Tag Archives: SAIC

George Saunders at SAIC

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Wednesday, October 9, 6:00 p.m.
The Art Institute of Chicago, Rubloff Auditorium, 230 S. Columbus Dr.

George Saunders is a New York Times bestselling American writer of short stories, essays, novellas, and children’s books. One of the most important and blazingly original writers of his generation, Saunders is an undisputed master of the short story, and Tenth of December is his most honest, accessible, and moving collection yet. He reaches the core of contemporary experience with his blend of exuberant prose, deep humanity, and stylistic innovation. Saunders is also the author of three collections of short stories: the bestselling Pastoralia;CivilWarLand in Bad Decline; and In Persuasion Nation, and author of the novella-length illustrated fable, The Brief and Frightening Reign of Phil and the New York Times bestselling children’s book, The Very Persistent Gappers of Frip. His work appears regularly in the New YorkerGQ, and Harper’s Magazine. In 2006, Saunders received a John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Fellowship and a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship. In 2013, Time magazine listed Saunders on its list of 100 Most Influential People in the World.

Book signing will immediately follow. Tenth of December will be available for purchase, courtesy of the Art Institute of Chicago Museum Shop.

Prestidigitation at Slow

I hadn’t been to Slow before, let alone any of the Pilsen galleries, but had heard its vivacious owner Paul Hopkin on recent panel discussion at SAIC “A Curator in your Studio”. Last night I attended the opening of Steve Reber and Kevin Jennings’ two-man show: Prestidigitation. The gallery is tiny but welcoming and it was a little awkward maneuvering between floor pieces, a cloaked magician figure and many guests.  A peek into the back space revealed a cosy open plan studio apartment where Paul lives – it added a intimate feel to the space which lies somewhere in the undefined area between commercial and apartment gallery.

Steve’s exquisitely constructed floor and wall sculptures shine, and completely stole the show for me. They are highly structural yet generous to the viewer; with their stucco-like surfaces, quirky found objects and papier-mache decoupage sections. They appeal on a number of levels: from intrigue in their materials to the relationship between the crystalline chemical structures and the found objects and images inhabiting their forms.

Kevin Jennings’ work appeared contrived in comparison. Cast arms painted black reached out from charcoal circles drawn directly on the gallery walls and presented viewers with various items in their palms. One hand contained a puddle of flesh-like blamange with just a few little black hairs left on its surface as if the magician in the corner had cast a spell of transformation– this one appealed much more than the expected dice and vials.

Prestidigitation runs through October 19 at Slow
2153W 21st Street, Chicago, IL 60608

Zoe Leonard Lecture

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Wednesday, September 11

Lecture by Zoe Leonard
06:00 PM – Lecture
Fullerton Hall, The Art Institute of Chicago

Since the 1980s, Zoe Leonard (born 1961) has produced provocative installations and photographic works of diverse subjects such as wax anatomical models and aged New York storefronts. For her upcoming lecture, she will discuss her newest work in which she harnesses natural light sources to create black-and-white photographs of the sun and room-sized camera obscura installations. Using the ancient technology of the camera obscura, she creates an immersive environment and asks, as she has over the course of her career, “Is photography a thing, a picture, or a way of seeing?” Many of Leonard’s photographs are distinguished by seemingly unauthorized, awkward viewpoints and a low-tech graininess that reveal what is generally forbidden, forgotten, or, in the case of her sun photographs, something that cannot otherwise be viewed directly.

Andrea Zittel lecture

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Monday, September 9, 6:00 p.m.
The Art Institute of Chicago, Rubloff Auditorium, 230 S. Columbus Dr.

Since the early 1990s, Andrea Zittel has used the arena of her day-to-day life to develop and test prototypes for living structures and situations. The experiments are at times extreme—such as wearing a uniform for months, exploring the limitations of living space, and living without measured time. However, one of the most important goals of this work for Zittel is to illuminate how we attribute significance to chosen structures or ways of life and how arbitrary any choice of structure can be. Zittel uses her work in order to try to comprehend values such as “freedom,” “security,” “authorship,” and “expertise.” She is interested in how concrete and rational qualities are often subjective or invented. Zittel’s A–Z enterprise encompasses all aspects of daily living. Home furniture, clothing, and food all become the sites of investigation in an ongoing endeavor to better understand human nature and the social construction of needs. Andrea Zittel is based in Joshua Tree, California, where she founded A–Z West and is a co-organizer of the High Desert Test Sites and the A–Z smockshop. Zittel has had solo exhibitions at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh; Deichtorhallen, Hamburg; Museum of Contemporary Art, Basel; and the Louisiana Museum, Humlebaek, Denmark, among others.