Culture Catalysts is a monthly series that celebrates and provides a platform for Chicagoans at the epicenter of the cultural scene. Michael Williams and Richard Cahan, co-authors of Vivian Maier: Out of the Shadows, have collaborated on seven other books, including Real Chicago, Richard Nickel’s Chicago: Photographs of a Lost City, Who We Were: A Snapshot History of America, Edgar Miller and the Handmade Home, and The Lost Panoramas: When Chicago Changed Its River and the Land Beyond. They own CityFiles Press, a Chicago publishing company that focuses on art and photography books.
In conjunction with the opening of the exhibition, Goshka Macuga: Exhibit, A, artist Macuga and Manilow Senior Curator Dieter Roelstraete give an in-gallery talk.
This exhibition is the first survey of work by Polish-born, London-based artist Goshka Macuga. Macuga’s work interweaves two strands that have helped define contemporary art in the last decade: artists’ increasing tendency toward historical and archival research and their growing interest in strategies of display and the dialogue between artistic and curatorial practice. Many of Macuga’s large-scale, research-intensive projects have been collaborative, with the resulting installations often incorporating the work of other artists. Initially, many of her projects tapped into overlooked traditions in art history, but in more recent years her work has taken a political turn, frequently featuring post-Soviet Poland or the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003 as a backdrop. The exhibition features a selection of works that vary in size, content, and context, emphasizing the medium of collage, both two- and three-dimensional. This exhibition is organized by Dieter Roelstraete, Manilow Senior Curator at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago.
Culture Catalysts is a monthly series that celebrates and provides a platform for Chicagoans at the epicenter of the cultural scene. Paul Cowan was born in Kansas City and currently lives and works in Chicago. He received his BFA from Milwauke Institute of Art & Design and an MFA from University of Illinois at Chicago. Exhibitions include Clifton Benevento in New York, Shane Campbell in Chicago, Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, Young Art in Los Angeles, James Cohan in New York, Golden Age in Chicago, Michael Jon in Miami, and Green Gallery in Milwaukee. Cowan’s work is featured in the exhibition, BMO Harris Bank Chicago Works: Paul Cowan.
Artists and educators Rachel Harper, Avi Lessing, and Jason Lukasik approach the design of curriculum as a creative endeavor with direct parallels to contemporary art. If curriculum is a design for ordering experience, how do contemporary curricularists approach this in a living classroom? How do contemporary art forms help us reach beyond teaching with art and towards a deepened understanding of the art of our own teaching? What happens when the theoretical ideal of the “art of teaching” comes into conflict with the constraints of real classroom life?
Culture Catalysts is a monthly series that celebrates and provides a platform for Chicagoans at the epicenter of the cultural scene. John Edel is the Founder and Executive Director of The Plant. After purchasing the building in July 2010, he immediately began deconstruction and renovation with a vision of intentional reuse, economic development, and truly sustainable food. John’s foray into building redevelopment was at the Chicago Sustainable Manufacturing Center, a green business incubator in the Stockyards Industrial Corridor. As General Contractor, Edel took the facility from a burnt-out shell to 100 percent occupancy while using a mixture of waste-stream recycled materials and leading-edge technology to make the building exceptionally energy efficient and pleasantly non-toxic. The renovation was assisted by a core group of volunteers and by bartering with suppliers, tenants and scrappers. In previous careers, John taught computer graphics, designed sets for broadcast television, art directed video games, and worked as a chef on private railroad cars. He has a lifelong dream of combining industrial preservation and plants in a productive, conservatory-like project.
What does research look like as a creative practice? Artists and educators Annie Heckman, Rebecca Keller, and Peter Stover explore how different types of questions, grounded in personal, historical, and curricular concerns, can fuel our creative research in teaching and making.
Culture Catalysts is a monthly series that celebrates and provides a platform for Chicagoans at the epicenter of the cultural scene. J.C. Gabel is the founding editor and publisher of STOP SMILING, the magazine for high-minded lowlifes, which published from 1995 to 2009. He is presently Editor-in-Chief and Publisher of literary organization The Chicagoan as well as Hat & Beard Press, a new book imprinted dedicated to nonfiction titles in the realm of art, architecture, design, film, music and pop culture. He is also an editor-at-large for Chronicle Books and Taschen Books and writes regularly for a variety of culture magazines, including Print, Bookforum, Playboy, The Oxford American, and Wallpaper.
Culture Catalysts is a monthly series that celebrates and provides a platform for Chicagoans at the epicenter of the cultural scene. Heidi Norton, BMO Harris Bank Chicago Works artist, received her BFA from University of Maryland and her MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, where she is currently a professor of photography. Norton has had solo exhibitions in Chicago at Johalla Projects, Northeastern Illinois University, and Ebersmoore, and in San Francisco at Hungry Man Gallery. Her work was also included in the exhibition Snapshot at the Contemporary Art Museum in Baltimore, and in other group shows Mark Wolfe Contemporary in San Francisco, Monique Meloche Gallery and Andrew Rafacz Gallery, both in Chicago, and in New York at NADA Hudson, and the Knitting Factory. She is represented in the collection of the Art Institute of Chicago and in the Midwest Photographers Project at the Museum of Contemporary Photography at Columbia College Chicago.
A pioneer of multimedia installations, Jessica Stockholder creates complex installations, sculpture, and collages that incorporate the architecture in which they have been conceived, blanketing the floor, scaling walls and ceiling, and even spilling out of windows, through doors, and into the surrounding landscape. On the occasion of her recent public art commission and in conjunction with the MCA’s exhibition Skyscraper: Art and Architecture Against Gravity, MCA James W. Alsdorf Curator Michael Darling joins Stockholder in a conversation about her practice.
Get to know the work of a different Chicago-based thought leader each month. Meet the artists featured in our Chicago Works series and others who influence arts and culture in Chicago.
Judith Russi Kirshner has been Dean of the College of Architecture and the Arts at the University of Illinois at Chicago since 1997 where she also served as Director of the School of Art and Design. Kirshner previously served as Curator at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago from l976 to l980, at The Terra Museum of American Art from l985 to l987 and in the Art History Department of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Critic and curator, Kirshner lectures frequently on contemporary art and is a member of the Cultural Affairs Advisory Board of the City of Chicago as well as an advisory board member of numerous national and Chicago cultural organizations. She has served on panels for the National Endowment for the Arts since 1980. At the Museum of Contemporary Art in 1978, Kirshner curated Matta-Clarke’s last public project, Circus, or the Caribbean Orange. Recent lectures include Arte Povera Portraits at The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, The Art of Criticism, Carla Lonzi at The Tate Museum in London and at the Walker Art Museum in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Christina Ramberg at the University of Richmond, and Gordon Matta Clark at the Royal Academy of Denmark.
Her most recent publications is an essay included in Wack! Art in the Feminist Revolution, 2007, on the Italian feminist artists Gina Pane, Carla Lonzi, Lea Vergine and Anne Marie Sauzeau Boetti. A contributor to Art in America and Artforum, Kirshner has also published and lectured on the work of Judy Ledgerwood, Tom Otterness, Dan Peterman, Gordon Matta-Clark, Cat Chow, Gary Simmons and Roni Horn.