World class Chicago arts and museum venues temporarily close

 

El Greco (Domenikos Theotokopoulos). The Assumption of the Virgin, 1577–79. The Art Institute of Chicago, Gift of Nancy Atwood Sprague in memory of Albert Arnold Sprague. (Photo courtesy of the Art Institute of Chicago)
El Greco (Domenikos Theotokopoulos). The Assumption of the Virgin, 1577–79. The Art Institute of Chicago, Gift of Nancy Atwood Sprague in memory of Albert Arnold Sprague. (Photo courtesy of the Art Institute of Chicago)

 

Looks like the internet, TV and bookstores such as Barnes & Noble are going to be the go-to places for A & E, at least through March.

The latest closures to come into the Chicago Theater and Arts on-line desk are the Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago Symphony Orchestra and some museums. Please carefully check possible reopening and rescheduling dates and ticket options.

Art Institute of Chicago

The museum will be shuttered from today, March 14, through March 28 but events such as tours, performances and lectures will be on hiatus through April 10, according to a just released statement.

It added that the closure will allow the museum to develop “rigorous health and safety standards and protocols.” Purchased tickets can be refunded to the card used within 10 business days.

Fortunately, AIC’s current exhibition, “El Greco: Ambition and Defiance” goes through June 21, 2020 so there is still time to see the famed artist’s most notable works and also learn he was skilled at more than religious paintings.

 

Chicago Symphony Orchestra

Beginning March 12, all Chicago Symphony Orchestra Association concerts at Symphony Center and pre- and post-concert special events were canceled through at least the next 30 days . The CSOA’s statement said ticket holders to canceled concerts could exchange them for other concerts or request a refund. For more information call (312) 294-3000 or visit CSO org/alert.

 

Museum Closure Updates

Citing both IL Governor J.B. Pritzker’s mandate to close gatherings involving 1,000 people or more and their own desire to safeguard their patrons and staff, several museums have closed for the rest of March. However, their re-opening varies by museum so best plan is to check their websites.

 

Shedd Aquarium

Normally jammed with students on Spring Break, the Shedd, arguably Chicago’s top (non-art) museum attraction, is closed through March 29. Their statement reads: “Our dedicated caretakers and veterinarians will continue to provide the highest standards of professional care and welfare for our animals on site. And, until we can welcome you back, we invite you to stay connected to them behind the scenes via Shedd’s Facebook and Instagram, as well as explore, experience and learn more about the aquatic animal world through our other digital resources.

For information on refunds and rescheduling of previously purchased tickets, group and experience reservations, programs and events and more, please email contactus@sheddaquarium.org or call us at( 312) 939-2438.

 

Please also visit Adler Planetarium, the Field Museum, Museum of Contemporary Art and the Museum of Science and Industry about their closures.

Jodie Jacobs

 

Taking a second look at art

Mannequins in Duro Olowu clothes gaze at art in new MCA Chicago exhibition. (J Jacobs photo)
Mannequins in Duro Olowu clothes gaze at art in new MCA Chicago exhibition. (J Jacobs photo)

If you have ever debated or thought about the question of what is art you will find some interesting answers in a new exhibit at the Museum of contemporary Art. Titled “Duro Olowu: Seeing Chicago” it is not a photography exhibit of city places.

Organized for the MCA by Naomi Beckwith, Manilow Senior Curator, with Curatorial Assistant Jack Schneider, the exhibit is curated by Nigerian-born British designer known for his women’s fashions. The exhibit presents Olowu’s ideas of how art, the world around artists, museums and the people who attend exhibits interact with each other.

It could be called “Second Look” which happens to be the title of one of the show’s explanation boards. Olowu wants visitors to remember a show, “not necessarily for names of particular artists.” Instead, he hopes guests will consider the broader concept of what” art and museums mean.”

Think about how portraits have changed over time when viewing a new exhibit at MCA Chicago.. (J Jacob s photo)
Think about how portraits have changed over time when viewing a new exhibit at MCA Chicago.. (J Jacob s photo)

Using objects primarily from the MCA, and from other Chicago’s public and private art collections, he groups the works to make statements of patterns and ideas.

