Saturday, December 15, 2012

A Night at the Fine Arts Building- Holiday Celebration

On Friday December 14th, the Fine Arts building at 410 S. Michigan Ave. opened it's studios for a holiday celebration. It was brought to my attention that they host building wide open studios at least once a month; this particular opening was more crowded than normal because of the holiday excitement.
It was great to speak with several different artists and hear their stories. The building's studios surve many different functions from painting studios, to classical music studios, to yoga studios. Most of the artists I spoke with were painters. They were all of different ages, and have been showing work for a varying number of years. Some artists have been working out of Chicago for over ten years, and others for just a few months.
I enjoyed talking with Jill McLean. She does a lot of large abstract oil paintings with very nice color combinations. I was also lucky enough to see some of the first paintings in Jennifer Cronin's new series. Jennifer has previously shown at Elephant Room Gallery so I am somewhat familiar with her earlier work.

Aside from speaking with various interesting artists, I saw some great musicians. A man named Davin Youngs played piano and sang wonderful christmas songs. I also was more than happy to see a band covering old songs by Led Zeppelin and The Beatles.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

"Hello From New York"

November 30th was opening night for Walter Robinson's show "Hello From New York" at Firecat Projects gallery off Damen. The gallery is small and intimate and I enjoyed my visit there. When I walked in I felt good energy throughout the gallery and everyone looked like they were enjoying each others company, the art, and beverages.

I live over in this area and the flyers posted were intriguing enough to get me in the door. When I first saw the paintings I thought of the designs on the front of fabric patterns, almost like sketches but with paint. The vintage, unfinished quality was used with purpose because I think the artist wants the viewer to look at the people more than what is around them and it was effective to me. I also liked the detail of having a highlight color behind the subject in each painting. It really made the people pop out to the viewer.

These pieces to me were a depiction of girls these days taking provocative photos of themselves with their phones or computer cameras. It was humorous to me, and I think that was the intention behind these paintings. I feel like pop culture has changed drastically since children today have iPhones better than most adults. I also think sex is being introduced earlier these days and has lead to the media being misused by children and adults. These pieces in the show had the most impact on me, I felt something behind these more than the others.

Check out their site for more details!

Saturday, November 3, 2012

What I Was Thinking

What Was I Thinking was a fantastic turn out at the Catherine Edelman Gallery in the River North last night celebrating the 25th anniversary. The exhibit featured over 100 images from 75 different photographers such as Nan Goldin, Keith Carter, Annie Leibovitz, O. Winston Link, Robert and Shana ParkeHarrison, and even two of my Columbia professors Terry Evans and Elizabet Ernst.

Seeing all different types of photography put into one show was quite the experience and sparked my creative bones. This particular gallery is one of my favorites, not just because it is photography but because of the atmosphere and passion for art you feel from the owner and staff. This gallery continues to be successful and I think it will keep developing more brilliant shows in the future.
Located at 300 West Superior Street  Chicago, IL 60654
Hours: Tuesday-Saturday 10am-5:30pm


Friday, November 2, 2012

1979:1–2012:21: Jan Tichy Works with the MOCP Collection

The Museum of Contemporary Photography is currently exhibiting the works from its extensive collection thanks to artist Jan Tichy, who organized and compiled the various works based on the characteristics and highlights of the collection. The museum commissioned the artist in an effort to map out its collection and create an accessible narrative in which to view the photographs in the exhibition. The exhibition includes digital, video and physical works that embody and define the Museum's catalogue of incredible works and also reflects an incredible history documented by the photographers.

According to the Museum of Contemporary Photography's website, "the exhibition 1979:1–2012:21 invites us to make unexpected connections, to consider individual photographs as well as the nature of the collection as archive in both its physical and digital forms—and to experience the wonder of the art object." (source

This exhibit allows the viewer to examine the Museum of Contemporary Photography's collection while contemplating ideas about photography itself as an art form and expression; revisiting the wonder and scope of the photographic art form.


