"There was an interesting video installation that featured part of an old BBC documentary on Bowie. The commentary on the then-burgeoning star was fairly contemptuous, including a haughty sniff about how most of his fans were '14-to-20-year-old girls.' This is something that feminist and womanist cultural critics still observe — how a largely young female fan base is used to discredit the integrity and value of artists. This, despite the fact that, over and over, young women have 'discovered' and launched the careers of dozens of influential men and women. Like David Bowie, who is now considered so culturally important that he has a globally renowned exhibit dedicated to his career, which tens of thousands of people have clamored to get into." [more inside]
From The Atlantic, a series of photography that documents America in the 1970s: the Pacific Northwest | New York City | the Southwest | Chicago's African-American community | Texas [more inside]
On The Tamms Poetry Committee: "One of the artists' initiatives was "photo requests from solitary." Prisoners on solitary would request photos and professional photographers would then shoot the request and send the photo back. The gallery of prisoners requests is surprising and poignant."
The permanent collection of the (US) National Veterans Art Museum in Chicago contains more than 2,500 pieces of art by 250 artists, all of which can be seen at NVAM Collection Online. The site includes biographical material on the artists who created the work. Featured Artwork. A small selection. (Via. Images at links in this post may be nsfw, and/or disturbing to some viewers.)
The surreal self-portraits of Kyle Thompson. Kyle Thompson is a 20 yr old self taught photographer from the suburbs of Chicago. Here is his flickr stream, his tumblr.
In the 1970s and 1980s, Chicago gangs distributed gang cards to stake their neighbourhood claim. Full gallery available here.
Specimen products is the workshop of Ian Schneller, a Chicago-based sculptor-turned-luthier. His site is worth a look if you are interested in unusual guitars and other stringed instruments (like this electic lute), eccentric amplifiers and speakers, or extreme guitar repair. Currently Schneller is collaberating with musician Andrew Bird on Sonic Arboretum, a musical perfomance/installation piece. Here is video of a performance at the Guggenheim in 2010, and a slideshow of the preparations for an upcoming performance at Chicago's Museum of Contemporary Art.
If Giovanni Ribisi’s character isn’t listed as “Pointlessly Gleeful Cunt” in the credits I will be so disappointed
Spike of Templar, AZ (Previously, Previously) tends to go on rants on twitter, now you can follow them.
50 Aldermen/50 Artists. Chicago gallery Johalla Projects enlisted local artists to meet with the members of the city council and create a portrait of the person they found. "The goal is just to get people involved," says co-curator Jeremy Scheuch. "I think a lot of aldermen were (initially) afraid of what this might be about." More photos here.
President Obama pencil topper. Olympic Mayor Daley. Parachuting Rod Blagojevich.(Acrobat PDF) Mayor Daley Parking Meter.(Acrobat PDF) Paper sculptures by illustrator and animation artist Joe Fournier.
Sculptor John Kearney of Chicago and Provincetown and his wife Lynn have been running Chicago's Contemporary Art Workshop in a former dairy for almost 60 years. Unlike their better-known contemporary the Hyde Park Art Center, (founded nearly the same year) the pair never let the gallery move beyond its original mission, to discover and support young artists, especially those with little or no exhibition background. The Workshop had early solo exhibitions for both artists who went on to fame, and those whose careers fizzled (full disclosure-that would be me) and has exhibited thousands in its 6 decades. Kearney, who worked with found objects from early in his career, is the best-known sculptor you never heard of, with his creative and amusing bumper sculptures all over Chicago. [more inside]
2 years ago I FPP'd FlavorPill, a company that sends out permission-based emails for books (Boldtype), music (Earplug), and fashion (the JC Report). They've since added ArtKrush (it's art, stupid! - nsfw) and Activate (world events) to their aresenal. In addition to the topic-specific mailing lists, they offer city-specific lists for London, New York, SF, LA, and Chicago. Sample issues are archived on the site.
Cayetano Ferrer is a Chicago based artist whose work involves (among other styles) painting street signs with the images of the items immediately behind them, to give the illusion of transparency (depending on what angle you're viewing from). The latest campaign by Amnesty International seems inspired by his work.
Singer Wesley Willis was an artist as well. I'm not generally a big fan of "outsider art," as this might be called, but as raw as these pictures may be, they have a quality to them I don't think I've seen before. Enjoy. Via Monkeyfilter
Wesley Willis: Rock and roll star, artist, poet, movie star and friend to all he met passed away last night from Leukemia at the age of 40. The six foot five, 320 pound Chicago area musician who cut his teeth on the streets selling city landscape drawings and playing music on his tiny Casio keyboard was infamous for his raw insightful songs and ability to draw his audiences into a schizophrenic's take on reality.
The Top 25 Arts Destinations. AmericanStyle magazine asked its readers to "list their top choices for arts travel destinations" in the United States. The winner was not New York. Sacrilege? Or not? A list of the best galleries is included for each of the top ten. (via ArtsJournal)
SFMOMA appoints Neal Benezra as new director. Benezra was formerly the deputy director and curator of Modern and Contemporary Art at The Art Institute of Chicago, and replaces David Ross, who left the museum in a hurry last August to become chairman of the board of Eyestorm. During his tenure, Ross spent $140 million on acquisitions for the museum; Elaine McKeon, chairwoman of the Museum's board told the NYTimes that "We will still continue purchasing works of art, but we are going to move more slowly." Benezra has ties to Hunk and Moo Anderson, and wrote the catalog essay for the 2000 show of the Anderson collection. Could this mean that the Anderson collection will eventually be gifted to SFMOMA? (sfgate story, nytimes story)
Speaking of Veterans Day, here in Chicago we have the National Vietnam Veterans Art Museum. Art by Vets about the War. Most pieces are on-line with a short essay. The Above and Beyond memorial is impressive to say the least.
Apparently, Chicago sponsors an annual event where artists make fiberglass cows, and they're displayed throughout the city. See the official Cows on Parade if you don't believe me.