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Gary Hill and Joshua Mosley

Gary Hill once said, “Although my art is based on images, I am very much involved in the undermining of those images through language.” And that’s what he does in the video installation Twofold (Goats and Sheep), in which we see someone using sign language to communicate a text Hill wrote while Hill’s recorded voice […]

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Nothing Like the Real Thing

Trent Harris: The Beaver Trilogy at Gallery 312, through March 22 It’s no secret that movies often skew real events in order to make them more entertaining. In The Beaver Trilogy, short films being shown continuously as part of the “Really Real” exhibit at Gallery 312, Trent Harris tracks this process of distortion by juxtaposing […]

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Timothy Blum

When I first went to see Timothy Blum’s re-creations of familiar objects and icons I expected an overt critique of our material surroundings. Instead his meanings were opaque–but that allowed me to feel a sense of wonder. Eye of the Needle is a life-size rendition of R.J. Reynolds’s cigarette-box camel, with a skin made of […]

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Torkel Korling

Torkel Korling was one of America’s most important industrial photographers, but his first love was botany, which helps explain his work’s precise beauty. Among the 26 Korling photos in Stephen Daiter Gallery’s “Big Shoulders” exhibit are four untitled cityscapes that showcase his eye for geometry. My favorite is a 1930s image of two streetcars on […]

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M. Ivan Cherry

The 23 paintings in M. Ivan Cherry’s new show at Gescheidle form a meditation on sleeping children that’s more proof of the relevance of figurative painting. Quick and Nimble is an overhead view of a shirtless boy lost in sleep. Like all of Cherry’s figures he’s isolated on a canvas painted a solid color, which […]

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So Real It Hurts

Robert Frank: What Am I Looking At at the Art Institute of Chicago, through February 2 Considering that one of photographer Robert Frank’s stated goals is to “search for an image that comes close to a truth,” it’s ironic that critical debate has focused on his work’s subjectivity. When he published The Americans in 1958, […]

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Charles LaBelle

Charles LaBelle has always had an uncanny ability to see beauty in the urban morass. His show at Bodybuilder and Sportsman starts with five photographic images called “White Nights,” translucent prints mounted on light boxes that look like glowing black-and-white negatives. The three standouts capture the unseen essence of cheap motels. In Ambassador Hotel the […]

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Louis Faurer

One of Louis Faurer’s stated goals was to “transform adversity into victories of love and hope.” His photographs of New York street scenes, most shot between 1946 and ’54, document the alienating effects of city life. Champion, New York, N.Y. is a lonely image of a well-dressed man standing in the middle of traffic, his […]

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Peter Wegner

The linchpins in Peter Wegner’s current exhibition are conceptual riffs on the relationship between color and name. 42 Unnamed Blues is exactly that–a large sheet of identical rectangles, each painted a different shade of blue. The rich hues stir the emotions, which tempts you to try to label the colors, to translate their mysterious power […]

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Feeling the Buzz

Brigida Baltar: Bee House at Julia Friedman, through December 7 What does it mean for a photographer to portray herself as a human honeycomb? In “Bee House,” Brazilian artist Brigida Baltar slaps you with this question, then refuses to answer. While the exhibition features a short video loop of honey dripping down a staircase and […]

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Debra Tolchinsky

Debra Tolchinsky’s show at Artemisia, “Case Studies,” uses photography, computer animation, and text to create portraits of eight fictional characters who, in an attempt to find happiness, modify their bodies in ways that range from familiar to haunting to hilarious. Most striking are six digitally altered Polaroids pasted on graph paper and accompanied by typewritten […]

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Artificial by Nature

Benjamin Chickadel: Land of Pine Trees at School of the Art Institute Gallery 2, through October 30 In this age of relentless environmental campaigns, messages about the natural world often seem redundant and worn. But Land of Pine Trees, Benjamin Chickadel’s stunning installation at Gallery 2, offers a refreshing look at the relationship between nature, […]