September 29 - December 15th
We remain caught in the insidious evil maw of our country’s original sin, still looking to the promises of “we the people” and “pursuit of happiness” given in the U.S. Constitution, our founding text. Today we feel threats to these still unfulfilled aspirations. Yet an incurable idealism persists in the American soul. A response to these threats is a need to dream, to transcend, to see beyond our difficulties to a cure, to something better.
All art contains hope. At its most basic, an artwork evidences the wish to communicate. Even when reduced to only color and form, it inherently aims to engender something in the viewer. This something cannot be measured objectively, and its comprehension depends on a kind of magical thinking. In the exhibition When 6 is 9: Visions of a Parallel Universe, Renée Stout uses the conjurer’s imagery passed through her African American heritage to address our present state of stress and the subsequent need to dream. The subjects, one might say the voices, in her work speak to the madness of our time from their individual viewpoints. As we move through the exhibition, an elucidative empathy to these personal narratives fortifies our sense of whole beings, un-discountable, full of meaning. Progressing towards the end of the show we find ourselves in a parallel universe. Stout describes this as a place “where the spirits of mysterious colorful people… intersect in spaces teeming with possibilities.”
The founding text, setting us on a national journey, was a new contract of citizenship. The spiritual content of the contract requires us to work toward better circumstances for all, correct past transgressions, and to dream of a “more perfect union.” Stout’s When 6 is 9: Visions of a Parallel Universe decries the contract being set on its head. Using the pressure caused by our current moral and physical crisis to power her dreams, she pictures ways out of the chaos. Reminded of the Delmore Schwartz short story ”In Dreams Begin Responsibilities,” we might reverse his title to serve as the coda to the exhibition, “in responsibilities begin dreams.” Renée Stout’s show does not look away, it looks into and then dreams beyond.
Renée Stout is a recipient of the Women’s Caucus for Art Lifetime Achievement Award (2018), Janet & Walter Sondheim Artscape Prize (2012), David C. Driskell Prize (2010), a Joan Mitchell Award (2005), The Pollock Krasner Foundation Award (1991 & 1999), the Anonymous Was a Woman Award (1999), and The Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation Award (1993). Her work is included in such collections as The Africa Museum, Berg en Dal, Netherlands, The Baltimore Museum of Art, The High Museum of Art, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The National Gallery of Art, The San Francisco Museum of Fine Art, the Smithsonian American Art Museum, and the National Museum of African American History and Culture, among others. Stout was the subject of the traveling exhibition “Tales of the Conjure Woman,” originating at the Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art in 2013, a solo exhibition, “Funk Dreamscapes from the Invisible Parallel Universe” at the John Michael Kohler Arts Center in Sheboygan, WI in 2018 and “Church of the Crossroads: Renée Stout in the Belger Collection” at the Belger Center in Kansas City, MO in 2018. This is her 5th exhibition at Hemphill Fine Arts.
HEMPHILL 1515 14th Washington DC.
September 15 - October 27, 2018
moniquemeloche is thrilled to present Sanford Biggers’ third solo show at the gallery, and his first at our newly-expanded West Town location. Working across an expansive spectrum of mediums in the service of multivalent conceptual interests, Biggers roots his practice in the excavation of histories to shed light on the present. Having recently spent a year in Rome as a 2017 American Academy Fellow in Visual Arts, Biggers has created a new body of marble sculptures which develop the artist’s use of classical materials as a means of destabilizing and reconfiguring their historical evocations. In addition to these marble works, the exhibition will also comprise a new group of quilt paintings and wall reliefs that are demonstrative of Biggers’ eclectic, trans-historical practice. Drawing upon a varied and broad view of the past and its irrevocable ties to the present, Biggers speaks to contemporary socio-political conditions precisely in his summoning of their non-linear and revelatory origins.