Monday, October 29, 2012

Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago

I had the pleasure of visiting Chicago's Museum of Contemporary Art. The architecture and decor features are beautiful and the exhibits complement the environment perfectly.

The top floor of the Museum holds fascinating modern interior installations by Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec. Shown above is a huge room dividing wall titled "Clouds".

Also displayed are wonderful charcoal drawings by William Kentridge. These drawings aren't just any drawings. They are actually still pieces that make up animated films. Kentridge's films are free to view at the museum. The animations compose compelling, heart-felt, short films commenting on the atrocities in South Africa in the late 80s and early 90s. The style and flow of the animations is like nothing I have even seen.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Public Storage

Three artists come together using all types of mediums to present the show Public Storage based on ideas from the poem "Public Storage" by Kathleen Gardner.

Works by Steph Davies, Sophie Goodwin, and Jessica Yocherer.

I went to the opening reception on October 6th and the environment was very friendly, with lots of treats for visitors. This little gallery space is located a few blocks away from me in Logan Square. I didn't plan on going to this event but it looked so fun that I couldn't pass it up. I'm glad I went because all of the artwork was stunning!  There were all very unique and different mediums but they tied in together to make a great show. I would suggest making the journey to see this show as you won't be disappointed. The artists were all walking around chatting with visitors and seemed very open to talk about their work.

Beauty & Brawn Gallery are participating in the "Art Block by Block" and are a part of the art walk. So check them out located at 3501 W. Fullerton Chicago, IL 60647.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Design Harvest

This past weekend, Design Harvest Festival was held on Grand Avenue between Damen and Wood. I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect from my visit, but I was pleasantly surprised. 

The event was a great fall festival including live music, outdoor vendors, and several displays. The festival was sandwiched between Grand Avenue’s lovely unique galleries and the street was lined with hay bales for festivity. 
The galleries are home to artistic interior home furnishings and decorations. Many of the items are older and have been refurbished or brought back to life by a designer. I saw everything from statues, paintings, tables, frames and vases. It was a lot of fun to check out a different gallery scene in Chicago from what I am used to. The galleries emphasized vast varieties of functional home items rather than fine art or fashion. The pieces ranged from modern to rustic; there seemd to be something for everyone. 
I spoke with several vendors throughout the afternoon, including a decor pillow maker, a wood-worker, and a canvas photo printing company. They all do custom work for clients and it was nice to see such a vast variety of designers coming together for such an interactive event. 

Monday, October 1, 2012

Ellen Lanyon: The Persistence of Invention

Today was my first time visiting the Depaul Art Museum, I was very welcomed and enjoyed the small intimacy. I walked into the first room and my eye went to three very large, monochromatic paintings.

The exhibit up now is Ellen Lanyon: The Persistence of Invention (until November 18) presenting work from 1969-present.

 I found her work to be almost like a fairytale, which was very fun for me. Even though the trinkets she modeled from are older, there was a futuristic vibe in the details of her paintings. Her paintings are very clever as well, like she's creating a new idea for us to wonder about and how it fits together. I loved the movement, colors, and texture of each piece plus seeing the collection of trinkets and tools she developed these paintings from felt really personal and inviting to me as the viewer.

The Depaul Art Museum is located at 935 W Fullerton Ave and be sure to check out another great exhibit here Afterimage.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Pilsen Open Studio Fundraiser Gala

On October 21st and 22nd of this year, the Pilsen arts community will be holding its 10th annual Pilsen Open Studios art walk, a locally produced, premier event that is apart of Chicago's Artist Month. This past Saturday, September 15th at the National Museum of Mexican Art on 19th Street, community volunteers came together to raise money in support of the Pilsen Open Studio event. The Pilsen Open Studio Fundraiser Gala was an production held by the artists and who will be involved in the Pilsen Open Studio art walk this October as well as other community partners who donated their time, money and services to this cause. There was free food, drink and entertainment including flamingo dancers and a live band.

