CHICAGO — In the Pilsen neighborhood of Chicago, at 16th Street and Ashland Avenue, you can stand on the street next to a railway line, surrounded by giant brick warehouses, and get a taste of authentically gritty industrial history. Freight trains, miles long, lumber, and clank by over your head. If you look to the east, you can see the upper storeys of the Sears Tower (now called the Willis Tower, but no self-respecting Chicagoan uses that new name). But if you look straight ahead at the long supporting wall of the railway tracks, what you will see is a long picture of a giant possum.
Chicago has a rat problem, and you would be justified in thinking that Belgian street artist Roa is paying tribute to the tenacious rodent. According to the Chicago Urban Art Society, which arranged for Roa to bring his distinctive style to this neighborhood, it is in fact a possum.
Typically of Roa’s murals, it’s painted in a sharp, graphic, linear style that resembles a woodcut print, and it stretches along a wall and around a corner for about twenty feet. The eye-grabbing detail is the way Roa painted the middle of the body — like a giant chunk has been gouged out, leaving a U-shaped hole and the remnants of bloody, twisted internal organs. Some of the red paint is sprayed on the dirt and weeds on the ground, giving the mural an extra dose of grisly realism. I’m not quite sure what it’s supposed to mean, exactly (it’s hard out there for a possum, maybe?), but I love it.
Several more murals are in the process of being painted along the 16th street corridor, as part of an initiative by the local alderman to combine the graffiti of this heavily urban area with something that will bring more cultural visitors to the area. There are even plans for a trolley tour of the public art in this neighborhood, which will run during Chicago Artists’ Month in October. Whether you take the trolley, drive there like I did, or hop a freight train, it’s worth the trip.
Your list of must-see, fun, insightful, and very New York art events this month, including Lee Lozano, Cindy Sherman, Tokuko Ushioda, Anas Albraehe, and more.
The art establishment was never quite sure what to do with a self-taught artist like Basquiat, who owed as much to bebop and William S. Burroughs’s cut-up technique as he did to African influences.
International audiences have free access to the media collections of MMCA Korea, Sharjah Art Foundation, and ArkDes through this subscription-based art streaming platform.
Kadish’s fossil-like heads, forms, and figures remind us that every civilization, including our own, eventually collapses.
In every role she held, Vendryes advocated for marginalized people and celebrated the cultural contributions of the Black and queer communities.
Convened by Erika Sprey, Lamin Fofana, Sky Hopinka, Emmy Catedral, and Manuela Moscoso, the public program unfolds this summer at CARA in New York City.
Stanton, who died of AIDS complications in 1984, left behind an engaging body of work, a moving tribute to a bygone generation of creative minds.
Baz Luhrmann’s film Elvis and Danny Boyle’s miniseries Pistol are both overly fixated on the influence their respective musicians’ managers had on them.
The Bay Area art book fair is back this July with free programming at three different on-site venues, new exhibitors, and fundraising editions from renowned artists.
In the wake of the Roe v. Wade decision, arts workers and reproductive rights organizations are collaborating on educational resources for accessing safe procedures.
The couple launched the Futureverse Foundation, a grantmaking organization that aims to “help keep the metaverse widely accessible.”
The museum’s “pay-what-you-wish” policy will remain in place for New York State residents and tri-state students, but out-of-state adults will pay $5 extra.