Sanford Biggers (born 1970 Los Angeles, lives and works New York) received a BA from Morehouse College, Atlanta, and an MFA from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, where he sits on the Board of Trustees. He attended the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture (1998), and has received numerous awards and accolades, including a Creative Capital Foundation Grant (2008), and a Joyce Foundation Award and NEA Grant in 2015 to assist with a year-long project in Detroit that resulted in Subjective Cosmology, his solo exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit (2016). Other selected solo shows include Contemporary Art Museum, Saint Louis (2018); Marianne Boesky Gallery, New York (2017); Massimo de Carlo, London (2016); Mass MoCA, North Adams, MA (2012); Brooklyn Museum of Art, New York (2011); and Sculpture Center, New York (2011). His work is in the permanent collection of the Equal Justice Initiative’s new Legacy Museum in Montgomery, AL; the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, Washington, DC; Museum of Art Design, New York; Museum of Modern Art, New York; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; The Studio Museum in Harlem; Bass Museum of Art, Miami; Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; and the Art Institute of Chicago, among others. Selected group exhibitions include Open Spaces, Kansas City (2018); Sculpture Milwaukee 2018; Jacob Lawrence: Lines of Influence, SCAD Museum of Art, Savannah, GA (2017); Southern Accent: Seeking the American South in Contemporary Art, Speed Art Museum, Louisville, KY and the Nasher Museum at Duke University, Durham NC (2016); The Freedom Principle, Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago and the Institute of Contemporary Art Philadelphia (2015); Prospect 1, New Orleans (2008); Illuminations, Tate Modern, London (2007); Performa 07, New York (2007); Whitney Biennial, New York (2002); and Freestyle, The Studio Museum in Harlem (2001). Biggers was a 2016 TED Fellow and received a 2017-18 Rome Prize in Visual Arts, which included a yearlong residency at the American Academy in Rome. He also received the 2018 Arts and Letters Award in Art presented by the American Academy of Arts and Letters.
moniquemeloche 451 N Paulina Street
artcoterie.com recently spoke with artist Monica J Brown about her work currently on display @ARC Gallery on the topics of shared history, language, and healing that are incorporated into her work and life.
Learn more about the artist and see the show through this Sat August 11. ARC Gallery 2156 N Damen, Chicago IL
Scale as a medium?
AC: Your mixed media pieces are very small, almost “history windows” is there anything in your process or aesthetic that encourages the small scale?
MJB: The process itself could be replicated on a larger scale, but the smaller size of the work is meant to create a sense of intimacy, to pull the viewer in closer for a one-on-one interaction with the pieces. I like the idea of them as “history windows.” The circular motif acts as a lens which presents a view of the past. Images contained in the circle sometimes offer a visual that is easily readable while others are faded and somewhat difficult to decipher. The smaller scale also suggests fragmentation.
Words vs image
AC: Your mixed media have almost no words, but you are a poet and have included a “secret” piece of prose in the exhibition. Is there a reason for the separation of that piece and of words from your visual art? Not that words are necessary, they just seem central to you as well, do you take much influence from your prose/poetry?
MJB: The words vs images in my work are separate ways of communicating the same ideas. Each visual piece has a title, and most of those titles are pulled from the accompanying poem. Because the pieces are small, I did not want them in competition with the words, so I presented them separately. The words are important to me, but I also like the idea that you find them later after you have already engaged with the visual work and possibly added your own story/ interpretation.
The “secret” prose poem is hidden at the end of a narrow walkway which is intended to bring to mind that feeling of discomfort that can sit alongside the weight and ache of peering into the blurry, fuzzy, muted, unclear spaces of the past. The space is only large enough for one person to engage with it at a time, but it's not necessary to exit the same way you enter.
AC: You are also a yogi and yoga instructor. How does yoga and or meditation factor into your visual work, and vice versa?
MJB: The connection between the body, personal history, memory and healing informs my life and work. I have been a yoga instructor for 16 years and a bodywork (Thai/Shiatsu) therapist for 9 years. With the idea of memories being held in the body, movement (i.e. yoga) can assist in revealing, unearthing and transforming seats of stagnant and repressed emotions – a way to rewrite our stories, or at least engage with them differently.
