Tag Archives: Art Institute of Chicago


I have a fine arts degree in painting but I never felt it connected with me. I was struggling to find my own voice when one of my professors at Howard University noted that I always dressed in a multitude of patterns and textures. One day he looked at my paint splattered combat boots and lace palazzo pants and suggested I use fabric in my work. He advised me to look at the collages of Romare Bearden and incorporate fabric into my paintings. It wasn’t until I was studying for my masters that I made my first quilt, abandoning the canvas all together. — Bisa Butler

In conjunction with the Art Institute of Chicago exhibition BISA BUTLER—PORTRAITS, Nancy Chen will lead a conversation focused on the artist’s creative process.

See link below to register for this online event.


Art Institute of Chicago

Wednesday, November 18.

Noon on the West Coast; 2 pm Chicago; 3 pm East Coast.

Bisa Butler, Portraits, Art Institute of Chicago, November 16, 2020–April 19, 2021, from top: Dear Mama, 2019, quilted and appliquéd cotton, wool and chiffon, collection of Scott and Cissy Wolfe; Anaya with Oranges, 2017, Dimmitt Davies Collection; I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, 2019; Southside Sunday Morning, 2018; The Broom Jumpers, 2019, Mount Holyoke College Art Museum; The Safety Patrol, 2018, Cavigga Family Trust Fund. Images © Bisa Butler, courtesy of the artist and Claire Oliver Gallery, New York.


If [Peter Zumthor’s] new design is built, LACMA can no longer be associated with other encyclopedic museums in the United States that shaped their collections in the 19th and 20th centuries, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Chicago Art Institute, and the Detroit Institute of Arts Museum. Zumthor’s diminished plan would force it to shed the encyclopedic collections that are the very soul of the museum. It commits the original architectural sin of narcissism, of architecture for the sake of architecture.

This let-the-public-chew-concrete moment is all the more shameful because LACMA has gone ahead with demolition just as COVID-19 has taken over the country, state, county, and city, closing down all but essential activities. The administrations of two other museums under construction in Los Angeles — the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures and the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art in Exposition Park — have had the common decency to stop construction, admitting they are non-essential projects, and, hence, not worth risking the health of construction workers. Under the phony pretense that it suddenly cares for the public after having ignored public opinion for over a decade, LACMA claims its intent is to infuse (mostly public) money into the local economy, as though suddenly this deeply selfish boondoggle had an altruistic purpose: job creation. — Joseph Giovannini*

As an imaginary counter to what Giovannini calls LACMA director Michael Govan’s “fait accompli,” the Citizens’ Brigade to Save LACMA accepted proposals from twenty-eight international architectural firms and collections, choosing six final designs in two categories: “Existing Buildings” and “Ground Up.”

The six designs are by Barkow Leibinger, Berlin, with Lillian Montalvo Landscape Design; Coop Himmelb(l)au, Vienna; Kaya Design, London; Paul Murdoch Architects, Los Angeles; Reiser + Umemoto, New York City; and TheeAe (The Evolved Architectural Eclectic), Hong Kong.

See link below for details.

LACMA not LackMA

*Joseph Giovannini, “Demolition Under Cover of Covid-19,” Los Angeles Review of Books, May, 1, 2020.

This week, Los Angeles Times art critic Christopher Knight won the Pulitzer Prize for his series of articles criticizing Zumthor’s design and Govan’s advocacy of it.

From top, designs by: Re(in)novating LACMA, by Reiser + Umemoto, New York (2); Unified Campus, by Paul Murdoch Architects, Los Angeles (2); HILLACMA, by TheeAe (The Evolved Architectural Eclectic), Hong Kong (2); LACMA Wing, by Coop Himmelb(l)au, Vienna; Reimagining / Restructuring, by Saffet Kaya Design, London (2); Tabula LACMA, by Barkow Leibinger, Berlin, with Lillian Montalvo Landscape Design (2). Images courtesy and © the architects and the Citizens’ Brigade to Save LACMA.


