Ajna Lichau’s video installation “Dominion,” which just closed on Saturday at the Tribute gallery (625 NW Everett #102), explored the representation of control and resignation without being polemical.
In her introduction for Catherine Opie, SAIC Dean Lisa Wainwright referred to the artist as “a documentarian and a romantic.” Wainwright’s comments – directed to the near-capacity crowd of students, scholars and admirers gathered at Rubloff Auditorium on September 10 – referred to Opie’s ability to capture and emphasize the beautiful in the commonplace, a quality that characterizes much of the photographer’s work from her nearly 25 year career.
Sharon Hayes is the epitome of what formalist and conservative aesthetes hate about contemporary art. Her work is queer, political and feminist but these aren’t the only reasons to love her.
In its modern incarnation, “Midway” typically specifies a section of a county or state fair detectable by the abundance of artery-clogging food, weirdos slinging black light posters, and some form of mud-related entertainment. One might speculate that the word’s origin lies south of the Mason-Dixon Line, but the common noun “midway” in this context actually dates back to Chicago’s 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition, apparently the first of its kind to feature a separate amusement area.
“How can an artwork claim to represent a queer aesthetic if it does not overtly represent gender or sexuality?” “What are the domains of queerness and how can they expand?” Some of the most interesting strains of queer thought and art practices are developing these themes. The first work inside of the expansive exhibition “The Great Refusal: Taking on New Queer Aesthetics,” featured in Sullivan Galleries, was a photograph depicting a grid of overlapping red laser beams emerging from a black background. The image, “Untitled (Laser on White Paper), 2011” by recent SAIC alum Assaf Evron, could be a study of light, space, and perception. Its queer investment is not overtly apparent, which is what makes it an interesting and important inclusion in the show.
Composed mostly of large post-prehistoric sculptures “Super Moment,” on display in the Student Union Galleries’ new LeRoy Neiman Center Gallery, features organic seeming icons of an imaginary civilization — odd and crude. The exhibition, a solo show by SAIC recent BFA graduate Max Garett, suits the new location well with its unique public viewing possible through the glass walls located on Monroe between Wabash and Michigan Ave. None of the pieces would be imposing alone but together they characterize a future forgotten generation.
Andy Warhol is an undisputed icon of American art — his work merged high art and popular culture, highlighting connections between money, fame and cultural value. So, the current exhibition of Warhol Polaroid’s and silver gelatin prints at the DePaul Art Museum should easily be the most interesting part of the current show. However, the Studio Malick exhibition on the ground level of the museum is more compelling, not only because Malick’s photos lack Warhol’s overexposure. The two shows together create some interesting parallels, which was one of assistant curator Gregory Harris’ intentions for hanging the series simultaneously.
When photography developed into a mainstream process to gather and record information, the understanding of how much truth it could register was hazy. In the 1860s photographer William H. Warner tried to convince Scotland Yard that they could catch a killer by photographing the eyes of the dead. There they would find an image of the last moment of life recorded on the retina and hence a portrait of the culprit.
If ever there were a place where the body of Cuban-born American artist Ana Mendieta is hauntingly absent, it is in the Art Institute of Chicago’s current exhibition. The presence of these important images, some of which are representations of the artist’s body, are reminders that much of the content of Mendieta’s often-ephemeral practice occurred elsewhere and will never occur in the gallery because of her early, violent death.