Tickets sold prior to the evening and at the door all helped fund the event as well as funding the art walk this October. The most exciting part of the evening was that the artists participating in the art walk donated a wonderful range of visual art that was available for bidding at reduced prices at a silent auction that was ongoing throughout the night. These artists donated paintings, prints, sculptures and hand crafted jewelry. The funds raised at the auction were given back to help the Pilsen Open Studio art walk. The fundraiser gala was a huge success helping promote a vast majority of locally based Pilsen artists as well as raising a huge amount of money that will go to helping promote art in the Pilsen Community. The gala was a wonderful expression of Pilsen's culture and community celebrating its roots in Mexican and Latino culture, visual and performing arts. 

To learn more about the Pilsen Open Studio art walk on October 21-22, 2012 visit and for news and information about the Pilsen neighborhood go to To learn about Mexican art and culture visit or visit the museum at its regular hours 

Monday, September 17, 2012

State of the Art

This past Friday my roommate and I made our way over to Wicker Park to visit Park Schreck Gallery. They had an opening reception for their latest exhibit State of the Art. The exhibit features artists Ray Becoskie and Jane Carney. I went to the reception having no idea what to expect; I only knew I was attending a contemporary art gallery.

The gallery was very open and inviting and the artists were easy to engage in conversation about their work. The gallery has the simple, cutting edge appearance of a modern establishment, touting white floors and walls with exposed ceiling pipes. The gallery’s clean cut look allows for full attention and engagement with the art work. 
The very first thing I noticed about the works of art dispersed through out the gallery was the complimenting contrast between geometric and organic forms. At first glance, the dripping round shapes resting above free flowing lines in Jane Carney’s paintings reminded me of flowers. After speaking with her, I found out that her current series was based upon flowers. It is inspired by her summer spent in Colorado. I definitely felt her paintings reflected upon wild flower fields. 

Ray Becoskie’s art work has a significantly different presence than Carney’s, but they complemented each other perfectly. Both of them had a nice toned-down color scheme going on. Jane Carney’s paintings were all black, white, and blue. Ray used a lot of neutral colors especially as a background. His unique line based art work laid beautifully on top, painted in unique shades of all colors. He usually kept it to about five colors a piece. He conducts truly unique free hand compositions of geometric based shapes. The paintings definitely made me think of layouts for cities, houses, and buildings. Becoskie says all of his inspiration come naturally. He took some technical art classes after being asked to attend school. However, he chose to continue pursuing his art in the way he felt was best. He has a good thing going on his own. 

Apocalypse 2012: Genisis 2013

Last Tuesday I had the pleasure of seeing "Apocalypse 2012: Genisis 2013" before opening night on Friday September 14th. All of the artwork in this group exhibit is based on the artists portrayal of what they think might happen if there was a apocalypse and what this new world would be like. The image above is a 77" x 47" watercolor piece is by Kristina Knowski and the cover image for the exhibits flyers.

This group exhibit of 30 local and international artists kept me curious and amazed the whole time. I walked around about three times just to make sure I took in every detail. Each piece of art work was very detailed and intriguing to look at. I found it interesting to see the different ideas of what a new world would be like, and how it was interpreted through art.

Thursday, August 9, 2012


I recently attended the opening reception as well as the artist talk for Jennifer Cronin's newest exhibition "Daydreaming."  The opening reception was a huge success with a great turnout coming to check out Jen's work.  It was a ton of fun checking out her painting's in a great West Loop studio.

I went back the next day to attend the artist talk.  Jen went through each painting to explain her process for making the paintings.  It was a very intimate setting that allowed me to further understand her thoughts that went into the painting, as well as learning a few of her techniques of how she paints.

“Daydreaming” showcases a wide spectrum of Cronin’s work spanning over the past 5 years. These daydreams are not light and fluffy, but laden with the heaviness of an unsettled mind that is searching for something. Some are external, like a hidden door, or internal, taking place only within the self. The paintings are exploratory escapes from everyday life.