One room, called “Look at Me” consists of portraits in paintings and other art forms. Olowu notes that the room is filled with different faces, body types, races and genders of what he calls “real life.” And that once a visitor steps into the room that person becomes part of the crowd.

Part of how he hopes visitors will understand is that portraiture varies over time according to different ideals of beauty, shape and pattern.

Kerry James Marshall, Portrait of a Curator (In memory of Beryl Wright) 2009. (J Jacobs photo)
Kerry James Marshall, Portrait of a Curator (In memory of Beryl Wright) 2009. (J Jacobs photo)

To put all that into perspective, the last room has mannequins dressed in Olowu designs looking at art.

On a more personal level, I was glad to find two of my favorite artists (and yes I do look at the artist’s name) included: Kerry James Marshall, represented in Portrait of a Curator (In memory of Beryl Wright) 2009, and Roger Brown, represented by “Autobiography in the shape of Alabama (Mammy’s Door) 1974.

But I’m also glad Olowu included folk art such as H. C. Westermann’s 1958 “Memorial to the idea of man if he was an idea” made of pine, bottle caps, cast tin toys, glass, metal, brass, ebony and enamel.

“Autobiography in the shape of Alabama (Mammy’s Door) 1974. (J Jacobs photo)
Roger Brown, represented by “Autobiography in the shape of Alabama (Mammy’s Door) 1974. (J Jacobs photo)

DETAILS: “Duro Olowu: Seeing Chicago” is at the Museum of Contemporary Art,  220 E Chicago Ave Chicago, through May 10, 2020. For ticket, hours and other information call (312) 280-2660 or visit MCA Chicago/Home.

To hear Duro Olowu talk about the why behind the exhibit go to the video

 

Jodie Jacobs

Free museum days offer end of summer fun

 

Art Institute of chicago has a free family center and also has free hours Thursday evenings. (J Jacobs photo)
Art Institute of chicago has a free family center and also has free hours Thursday evenings. (J Jacobs photo)

There still are a few days left to explore the Shedd Aquarium, the Museum of Science and Industry and some of Chicago’s other world-class museums without dipping into fall school supply funds.

Some museums are always free. Others have free admission on certain days or hours of the week. But check what is available with free admission because at some museums general admission is free but there still are ticketed exhibits. A valid ID with proof of residency is needed. if the free day is for Illinois residents or Chicago youth.

 

Art Institute of Chicago

Children under age 14 always admitted free. Chicago teens under age 18 are also admitted free. In addition, admission is free to Illinois residents on Thursdays from 5 to 8 p.m. The Ryan Learning Center near the Modern Wing entrance is always free to families and children’s care givers.

The main entrance is at 111 S. Michigan Ave. but there is also an entrance around the corner at the museum’s Modern Wing, 159 E. Monroe St. For hours and more information call (312) 443-3600 or see artic/visit.

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Museum of Contemporary Art

The museum is at 220 E. Chicago Ave. just east of Michigan Avenue’s Magnificent Mile. Admission is free for youth 18 and younger every day and for Illinois residents on Tuesdays. For hours and more information call  (312) 289-2660 or see MCAChicago/visit.

 

Chicago History Museum

The museum is free to Illinois residents Tuesdays from 12:30 to 9 p.m. and always free to Illinois youth under age 18. Located at 1601 N Clark St., the museum is on the edge of Lincoln Park. For more information call (312) 642-4600 or see ChicagoHistory/visit.

 

DuSable Museum of African American History in Washington Park. (Photo courtesy of DuSable Museum)
DuSable Museum of African American History in Washington Park. (Photo courtesy of DuSable Museum)

 

DuSable Museum of African American History

Located at 740 E. 56th Place in Washington Park at 57th and cottage Grove, the museum’s exhibits feature augmented reality when tied to an app that can be easily downloaded. Admission is free every Tuesday.

For more information call (773) 947-0600 or see DuSable Museum/Visit.

