CHICAGO — If you haven’t seen Colossal, don’t worry: you will. It’s an art and design blog which is, well, what it says it is. It’s getting mentioned everywhere, including here on Hyperallergic. It so happens that the blog’s creator, Chris Jobson, and I have known each other for years, and we live about three blocks from each other on Chicago’s north side. So I thought I would see if the guy who’s responsible for bringing such cool stuff to the world’s attention would overcome his modesty and talk about himself for a few minutes.
CHICAGO — I was standing in front of a large black and white photograph by Angela Strassheim in the Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago. It appeared to show the interior of a boring suburban home, complete with bad furniture and family photos in ugly frames. Everything seemed normal, nothing was out of place — except for the tidal splatter of white marks, like someone had hurled a can of paint at the walls.
CHICAGO — I didn’t even know the International Museum of Surgical Science in Chicago existed until a few weeks ago, much less that it has a regular schedule of exhibitions. I certainly didn’t expect the current show, called Body of Work, to be one of the best things I’ve seen as part of Chicago Artists’ Month 2011.
What is it about boxes that is so fascinating? I was thinking this as I went into Chicago’s Museum of Contemporary Art to see Pandora’s Box, a show that displays artist Joseph Cornell’s signature assemblages alongside the works of artists who allegedly were inspired by him or who were in artistic sympathy with him. I can think of historical precedents: medieval reliquaries; Victorian memento mori, which often look strikingly like Cornell’s miniature worlds. But these forebears don’t quite explain the combination of weirdness and visual beauty of something made by Cornell, nor the undoubted fascination with him since his death. His boxes frame the objects in a different way than a conventional picture frame, of course; they concentrate the viewer’s attention; but there’s something else, which finally came to me after I’d seen this show.