Posted inArts & Culture

Lecture Notes: graphic self-promotion

Chicago is universally acknowledged for its contributions to architectural design, but its important achievements in graphic design remain underappreciated. Every taxi driver here can allegedly name buildings and their architects, yet it’s unlikely that any of those cabbies could identify the work of local graphic designers Dana Arnett or Greg Samata, unless they were relatives. […]

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Art Facts: Fred Wilson critiques the MCA

Would you invite a stranger to your home specifically to pass judgment on it? Would you allow him to stay for weeks and encourage him to analyze your housekeeping, personal hygiene, entertainment habits, and recreational pursuits–in short, to criticize your “life-style”? That’s what museums ask Fred Wilson to do. Wilson, a New York-based independent curator […]

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Art Facts: erasing the line between art and craft

At one time the art world drew hard distinctions between the fine arts (painting, sculpture, works on paper) and crafts (ceramics, glass, wood, metal, and fiber). But in the last half century–since the founding of the American Craft Council, which is holding its 50th-anniversary celebration here this weekend–those distinctions have increasingly blurred. Functionality has traditionally […]

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Members Only

CHICAGO ARCHITECTURE AND DESIGN: 1923-1993 at the Art Institute of Chicago, through August 29 You don’t have to be an insider to appreciate “Chicago Architecture and Design: 1923-1993,” but it helps. The exhibition, on view at the Art Institute of Chicago, is meant to illustrate the “reconfiguration of an American metropolis,” but it’s composed of […]

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On Exhibit: the star-studded photgraphs of Greg Gorman

Many people would probably recognize examples of Los Angeles photographer Greg Gorman’s work, some of which is now on exhibit at the Catherine Edelman Gallery. Yet few people–even those who pride themselves on their knowledge of photography–know his name. But they should. Comparisons in art are often treacherous, but occasionally they’re unavoidable. And Gorman’s work […]

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On Exhibit: architecture by amateurs

You have no doubt heard of Sunday painters, but “Sunday architects”? The very concept conjures nightmarish visions of catastrophic building-code violations and a rush of complicated lawsuits. If the unschooled can dabble in architecture, then why not license amateur neurosurgeons and nuclear physicists too? Despite its apparent inconsistency with general notions of good sense, “Sunday […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Out of Austria

AUSTRIAN ARCHITECTURE AND DESIGN: BEYOND TRADITION IN THE 1990s at the Art Institute Israeli journalist Amos Elon recently filed a “Report From Vienna” in the New Yorker that claimed, among other things, that Austrian society still visibly yearns for its imperial past, which was dismantled three-quarters of a century ago. Elon’s extremely unflattering portrait of […]