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Posted inArt

Chicago Imagists: Art History’s Overlooked Chapter, Now on Film

The Hairy Who is not the backing band of the Austrian pop singer Conchita Wurst. Still, it’s hard to believe the members of the Hairy Who, one of several coteries of artists who came together in the 1960s–1970s under the broader moniker of the Chicago Imagists, would not have celebrated this transgender performer, not so much because she won the Eurovision song contest last weekend or because she is biologically a he, but because, along with voluptuous hair, long lashes and sequined robes, Conchita has a beard.

Posted inArt

Take Your Picture with an Oversize Neosurrealist Dream Head

CHICAGO — Amanda Ross-Ho’s giant gray mannequin head is a neosurrealist’s dream come true. Resting comfortably in front of the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, it looks as if caught in preparation for use in a Man Ray photogram. Ross-Ho’s site-specific installation THE CHARACTER AND SHAPE OF ILLUMINATED THINGS calls upon the history of photography while also looking to the future of an internet world where anyone, anywhere, can snap a picture with their smartphone camera and show it to the universe.

Posted inArt

From Ruin to Re-creation: Theaster Gates Returns to Chicago

CHICAGO — Theaster Gates’s installation 13th Ballad at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago (MCA) continues his investigation of art objects and social activism, which started in 2009 with the redevelopment of derelict houses in a South Chicago neighborhood, and which he took to a national stage at the 2010 Whitney Biennial, and then an international platform at Documenta 13 (in 2012) in Germany. Gates undoubtedly deserves the current recognition in his hometown, but the exhibition at the MCA is only partially successful as a showcase for his work.

Posted inArt

Tavi Gevinson’s Exquisite Cadaver

CHICAGO — Tavi Gevinson took the ACT exam the same day she took the stage at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago’s Edlis Neeson Theater, joining old family friend and LA-based filmmaker Jonah Ansell to discuss their latest collaboration, “Cadaver.” In this animated short film, Ansell and Gevinson marry a playful macabre — think Edward Gorey, Tim Burton — with the voice of Tavi, a mature, old-souled 17-year-old girl. The event felt more like a family affair than anything, with Ansell and Gevinson often bringing up subject matter linked to Oak Park, where they both grew up.