You can check out Jen's paintings on her website here,  Also, keep checking the website for updated painting and upcoming events of hers.

Here are some photos from the reception and artist talk:

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

The Good Night Ladies

"The Good Night Ladies is a collective committed to empowering female artist by producing outstanding works by women in a variety of media."

The Good Night Ladies was formed by my good friend Eve Rydberg and Jessica Marks.  They just recently had an all female arts showcase called VAGINA.  It was an amazing show that I would recommend to anyone.  They also just premiered their short film titled "Sunday Morning".  The Good Night Ladies are in the process of putting together summer play readings.  They are also in the midst of putting together an all-out production within the year, as well as smaller gallery screenings, screenings and music events.

Through The Good Night Ladies, the women are hoping to encourage other women to create their own work and cultivate their own creative identities.

I would highly recommend checking out any and all events that these ladies are putting together.  You can get more info on The Good Night Ladies on the Facebook page here or you can check out the blog with a full list of past and upcoming events here.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

A Year at Columbia

Nck DrNaso, A Visit from the Parents

A Year at Columbia is a collaboration between New Student Programs, students from the Art and Design department and the Department of Exhibition and Performance Spaces (DEPS). Eight Columbia College illustration students designed and painted large-scale murals depicting signature campus-wide events of the academic year.  Beginning with Weeks of Welcome and culminating in Manifest, the murals create a vibrant timeline of what new students coming to Columbia can expect to experience during their first year. The murals are also examples of the creativity, talent and ambition of Columbia College students. This exhibition was organized by Emily Easton and Justin Witte.

A Year at Columbia is currently showing at the Glass Curtain Gallery located on the first level of 1104 S. Wabash, Chicago, IL 60605.  It will be up in the gallery through August 1, 2012.  The murals were created by David Alvarado, Kevin Budnik, Peter Clodelter, Nick DrNaso, Erik Lundquist, Solange Henson and Yael Orellana.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Survival Techniques: Narratives of Resistance

Survival Techniques: Narratives of Resistance is currently up at the Museum of Contemporary Photography (MOCP) through July 1st.  Currator Davide Quadrio thought of this exhibition while in Thailand from 2008 through 2010.  He was able to experience the termoil in the country, but was able to see the civil resistance that went on by demonstrations, rallies and marches to express dissatisfaction with the authoritarian regimes.

In this show there is work by Yto Barrada, Raphael Dallaporta, Rainer Ganahl, Phillippe Laleu, Sigalit Landau, Dario Menozzi, Li Mu, MRK Palash, Uriel Orlow, Navin Rawanchaikul, Julika Rudelius, Apichatpong Weerasethakul, Tintin Wulia, Zhang Peili, and Artur Zmijewski.

Each of these artists attempt to document circumstance in a certain territory.  They can span a lot of time and be all over the world, but every work seems to connect to one another in some aspect.  This exhibition is more than just surviving, but adapting and changing as our era tries to find its place in human history.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Morbid Curiosity

For months now the Chicago Cultural Center has been my go-to place to discover new art in Chicago.

From its free music, to free dance and theater events- the art exhibitions I have seen have been unforgettable.

Maybe it's the beautiful, sophisticated architecture of the building. Or the wide, spacious walls that allow my thoughts to ponder back and forth.
Whatever it may be, it has kept me coming back for more. 

Since January 28th of this year, Morbid Curiosity: The Richard Harris Collection has been on display at the Chicago Cultural Center and will be till July 8th.

I had just visited this exhibit last week.

What took me so long to check it out? Well. Let's just say I get squeamish at the thought of death or anything dark-themed. Whether it's in movies, books, or in this case, art... I tend to look the other way sometimes.

However. I had finally mustered up the confidence to check out the exhibit with a friend of mine.

Shockingly, I didn't shut my eyes and run the other way. I was pleasantly surprised. 

Yes, I felt a little bit drowned by the large number of skulls and skeletons that surrounded me. But, I was more-so intrigued. 