 

The Field Museum

The museum is at 1400 S. Lake Shore Drive at the west end of Chicago’s Museum Campus. It has free basic admission for Illinois residents on Wednesdays from Aug. 14 to Nov. 13, 2019.

Go to FieldMuseum/exhibitions then click on the individual exhibits to see which ones are included in basic admission or needs an All Access or Discover Pass. For more information call (312) 922-9410 or see Field Museum/visit.

 

McCormick Bridgehouse & Chicago River Museum

Think of this museum as an iceberg with much of what there is to see below the Michigan Avenue and Upper Wacker Drive level. It is inside the Southwest Bridgetower but entry is down at river level at 99 Chicago Riverwalk at the northwest corner of Michigan and Wacker. Sundays are free.  Visitors learn about the historic structure, the river’s bridges and the Chicago River.

For more information call (312) 939-0490 ex. 28 or see Bridgehousemuseum/visit.

 

Wired to Wear is the new hit exhibit at the Museum of Science and Industry. (Photo credit to JB Spector/Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago
Wired to Wear is the new hit exhibit at the Museum of Science and Industry. (Photo credit to JB Spector/Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago

 

Museum of Contemporary Photography

The museum is at at Columbia College Chicago, 600 S. Michigan Ave. near Harrison Street. It is always free but donations are welcomed. For more information call (312) 663-5554 or see MOCP/about.

 

Museum of Science and Industry

Located  at 5700 S. Lake Shore Drive in a building from the 1893 Columbian Expostion, MSI is among the world’s largest science museums so there is plenty to see on free general admission days for Illinois residents even though they don’t include the ticketed exhibits. Coming free days are Aug. 26-28, 2019.

For more information call  (773) 684-1414 or see MSIChicago/visit.

 

National Museum of Mexican Art

The museum is at 1852 W 19th St,  in the Pilsen neighborhood, south west of downtown Chicago. Admission is free, daily. For hours and more information call (312) 738-1503 or see National MuseumofMexicanArt/faqs.

 

Shedd Aquarium

The Aquarium, 1200 S. Lake Shore Drive, is the second building on Chicago’s Museum Campus. Lines are long any day but particularly on free days so go early. Capacity is limited so some people reserve their tickets on line for a $3 transaction fee. Illinois resident free days are Aug. 26-28, 2019.

Illinois residents get access to  all exhibits, chats, presentations and Stingray Touch. For more information call (312) 939-2438 or see Shedd/visit.

 

Jodie Jacobs

 

Three stylish blockbuster exhibits

Off-White™ c/o Virgil Abloh, Spring/Summer 2018, Look 11; courtesy of Off-White™ c/o Virgil Abloh. Photo: Fabien Montique.
Off-White™ c/o Virgil Abloh, Spring/Summer 2018, Look 11; courtesy of Off-White™ c/o Virgil Abloh. Photo: Fabien Montique.

 

If thinking about the fashions of tomorrow, head to the Museum of Science and Industry near the Hyde Park neighborhood for “Wired to Wear.”

If anyone in the household is wondering how people break into the fashion industry, go over to the Museum of Contemporary Art for Virgil Abloh’s “Figures of Speech.”

If curious how a famed 19th century artist dresses his models and sees  1870s-1880s Parisian apparel, visit “Manet and Modern Beauty” at the Art Institute of Chicago.

 

 

Microsoft design Smart tattoo of gold and metal leaf. (Photo courtesy of the Museum of Science and Industry.)
Microsoft design Smart tattoo of gold and metal leaf. (Photo courtesy of the Museum of Science and Industry.)

“Wired to Wear”

Some day, probably sooner than you expect, your what-to-wear question will be which of your wired apparel would best suit the day’s activities.

Choices could range from Nike’s Self-Lacing Shoes because of time constraints to a D-Air Racing suit with a cushion that inflates before your crash to prevent injury such as when racing a motorcycle.  Or the choice might range from an Iridescence collar that will detect the mood of people encountered to a Smart Tattoo on the arm that interfaces with your mobile device and makes a personal style statement.

Designed by Microsoft, the tattoo in the exhibit allows visitors to create notes on an instrument and even control lighting. To hear more about it go to Duoskin.

