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Do We Dare Hope?

At the risk of sounding hopelessly naive, I don’t mind admitting that I believe political reform in Chicago can come from the City Council. I know we’ve grown used to a council filled with blowhards, scoundrels, and mayoral suck-ups. But if we work from the assumption that Daley’s going to be reelected, and we believe […]

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For further reading…

Most are out of print (unless otherwise noted) but obtainable at libraries used-book stores or from on-line book-search services. Oh, What a Wonderful Wedding (1953, written under the name “Virginia Rowans”) House Party (1954, by “Virginia Rowans”; inspired the 1966-’67 TV series of the same name The Pruitts of Southampton) Auntie Mame (1995, currently in […]

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Letting Software Make the Call

Earlier this year three Chicago high schools–Whitney Young, Morgan Park, and Von Steuben–joined 22 others across the country to test Mosaic-2000, a software program that tries to identify potentially dangerous situations. Gavin de Becker, Inc., a threat assessment agency based in California, originally developed the software to be used in the workplace, in the home, […]

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On Ivan Albright

It’s difficult to trace the origins of the “Chicago School,” but that the city spawned an imagery of its own there is no doubt. The earliest traces I can detect are in the work of Ivan Albright in the late 1920s….Albright and I were next-door neighbors at 55 and 53 East Division Street, respectively, from […]

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On Bad Architecture

The sad fact is that those with the power to effect change are usually those with the worst taste….Bad architecture, the offspring of powerful, arrogant, tasteless people, has not only created a tacky atmosphere, like most bad choices it has proved more expensive than good choices. I suspect the same thing will prove true with […]

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On the Art Institute

In 1978 the Art Institute hired a new director, Alan Shestack, from the Yale Art Gallery. When Shestack declined the job a few days after his appointment was announced in the press, it was reported that his wife didn’t want to move to Chicago. There was considerable speculation at the time that Shestack actually turned […]

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On Francis Bacon

The 1959 Francis Bacon exhibition was popular with Chicago artists like George Cohen, Leon Golub, Seymour Rosofsky, and Cosmo Campoli, though not particularly with the collectors. Bacon’s work had been exhibited only once before in the United States, in a small exhibition at Durlacher Brothers in New York in 1953. I had never met Bacon, […]

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On the Case of Gregory Green

My Chicago gallery, Feigen Inc., whose cutting-edge program, although enthusiastically subscribed to by me, was determined by the young codirectors, Lance Kinz and Susan Reynolds, had opened a summer group exhibition on June 23, 1995. Among the 24 artists in the show, there was a young Brooklyn conceptual sculptor, Gregory Green. Green, a pacifist, makes […]

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On Class Oldenburg

In those years that we showed Claes Oldenburg in Chicago, I always wanted to place a large outdoor piece in his hometown. When the Latin School, of whose 1946 football team Oldenburg had been a star, moved to its new location on North Avenue, I talked to the architect, Harry Weese, about placing an Oldenburg […]

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Much Too Late for Goodbyes

More than once my husband begged to leave the hospital–or more accurately, he tried to escape it, his hospital gown flapping, his eyes wide and desperate as he shuffled to an elevator and frantically pushed the button. That was several weeks after he’d entered Rush-Presbyterian-Saint Luke’s for detox–after he’d gone to a substance-abuse treatment center, […]

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Del’s Demons

Del Close was an alcoholic who hated booze. Booze had been wrecking his career. In 1982 he asked me to interview him because he wanted to talk publicly about checking into a hospital in Fort Worth to stop drinking. The interview was for Chicago Theatre Monthly, a magazine I put out then, but it folded […]

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Pioneer Days

The Latin American Museum of Art’s difficulties may seem familiar to anyone acquainted with such endeavors. Lack of funding and deep-seated rivalries often dog these projects from the start. The city’s first Latino museum–the Mexican Fine Arts Center–was founded as a nonprofit organization in 1982 by a group of 13 board members, including public school […]

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Feeling Sam’s Sting

Winston Mardis says the liquor control commission’s Serving Alcohol to Minors program was designed to stop underage drinking. The city sends minors into bars, hoping to bust anyone who will serve them. In 1993, the program’s first year, 56 percent of all liquor licensees tested were caught selling to minors. Last year, that figure was […]