AC: You explore your maternal history in this work, what impact does this lineage have for you as an artist and a healer? Is it significant being a part of a women’s collective to present this work?
MJB: I am interested in the ideas of genetic memory and generational healing through somatic archeology. Ruby Gibson, Th.D., author of My Body, My Earth describes somatic archeological as “unearthing in the human body those remains and artifacts of our familial, ancestral, and spiritual lineage in order to uncover our myths and remember our stories for personal and planetary evolution.” Gathering the stories from the past, knowing them, and sharing them is a means to healing learned dysfunctional patterns as well as embracing inherited strengths and gifts. It's also important to own our stories without letting them own us.
Being part of a women's collective definitely provides a space for the work to reside – a space that honors women's voices.
September 7 – December 30, 2018
Basquiat Before Basquiat: East 12th Street, 1979–1980 includes the entire cache of works made by Jean-Michel Basquiat during the year he lived with his friend Alexis Adler in a small apartment in the East Village. The art and archival material provides rare insight into the artistic life of Basquiat before he achieved fame in the early 1980s. While living in this apartment, Basquiat’s creative impulses moved fluidly from his SAMO tags on the surrounding streets and neighborhood into a more sustained practice in their shared home. Through paintings, sculpture, works on paper, a notebook, and other ephemera, as well as Adler’s numerous photographs from this period, the exhibition documents the fluid evolution of Basquiat’s creative impulses into a more sustained practice. This exhibition includes rarely seen Basquiat works from local collections, adding a perspective of the artist’s evolution into the mid-’80s.
Basquiat Before Basquiat: East 12th Street, 1979–1980 is organized by the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver and curated by Nora Burnett Abrams, Ellen Bruss Curator and Director of Planning. The Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis exhibition is organized by Lisa Melandri, Executive Director.
CAM St. Louis 3750 Washington Boulevard
Coinciding with the release of Dawoud Bey’s new monograph, Seeing Deeply (University of Texas Press, Austin, September 2018), Stephen Daiter Gallery is pleased to present Dawoud Bey: Polaroid Works.
On view at the gallery will be large-scale prints of Bey’s early black-and-white Polaroid street portraits created mostly in his Brooklyn community in the late 1980s and very early 1990s; as well as his subsequent 1990s–early 2000s project of 20 x 24 inch color Polaroid studio portraits. These two bodies of work complement one another in process and outcome – both shot with large format cameras producing prints instantly, and both exhibiting Bey’s innate ability to create a genuine connection with his subject no matter who or where they were. These works also represent a conceptual shift in Bey’s early working process, taking him from small-format street photography, ultimately to a controlled studio environment where he favored the intimacy of the quiet room and the descriptive qualities of the much larger negative.
Please join us for a reception at the gallery on Friday, September 28th, from 5-8pm. The exhibition parallels our exhibit at EXPO Chicago with Rena Bransten Gallery, where Bey’s most recent body of work Night Coming Tenderly, Black will be featured.
July 3, 2018 – October 20, 2018
Tonika Lewis Johnson’s ongoing Folded Map project connects residents who live at corresponding addresses in the North and South Side neighborhoods of Chicago. By documenting architectural aspects of the neighborhoods and conversations between residents, Lewis Johnson demonstrates how a city of renowned institutions and robust tourism is also a city that struggles with issues of racial inequality and segregation.
This exhibition was organized in partnership with Loyola University’s Center for Urban Research & Learning and the Public History Program.
Friday, September 28, 2018
Celebrate the opening of the Poetry Foundation’s new exhibition, Krista Franklin: “…to take root among the stars,” a speculative “mapping” project wherein evidence of Afrofuturist and AfroSurrealist thought is traced, imagined, and archived in and on handmade paper. Join us for performances by Franklin, Aricka Foreman, Kara Jackson, and Jamila Woods. Music courtesy of DJ Rae Chardonnay, will follow the program, which will begin promptly at 6:00 PM.
