CHICAGO — The 2014 Whitney Biennial won’t be like every biennial before it. The always anticipated art world event will partly be a response to the Occupy movement’s call to end the Whitney Biennial, which charged that the major exhibition was just another art world commercial interest, and it will also be a swan song to the Whitney’s longtime home in the Marcel Breuer building, but many people may not realize that the event will also be different as it will welcome a Chicago curatorial approach into the mix, and that’s very exciting.
Alicia Eler is a cultural critic and arts reporter. She is the author of the book The Selfie Generation (Skyhorse Publishing), which has been reviewed in the New York Times, WIRED Magazine and the Chicago Tribune. A native of Chicago by way of L.A., Alicia's writing has also been published in Glamour, the Guardian, CNN, Hyperallergic, Art21 Magazine, LA Weekly, and Aperture. She is currently the visual art critic/arts reporter at the Minneapolis Star Tribune.
The Snake and the Lost War Diary
CHICAGO — Irena Knezevic’s exhibition Night of the World: Flatworks, Multiples and Music Programs embodies a heavy-handedness that could only come from the mind of a Serbian artist living in America post-Yugoslav Wars.
The Great Refusal: Videos Taking on New Queer Aesthetics
CHICAGO — The Great Refusal: Taking on New Queer Aesthetics induces a sort of lonely feel, one that falls closer in line with Lee Edelman’s No Future: Queer Theory and the Death Drive, which argues that “the efficacy of queerness lies in its very willingness to embrace this refusal of the social and political order” than the playful camp of Planet Unicorn. It is after Lee Edelman’s polemic text, and namely the notion of “refusal,” that this video screening and the larger exhibition series takes its name. Yet, if queerness is all about transcending and transforming beyond normative modes of being and believing, why do the works in this screening mostly rely on queer theory texts of the past? This video screening presents 11 videos covering topics of the abject body, intersections of sex and death, the gay mystic, explorations of S/M fantasies and fetish, power plays, the bathhouse, and the odd world of online amateur porn.
Small Town Gay Community
CHICAGO — Johannesburg-based South African artist Sabelo Mlangeni’s photographs depict a celebratory, positive, and campy-funny queer life in the countryside.
Queer Art’s not Just About Gender — A Chicago Survey
CHICAGO — Just because you say art’s queer doesn’t mean it’s about depictions of dicks and vajayjays, man. Over the past few months, two large-scale exhibitions dealing with changing notions of what “queer art” even is have overflowed into Chicago’s art world.
The Best of Chicago’s MDW Art Fair: Cat Taxidermy, Tarot, and Interactive Icebergs
CHICAGO — MDW is not an art fair focused on sales and bringing in big-name collectors. In fact, it’s quite the opposite.
A Wild Forest of Queer Aesthetics
Curator Danny Orendorff’s 19-artist exhibition All Good Things Become Wild and Free at Carthage College’s H.F. Johnson Gallery of Art located in Kenosha, Wisconsin, is a textually rich, difficult-to-describe arrangement. It is a forest plucked from the sewage system of Candyland-meets-Edward-Gorey’s-subconscious.
Surreal Sculptures Remixing Nature Provoke Environmentalist Concerns
CHICAGO, Illinois — Walking down an urban Chicago street on a quiet Sunday afternoon, I noticed a gathering of greenery nestled in the crack of a sidewalk jutting up against a cement wall. These small moments of nature poking through the urban landscape reveal themselves when we are not paying attention to anything particular, but rather reveling in what is alive around us. It is in these moments that Chicago-based artist Jenny Kendler’s work situates itself, wrapping around the mind like a vine crawling up the exterior of a 100-year-old brick building.
There’s an Emoji for That
CHICAGO — Instead of saying to yourself, “There’s an app for that,” repeat after me: “There’s an emoji for that.” In our technology-inundated world of constantly being glued to the glowing screens of our iPhones and Androids, more apps are not the answer to our first-world problems. What we need is more communication. What we need, in other words, is more emoji.
Artists Ask What It Means to Like, Share, Follow
In an ideal social media universe, Facebook users would feel comfortable enough to openly tell all of their friends whether or not they’re organ donors, what they’re up to this weekend, and if they are in a relationship, single, or looking. There would be no Facebook stalkers or strange friend requests. Everything really would be about trust. Social networks are not utopic spaces, however; they are digital microcosms of our real world, albeit with the “protection” of a screen. In the exhibition Like. Share. Follow. at Columbia College’s Hokin Gallery, Chicago artists Kevin Serna, James T. Green, Ethan Aaro Jones, Evan Baden, and Josh Billions explore the impact of instant communication via socially networked spaces on our lives today.
A Designer Reimagines Contemporary Office Space
CHICAGO — Given that most of us labor in virtual space these days and our work requires little more than a desk, a computer, and a keyboard to get done, why do we stick to such outmoded concepts as cubicles and cafeterias? A current exhibition at the Art Institute of Chicago, The Outdoor Office: Jonathan Olivares Design Research, imagines how the office of the future might look.
A Ukrainian Catholic Church Declares Taras Polataiko’s Sleeping Beauty Project “Lesbian Propaganda”
CHICAGO — Fairytales are make-believe until a country’s Catholic Church decides to protest them.
Ukranian-Canadian artist Taras Polataiko’s experimental performance artwork “Sleeping Beauty,” a modern-day retelling of the titular fairytale restaged at the National Museum of Art Ukraine from August 22 to September 9, has been decreed “lesbian propaganda” by the Kiev Byzantine Catholic Patriarchate Church.