Author Archives: gulsahmursaloglu

Review: Isa Genzken Retrospective at MCA Chicago

             The ISA Genzken Retrospective at the MCA Chicago brings together different aspects and periods of Genzken’s practice and leads the viewer towards a journey of how her practice has changed and evolved in different ways over the years.

            When you get out of the elevator or come up through the stairs the first works you see are the most recent works made in 2013 by Genzken. These Actors series are mannequins Genzken has dressed, collaged, combined and turned into sculptures. Being confronted by this piece before going into the exhibition I felt as though I was starting the novel from the end, and it was a very different experience to come back to these pieces after going through the whole retrospective. 

            One thing the exhibition did really successfully was to show the research and experimentation Genzken has been through during the different phases of her practice. This allows us as the viewer to understand her train of thought and her logic more and gives us a clearer picture of her interests throughout her career. In the first room of the exhibition there are two sets of sculptures Genzken has made during her school years and they are presented with drawings she made while researching for this sculpture. The same logic goes in each room of the exhibition like the concrete sculptures are presented with material investigation paintings or the Fuck the Bauhaus pieces are accompanied by the 2-d façade pieces she has made while experimenting for these pieces. 

            The exhibition is also curated in a way, which shows the viewer very clearly when and how Isa has moved on from the techniques of traditional sculpture into working with found materials and assemblage. While we are greeted by concrete and resin sculptures varying in size made in 1980s in the second room of the exhibition, when we move into the third room we see that found objects starts to enter into Genzken’s practice. In the piece called Gay Baby made in 1997, she brings together pieces from the kitchen and the toolshed as a way to combine masculinity and femininity. Again the Portraits; the tower sculptures in the same room brings together many interests of Genzken such as architecture and portraiture while introducing the use of found object. 

           The two rooms after the third one featuring works from the series Empire/Vampire: Who Kills Death?  and the Oil installation are more clear manifestations of how politics are an ongoing interest in Genzken’s practice. Empire/Vampire series were made after September 11, 2001 and they relate to both her experience of the event and the social aspects of this trauma. 




        For me the final room of the exhibition; which consists works from the Ground Zero series made between 2008 to 2012 is the most effective room of the exhibition and it is the room in which everything Genzken is interested in comes together. In this room Genzken has sculptures portraying places such as hospital, church, disco, and car park. These works bring together all her interests such as architecture, politics, portraiture and working with found objects. In a way I felt as though I’ve been through a journey of Genzken’s interests and experimentations over the years and in the end everything comes together very successfully. I really enjoyed this show in the sense that it gives a clear portrayal of Genzken and the way she kept pushing, improving her practice while staying focused on things she has been interested in since her school years. 






Tameka Norris at Lombard Freid Gallery

Tameka Norris who is a recent MFA graduate from Yale has her first solo show at the Lombard Freid Gallery in Chelsea. The exhibition is called Too Good For you (Introducing Meka Jean). In the exhibition Norris has several paintings and two video pieces. Her works explores her relationship to the post-Katrina landscape of New Orleans which is her home town.

IMG_3234 IMG_3235 IMG_3236 IMG_3237

Jim Lutes at Wright Gallery

im Lutes, who teaches in Painting and Drawing Department has a solo show in New York at Wright Gallery until the 29th of March. The exhibition is titled Ponies&Psychos.

IMG_3137 IMG_3138 IMG_3139 IMG_3140 IMG_3141 IMG_3142 IMG_3143

Karla Black at David Zwirner Gallery

Glasgow based sculptor Karla Black has an installation in David Zwirner Gallery in New York until the 12th of April. Exhibition includes a large scale installation that Black created inside the gallery and a cellophone sculpture that serves as a window for the gallery. Installation is titled Takes Its Place.

IMG_3239 IMG_3241 IMG_3242 IMG_3243

Jose Lerma at Kavi Gupta

Jose Lerma’s new show Gloriosa Superba is on view at Kavi Gupta until May 17.


Jan Tichy at Cultural Center

aroundcenter is a site-specific exhibition composed of nine installations, each of which stands on its own, yet at the same time relate, deriving from and leading to the others. Through this exhibition, Tichy will lead visitors to a more integrated experience of the Chicago Cultural Center, including access to unrevealed areas and resources of the building. Using light as his primary expressive tool – through a variety of media including photography, sculpture, video and video projection – Tichy illuminates and makes accessible the history and current mission of the landmark building.

Upon entering the Randolph St. side of the building, a neon sculpture created by the artist, installed and encased between the doors, will lure visitors to the building and once inside, the building’s history comes alive with an installation of artifacts from the Chicago Cultural Center storage.

Other installations include History of Painting, which features 6,000 color slides covering three massive windows on the building’s fifth floor on the Washington St. side creating a color spectrum, and Vault, a video display from inside a secret vault within the executive offices of the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events.