Similar to the Coal Mine, visitors need a special ticket in addition to museum entry. Opened in Mid-Mach 2019, the exhibit continues to May 2020. MSI is at 5700 S. Lake Shore Dr., Chicago. For hours and other information see Visit.

 

Virgil Abloh: “Figures of Speech”, MCA Chicago June 10 – September 22, (2019 Photo: Nathan Keay, © MCA Chicago.)
Virgil Abloh: “Figures of Speech”, MCA Chicago June 10 – September 22, (2019 Photo: Nathan Keay, © MCA Chicago.)

“Figures of Speech”

Engineer, architect, artist, fashion designer, Virgil Abloh is a 30-seomthing, black male from Rockford, Il whose creativity and determination has taken him from t-shirt designs to founding “Off-White,” his own line in Milan, and becoming Louis Vuitton Men’s Artistic Director.

But what the MCA exhibit which opens to the public June 10 does, is more than highlight Abloh’s career to date. It also offers the artist’s sense of astonishment that he has been successful in an industry not exactly populated by blacks.

So race is an underlying theme. However, Abloh also hopes the exhibit will inspire youngsters to go for their dreams undeterred by obstacles. There is an accompanying store, called “Church and State,” that is on the same 4th floor as the exhibit. It has Abloh items and a catalogue that further explains the theme and the “go-for-it philosophy.

The exhibit goes to Sept. 22, 2019. MCA is at 220 E. Chicago Ave., Chicago. Admission is by timed tickets. For more information or tickets call 312-397-4010.or see Visit and Events.

 

Édouard Manet. Letter to Madame Jules Guillemet, Decorated with a Portrait and a Still Life of a Bag and a Parasol, July 1880. Private Collection. (Credit: Saint Honoré Art Consulting, Paris.)
Édouard Manet. Letter to Madame Jules Guillemet, Decorated with a Portrait and a Still Life of a Bag and a Parasol, July 1880. Private Collection. (Credit: Saint Honoré Art Consulting, Paris.)

 

“Manet and Modern Beauty”

In his early years, 19th century French artist Édouard Manet had primarily focused on historical and religious subjects. But in his later years when he transitioned to Impressionism he became interested in modern life and ladies’ fashionable apparel and leisure activities. The exhibit features more than 90 works from paintings to letters.

The audio devise that accompanies the exhibit and some of the wall descriptions explain clothing choices and mention the stylish apparel of men and women.

The Art Institute of Chicago is at 111 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago. The exhibit is only up this summer and ends Sept. 8, 2019.  For admission and hours see AIC/visit.

 

These exhibits deserve to be on the summer do list.

Jodie Jacobs

 

Around Town: Pop-up art, Earth Day and good web sites

Expect the unexpected when it comes to what’s happening in and around Chicago. Here are three items that add fun to spring.

Back to the Future II shoes on display at the Museum of Contemporary Art .Chicago. (Photo courtesy of Heritage Auctions)
Back to the Future II shoes on display at the Museum of Contemporary Art .Chicago. (Photo courtesy of Heritage Auctions)

Urban Art Pop-Up Trunk Show

Try to stop by the Museum of Contemporary Art’s store by April 11, 2019. Up on the second level of the store are about 100 unusual, expensive, street and art culture items on display that can be bid on through Heritage Auctions.

The items include a pair of “ Back to the Future II” shoes designed by Nike that have an  auto-lacing system activated by the wearer’s weight on the sole. They were worn by Michael J. Fox as Marty Mcfly. There are also Jeff Koons’ “Balloon Animal Series, “Sunflowers by Ron English and items by Yayoi Kusama, Takashi Murakami, Damien Hirst and other artists.

The MCA, located at 220 E. Chicago Ave., is closed Monday, open otherwise at 10 am.  Fri and tues until 9 othewise until 6. For more information call 312-397-4000 and visit MCA Chicago/Urban Art.

