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Talk: Jaume Plensa (audio)

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Barcelona-based conceptual artist Jaume Plensa has produced a rich body of work over the past 30 years and is best known in Chicago for Crown Fountain in Millennium Park. Plensa discusses his practice and engages in a dialog with moderator Reed Kroloff, Director of the Cranbrook Academy of Art and Museum, about art and architecture.

The Architecture Is Art talks series examines the intersections and blurred boundaries between the professional practice and creative process of architects and contemporary artists. The series explores how architects and artists identify their work, where they turn for inspiration, how their process and presentation materials are interpreted, and when it’s useful or necessary to distinguish the disciplines of art and architecture for viewers.

In anticipation of Sarah Morris’s Chicago in the exhibition CITY SELF, the MCA hosts a preview screening followed by a conversation between Morris and Manilow Senior Curator Dieter Roelstraete.

Sarah Morris is an internationally recognized painter and filmmaker, known for her complex abstractions, which play with architecture and the psychology of urban environments. Morris views her paintings as parallel to her films—both trace urban, social, and bureaucratic topologies. In both these media, she explores the psychology of the contemporary city and its architecturally encoded politics. Morris assesses what today’s urban structures, bureaucracies, cities, and nations might conceal and surveys how a particular moment can be inscribed and embedded into its visual surfaces. Often, these non-narrative fictional analyses result in studies of conspiratorial power, structures of control, and the mapping of global socio-political networks.

Susan Miller, curator of Modern Cartoonist: The Art of Daniel Clowes, engages Clowes in a conversation about his practice, his connections to Chicago, and the genesis of the exhibition.

Daniel Clowes, born in Chicago in 1961, is an internationally celebrated comic book artist and graphic novelist. To date, he has published nearly 50 comic books and graphic novels includingGhost WorldArt School ConfidentialLloyd LlewellynDavid BoringIce HavenThe Death-Ray,WilsonMister Wonderful, and in 1989, the groundbreaking comic book series Eightball. Clowes gained wide recognition in 2001 with the release of Ghost World, the Terry Zwigoff-directed, Academy Award-nominated film for which he wrote the screenplay. This was followed in 2006 by the release of the film Art School Confidential, based in part on his own schooling. Clowes is also a highly acclaimed magazine illustrator with work appearing in Time, Newsweek, GQ, and many other magazines. Beginning in 2007, Clowes became a regular cover artist for The New Yorker and created the twenty-episode series Mister Wonderful for the New York Times Magazine.

Susan Miller is an independent curator and producer with a career focus on regional art and culture. She has organized surveys and books on Bay Area artists including Daniel Clowes, Tony Labat, Jim Pomeroy, and Jeanne Finley. Modern Cartoonist: The Art of Daniel Clowes is now touring the US with presentations at the Oakland Museum of California, MCA Chicago, and the Wexner Center, Ohio. From 1993 to 2005, she was the executive director of San Francisco’s New Langton Arts. She is currently organizing a touring exhibition and book on media artist Doug Hall as well as developing the Consortium for Interdisciplinary Research, a new research unit for UC Berkeley

Longtime family friends and Oak Park natives Tavi Gevinson and Jonah Ansell discuss their work on Cadaver, and the transformation of the story from short film to graphic novel. Heidi Reitmaier, Beatrice C. Mayer Director of Education, moderates the conversation.

The Curriculum Slam is a hallmark of our Educator Salon series each year. Salons tackle timely pedagogical issues, provide access to provocative speakers, and promote an open exchange among peers and colleagues. This year, Salons address the theme of Teaching as Creative Practice through a range of lenses. Presentations and dialogue explore questions that help further our understanding of contemporary pedagogy. The Slam is a forum for educators to showcase fresh, creative ways to bring contemporary art and ideas into the classroom.

