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: J.C. Gabel (audio)


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: Heidi Norton (audio)


Heidi Norton

Heidi Norton
Image courtesy of the artist

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.

Color Jam: Jessica Stockholder and Michael Darling in Conversation (audio)


Color Jam

Courtesy Chicago Loop Alliance.

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.

Culture Catalysts: Judith Russi Kirshner (audio)


Judith Russi Kirshner

Judith Russi Kirshner. Photo by Roberta Dupuis-Devlin.

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.  

1980s Gallery Talk: Amy Mooney (audio)


Amy Mooney

Amy Mooney
Photo by Shawn Michelle Smith.

Each month, artists and scholars lead gallery conversations based on the major themes of This Will Have Been: Art Love and Politics in the 1980s. Mooney will discuss the artworks in “Democracy,” which explore the renewed interest on the part of artists with working in the street, the impact of the mass media, the increasing prominence of Central American artists and artists of color, and the commitment to the political that shaped the period.

Amy M. Mooney is an Associate Professor of Art History at Columbia College Chicago and the Critical Encounters Fellow for 2011-2012. This fellowship supports the development of civic engagement projects such as Potluck: Chicago connecting students with local and global partners who share a vision for social change. Her publications include a monograph on Chicago painter Archibald J. Motley, Jr., as well as articles such as “‘Empty Shells and Hollow Forms': The High Politics of an African American Abstract Paradigm,” in Romare Bearden in the Modernist Tradition (2009). She is a recipient of fellowships from the American Council of Learned Societies, the National Portrait Gallery, the Smithsonian American Art Museum, and the Terra Foundation for American Art. Currently, she is at work on her second book, Portraits of Noteworthy Character, a project that investigates how the portrait was utilized by social reformers to assimilate migrant and immigrant populations in the US from the 1890s through the 1950s. Her pedagogical interests include collaborations with the Chicago Teachers’ Center, DePaul Center for Urban Education, and the Terra Foundation for American Art to increase visual literacy in Chicago Public Schools.

Lorraine O’Grady Talk


Lorraine O’Grady

Lorraine O’Grady. Photo taken at the Artforum office in New York in 2009 by David Velasco.

Included in the exhibition, This Will Have Been: Art, Love & Politics in the 1980s, Lorraine O’Grady is an artist and critic whose installations, performances, and texts address issues of diaspora, hybridity, and black female subjectivity. The New York Times in 2006 called her “one of the most interesting American conceptual artists around.” In O’Grady’s work, the idea tends to come first, and then a medium is employed to best execute it. Although its intellectual content is rigorous and political, the work is generally marked by unapologetic beauty and elegance. O’Grady discusses her practice, with a particular focus on her work from the 1980s.

Sound Opinions hosts Jim DeRogatis and Greg Kot—two of the finest and best-recognized pop music writers in the nation—sit down with living legends from Chicago’s musical movements of the 1980s including Chris Connelly (Revolting Cocks, Ministry) and ‘Godfather of House’ DJ Frankie Knuckles, to explore the music and politics of the decade. Presented in conjunction with the MCA exhibition This Will Have Been: Art, Love & Politics in the 1980s

Based in Chicago, Sound Opinions is hosted by Jim DeRogatis and Greg Kot, who for over a decade were dedicated competitors at Chicago’s two daily newspapers—Jim at the Chicago Sun-Times and Greg at the Chicago Tribune. Today, Jim writes about music for WBEZ.org and teaches criticism at Columbia College. Every week, Sound Opinions fires up smart and spirited discussions about a wide range of popular music, from indie rock to classic rock, hip hop to R&B, and every genre under the sun.

Presented by Chicago Public Media – WBEZ 91.5FM.

1980s Gallery Talk: Gregg Bordowitz


Gregg Bordowitz

Gregg Bordowitz
Drawing by Amy Sillman © 2007

Artists and scholars lead gallery conversations based on the major themes of This Will Have Been: Art Love and Politics in the 1980s. Gregg Bordowitz discusses the artworks in “Desire and Longing,” which explore the development of appropriation art in relation to the emergence of queer visibility brought on by the AIDS crisis.

Gregg Bordowitz is a writer and artist featured in This Will Have Been. Currently, he is developing a performance lecture, “Testing Some Beliefs,” which he has delivered in several galleries. He directed and wrote an opera titled The History of Sexuality Volume One By Michel Foucault: An Opera, which premiered in October 2010 in Vienna, Austria. His most recent book, General Idea: Imagevirus, was published by Afterall Books in 2010. A collection of his writings titled The AIDS Crisis Is Ridiculous and Other Writings 1986-2003 was published by MIT Press in the fall of 2004. For this book, Bordowitz received the 2006 Frank Jewitt Mather Award from the College Art Association. In addition, he has received a Rockefeller Intercultural Arts Fellowship and a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Fellowship, among other grants and awards. His films, including Fast Trip Long Drop (1993), A Cloud In Trousers (1995), The Suicide (1996), and Habit (2001) have been widely shown in festivals, museums, movie theaters, and broadcast internationally. Professor Bordowitz is currently the Chair of the Film, Video, New Media, and Animation Department at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and he is on the faculty of the Whitney Museum Independent Study Program.

Culture Catalysts: Laura Letinsky


Laura Letinsky

Laura Letinsky. Photo courtesy the artist.

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.

A native of Canada and current Professor in the Department of Visual Arts at the University of Chicago, Laura Letinsky is the second artist to be featured in the MCA’s Chicago Works series. A photographer known for her still lifes, she received her B.F.A. from the University of Manitoba, and an M.F.A. from Yale University School of Art. Letinsky has exhibited at the Canadian Museum of Contemporary Photography; Casino Luxembourg; Galerie m Bochum, Germany; Museum of Modern Art, New York; Nederlands Foto Institute; and The Renaissance Society, Chicago, and her work has been adopted into collections at Art Institute of Chicago; J.P. Getty Museum, Los Angeles; and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Her work has been featured in After All, Damiani Publishers (autumn 2010), Now, Again, Galerie Kusseneers, 2005, Hardly More Than Ever, The Renaissance Society, 2004, Blink, Phaidon Press, 2002, and Venus Inferred, University of Chicago Press, 2000. She is represented by Yancey Richardson Gallery, New York.