CHICAGO — It’s become increasingly normal to see art shows in unusual locations, but recently I found one in a place that was a first for me: a Chicago alderman’s office. The politician is Ameya Pawar, alderman for the 47th ward on Chicago’s north side, and for the past couple of years he has opened the office walls to art created by artists from the ward (or who have a strong connection to the ward).
“As far as I know, Ameya was the first Chicago alderman to initiate this,” artist Patricia Larkin Green, who heads the selection committee for the Open Wall art program, told Hyperallergic. “We do about six shows a year, and we’ve had a very positive response from the people who visit. It’s been such a success that other alderman have expressed interest in doing something similar in their wards.”
The current exhibit consists of art made from recycled materials. What I saw was a mix of work by trained and untrained artists, resulting in variation in the quality with regards to intention and execution. But before I come off sounding patronizing (maybe it’s too late), there were works that caught my eye both by artists I’m familiar with and some that I’m not — and I didn’t ask if they fell into the trained or untrained category.
“Ice,” by Alan Emerson Hicks, is a rotating white diamond created from coat hangers fused together with cable ties and construction flagging. Suspended from the ceiling, it had an appealing minty-fresh whiteness to it.
There were brightly colored columns of recycled plastic bottle caps by Mary Ellen Croteau, who calls her pieces “upscaled corporate litter.” Croteau has been making a name for herself recently with these eye-catching pieces that combine a Pop art palette with references to the columnar sculpture of Brancusi.
The most impressive work was actually featured in an artist’s talk by Tatjana Jovancevic, who presented a set of photos of her Andy Goldsworthy–like arrangements of twigs, leaves, etc., that she makes in the parks and on the ponds near to her Chicago home. They were very reminiscent of Goldsworthy, in fact, but there’s nothing wrong with that. Jovancevic has a delicate awareness of the fragile materials, together with an exquisite sense of abstract design. She calls them Random Acts of Doodleness, and perhaps the modest title is an unconscious strategy designed to claim a small space for her visual songs, away from the bigger noises created by Handy Andy. Jovancevic’s work is well-done, and it would be good to see the whole series in a Chicago show some time.
Opening night of Open Wall was well-attended, and it’s clear that the program connects art to the surrounding community. Patricia Larkin Green’s best moment from the past two years? “It’s hard to pick one. Maybe the time that we had an exhibition of art by high school kids. The place ended up looking like Pee Wee Herman’s Playhouse.”
Reciprocity: Artfully Aware continues at Open Wall (4243 North Lincoln Avenue, Chicago) through November 12.
Artist Minouk Lim wants to offer a very different perspective on how one might deal with a grim history whose effects continue to be felt in the present.
This week: Should Washington have a national memorial for gun violence? Have cats used us to take over the world? What is Cluttercore? And more.
Organizers, artists, and land practitioners are holding public events at Iglesias Garden in a hub space supported by the Climate Justice Initiative, a project of Mural Arts Philadelphia.
The artist’s style blends aesthetic and cultural elements from Ghana, London, and New York’s graffiti scenes.
Workers told Hyperallergic that they were tired of meager pay and a lack of job security.
Jo Sandman / TRACES opens with a reception for the artist on June 3 at Black Mountain College Museum + Arts Center in Asheville, North Carolina.
Authorities say Jean-Luc Martinez helped facilitate the Louvre’s purchase of objects illegally pillaged during the Arab Spring.
The suspects attempted to take a Basquiat artwork valued at $45,000 from Taglialatella Galleries but instead made off with a half-empty bottle of whiskey.
Funding MFAs and all full-time graduate degrees, the Paul & Daisy Soros Fellowships for New Americans supports immigrants and the children of immigrants in the US.
From music and architecture to comedy and horror, these films showcase Ukrainian culture and its long-held ethos of resistance.
The artists showcased in Archival Intimacies examine the colonial trauma’s impact on Asian Americans and search for ways to overcome it.
Eiffel inadvertently paints its protagonist not as a great man worthy of scrutiny or praise, but as the Elon Musk of his day.