Public Programs

aroundcenter Panel & Chicago Projections Book Launch
February 18, Panel: 6pm; Reception: 7-9pm – Claudia Cassidy Theater & Chicago Rooms

Come celebrate the opening of Jan Tichy’s exhibition aroundcenter and the launch of his new book, Chicago Projections, published by US Equities and the Museum of Contemporary Photography, which charts Tichy’s work with nine architectural icons in Chicago. Curator Daniel Schulman will lead a panel discussion with Jan Tichy and Karen Irvine, author of the book and curator at MoCP.


Film Screenings

Join us for a series of films that explore the narrative and aesthetic themes of the exhibition on Sunday afternoons.

The Untouchables   February 16, 2-4pm – Claudia Cassidy Theater
Enjoy Brian De Palma’s Oscar-winning film The Untouchables (1987) in the original setting it was shot. Remember to stop by Tichy’sUntouchable (2014) installation after the screening.

The Labyrinth of Color & Light   March 16, 2-4pm – Claudia Cassidy Theater
Explore films and videos from various filmmakers curated with Tichy’s light installations in mind. Treat your eyes and ears to works that explore the aesthetic elements of light and color, including the last film from László Moholy-Nagy and his students at Institute of Design.

Chicago Documentaries   April 27, 2-4pm – Claudia Cassidy Theater
After visiting the Chicago Rooms to see Changing Chicago 2014 curated by Tichy, come to witness the changing cityscape of Chicago and the landmark buildings with various documentaries such as Moving Pictures created for CITY 2000.


Performances and Tours

The exhibition encourages guests to view, navigate, and experience the Chicago Cultural Center in new ways. Spoken word performances highlight the words, language, and knowledge that are imbedded in the building, from its history as a library, to the language incorporated as architectural details.

2nd Story “Around the Way”
March 17, 6-8pm – Randolph Square
Join 2nd Story’s Bobby Biedrzycki, Nic Kay and L’Oreal Patrice Jackson as they lead a collaborative team of established Chicago spoken word poets in the performance of seven poems inspired by Jan Tichy’s installations.

Flashlight Tour* Sign Up
April 8, 11pm – Randolph Square
City of Chicago Cultural Historian Tim Samuelson will lead a nighttime flashlight tour of the Chicago Cultural Center. Come explore Jan Tichy’s exhibition as Tim offers insight into the mysterious history of the building.

Young Chicago Authors, Remix the Chicago Cultural Center
April 19, 11:30am-12:30pm – Randolph Square
Young Chicago Authors (YCA) poets will Remix the Chicago Cultural Center using found text in the architecture of the building as a construction site for new poems about the current and future state of Chicago culture. This New Chicago Cultural Center Remix project is facilitated by poet and Artistic Director Kevin Coval and YCA teaching artist and poet Jamila Woods.



The Hand Knows a Secret: Doodling, Music & New Ways of Representation
February 19, 11:45am; Tour: 1:15pm – Preston Bradley Hall
What do John Keats, Sylvia Plath, Thomas Jefferson and Samuel Beckett have in common? They doodled. Studies have shown that doodling is an inventive and effective response to rich sensory offerings. Come listen to the popular Dame Myra Hess Memorial Concert performance while adding your own inspirations to Jan Tichy’s exhibition. Participants will use a series of prompts to create doodles in a musical environment led by poet, artist and teacher, Alice George.

Light Workshop* Sign Up
March 8, 1-3pm – Chicago Rooms
Come explore the behavior of light, the phenomenon that makes our visual life possible. By building kaleidoscopes and camera obscuras, participants in this optical workshop will experiment with the reflective and projective properties of light, its color spectrum, and the images it enables. Have fun navigating the Chicago Cultural Center and Jan Tichy’s aroundcenter exhibition with an optical keepsake.

Build Your Own Chicago Workshop* Sign Up
April 5, 2-4pm – Chicago Rooms
As part of Matt Bergstrom’s paper model series of prominent Chicago buildings, Tichy and Bergstrom will inaugurate the Chicago Cultural Center into the paper pantheon. Participants in this workshop will cut and fold their own model Chicago Cultural Center and other Chicago landmarks, gaining an intimate appreciation of their architecture.

* Sign up for these events at:

Some public programming was designed and developed by students in the Arts Administration and Policy program of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in collaboration with the artist.

Some areas of the Chicago Cultural Center may be unavailable to the public due to private events.


February 1-April 27 2014


Chicago Cultural Center Hours:
Chicago Cultural Center 
Monday–Thursday, 9 am–7 pm
Friday, 9 am–6 pm
Saturday, 9 am–6 pm
Sunday, 10 am–6 pm

Chicago Room Hours: 
Monday–Thursday, 10 am–7 pm 
Friday–Sunday, 10 am–6 pm


Chicago Cultural Center, Chicago Rooms, 2nd Floor + Building-wide
78 E. Washington St.
Chicago, IL 60602




For more information, visit