Art & Design

Among my obsessions are art, design and architecture.  Here are a few things I’ve written lately on those subjects.

Magritte, Koudelka and Paschke. Art that mystifies and moves at the Art Institute of Chicago and the new Ed Paschke Art Center in Jefferson Park on the far northwest side. Jefferson Park is aiming to be the new art center neighborhood. The 2014 Chicago Fringe Festival is playing out at five theater venues in JP in August and September.

The Mecca Flat Blues, where Modernism began. This exhibit at the Chicago Cultural Center was beautifully mounted and told the complex story of an apartment building known as the Mecca Flats. It might still be there at 34th and State if it had not been on the vey spot where Mies van der Rohe wanted to build IIT’s new school of architecture.

Street art and post-street art. 

Call it graffiti if you wish, but it’s vibrant, creative and often inspirational. And of course it’s an excuse to pay an homage to Bruce Springsteen–and show a video I love!

Art and fashion.

Punk, impressionism and the Ebony Fashion Fair. Three excellent exhibits displaying the intersection of art and fashion. I have a hard time picking my favorite, but the Ebony Fashion Fair exhibit offers stunning exhibits of high fashion created for Eunice Johnson’s traveling fashion show. It’s on display at the Chicago History Museum until May 11, 2014. Do not miss it.

The artist who created the magic fountain. 

An encounter with Jaume Plensa, who created Millennium Park’s Crown Fountain and many other amazing pieces of public art around the world.

October madness: Too much, too much

This is madness! Chicago Ideas Week. Open House Chicago. Chicago Humanities Festival. Chicago International Film Festival. SOFA Chicago. The Internet Cat Video Film Festival. How can all this be happening in one month? I explain here.

What’s going on in the arts at Gapers Block?

Four recent art and architecture events that I’ve written about over at, the Chicago-centric website. Links included. Also note my recent feature there on the excellent Ukrainian Institute of Modern Art: “The Hidden Gem of the West Side.”

The Art of Fashion on Show  at Three Museums

Whether it’s impressionism, punk rock or the world’s largest traveling fashion show, you’ll find great fashion can be great art at three museums.

Borders, 26 Icelandic Sculptures, at Grant Park

My Gapers Block preview of this new sculpture exhibit.  Also don’t miss The Agora at Roosevelt Road and Michigan. They are 108 massive, headless figures that you’ve driven by several times and wondered about.  I’ll be writing about them soon.

New Dorm and Dining Complex for UofC Campus

Studio Gang, led by Jeanne Gang, will design a new residential complex for the University of Chicago in Hyde Park. Check out my Gapers Block preview and don’t miss the link to the slideshow.

Related links

New Park on the State Street MedianYes, you can have coffee or lunch or just sit and read in the middle of State Street. The city opened this temporary park just south of Wacker Drive in June; it will be open until the end of September.

Graphic Design at Work and PlayA popup exhibit at Galley 37 showcased the work of John Massey, an important Chicago graphic designer, as well as other US and European designers.

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