Harris's collection explored several underlying themes-- not just death. Themes like vanity, war and the contrast between living and death popped out throughout the various sculptures, paintings, photographs and drawings of the collection. My favorite piece was a chandelier made out of hundreds of bones. 

A lady who was also exploring the exhibit and followed closely to my friend and me, helped shed a little light on the collection. She said, "Don't look at them [the skulls] as just a symbol of death. These have been used symbolically throughout centuries and across cultures. To one person it may mean one thing, but to another it could mean the opposite. Be creative."

There's about 5 weeks left to check out The Richard Harris Collection before it leaves Chicago. 

Chicago Cultural Center
78 E. Washington Street

Oh! And admission is FREE.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Vinyl Records

Instead of chucking out those retro, out-of-date vinyl records in the trash or at a local garage sale, Ebony Leaks, a college student designer and stylist, used her creativity and put them to better use. 

Ebony uses old vinyl records to create jewelry-- and her specialty? Earrings. 

Ranging from colors like black, to yellow, to turquoise, to maroon with a hint of pink, Ebony says each piece is "named after a positive expression to show the uniqueness that it has." Each piece is hand-made to fit any style, from retro to modern.
Since the fall of 2011, these vinyl records have caught my eye. Since then, they have been sweeping the South Loop of Chicago. 

Whole or Half? 

"Vinyl Expressionz was first a way for Ebony to express herself stylistically, and as time progressed her desire became for everyone to take part in this expression that was developed through her love for creating jewelry," as explained on her website. 
To me, it's astonishing how deep people dive into their imagination and get lost in their creativity. And for some people, they don't even have to dive that deep. It comes naturally.  I never would have had the thought in a million years to take old records, cut them and craft them onto wires made to hang from earlobes. 

Let's take this piece of junk and transform it into something beautiful!

But hey, one man's trash is another man's treasure, right?


What would have been tossed out in my bag of "garbage" was instead carefully crafted into fun, colorful and unique jewelry. Earrings that have gotten me several compliments and double-takes. Now it's one of my favorite pieces of flare.  

AND! According to her website, she will have new Vinyl Record earrings in honor of Whitney Houston (my favorite...RIP) featured soon. 

To check out more of Ebony's "Vinyl Expressionz" and maybe order a pair for you or your friend, you can visit 

- gail

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

"Stranger Than Family"

I've recently checked out Matthew Avignone's body of work entitled "Stranger than Family." This series is currently up at the David Weinberg Photography gallery in the gallery district. Matt describes his work as a documentation of "a typical family who has gone through extraordinary circumstances."

Matt, along with his four other siblings, are all adopted by his parents; two from India, two from South Korea.  Matt present his work as "capturing that fleeting which is a spit second." Along with family portraits and photos, viewers are also presented with documents and snapshots from the family's past.  These include the adoption papers from himself and siblings.  Pictures of when the children first met their adoption parents are included, as well as family photos from years past.

Through "Stranger Than Fiction," Matt is able to provide a glimpse of how strangers can become a family, no matter the circumstances, with time, love and perseverance.

Matt is a recent graduate from Columbia College Chicago's photography program.  He has being recognized with many awards such as the 2012 Baum Award for Emerging American Photographer.  His handmade signature sewn book titled, "An Unfinished Body," is in the permanent collections at George Eastman House, International Museum of Photography and Film, Rochester, NY and the International Center of Photography, New York, NY.

"Stranger Than Family" will be up through May 26th.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

"A Century of Progress"

          Morris Topchevsky takes his political views and transforms them onto canvas. In his painting, "A Century of Progress", we see the contrast between the fair's utopian theme of advancement and the sorry reality of out-of-work Americans. The painting arose due to the oppression of the Jews in Topchevsky's native home, Poland, where four of his siblings died. The group of six men huddled with a newspaper that reads "Daily Workers" represent the hard working men who were forced to become homeless. Sitting beside them are trash and forgotten furniture along with the fair sitting in the background. This shows a world apart from the despaired men. This piece by Topchevsky can be found at the DePaul Art Museum located in Lincoln Park.

