Author Archives: swheat2

Opening reception Friday, May 15, 5-9pm

Please join Matthew Rachman Gallery for the opening of Traverse, an exhibition of new works by artist Linc Thelen. Meet the artist during the opening reception and hear first hand about the process, inspiration and evolution of Traverse.

Linc Thelen’s new series is a study of lines and their intersections. By incorporating the fundamental use of light, texture and color he creates spontaneous emotion, which reflects the fluidity of life. The work represents real life metaphors relating to human relationships and the evolution of time.

About Linc Thelen
Painting for over two decades, Linc Thelen’s style fuses classical training with a modern perspective. Thelen’s works consist of abstract paintings described as dream-like and esoteric layered with calming emotion – an attempt to deconstruct the form. Thelen received his BFA in painting from Northern Illinois University. Please for more information.

About Matthew Rachman Gallery
Matthew Rachman Gallery features a carefully curated collection of Mid-Century Modern furniture and contemporary art. Exhibitions are held regularly and their collection of rare vintage finds and curiosities changes constantly. The gallery is also available for event rental for philanthropic and private functions. For more information please visit
Chicago Gallery News
213 W. Institute Pl., Ste. 407
Chicago, IL 60610


JUN 06 Closet Clearance Sale

Free and open to the public.

Intuit’s annual Closet Clearance Sale featuring new and gently used women’s clothing, shoes, jewelry, hats, scarves, purses, and accessories donated from some of Chicago’s best closets.

Donations will be accepted May 1-June 2 and can be dropped off at Intuit (756 N Milwaukee Avenue) Tuesdays through Saturdays, 11am to 6pm. All donors will receive a free ticket to attend the VIP First Dibs event on June 5

MAY 23 Pot Luck Salon presents Salvage Art

OPEN CALL: Pot Luck Salon seeks discarded art!

Since 2009, the Salvage Art Institute in New York has functioned as a gallery for art considered too physically damaged to circulate in the market. These no-longer-artworks, which have officially lost all value, are currently on view in Chicago.

In response, Pot Luck Salon, a collective engaged with the spoken word and live action, will salvage art discarded by its creators. Pot Luck Salon already has two such works in its collection, one rescued through SAIC’s Craigslist page. Do you have some works you’d rather throw in the trash? Mount them on our walls in a day-long exhibit dedicated to failure and loss at Above the Picture Framing Shop.

To participate, write to

Thank you!

Lara Schoorl and Zeenat Nagree

Image: Hayan Song, Pigeons, 2015.

MAY 23+24, 2015 Randolph Street Market – Indoor/Outdoor Market

OUR KICK-OFF TO THE OUTDOOR SEASON OVER #MEMORIALDAYWEEKEND (indoors too!) May through Sept! 300 vendors with the best treasures, Live bands outside each day, A DJ Shade Shack, a MillerCoors Beer Garden, Indoor air-conditioned building, kids activities, local eateries, drinks and the best people watching!

Get Tix for Less on our

ADDRESS: Plumber’s Hall, 1340 W Washington, Chicago 60607 – Lot entrance at 1350 W Randolph, Chicago

TIME: 10am-5pm May 23+24, 2015

-Paid Valet Available at the Randolph Entrance
-Street & Residential Parking where available
-Near the Green and Pink Line El Stops
-Mariano’s Trolley each hour from Water Tower to Market
-West Loop Stop Trolley

Chatter: Architecture Talks Back at the Art Institute of Chicago

The newest Architecture and Design exhibition at the Art Institute of Chicago opened on April 11, 2015 with an unconventional, round table ‘salon’ in the middle of the second gallery. The exhibit focuses on five up and coming experimental architects who are challenging the criteria of the existing architectural canon. These young architects: Bureau Spectacular, Erin Besler, Fake Industries Architectural Agonism, Formlessfinder and John Szot Studio are what the wall-text in the exhibit refer to as digital natives with an enhanced knowledge of architectural history. Both of these qualities are utilized over a range of formats and presentations to convey the new direction these contemporary architects are taking this traditional medium.

The exhibition focuses on the ways in which these five architects are interpreting the use of digital technology while negotiating their place in the past and future of architecture. From Fake Industries Architectural Agonism’s Video Rooms: No Vacancy (2014), a video of baby chickens wandering around an architectural model, to Bureau Spectacular’s Cave Painting VIII/ White Noise from Another Past, a hysterical interpretation of Hieronymus Bosch’s famous triptych using architecture instead of crazy monsters and humans, the exhibit is a conglomeration of every medium you can think of.