Krista Franklin is a writer and visual artist. She is the author of Under the Knife and the chapbook Study of Love & Black Body. Her work has been shown at The Columbia Museum of Art, The Cornell Fine Arts Museum, Chicago Cultural Center, National Museum of Mexican Art, Produce Model, Rootwork Gallery, The Studio Museum in Harlem, and has been featured on Fox’s TV drama series Empire. Franklin is a Cave Canem fellow and lives and works in Chicago.
Rae Chardonnay Taylor is a DJ and Arts Administrator. She is the Founder of Black Eutopia, a series of segmented programming intended to cultivate space for marginalized communities.
Aricka Foreman's poems, essays and features have appeared in numerous publications including The Offing, Catapult, Buzzfeed, The Collagist, RHINO and Please Excuse This Poem: 100 New Poems for the Next Generation (Viking Penguin). Author of Dream with a Glass Chamber (YesYes Books), she has received fellowships from Cave Canem, Callaloo, and the Millay Colony for the Arts.
Kara Jackson is a poet, musician, and all-around performing artist. Kara has performed at Louder Than A Bomb as part of the spoken word group Bomb Squad.
Jamila Woods is a poet, singer, and teaching artist. She is the associate artistic director of Young Chicago Authors and a founding member of its Teaching Artist Corps. Woods is a member of Dark Noise, a collective of poets & educators of color. Her solo album, HEAVN, was released to critical acclaim in 2016.
Poetry Foundation, 61 West Superior Street
Objects in the Midst of Other Objects: Black Male Formations
Featuring the art work of Stephen Flemister + Spencer Paul Hutchinson
In his seminal work of critical race theory, Black Skin/White Masks (1968), philosopher-psychiatrist Frantz Fanon eloquently reflected on his own racialized encumberment:
“I came into the world imbued with the will to find a meaning in things, my spirit filled with the desire to attain to the source of the world, and then I found that I was an object in the midst of other objects.”
Featuring the work of virtuosic painters and object makers—Stephen Flemister and Spencer Paul Hutchinson, with this exhibition, Rootwork Gallery explores the simultaneous objectification and subjectivity of Black masculinity in the contemporary U.S.
This timely reflection coincides with ubiquitous instances of police brutality against Black men, and the denial of agency to Black men (e.g. NFL players and other professional athletes) who choose to conspicuously protest.
The tension between these actions and counter-actions pointedly animates the circumscription that Fanon references, and demands a closer reading of the ways in which Flemister, Hutchinson and their peers directly and indirectly externalize notions of self-determination and autonomy in their making.
Definitions in use:
1. The action of degrading someone to the status of a mere object.
2. The expression of something abstract in a concrete form.
1. The quality of being based on or influenced by personal feelings, tastes, or opinions.
2. The quality of existing in someone's mind rather than the external world.
- Tracie D. Hall and (Bessie Marie Sanders Scott), Co-curators.
This event is free and open to the public.
About the Artists:
Stephen Flemister is an interdisciplinary artist working in sculpture, print media, and new media, with practices invested in the intersections of portraiture and influences of digital culture. Through objects, installations, and experimental studies, Flemister explores methods of visibility and fabricated realities among social systems, object making, and drawings. A recent graduate with an MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and a 2016/17 Artist in Residence with Arts + Public Life, Flemister has exhibited at Hyde Park Art Center, Columbia College Chicago, South Side Community Art Center, and the Arts Incubator, as well as with public installations throughout Chicago.
Spencer Hutchinson is a Chicago-based multidisciplinary artist whose work explores a range of subject matter in a variety of media from painting to sound to video and 3D animation. Having received his BFA from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2009, Hutchinson's work has been shown nationally and internationally from New York to Dubai.
Wednesday, November 7, 2018
Echoes: Reframing Collage exhibiting artist Paul Mpagi Sepuya will discuss his work on view as well as his broader artistic practice. Sepuya’s work is held in the permanent collection of the Guggenheim Museum, NY; Whitney Museum of American Art; Museum of Modern Art; Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin; and Milwaukee Museum of Art, among others.
Lectures in Photography are co-presented by MoCP and the Photography Department at Columbia College Chicago.
618 S Michigan Ave