Abstract expressionism and political satire: Two exhibits + a bridge

Chicago has two don’t-miss exhibits this summer that are a little off the beaten path and I’m going to share my reviews with you. Actually we have dozens of amazing exhibits of art, architecture, history and science at any given moment. Keeping up with Chicago’s museums could be a full-time occupation. But I don’t want you to miss these.

3cr-siskind-newyork 2 1951

Siskind, New York 2, 1951.

Aaron Siskind: Abstractions is on display at the Art Institute of Chicago thru August 14. The Art Institute has a large collection of Siskind’s work and this exhibit shows 100 of them, many shot in the 1940s and ’50s.

His work is so painterly that you would think at first glance that they are paintings or prints. Siskind’s practice was to focus in closely on elements of everyday materials such as pavement, broken windows and seaweed, creating abstractions from concrete reality.

My review also describes the conversation about Siskind by three of his former students, which added their personal insights to the exhibit.

With a Wink and a Nod: Cartoonists of the Gilded Age at the Driehaus Museum, 40 E. Erie St. This exhibit presents 74 original illustrations from Puck Magazine, the first successful humor magazine, published in the 1870s thru 1918.

Read my detailed review here.

An early Puck masthead.

An early Puck masthead.

The exhibit is beautifully organized around half a dozen themes about politics, society and human nature. You can see the framed original drawings plus the magazines where they actually were published. There’s also an exhibit describing the early chromolithographic printing process that was used to print color covers and centerspreads in the magazines.

The exhibit gives you the opportunity to also appreciate the Driehaus Museum itself, a magnificent 19th century mansion built for the family of Chicago banker Samuel Nickerson. The exhibit runs until January 2017.

And the bridge, as promised

Last weekend I watched the 2000 film, High Fidelity, again, for the umpteenth time. It’s a great film and I especially love it for two reasons: It’s shot in Chicago and I mean really filmed in Chicago, not pretend-filmed as many TV shows are. (They’ll film a scene under the L tracks and one on the Michigan Avenue bridge and think they’ve captured Chicago.)

Oh, and the other reason I love it is that Bruce Springsteen makes a cameo appearance. The film is about Rob (John Cusack), who owns a vinyl record store in Wicker Park, before it got gentrified. Read my Letterboxd recap.

One of my favorite scenes is Rob, philosophizing about his life and loves, on the Kinzie Street bridge. Here’s a great photo from the website itsfilmedthere.com. They get the photo credit too.

nsbj-kinziestbridge-highfidelity

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