 

 

Planting is one of the activities in Brookfield Zoo's Party for the Planet Day April 14. (Photo courtesy of Brookfield Zoo)
Planting is one of the activities in Brookfield Zoo’s Party for the Planet Day April 14. (Photo courtesy of Brookfield Zoo)

Earth Day Party.

Brookfield Zoo is celebrating our planet April 14 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. with crafts, Zoo Chats, planting activities and recycle drop-off containers. Tree planting is at 11 a.m. and then pansies are planted near the Hamill family Play Zoo until 12:30. An Eco Expo of 20 organizations including the Lincoln Park Zoo Shedd Auarium and Indiana dunes National Park, will be stationed on the North Mall. The Party for the Planet is presented by Nicor Gas’ “energySmart” program.

Some of the other activities are meeting zoo animal ambassadors near the Carousel from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., a chat about bears in the Great Bear Wilderness at 11 a.m. and learning about the black rhino in the Pachyderm Building at 2:30 p.m.

As to recycling, the zoo will take electronics, textiles, and household hazardous waste items.on April 13 until 3 p.m. then electronics, textiles and paper (for shredding) April 14, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Free parking in the North Lot, 8400 31st Street (First Avenue and 31st Street), Brookfield, is offered to visitors with one or more approved items to recycle on either day.

There will be a drop box for electronic items such as cell phones, cell phone accessories, pagers, hand-held electronic games, e-readers, laptops, iPods, iPads, tablets, and MP3 players (sent to Eco-Cell for recycling). For approved items visit CZS.org/PartyPlanet . Items have to be brought unboxed with no excess packaging.

Zoo admission is $21 95 adults, $15.95for  ages 3-11 and seniors age 65 and older. Partyh for th Planet activities included in admission except for those inside the Hamil Familyh Play zoo. Parking is $14.00. For additional information call (708) 688-8000 and visit CZS.org/PartyPlanet.

 

Gehary Pavillion has programs in Millennium Park. (J Jacobs photo)
Gehary Pavillion has programs in Millennium Park. (J Jacobs photo)

Three Chicago Websites to know

Millenium Park Calendar – copy, paste and keep checking this website for birding, plant events, music festivals and more.

Chicago City Markets – The city markets are opening outdoors with fresh produce, baked goods, gifts and demos so check this website for dates and activities .

Chicago Riverwalk – find out where the sculptures are, what is happening with the Mart video art, when and where vendors are opening and other activities along the Chicago River at this website.

 

Jodie Jacobs

 

New exhibit showcases Midwest artists who went West

 

Aaron Curry, 2014 "Untitled" Photo by J Jacobs)
Aaron Curry, 2014 “Untitled”
Photo by J Jacobs)

Because the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago often has a special exhibition, such as the really wonderful look at artist Enrico David in “Gradations of Slow Release (up through March 10, 2019), tt’s arguably easy to forget that the MCA has its own massive collection of works that would likely have permanent wall space in a larger building.

Therefore it’s no surprise that a new show, “West by Midwest,” primarily made up of works in the museum’s collection, is a way to give some of the fine sculptures, paintings, prints and photographs not recently on public view  pride of place up on the fourth floor’s special exhibition space.

The new exhibit has an interesting theme. The works are by Midwest artists who either moved to the West Coast to study and then stayed or temporarily went there to exhibit.

“I thought it was time to do an exhibit based on our own holdings,” MCA Chief Curator Michael Darlin said at the show’s opening Nov. 16.

While going through the collection, some artists who had migrated to California, though at different times, particularly caught his attention.  “I said, ‘Hey wait a second. These are all from the Midwest,’ ” Darling explained.

Organized by Charlotte Ickes, a postdoctoral Curatorial Fellow, with Darling, the artists range  from Larry Bell and Judy Chicago to Gladys Nilsson and Charles White, along with about 60  more artists from the 1960s through the second decade of the 21st century.

The exhibition is divided into five sections according to artists that overlap each other in either approach or within their circles of friends. Some of the artists went to the same California art schools or collaborated.

Thus the exhibit not only showcases some of their work, it also shows artists as beings who interact politically, socially and artistically.

