Art exhibits closing and opening in April

It’s arguably hard to keep up with all the exceptional art exhibits put on in Chicago area museums without some kind of program card. Hopefully the following list for April 2019 will help.

Don’t miss

At the Chicago Cultural Center

Arts of Life artists among exhibits ending this week at the Chicago Cultural Center. (Photo courtesy of Chicago Cultural Center and Arts of Life)
Arts of Life artists among exhibits ending this week at the Chicago Cultural Center. (Photo courtesy of Chicago Cultural Center and Arts of Life)

April 7,2019  is closing day for these three exhibits in Cultural Center’s first floor galleries.

“Furtive,” curated by Filter Photo, is a photographic exhibit that explores  personal and collective memory by Daniel Hojnacki, Karolis Usonis, and Krista Wortendyke.

“Forgotten Forms” is an exhibition of works by artists exploring everyday objects to tell a story about neighborhood identity and urban life. The artists are members of the Chicago Cultural Alliance the National Museum of Puerto Rican Arts & Culture and the Ukrainian Institute of Modern Art.

“In Good Company” is a group exhibition is from seven artists and four volunteers of the Arts of Life  studios. Visit artsoflife.org/events/in-good-company.

The  Chicago Cultural Center is at 78 E. Washington St.. Chicago. For more information visit Chicago/Dept/Cultural Center.

 

Detail) Kurt Schmidt, Construction for fireworks, from the Stage Workshop, 1923, lithograph / Reproduction 2017. Photo: Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen (Screen short photo courtesy of Elmhurst Art Museum)
Detail) Kurt Schmidt, Construction for fireworks, from the Stage Workshop, 1923, lithograph / Reproduction 2017. Photo: Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen (Screen shot photo courtesy of Elmhurst Art Museum)

 

At the Elmhurst Art Museum

The Whole World a Bauhouse,” an internationally traveling exhibition making only one stop in the United States, is at the Elmhurst Art Museum just through April 20.

The exhibition marks the 100th anniversary of the famed Bauhaus school in Germany. Even though it operated from 1919 to 1933, it had a revolutionary influence on art, architecture and industry. Instructors included such influencers and artists and Mies van der Rohe, Walter Gropius, Wassily Kandinsky, Josef and Anni Albers, Paul Klee, László Moholy-Nagy and Lily Reich.

The Elmhurst Art Museum is at 150 Cottage Hill Ave., Elmhurst. For more information visit Elmhurst Art Museum.

 

'The Great Wave' by Hokusai will be on view for a short time in a special Japanese prints exhibit the Art Institute of Chicago. (Photo courtesy of Art Institute of chicago
‘The Great Wave’ by Hokusai will be on view for a short time in a special Japanese prints exhibit the Art Institute of Chicago. (Photo courtesy of Art Institute of Chicago)

 

Opening

At the Art Institute of Chicago

“The Great Wave” by Holusai will be among the prints explored in Connoisseurship of Japanese Prints  in Gallery 107 beginning April 6, 2019.

“The People Shall govern!,” opens April 24 in Galleries 1-4. This is the first North American exhibition on the Medu Art Ensemble begun in late 1970s to oppose South Africa’s apartheid.

The Art Institute of Chicago is at 111 S. Michigan Ave. For hours, admission and other information visit ARTIC.

 

Jonathas de Andrade Still from Jogos dirigidos (Directed games), 2019. HD video (color, sound). Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago Commission. (photo courtesy of Museum of Contemporary Art )

At the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago

Jonathas De Andrade: One to One” opens April 13 with photographs, installations and videos that reflect his take on a northeast area of Brazil.

Can You Hear Me Now,” opening April 27, deals with communication problems in a divisive political climate.

The Museum of Contemporary Art is at 220 E. Chicago Ave. For hours, admission and other information visit MCA.

Jodie Jacobs

 

 

 

 

Rashid Johnson exhibit reflects the times

 

“Rashid Johnson: Hail We Now Sing Joy” is worth the drive across Illinois’ northern border. Up now through early fall at the Milwaukee Art Museum, the most current works of Johnson are monumental.

Milwaukee Curator of Contemporary Art Margaret Andera and artist Rashid Johnson in front of "Antoine's Organ." Photos by Jodie Jacobs
Milwaukee Curator of Contemporary Art Margaret Andera and artist Rashid Johnson in front of “Antoine’s Organ.” Photos by Jodie Jacobs

More often than not, an exhibit features works large and small. And Johnson, a Chicago native and New York-based artist, has worked with a variety of formats from photography to installations. Many of those works were in a 10-year retrospective at Chicago’s Museum of Contemporary in 2012.

Now, isitors to the MAM show are likely to get the message of how Johnson, a black artist who grew up in Evanston and studied at Columbia College Chicago and the School of the Art Institute, views the world today. They are  immediately aware upon entering the exhibit that this time Johnson is thinking large scale.

The first gallery is dominated by a 10-foot high black scaffolding that is overflowing with plants in hand-built ceramic pots, small shea butter sculptures, books, a video, an upright piano and lights.

A gallery is covered with the faces of the "Anxious Audience" pieces made with wax on black soap backed by ceramic tiles.
A gallery is covered with the faces of the “Anxious Audience” pieces made with wax on black soap backed by ceramic tiles.

Titled “Antoine’s Organ,” the piece is Johnson’s nod to the African Diaspora but the work is named for Antoine Baldwin, a pianist and music producer. Musicians will be up in the grid of scaffolding periodically to play the piano.

It doesn’t matter which way visitors continue behind the grid into the next galleries. There are just four rooms. Each has one theme: “Antoine’s Organ,” “Anxious Audience,” “Escape Collage” and “Falling Man.”

Faces, all looking as if they were inspired by Edvard Munch 1893 painting, “The Scream,” look from the walls in the “Anxious Audience” gallery. Made with wax on black soap backed by white ceramic tiles, the faces seem to reflect the racial violence and conflicts in the news.

“Escape Collage” in another gallery, goes in the opposite direction. The

Colorful paintings, all titled "Escape Collage" offer a hopeful view of tropical warmth.
Colorful paintings, all titled “Escape Collage” offer a hopeful view of tropical warmth.

works, made from custom wallpaper appear to have black smudges that may be figures entering a colorful, tropical world of multicolored tiles and paint. Johnson has said he equated palm trees with success because they meant being able to leave a cold climate for a tropical one.

A table filled with blocks of Shea butter will capture viewers’ attention in the fourth or second gallery depending on which way visitors walk after “Antoine’s Organ.”

Johnson leaves it up to the visitors to interpret the meaning of the butter although Shea is often thought to be soothing and even a balm.

Table with blocks of shea butter surrounded by "Falling Man" art work.
Table with blocks of Shea butter surrounded by “Falling Man” art work.

However, all the works on the walls of this gallery are called “Falling Man.” They are made with red oak flooring, pieces of mirrors, black soap, wax and white ceramic tiles.

Although the figures resemble video game people, the pieces’ titles of “Falling Man” beg other interpretations such as violence or unsuccessful economic ventures.

Viewers should find Johnson’s work relevant now and reflective of the past given that art through the ages has historically reflected the times when created.

“Rashid Johnson: Hail We Now Sing Joy” is at the Milwaukee Art Museum, 700 N. Art Museum Drive, Milwaukee, WI 53202, now through Sept 17, 2017. For admission and hours call (414) 224-3200 and visit MAM.