Culture Catalysts is a monthly series that celebrates and provides a platform for Chicagoans at the epicenter of the cultural scene. Beth Kligerman, Director of Talent & Talent Development at Second City, and Dylan Rice, Program Director of Creative Industries-Music at the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events, engage in a conversation about the mechanics of cultivating talent and building infrastructures that allow and encourage artists to remain in Chicago.

Talk: Jason Lazarus (audio)

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Jason Lazarus provides insights into his practice and the BMO Harris Bank Chicago Works exhibition, followed by a tour and conversation in the galleries. Since receiving his MFA in Photography (2003), Jason has actively exhibited around the country and abroad while curating, writing, and teaching photography part-time at Columbia College and the School of the Art Institute in Chicago. Selected exhibition highlights include Black Is, Black Aint at the Renaissance Society in Chicago, Image Search at PPOW Gallery in NYC, On the Scene at the Art Institute of Chicago, and solo exhibitions at Andrew Rafacz Gallery in Chicago, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, Kaune-Sudendorf in Cologne, Germany, and D3 Projects in Los Angeles. Notable honors include an Illinois Arts Council Fellowship award, 2009; the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation Award, Emerging Artist, 2008; and the Emerging Artist Artadia Grant in 2006. Jason’s work can be found in the collections of the Art Institute of Chicago, the Milwaukee Museum of Art, the MCA Chicago, and the Bank of America LaSalle Photography collection among many others.

How do we socially understand urban media and how has the contemporary political landscape impacted documentary filmmaking? This program is organized by the Society for Cinema and Media Studies and presented in partnership with the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago. The first panel features Gordon Quinn and Allan Siegel, moderated by Mark Shiel. A second panel features Michelle Citron and Steve James, moderated by B. Ruby Rich. A final roundtable discussion, with all panelists and moderators, is moderated by Brendan Kredell.

Explore the intersection between art, technology and the internet along with the MCA as we meet the brilliant minds who make the virtual world more interesting. This lecture traces the history and pre-history of “supercuts,” online videos that compile patterns or tropes from popular culture. Supercuts recall some of the 20th century’s most notable avant-garde film and video art and have become one of the 21st’s most important popular genres. Tom McCormack is a writer and educator who lives in Brooklyn. His criticism has appeared in Cinema Scope, Film Comment, Rhizome, The L Magazine, and other publications. He is a regular contributor to Moving Image Source, an editor at Alt Screen, and the film and electronic art editor of Idiom.

Talk: Paul Schimmel (audio)

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Destroy the Picture: Painting the Void curator Paul Schimmel discusses the show’s conceptual framework and highlights individual artists and their work.

Paul Schimmel was the Chief Curator of the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (MOCA), from 1990 to 2012, and previously served as the Chief Curator of the Newport Harbor Art Museum, Newport Beach, CA (1981–89), as well as the Curator (1975–77) and Senior Curator (1977–78) of the Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston, TX. While at MOCA, he curated Helter Skelter: LA Art in the 1990s (1992), Hand-Painted Pop: American Art in Transition 1955-1962 (1992), Sigmar Polke Photoworks: When Pictures Vanish (1995), Robert Gober: Untitled (1997), Out of Actions: Between Performance and the Object, 1949-1979 (1998), Charles Ray (1999), Willem de Kooning: Tracing the Figure (2002), Ecstasy: In and About Altered States (2005), Robert Rauschenberg: Combines (2006), © MURAKAMI (2008), Under the Big Black Sun: California Art, 1974-1981 (2011), and Destroy the Picture: Painting the Void, 1949-1962 (2012). He has won numerous awards, including two awards from the Association of Art Museum Curators (AAMC), six awards from the International Association of Art Critics (AICA), and the Award for Curatorial Excellence given by The Center for Curatorial Studies at Bard College (2001). Schimmel currently serves on the Committee for the Preservation of the White House, the La Caixa Contemporary Art Collection Acquisition Committee, and is a co-Director of the Mike Kelley Foundation for the Arts.