Details: “West by Midwest” is at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, 220 E. Chicago Ave.  through Jan. 27, 2019. For admission hours and other information call (312-280-2660 and visit MCA Chicago.

Jodie Jacobs

 

Enrico David works get recognition

 

 

Enrico David, "Tools and Toys III"2014 on view at Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago (MCA Photo)
Enrico David, “Tools and Toys III”2014 on view at Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago (MCA Photo)

When seeing a picture of “Tools and Toys III, 2014, an eye-sculpture sculpture by Italian-born, London-based artist Enrico David, I imagined it was life-sized.  But upon going through the David exhibit, now up at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, I found it to be 23 ¼ in. by 20 1/3 in. by 3 in., thus small compared to several other works in the gallery. But it was definitely significant.

“Tools and Toys III” is a human figure of jesmonite and graphite that is slightly a tilt, but with copper prongs radiating out in all directions as a field of energy.

As seen by the figures that filled the exhibition, David found a variety of choices for artistic and emotional expression in the human body, sometimes elongated, sometimes partnering with other humans and sometimes as unusual variations of the head. But in “Tools” the figure appears mystical.

Enrico David “Untitled” Ombre Rosse), 2017, wool on canvas. (J Jacobs photo)
Enrico David “Untitled” Ombre Rosse), 2017, wool on canvas. (J Jacobs photo)

The large wool on canvas work, “Untitled” Ombre Rosse), 2017, appears to also have either mystical or primeval figures.

Indeed, many of David’s works seem to be either tortured figures or antiquities found in caves or dug in ruins such as “Fortress Shadow” 2014 of jesmonite and patinated steel.

In some cases they may be one figure that has been replicated as if rising such as “The Assuumption of Weee” 2014 or “Ploud Mary”2014 whose figure of celotex, jesomonite, glass fiber and copper has been divided into multiple parts and turned on its side.

Enrico David, "Fortress Shadow" 2014 at MCA Chicago. (Photo by J Jacobs)
Enrico David, “Fortress Shadow” 2014 at MCA Chicago. (Photo by J Jacobs)

“I’ve been following his career for years,” said MCA Chief Curator Michael Darling. “I felt it was the time to do a survey of his work. This is the first large survey of Enrico David in the United States,” Darling said.

I agree. His works are in the collections of the Tate Modern, Hirshorn Museujm and sculpture Garden, Hammer Museum and the MCA but deserve to be more widely known.

DETAILS:  “Enrico David, Gradations of Slow Realease” is at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, 220 E. Chicago Ave. through March 10, 2019. For museum hours and admission  call (312) 280-2660 and visit MCAChicago.

Jodie Jacobs

 

Fun Museum exhibits for summer vacation

 

Find out about how the characters, objects and scenery are created in Pixar movies. (Jodie Jacobs photos)
Find out about how the characters, objects and scenery are created in Pixar movies. (Jodie Jacobs photos except from the MCA)

It’s no accident that Chicago’s museums plan fun exhibits to open right when youngsters are out of school and tourists jam downtown streets.

Recent fruitful pop-ins at a few of the city’s museum’s revealed the following summer bucket list of exhibits. They either just opened or will do so soon. Go because they are perfect for kids or go to satisfy your own curiosity..

A fascinating, hands-on exploration of the “The Science Behind Pixar” used in “Toy Story” and “Finding Nemo” opened May 24 at the Museum of Science and Industry. The Shedd Aquarium’s stunning “Underwater Beauty” exhibit that opened May 25 shows off the colors, patterns and movements of more than 100 species.

The Field Museum’s eye-opening “Antarctic Dinosaurs” opened June 15 and the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago’s insightful “I Was Raised on the Internet” opens June 23.

Continue reading “Fun Museum exhibits for summer vacation”

Work is play and serious in new MCA show

“I look at my work sometimes as play… a kind of joyous play.”

So said artist Howardena Pindell at the Museum of Contemporary Art opening of “What Remains To Be Seen.”

