Artist John Baldessari appropriated all or part of other artists’ work for his wall-size pieces long before critics found a name for this shameless practice. A painter, photographer, writer, video maker, and filmmaker, Baldessari has influenced a whole generation of art makers. He’ll speak tonight at the Arts Club of Chicago, 109 E. Ontario. A cash bar opens at 5:30, and the lecture follows at 6. Tickets are $9, $6 for MCA members, students, and seniors. The lecture is sponsored by the Museum of Contemporary Art. Call 280-2671.
If you want, you can pay to watch TV commercials. Not just any commercials, mind you, but the 1989 CLIO Award winners–ostensibly the best of the lot. There will be special screenings at 6 and 7:45 tonight, and at 4:15 and 6 on Sunday, at the Film Center at the School of the Art Institute, Columbus Drive at Jackson. Tickets are $5, $3 for Film Center members. Call 443-3733.
Maybe–just maybe–the 60s weren’t all they were cracked up to be. That’s the premise of tonight’s Deflowered: The 60’s Reconsidered, a video program at the School of the Art Institute’s Gallery 2 curated by the folks at the Video Data Bank. The lineup includes recent works that question the myths surrounding subjects such as urban riots, John and Yoko, the assassination of President Kennedy, and Easy Rider. The free program starts at 7 at 1040 W. Huron. Call 443-3793.
The Reverend Cecil Williams, a cochairman of the first national symposium on the black family and crack cocaine, will be the keynote speaker at today’s citywide youth rally against drugs. Sponsored by the Chicago Temple and the local chapter of the Urban League, the free program starts at 12:30 PM at 77 W. Washington. Call 236-4548 or 285-5800, ext. 358.
On Sunday, January 30, 1972, the British army opened fire on a civil rights demonstration in Londonderry, Northern Ireland, and killed 14 demonstrators. Tonight the Markievicz Drumm Farrell Unit of the local Irish Northern Aid chapter sponsors a Bloody Sunday Commemoration, featuring the Chicago premiere of Behind the Mask, a video about Irish Republican Army activists and how they continue the struggle against the British. Later in the evening, local artist M.J. Marchnight will read from the work of poet Tomas Kinsella. The show starts at 7:30 in room 110 at the Irish American Heritage Center, 4626 N. Knox. Tickets are $3 in advance, $4 at the door. Call 252-6082 or 227-4439.
The Hungarian State Folk Ensemble believes that folk dance, music, and song must be presented so that their authenticity isn’t lost in the transition from village to stage, but also so that they appeal to city dwellers and non-Hungarians. Artistic director Sandor Timar, who took over the company in 1982, reminds his performers that they play, sing, and dance the music that inspired composers Franz Liszt, Ernst von Dohnanyi, and Bela Bartok. The company hits the stage at 8 tonight and 3 tomorrow afternoon at the Auditorium Theatre, 50 E. Congress. Ticket prices range from $8 to $28. Call 431-2357.
There’s a storage room at the DuSable Museum of African American History that’s crammed from floor to ceiling with plaques, awards, and other gifts given to Mayor Harold Washington. Ramon Price, the museum’s chief curator and Harold’s half brother, has selected a handful of Harold’s favorites to accompany The Washington Years: 1983-1987, the new photo-essay exhibition opening at noon today at the museum, 740 E. 56th Place. Among the gifts are the Super Bowl football that sat on the credenza in the mayor’s office and a sacred Maori sculpture. All but two of the photos in the show are by municipal press-office photographer Antonio Dickey. Regular museum hours are noon to 5 Saturday and Sunday, 9 to 5 Monday through Friday. Admission is $2, $1 for seniors and students with IDs, 50 cents for kids. Call 947-0600.
Art and Black Culture, an Evanston Exhibition takes a broad view of black culture: of the seven artists included, two are African, two are Hispanic, and four are African American. The show, which runs through March 30, opens today at the Noyes Cultural Arts Center, 927 Noyes in Evanston. Regular hours are 9 to 6 Monday through Saturday, 10 to 6 Sunday. A reception for the artists, will be held Friday, February 9, from 6 to 9 PM. lt’s all free. Call 708-491-0266.
Levi Strauss donated 100 plain denim jackets; then 100 designers–including big shots like Giorgio Armani and locals such as Paige Mayberry–transformed them into one-of-a-kind artworks. All 100 jackets will be auctioned off February 23 at Denim by Design, a benefit for the AIDS Foundation of Chicago at the Nikko Hotel. But you can get a sneak preview at Ditka’s tonight. Starting at 5:30, there will be free champagne, and soft drinks, a light dinner buffet, dancing, and other entertainment. The jackets will be on display for prospective buyers to inspect. Ditka’s is at 223 W. Ontario. Tickets are $35. Call 642-5454.
Before 1987 Paul Sierra painted with a fiery touch, but his sub
jects were fairly straightforward: you could count on a figure or two residing in slightly expressionistic rooms or wandering through nature. Then Sierra’s interiors and exteriors began to collide: waves rolled through doorways, foliage spread across apartment floors, reality became phantasmagorical. Paul Sierra: Recent Paintings, the current show at the Evanston Art Center, includes the largest and most complex canvases Sierra has ever painted. The exhibit, which will be up through February 22, can be seen 10 to 4 Monday through Saturday, 7 to 10 Thursday evenings, and 2 to 5 Sunday afternoons. Admission is free at 2603 Sheridan Road in Evanston. Call 708-475-5300.
Mr. Imagination says he’s been a pharaoh and various African kings in his previous lives. He also says those pasts inform his reworking of ritual objects such as staffs and canes. Willie Leroy Elliott Jr. reaches back in time not through past lives, but through his family tree. For example, he took the moldboard from his grandfather’s plow and made it the skeleton of one of his ghostly yet very modern sculptures. Both of these artists’ works are now on exhibit at the Carl Hammer Gallery, 200 W. Superior, through February 20. Regular gallery hours are 10 to 6 Tuesday through Saturday. The show’s free. Call 266-8512.
The new South Side YMCA, the first to be built in the area since 1949, rivals the East Bank Club with its two swimming pools, three gyms, indoor and outdoor tracks, weight rooms, child-care center, conference rooms, lounges, and separate men’s and women’s whirlpools, steam rooms, and saunas. The 82,000-square-foot facility, which sits on more than ten acres, also offers a 200-car parking lot and tight security, as well as basketball, ballet, tumbling, volleyball, and softball programs. Membership dues range from $6 to $24 a month. The new Y, 6330 S. Stony Island, is open 6 AM to 9:30 PM Monday through Friday, 7 AM to 5 PM Saturday, and 10 AM to 3 PM Sunday. Call 947-0700 for more information.,
The human life cycle has certain losses built in, says Judith Viorst, author of the best-selling Necessary Losses. You can let them devastate you or use them to gain insight. Viorst, an academic associate of the American Psychoanalytic Association, will offer “More Ideas About Necessary Losses,” the 16th Helen Ross lecture sponsored by the Institute for Psychoanalysis, at 7:30 PM at First Chicago Center, 1 S. Dearborn. It’s free. Call 726-6300.
A speaker from Jane, the former underground abortion group, will talk about the days before the Supreme Court legalized a woman’s right to have an abortion in 1973. The talk begins at 7:30 PM at the Evanston/North Shore YWCA, 1215 Church in Evanston. It’s free for Y members; a small donation is asked of others. Call 864-8445.