunddal, Norway, as the tallest mass timber project in the world.” More on The Ascent here.
DINING & DRINKING
Foxtrot, Dom’s Market Will Merge As Outfox
“Foxtrot and Dom’s Kitchen & Market, two trendy Chicago grocers, are combining in an all-stock merger. The brands will fall under a new entity called Outfox Hospitality, with Foxtrot Chief Executive Officer Liz Williams taking the top role,” reports Crain’s.
Green City Market Indoor Season Turns To Avondale
Green City Market is readying its switch to the indoor market season at its location in Avondale, on select Saturdays at 3031 North Rockwell, December 2-March 23. Details here.
Indiana Republican Senate Candidate’s Family Company Found Liable In Egg Price-Fixing Scheme
“Rose Acre Farms, which claims to be the second-largest egg producer in the country and until September was chaired by John Rust—now running as a Senate candidate for Indiana—was accused in a civil suit of cutting supply to raise prices,” reports the Guardian. “Food giants including Kraft, Kellogg, General Mills and Nestlé filed the suit in Illinois federal court, arguing that between 1999 and 2008 Rose Acre and other producers—Cal-Maine Foods, United Egg Producers and United States Egg Marketers—’unlawfully agreed to and did engage in a conspiracy to control supply and artificially maintain and increase the price of eggs.'” (The Sun-Times covers the larger case here.)
FILM & TELEVISION
Chicago Film Archives Unveils New Website With Free Streaming Of Midwest Work
Chicago Film Archives has redesigned its website to make its collections “more visible, more accessible and more browsable.” Over 2000 digitized films are available to stream, with more added every month. “Highlights include a Watch page, which makes it easier to find streamable films by category; a Preservation section, which highlights the films that CFA has photochemically preserved over the years and a Collections page, which highlights films that are newly available for streaming along with an overview of all of our collections.”
Longtime Univision Anchor Jorge Ramos On The Wages Of Not Confronting Trump
“Jorge Ramos, the Univision star anchor who has become as defined by his clashes with the Trump administration as he has by his coverage of major world events, has become the latest of the Spanish-language network’s top anchors to take issue with an interview broadcast by the news division earlier this month with the former President,” reports Variety. “Our job as journalists is to question those in power. That’s what reporters do. That’s what… I have done with Trump since he announced his first presidential campaign,” writes Ramos. “We cannot normalize behavior that threatens democracy and the Hispanic community, or offer Trump an open microphone to broadcast his falsehoods and conspiracy theories. We must question and fact-check everything he says and does.”
Letterboxd Explodes Alongside Repertory Cinema Boom
“Film-focused social platform Letterboxd has evolved from a niche product to one of the most important platforms in Hollywood, minting itself as a taste-making service and a film-fan hub,” aggregates TheFutureParty. (The most-followed account is already new-arrival Martin Scorsese.) “The site has ten million active accounts, a five-times growth since 2019—and half of the users are under thirty-five, with half of them between the ages sixteen and twenty-four… Their movie-watching-and-listing focus isn’t primarily on new movies… a major boon to the repertory cinema market… Letterboxd has used that older-movie love as a key advertising bargaining chip, serving ads for a filmmaker’s new movie to the people who routinely watch their previous work.”
Surveying The Health Of Movie Theaters Via The State Of Los Angeles’ Scene
Before the pandemic, “Were we being lazy, or was our exasperation with theaters justified? We’ve all heard and sometimes argued the case for the latter. A night out at the movies seemed to combine the worst practices of the exhibition industry (endless pretrailer ads, subpar projection) and the most slovenly habits of the audience (talking, texting, littering). Living rooms and streaming platforms beckoned, offering sweet relief from, not to get too Sartrean about it, the hell of other people,” leads off Justin Chang in the Los Angeles Times‘ weekend takeout on the state of film exhibition and moviegoing… “Thrilling as it was to experience ‘Barbenheimer,’ we can be assured that the studios will learn all the wrong lessons from it. Hollywood decision makers will look at an unpredictable and likely unrepeatable concurrence and see a readily exploitable template. Rather than greenlighting smart, interesting projects from adventurous auteur filmmakers, they will more likely attempt to manufacture more and more event movies, reverse-engineering mediocre films into prefab phenomena…
“The sense that Taylor Swift had beaten the studios at their own game was apparent to those of us who attended the world premiere of ‘The Eras Tour’… a splashy and symbolically grandiose affair even for Hollywood. The Grove, a regular venue for studio press screenings, shut down for an entire day and underwent the kind of extreme makeover that red-carpet shortages are made of. Decadence ruled the evening: There were fizzy apéritifs, overflowing concession stands and an in-person intro by Swift herself. But the actual experience inside the theater, where costumed attendees sang, danced, swayed, ran through the aisles and shot videos of the screen, was a fundamentally egalitarian spectacle that replayed itself in theater after theater across the country. These fans weren’t just there to see a movie; they were there to merge with it, to extend the movie’s power beyond the parameters of the screen and into the audience. Intentionally or not, they invested the very act of moviegoing with the seriousness and passionate ceremony of a religious ritual.”