As opposed to the other Pop Art environs of the 1960s and early 1970s, Chicago did not hesitate to get its hands dirty. Variously pugnacious, puerile, scatological, graphic, exotic, comical, and absurd, Chicago Imagist artwork sought a very different version of “popular” from the detached cool of New York (and to a certain extent London and Los Angeles), a notion hip-deep in the street-corner muck of a working class city with crazy dreams and high ideals…

In contrast to their wild subject matter, [the Chicago Imagists] utilized an aesthetic that was often tightly crafted and stunningly beautiful. That tension, between whip-smart expressive sensibility and a pristine finish, became one of the movements hallmarks, and it gave an engine to one of America’s most highly personal enclaves of artistic personalities. — John Corbett*

Suellen Rocca—a pioneer of the Hairy Who school of Chicago Imagists—died last week. She was a longtime curator and educator at Elmhurst College, west of the city.

*John Corbett, “Chicago Imagist Art—Vintage Grit Pop,” in Painthing on the Möve: Chicago Imagists 1966–1973/Albert Oehlen (London: Thomas Dane Gallery; Chicago: Corbett vs. Dempsey, 2011), 7.

Suellen Rocca, from top: Bare Shouldered Beauty, 1965, oil on canvas; Bare Shouldered Beauty and the Pink Creature, 1965, oil on canvas, left panel of two; Dream Fish Two, 1997, graphite and pencil on paper; Da Hairy Who Foyer–For Ya Prince, 1967–1968, screenprint in blue and red on black paper; Neatest Garbage, 1982, graphite and colored pencil on paper; Rocca with Curly Head, 1967, photograph by Bob Kotalik, Chicago Sun-Times, courtesy of Pentimenti Productions; Dancing Curls, 1968, pen and black ink and pastel, over traces of graphite, on wove paper; Don’t, 1981, graphite and colored pencil on paper; Ring Girl, 1965. Images courtesy and © the artist’s estate, the Art Institute of Chicago, and Matthew Marks Gallery.


As part of the Warhol Lecture Series, Donna De Salvo—curator of the exhibition ANDY WARHOL—FROM A TO B AND BACK AGAIN, organized by the Whitney and now at the Art Institute of Chicago—will talk about the artist’s impact and importance, followed by a reception and dinner on the Near North Side.


Wednesday, November 20, at 6 pm.

Art Institute of Chicago, Fullerton Hall

111 South Michigan Avenue, Chicago.

Reception and Dinner


18 East Bellevue Place, Chicago.

Andy Warhol—From A to B and Back Again, Art Institute of Chicago, October 20– January 26, 2020, from top: Self-Portrait, 1966, Art Institute of Chicago; Gun, 1981–82, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Nine Jackies, 1964, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Ladies and Gentlemen (Marsha P. Johnson), 1975, Museum Brandhorst, Munich; Green Coca-Cola Bottles, 1962, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Skull, 1976, collection Larry Gagosian; Big Electric Chair, 1967–1968, Art Institute of Chicago; Shot Orange Marilyn, 1964. Images courtesy and © the lenders and the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc. / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.


This week, the Art Institute of Chicago presents the second chapter of Anne Imhof‘s performance piece SEX, with a score by Imhof, Eliza Douglas, Billy Bultheel, and Amnesia Scanner‘s Ville Haimala.

In addition to Douglas and Bultheel, performers for this engagement include Sacha Eusebe, Josh Johnson, Enad Marouf, Stine Omar, Franziska Presche, Kizito Sango, and special guest Nomi Ruiz.

The installation exhibition of the work will remain up through the first week in July. Chapter three will be presented in 2020 at Castello di Rivoli Museo d’Arte Contemporanea, Rivoli-Turin.

ANNE IMHOF—SEX chapter two performance

Thursday, May 30, from 3:30 pm to 7 pm.

Friday, May 31, from 12:30 pm to 4 pm.

Saturday, June 1, from 12:30 pm to 4 pm.

Art Institute of Chicago

111 South Michigan Avenue, downtown Chicago.

From top: Anne ImhofSex rehearsal (3), photographs by Nadine Fraczkowski; performance view of the first chapter of Sex at Tate Modern, 2019 (2), photographs by Oliver Cowling; Billy Bultheel, Eliza Douglas, and Anne Imhof in the Tate Tanks space, photograph by Nicky J. Sims; Imhof. Images courtesy and © the artists, photographers, Galerie Buchholz, and the Tate.