How exactly do Twitter and Instagram affect discussions around architecture? This question, among others, is explored in the second gallery where many aesthetically pleasing conversation starters are located. Organized by Chicago’s own publication Mas Context, the events in coordination with the exhibition take place here at a large round table.

Far from being a conventional exhibit, Chatter contrasts strikingly with the museum in which it is located. This exhibit, like many coming from the Architecture and Design Department at the Art Institute of Chicago push the boundaries of exhibiting in a traditional museum setting.

FVNMAS Festival 2015


This program features the work of the next generation of film, video, and new media artists, including innovative live-action shorts, animation, feature-length narrative and nonfiction works, and experimental
digital and audio pieces.

Wednesday, May 6th: 6:00 – 8:00 pm
Thursday, May 7th: 6:00 – 9:40 pm
Friday, May 8th: 4:20 – 10:10 pm

Reception: Friday, May 8th: 7:20 – 8:20 pm

Full program available here:

Participating artists:
Derek Allen, Danielle Andrews, Elizabeth Banalagay, Nicolas Bermeo, Blair Bogin, Gabrielle Bohr, Allison Cayo, Ariel Chan, Robin Chen, Chen Chenyu, Cooper Collier, Ze Dong, Billy Feldman, Samantha Grad, Henry Guerra, Alex Hardt, Coco Yannan Huang, Fang Ji, Rebecca Kennedy, Nick Kniola, Eunhye Hong Kim, Kyngmin Ko, Danielle Lathrop, Camille Laut, Jae Heon Lee, Kevin B. Lee, Sonia Lillis, Weijia Ma, Bahar Noorizadeh, Yuliya Osyka, Sam Prestigiacomo, Lauren Ramsey, Kat Randle, Thomas Roberts, Yali Romagosa, Cassie Shao, Chenchen Sheng, Xue Shi, Daniel Spangler, Amanda Sukenick, Ian Vecchiotti, Maya Wallace, Aileen White, Zige Zhang, Yuan Zheng

While tickets are free, they are required for entry. Please pick up tickets at the Film Center Box Office during regular business hours.

Liz Larner at the AIC’s Bluhm Family Terrace


Two sculptures by Liz Larner, X (2013) and 6 (2010-11), have been placed under the wide, open sky of the Bluhm Family Terrace at the Art Institute of Chicago. This unique placement, with one of the most beautiful skyline views in Chicago, completely transforms these two works. The two works directly interact with both the wooden platform as well as the architecture of the Art Institute’s Modern Wing, the surrounding buildings, and the sky. Larner’s intention of portraying “thing power” is thus fully realized, as these “things” all interact with one another in a more intense way than would be possible inside of a stuffy gallery space.

Upon first seeing X under the blue Chicago sky, I immediately drew a comparison between Larner’s sculpture and Anish Kapoor’s Cloud Gate located just behind the terrace in Millennium Park. While both works incorporate the sky, Larner’s is smaller and also not fixed to a specific location as Cloud Gate is. While Cloud Gate can hold its own on the ground level of the city, surrounded by tall and imposing buildings, Larner’s X benefits greatly from its elevated location. This way it is small, but also equal in power to the skyline located behind it.

As Larner’s first project in Chicago in over a decade, the installation of her works on the Bluhm Family Terrace is a powerful choice. Every encounter with the two works is a unique experience dependent on both the surrounding city and the weather. The optimal experience would that in sunny, warm weather, but I wonder what it would be like to encounter this open and exposed terrace in the middle of a storm. How would that change the “thing power” emanating from these works? Needless to say, this is an exhibition worth visiting. Take a walk through Millennium Park, walk over Nicohls Bridgeway and straight into the Bluhm Family Terrace on a nice and sunny day.

Definitely Didn’t Know There Were Underground Tunnels

Would have been nice to know in the winter!!

Check out the 23 Hidden Gems of Chicago:

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School of the Art Institute’s MFA Show Opening!

