John Preus had a detailed plan for The Beast, his installation that opens this week as part of the Hyde Park Art Center's 75th birthday celebration, but he threw it away. "A plan with no room for intuitive decision-making becomes boring to me," says Preus, perhaps best known for his work as lead fabricator for the artist Theaster Gates. As of two weeks ago, all he knew was that The Beast was going to be a large (30 by 60 feet) structure, built from two-by-fours, that would use up most of the space in the HPAC's main gallery, including the catwalk above the first floor and the five garage doors that open the gallery to the outside, and contain within it furniture repurposed from some of the Chicago public schools that were shut down last year. (Preus has a relationship with the company CPS contracted to remove the furniture; his collection, stashed in a storefront on the south side, includes lots of desks and tabletops and a rocking chair.) The structure would have to be strong enough to bear a lot of weight, both physical and ideological. It would also be in the shape of a steer. Continue reading >>
Long-exposure photography by Scott Mason. Reception Fri 7/18, 6-8 PM.
Work by the Chicago nanny and acclaimed photographer whose work remained largely unknown until after her death. The Vivian Maier Mystery screens in the Cindy Pritzker Auditorium on 4/24.
When Alexander Eisenschmidt moved to Chicago in 2007, the German-born architectural theorist was disturbed by how the city talks about its buildings. Sipping a glass of rosé in the cafe at the Art Institute's Modern Wing, he describes a kind of "museum-ification." ¶ Take, for example, the time architect Rem Koolhaas proposed that his student center at IIT incorporate the Mies van der Rohe–designed Commons Building—it sparked public outrage that the new structure attacked the "purity and simplicity" of the existing architecture. "Preservationists have instilled this attitude in policy makers and politicians," Eisenschmidt says. "If we don't look out, [architecturally] we will be very quickly forgotten." Continue reading >>
Like many of us, Ted Geisel felt unfulfilled by his day job. Does it matter that, as Dr. Seuss, Geisel produced some of the world's most beloved picture books and introduced generations of children to the pleasures of reading? For the sake of his young audience, Dr. Seuss had to keep his drawings simple and his color palette limited. But before he'd gone to work as a commercial illustrator, Geisel had trained as a fine artist. So late at night, he painted. He experimented with color and style and more adult themes. He hung his "midnight paintings" in his house in La Jolla, California, but didn't want them released into the world while he was still alive. Continue reading >>