"A Century of Progress"
by Morris Topchevsky

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

“Out in Chicago”

“Out in Chicago”
Chicago History Museum Exhibition.

I took some time out of this past Friday to check out the “Out in Chicago” exhibit at the Chicago History Museum. The exhibit explores the fact that Chicago has been the crossroads for a variety of cultures. Many people have moved to Chicago to seek a better life and to build new communities.
In the past 150 years, Chicago has created a strong community of surviving, thriving, and struggling gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender Chicagoans. The exhibit analyzes an array of diverse content including clothing, literature, bars, important documents, stories, and unique individuals that relate directly to Chicago’s LGBT history.
The exhibit itself lets you step into Chicago’s past, which makes the present more understood in the LGBT community.

"Chicago’s LGBT history is not just a story about one group of people in one neighborhood. 
It’s a history that has happened throughout the city and over time."
 — Jill Austin, co-curator

Flickr Gallery of Exhibit:


Monday, March 19, 2012

Jennifer Cronin

       Each month the Fine Arts Building, located on Michigan Ave., holds Open Studio Nights. This month, I had the honor of going to help Elephant Room, Inc. artist Jennifer Cronin set up and entertain for her work. She showcased many new science inspired pieces, some still in progress, along with a more recognized painting, "Pink". This young artist is charming and inspiring to all those creators out there. Paintings and Postcards by Cronin can be found in the shop!

Check out more of Jennifer Cronin's work at

"Pink" by Jennifer Cronin

Sunday, March 4, 2012

This Will Have Been: Art, Love & Politics in the 1980s

This past Thursday I visited the Museum of Contemporary Art located off the Chicago Red Line stop. One exhibit that stood out above the rest was This Will Have Been: Art, Love & Politics in the 1980s. On display from  February 11th- June 3rd 2012, the exhibit covers the period from 1979 to 1992. 

From the birth of MTV, to the rap/hip-hop scene emerging, to the former US President Ronald Reagan and everything in between; this exhibition attempts to make sense of what happened to the visual arts in the United States during this tumultuous period.

The artists represented in this exhibit answer the questions "what is the role of the visual arts? How can artists make images that either compete with or counter the powerful images produced by advertising and Hollywood?"

Each room of the exhibit has its own central theme "The End is Near," "Democracy," "Gender Trouble," and "Desire and Longing."

Although I was born in 1990, I still was influenced and captured by some if not a lot of the artwork represented in the exhibit. This exhibit not only brings entertainment to the public but also brings awareness. 

Go to the MCA when you have time and check it out. It's definitely different than your average exhibition. 

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

"The Winter Tiger"

         Today I visited the DePaul Art Museum. The gallery had just recently opened this past year and contains many interesting and unique pieces of work. One painting that particularly caught my attention was "The Winter Tiger" by Tony Fitzpatrick. Using graphite, ink, and pigment, Fitzpatrick was an underdog of art. His fierce and bold ways of storytelling makes him a visionary artist, poet, and performer. He gives a voice to the nameless.

"The Winter Tiger"
by Tony Fitzpatrick

            When asked why the moth was used as a symbolic statement in "The Winter Tiger" Fitzpatrick states, "I returned to making moths because they still speak to me in a way that sends ice through my veins..." 
            The moth is strategically placed in the middle and takes up most of the canvas. Inside we see skulls and a cross placed at the head. In the background, buildings are visible along with symbols relating to time. This includes a clock and the saying "Tick Tock". There is also, in the corner, the word "DRUGS". Is Fitzpatrick trying to tell us something about time and using it wisely? We can only imagine. Check out more of Tony Fitzpatrick's works at DePaul Art Museum or on his online site! 