Howardene Pindell sits in front of Nautilus, (2014-15, mixed media on canvas from the Jacqueline Bradley and Clarence Otis Collection. Photos by Jodie Jacobs
Howardena Pindell sits in front of Nautilus, (2014-15, mixed media on canvas from the Jacqueline Bradley and Clarence Otis Collection. Photos by Jodie Jacobs

Even though Pindell’s works have been in shows every year for the past several years, the current MCA exhibit is the first, all encompassing survey of her 50-year career.

It includes her move from figurative to abstraction and activism to occasional returns to figurative forms. But throughout the periods are personal reactions to what it feels like to be black and female. Yet, the playfulness is evident throughout the exhibit.

Pindell enjoyed finding different tools and materials to create art including hole punchers, file-folder stock and beveled cutouts found in a museum’s trash where she was an assistant curator.

The exhibit features several works where holes were either punched or painted by means of oak-board stencils. Some are best viewed up close to note that works that at first appears monochromatic, isn’t.

The show reveals a fascination with numbers, math, patterns and grids. Indeed, visitors who look closely will find numbers in some of the hole-punch designs.

Segment showing the artistic use of hole punches.
Segment showing the artistic use of hole punches.

But in some works, the holes are merely a fascinating pattern.

In another series, numbers and arrows add interest to Pindell’s  video  drawings as if they were instructions. Created on acetate held by static electricity to a television screen, they are an impressive, unusual form of art.

Video Drawings: Swimming, 1975, chromogenic development print from the Museum of contemporary Art Chicago Collection.
Video Drawings: Swimming, 1975, chromogenic development print from the Museum of contemporary Art Chicago Collection.

“I was looking for a fun way to use the videos,” she said. She pointed out that some people thought the numbers and arrows looked like football playbook arrows.

Another technique was cutting up postcards from her extensive travels to form collages.

Part of her “Autobiography” series, they were memory aids because a life-threatening accident in 1979 included a serious concussion that resulted in temporary memory loss.

Work that is play in Pinell’s career is based on a strong art background.

Born in 1943, Pindell graduated from the Philadelphia High School for Girls and studied art at the Philadelphia College of Art and other art schools before getting a BFA from Boston University and MFA from Yale.

“They all wanted me to use figurative art when I was moving into abstraction,” Pindell said at the exhibit opening.

She felt some satisfaction when an influential woman in the academic art world who had expressed a negative view of Pindell’s favoring abstraction over traditional figurative style, turned up at the Museum of Modern Art (NYC’s MoMA) where Pindell was working (first as an exhibit assistant and then an associate curator). “When she saw me, she said, “Oh.”

The MCA exhibit features her different styles. But what also comes across is her use of pattern and color.

"Autobiography: Fire (Suttee), 1986-87 Mixed media on canvas. Collection of Nancy and Peter Huber.
“Autobiography: Fire (Suttee),” 1986-87 Mixed media on canvas.
Collection of Nancy and Peter Huber.

Pindell, a longtime professor of art at Stony Brook University, New York (part of SUNY, a state university), stressed the importance of understanding color depth. She pointed out that she focused on the composition of color with her painting students.”They learn it’s not just, “red,” she explained.

No matter what the subject or materials used, exhibit visitors will see how Pindell’s use of color is very effective, ranging from ethereal to a rich.

Colors, materials and pattern movements seem to draw visitors into her works. Pindell refers to that phenomenon as “space.” “What I’m working on now is space going into the painting and space going out of the painting.”

She also puts herself into her works, literally.

Tips: Don’t walk too fast past “Autobiography: Fire (Suttee),” 1986-87. Done in mixed media on canvas and on loan from the Nancy and Peter Huber Collection, its rich colors and patterns might obscure the fact that there is an outline of Pindell’s body in the picture

It references a former custom of expecting a widow in India to kill herself after her husband dies. It also stands for human suffering and her own experiences with being black and a woman.

Also watch her in the performance video, “Free, White and 21” (1980) when she compares black and white women’s experiences.

DETAILS: “Howardena Pindell: What Remains To Be Seen,” is at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, 220 E. Chicago Ave., now through May 20, 2018. For more information call (312) 280-2660 and visit MCA Chicago.