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SAIC Sullivan Galleries

April 24, 2015 7-9pm

Check out all the participating artists and behind-the-scenes of the exhibition process at:

The MFA Show is the culminating presentation of MFA candidates and an opportunity for new and ambitious work to be presented to the public. For more than six months, graduating MFA candidates work with a team of three distinguished Guest Curators and seven Graduate Curatorial Assistants to envision the exhibition. This invested approach allows for dialogue, process, and collaborative decision-making to guide the curatorial teams as they work together with more than 100 participating artists to bring the MFA Show to fruition over time.

Where is the humanity?

Alison Ruttan explores human conflict

Sarah Wheat

Alison Ruttan’s current exhibit on view in all three of the Michigan Galleries at the Chicago Cultural Center asks us to take a look at ourselves as humans. While many might say, “Well, it’s obvious that we are human,” not many take the time to think about what qualities constitute us as thinking beings and whether the traits of aggression and violence have something to say about our humanness. These qualities of violence and aggression are exactly what Ruttan is after.

The exhibit includes one gallery of previous work entitled, The Four Year War at Gombe, while the remaining two galleries are filled with work that Ruttan created specifically for the space. The Four Year War at Gombe is a video and photo based work that is loosely based on Jane Goodall’s observations of chimpanzees. During Goodall’s extended stay at Gombe Stream National Park in Tanzania, she learned that chimpanzees are fully capable of waging war against one another, long term planning and strategic thinking. This particular group of chimpanzees had lived in peace together for many years when, suddenly, the group split into two factions and one group began to systematically murder their former allies. What took place was reminiscent of the many human civil wars that tear apart families around the world.

Ruttan’s photographs show humans acting in place of the chimpanzees. The photos are grouped together in order to capture certain moments during the bloody civil war and murders that took place as Goodall observed these animals. The photo groups start out humorous, with one person/monkey smelling another’s butt while another woman/monkey scratches the other’s armpit.  Quickly, the photo groups escalate to become darker, scarier and more haunting than one could anticipate images of humans acting like chimpanzees to be. While the other two galleries include interesting new work, this gallery remains the most engaging and moving of the three in terms of a direct comparison of human brutality to that of animals. While prompting questions about our role as human, The Four Year War at Gombe reminds us that we are also animals.

The first gallery space shows an installation entitled, A Bad Idea Seems Good Again. Unlike her earlier work, here Ruttan is dealing strictly with humans and the much darker theme of violence against civilians during the Israeli bombardment of Beirut in 2006. She has created very simple, International Style buildings out of ceramic, which she then destroyed to mimic photos of the bombing that she found online. The tables on which her works are placed is an interesting and beautiful choice. They create a sort of ghost landscape with buildings located at different levels due to the structure of the tables. Though the ceramic buildings are thought-provoking in themselves, the spacing of the works around the room create a perceived sense of desolation and loneliness that add drama to the installation.

The third and final gallery space is filled with a work entitled, Line in the Sand. Here, she is using model automobiles that were bought online to depict a giant highway through the sand. Quite literally, she is depicting a miniature version of what it might have looked like from the sky when U.S. military bombed retreating soldiers and civilians leaving Kuwait in 1991. Due to the magnitude of what happened on this “Highway of Death,” depicting it as a work of art is an extreme task to take on. Due to the use of model/toy cars, many children in the gallery see a sandbox. The security guard on duty seemed about ready to jump on the next person who tried to touch the sand. The fact that the work was so small contributed to the feeling of humans as tiny and insignificant in the wake of power and aggression. At the same time, the work is large in that it takes up an entire gallery.  The paradox of depicting an event that happened rather quickly using a method that appears to have taken a considerable amount of time is also evident.


Ruttan’s three installations shown together create an interesting moment for self-reflection for the gallery visitor.  As it states on the introductory wall text, chimpanzees have 98% of the same genes that we as humans do. Through The Four Year War at Gombe, we can assert that these genes enable both humans and chimpanzees to commit heinous acts of violence against our own kind.  This begs the question, are violence, hate and aggression biological attributes that are born into us or are they something perpetuated after birth? Are they part of what makes us human? If your answer is a resounding NO then it might be worthwhile to contemplate these shells of objects (the destroyed buildings and cars) left behind by human destruction.  Where is the humanity in all of this? Humanity is literally not present in these later works that are specifically more human centric than The Four Year War at Gombe and one is left to wonder, is there any hope of finding it at all? The exhibit will be on view until May 10, 2015.
Alison Ruttan is an Associate Professor of Contemporary Practices and Arts Administration and Policy at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.