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

In my painting class at Columbia, I decided to use a cubist style for my most recent oil piece. It started as a still life of an empty spaghetti jar, a clementine, and a cinnamon container. It is still in progress.
Cubism is considered a 20th century avant-garde art movement. Varieties of shapes and angles are formed to fit and make a rather abstract sense of depth, while retaining a flat image. Some of the considered founders are Pablo Picasso and Georges Barque. Viewpoints in Cubism are looked at in a few different phases: Analytic, Synthetic, and Sculptural. 

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

“Feast: Radical Hospitality in Contemporary Art.”

Last week I got the opportunity to visit the Smart Museum of Art over in Hyde Park. The exhibition opening taking place that evening was, “Feast: Radical Hospitality in Contemporary Art.” The show shared work from over thirty artists since the 1930s. The artists shared their experiences of eating and food through a variety of different mediums.
The museum was crowded the whole evening. Outside was an “Enemy Kitchen” food truck serving complimentary Iraqi food. I immediately grabbed some and it was pretty good. (see photo)
I would recommend stopping by to see this exhibition. It certainly brought a different kind of enlightenment to me. Finding unique ways to connect an artist with everyday living can be a challenge. I was happy to be there, and fulfilled when leaving. The exhibition runs until June 10th, you have plenty of time to make it!


Feast includes art, documentary materials, and new public projects by Marina Abramović and Ulay, Sonja Alhäuser, Mary Ellen Carroll, Fallen Fruit, Theaster Gates, Felix Gonzalez-Torres, InCUBATE, The Italian Futurists, Mella Jaarsma, Alison Knowles, Suzanne Lacy, Lee Mingwei, Laura Letinsky, Tom Marioni, Gordon Matta-Clark, Mildred's Lane, Julio César Morales and Max La Rivière-Hedrick, motiroti, National Bitter Melon Council, Ana Prvacki, Sudsiri Pui-Ock, Michael Rakowitz, Ayman Ramadan, Red76, David Robbins, Allen Ruppersberg, Bonnie Sherk, Barbara T. Smith, Daniel Spoerri, Rirkrit Tiravanija, and others. (

Monday, February 20, 2012

Contemporary Drawings from the Irving Stenn Jr. Collection

Being a Visual Arts Management minor I have to take classes that allow me to explore the visual arts world more in depth. I am constantly going to different galleries, museums and other non-profit organizations.

Last weekend I had the opportunity to check out an exhibit at the Art Institute entitled the Contemporary Drawings from the Irving Stenn Jr. Collection. Located in the Jean and Steven Goldman Prints and Drawings Galleries in the Richard and Mary L. Gray Wing, the exhibit is on display from November 19, 2011-February 26, 2012.

The “big idea” for this exhibition is to showcase different drawings that exemplify minimalistic, conceptual, & pop art drawings at its finest from the 1960s that are favorites of Irving Stenn Jr. (or that mean a great deal to him) in a way that can be appreciated by the viewer as well.

The drawing below, entitled 8" Measurement, 1969 is by Mel Bochner and is the drawing that is being marketed by the museum for the exhibition. 

This photo is one I took of outside the exhibition:

I thoroughly enjoyed this exhibit and since it is only on display for another week I suggest you all check it out soon! 

link to :
Art Institute  exhibition page for more info

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Mano y Metal

Upon my first day at the gallery I was honored to meet Desiree Castro, designer of Mano y Metal jewelry. Her jewelry, which is featured in Elephant Room, consists of metal stamped bracelets, rings, earrings, necklaces, hair pins, pendants, and tie clips. Each piece of work is hand- crafted with style and love. Desiree is an energetic and bubbly artist, whose love for her work shows through her personality.

Castro, a Chicago native, taught herself to make her unique jewelry. She incorporates themes such as urban influences, chicago,life, amor,and insanity for a playful and vibrant trend. The line, Mano y Metal, started in 2010 and has been growing ever since. Her pieces are definitely one of my favorites to look at and admire!

Mano y Metal can be find at numerous stores in Chicago, including Elephant Room, Inc. Check her out!