Jodie Jacobs

 

 

 

 

Unique gifts that work double time

 

A penguin with a purpose. A Wright that is right. Those are just two of the special gifts that can be found in Chicago museums.

Instead of fighting crowds on Black Friday, use the day off to visit a favorite museum and its gift shop. Museum stores are not only filled with fun and artistic gifts, they also funnel that money you spend back into programs and other costs.

Plus, holiday shopping when you can also watch penguins play or visit a favorite art period adds to the fun of finding a present that matches a person’s interest.

However, if you don’t make it down to Chicago, browse the museum stores’ web sites. They are easy to maneuver because most are broken into different categories so don’t worry if the first link you find merely says store. Watch for scrolling options and look for such links as jewelry, toys and home decor.

On Chicago’s Museum Campus

Shedd Aquarium

The Shedd, in the middle of the Museum campus at 1200 S. Lake Shore Dr., is a favorite destination when youngsters and adults have a day off. However, you can also look in the shop on line to find everything from toddler shark hoodies to soft, plus animals that have wallett friendly prices. Visit Shedd Shop and call (312) 939-2438 if you have some questions.

A plush baby penguin is just one of the delightful items found on line in the Shedd Aquarium store. Shedd photo
A plush baby penguin is just one of the delightful items found on line in the Shedd Aquarium store. Shedd photo

Adler Planetarium 

Past the Shedd, all the way out to the eastern point of the museum campus is the Adler Planetarium,  at 1300 S. Lake Shore Drive.

The shop is perfect for the budding astronomer or astronaut wannabe. Think telescope, NASA hoodie or night sky projection.

The products are high quality and come in all prices. Check out Adler Shop and call (312) 922-7827 with questions.

Field Museum

First museum on the campus, the Field at 1400 S. Lake shore Dr., has a huge store worth a visit anytime you are on the museum campus. However, the store’s website is also huge. Note that different shop areas scroll across the Field store site. Click on one that particularly catches your attention or merelyh look for such categories as home  décor and toys. Among the sites is one for Ancient Mediterranean objects.  For other information call (312) 922-9410.

Art Museums

Art Institute of Chicago

Both sections of theArt Institute of Chicago, the traditional building at 111 S. Michigan Ave. and the Modern Wing at 159 E. Monroe St. have wonderful gift shops near their entrances so visitors can shop without paying admission. But if there, it is hard to resist visiting a favorite gallery.

If shopping  on line look for different categories such as apparel, stationary, books (even coloring books for famous paintins or architectural items, glass objects or a particular artist at AICShop.  There is even a site for all Frank Lloyd Wright items.  For other information call (312) 443-3600.

Frank Lloyd Wright decorative items, tgies and clock can be found on the Art Institute of Chicago's store website. Art Institute of chicago photo
Frank Lloyd Wright decorative items, tgies and clock can be found on the Art Institute of Chicago’s store website. Art Institute of chicago photo

Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago

Visit the MCA, as it is popularly known, to see its latest exhibition of important contemporary works upstairs on the Fourth Floor but also to dine in its new restaurant on the ground floor. The museum is at 220 E. Chicago Ave.

But if saving that visit for a day after the holidays, go on line to the MCA Store to vfnd such fun objects as desktop and hanging mobiles or fun, objects by artist Murakami.

For more information call (312) 289-2660.

 

Other Museums

Chicago History Museum

If trying to match a present to a history buff or someone interested in Chicago, a great place to find a book or related gift is at the Chicago History Museum Shop. The building, situated in Lincoln Park at 1601 N. Clark St., is  also an easy bus ride from downtown Chicago.

Museum of Science and Industry

Visit MSI to see its Robots, Lego or Mirror Maze exhibit or for its fairy castle or coal mine. You will find related items and gifts for you young scientiist in the museum gift shop. The museum is at 5700 S. Lake Shore Drive near the Hyde Park/ University of Chicago neighborhoods.

But you can also shop on line for toys, books and other gift items. The store has a gift guide.

Happy shopping and have a joyous holiday.

Jodie Jacobs