Is There A New Hollywood Blacklist?
“A top movie agent, an Oscar winner, and the star of ‘Scream VII’ have all been demoted or fired for calling out Israel’s bombing of Gaza,” writes Marlow Stern at Rolling Stone. “The ways Hollywood leaders have retaliated against any criticism of the Israeli government during the ongoing conflict could start to resemble a new Hollywood blacklist.” To date, adds Stern, “Every Hollywoodite who has been fired or demoted over comments criticizing the Gaza crisis… has been a woman, and all but Susan Sarandon are women of color.”
Independent Bookstore For Aurora Downtown
Yellow Bird Books has opened in a vintage storefront in Aurora’s historic Keystone Building, relays the Beacon-News, formerly the site of a Christian Science Reading Room. Owner Karen Nicholas, a former teacher of twenty years, says “she is ‘thrilled’ to be in such a historic building, designed by famed Prairie School architect George Grant Elmslie in 1923… Business has been brisk when the Paramount Theatre has shows, and on nights when downtown has events, such as First Fridays and markets.”
How Florida Book Bans Affect Kids
MTV Documentary Films’ boss Sheila Nevins makes her directorial debut with “The ABCs of Book Banning” at the age of eighty-four, reports Scott Simon at NPR. Nevins oversaw documentary programming at HBO for nearly forty years and has won thirty-two Primetime Emmys. She chose to interview students and authors, “elementary, middle, and high school students in Florida who talk about reading books that have been banned or restricted by local school boards.” Among the interviewees is a sixteen-year-old, who says “I could have been Anne Frank. But, I mean, any of us—if we were born in that time and we were born Jewish—could have had the same experience as her, obviously. Books that I read when I was in kindergarten and books that I’ve read now and any book that I’ve read across my life… there is vital information in each one of them that is important to who I am today.” “The ABCs of Book Banning” is streaming on Paramount Plus. (Nevins’ Instagram is here.)
Lapham’s Quarterly Ceases Publication
Another niche arts publication appears to be no more: “The staff of Lapham’s Quarterly is saddened to announce that we were furloughed indefinitely when the board of directors of the Agora Foundation, which oversees the Quarterly, placed the magazine on hiatus in late October,” they write on X/Twitter. “We do not know whether the Quarterly has a future. We are still shocked by the news.” The history-rich publication was founded in 2007.
TimeLine Theatre Adds Ted DeLong As Managing Director
Ted DeLong has been named managing director at TimeLine, reports American Theatre. “He brings a decade of experience serving the Oregon Shakespeare Festival as general manager and artistic producer, leading contracting processes, capital facility planning and development, and a number of operational departments. More recently, he worked with Woolly Mammoth Theatre as their interim managing director. In a Q&A shared by the theater, DeLong said, ‘I really value working for organizations which exist beyond the profit motive, to bring art to their communities and possibly affect some lives along the way.'” He and his family are “thrilled to come back to the Midwest and to be a part of the best theater city in America.”
Actor Ernest Perry, Jr. Was Seventy-Six
Ernest Perry, seventy-six, U.S. Army and Vietnam War veteran of Beach Park, formerly of Austin and raised in Evanston, “will be remembered for his amazing talent as a professional actor in theater, television and film,” his obituary reads. The Trib’s Chris Jones on Facebook: “I’m saddened to read of the death of Ernest Perry, Jr., a superb Chicago actor whom I watched in show after show in the 1990s and early 2000s. He was always moving, often funny and a master of his craft. And a lovely guy.” Perry’s film and television appearances include “Running Scared,” “The Color Of Money,” “Howard Beach: Making A Case For Murder,” “Liar Liar,” “ER,” “Love Liza,” “The Chi” and “Dunston Checks In.” Perry talked in 2015 about working with August Wilson on “Two Trains Running.” Perry’s Goodman bio (through 2018) is here.
ARTS & CULTURE & ETC.
Iran State Hackers Reportedly Take On Water Supply Of Aliquippa, Pennsylvania, Pop. 9,126
Could attacks like these be dry runs for attacks on larger cities like Chicago? “The Municipal Water Authority of Aliquippa said that one of their booster stations had been hacked by an Iranian-backed cyber group,” reports KDKA News. “The station, located on the outskirts of town, monitors and regulates pressure for Raccoon and Potter Townships and… there is no known risk to the drinking water or water supply. The machine that was hacked uses a system called Unitronics, which Mottes says is software or has components that are Israeli-owned.”
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