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

"Vintage Blonde"

One of my favorite blogs as an aspiring photographer is the Ben Trovato blog. It shows different photographers around the world and does a little blurb about them showing some of their best work.

As I was scrolling through the blog one day I came across this photographer named Michael Dengler. I was instantly captivated by his photos. The work, titled "Vintage Blonde,"  displayed a group of "vintage art nouveau photographs with a modern feel." As I looked through his portfolio on his website, I knew instantly I wanted to reach out to him.
I asked him how he got started in photography and he told me he went to school in 2008 to study interior design. He was "asked to be a guest in a photography class and it instantly sparked his interest in photography. He bought his first camera and two years later left school to work as a photographer."

I noticed that Michael's work on his website was not all the same in terms of genre or style and was interested in his thoughts.

He said..
"I'm always interested in creating frames with people. But in the end it is all about the creation; you can make a great photo with or without people. But I can't deny that my greatest influence comes from fashion photography. I always try to put this aesthetic into my pictures, even if I want to photograph a building."

Lastly, I wanted to know what inspired him. He told me every moment inspires him.
"At the moment I'm working a lot with old pictures from the 12th til the 18th century and their hidden meaning."

Photographers like him inspire me so much and are worth sharing with all of you! Check out his website!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Alleys & Ruins

Last Friday I travelled over to 18th and Halsted for the second Friday art walk. Before even entering a studio or gallery, I was confronted with the photographs of Xavier Nuez. His large-scale photographs of alleys and ruins from cities around the country, occupy many of the abandoned storefronts. These photos have a great presence on this street because of the juxtaposition they create. The photos glorify the decay of urban places while the neighborhood is in the process of trying to rebuild. Together, the elements create a romantic dialogue about the lives of cities.

            After looking around in a few galleries and studios, I made my way to Xavier’s studio on the fourth floor of 1932 S. Halsted. Looking at the photographs and talking to the artist made me appreciate them even more. All his photographs are taken at night with extremely long exposures and he lights them by walking around the picture frame holding lights. He wears all black and the exposure is long enough that the photo captures the light but not him. It is as if he is creating a painting with light. The resulting photographs contain colors even more vivid than what could be seen in the light of day.  
Xavier with one of his photographs

Miami Stadium

St. Louis Bridge

Monday, January 16, 2012

Light Years

About a week ago I was visiting The Art Institute of Chicago and was almost done looking through the museum when I arrived at “Light Years: Conceptual Art and the Photograph 1964-1977”. I ended up staying another two hours and still felt like I needed more time. I gave myself a week to digest it all and then went back yesterday to have another look.
The exhibit is an impressive survey of photography’s place in conceptual art. Although it focuses on photography, it is not limited to that. Both installations and text play a big role in the presentation. The show is broken down into five sections including: Camera Work, Misunderstandings, Invisibility, Painting Photography Film and Material Properties. These sections are accompanied by text that groups the pieces together in very interesting ways. For me some of the highlights were the four different pieces by Bruce Nauman, “Human Dust” by Agnes Denes and “Misunderstandings” by Mel Bochner.
The exhibit, which includes over 140 pieces by 57 different artists, contains enough material for a whole college course. Actually, there are a couple things that make it feel like it was designed for a class. Since it is a survey on conceptual art and photography, many of the artists and ideas are presented without going into too much depth and grouped together in a way a textbook would. To further this, the last room is transformed into a sort of library, with tables to sit at and books you can flip through. While this is a weird feeling to get from an art exhibit, it is actually pretty fitting. Conceptual art is extremely academic in its nature so viewing it in an academic way comes quite naturally.
The location of this show in a museum also may seem a bit odd but ends up working perfectly. Despite the fact that many of these artists were anti- museum, the museum becomes the perfect setting for them. At The Art Institute, they can be viewed in the context of the works they quote, reference and react against. 
I would encourage everyone to see “Light Years” especially if you are someone who is fascinated by the trajectory of art history. Just make sure you have enough time and energy to appreciate all of the pieces.