In this week's newsletter: Lagrime di San Pietro, Is/land, David Hockney, The Time Is Now! Art Worlds of Chicago’s South Side, 1960–1980, Fulton Market Harvest Fest, and more

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{ Chicago Guide }

September 13 through September 19, 2018

Fulton Market Harvest Festival

Fulton Market Harvest Festival Photo: Huge Galdones


1. Lagrime di San Pietro

Peter Sellars, a stage director well known for his collaborations with composer John Adams, creates a staging of Orlando di Lasso’s 20-madrigal collection about Peter’s denial of Jesus. Sellars makes the story more about ordinary people than superhuman figures by supertitling the work with modern-language translations and directing the singers (from the excellent Los Angeles Master Chorale) to move around onstage.

9/13 at 8 p.m. $10–$45. Ravinia.


2. Is/land

Three dancers of East Asian heritage join forces for That We Walk, which explores various narratives about home. Tourism videos sponsored by the U.S. government play in the background, a commentary on the complicated identities of the performers. Completing the program is Burrow, Tousle, two side-by-side solo improvisations from Lucky Plush’s Kara Brody and Amanda Maraist of Khecari.

9/13–14. $15–$40. Links Hall.


3. David Hockney

The British master of pop art, perhaps best known for his cool depictions of nude men in Los Angeles swimming pools, brings his paintings to life with digital videos. A wall of high-definition TV screens blazes with vivid colors showing the seasonal changes of the woods near Hockney’s Yorkshire studio.

FREE 9/13–11/21. Richard Gray Warehouse.


4. The Time Is Now! Art Worlds of Chicago’s South Side, 1960–1980

This major exhibit reassesses the South Side as a hotbed for artistic innovation during the 1960s and ’70s. Here, the Black Arts movement emerged in the immediate aftermath of the civil rights era, Black Panther demonstrations, and the local radical jazz scene. Murals, prints, posters, photographs, and sculpture collectively tell a story of how concerted creativity animated a community during a period that changed Chicago art forever.

FREE 9/13–12/30. Smart Museum of Art.


5. Fulton Market Harvest Fest

Now in its third year, the Harvest Fest features an extensive selection of food, drink, events, and music, including appearances from your favorite chefs (Stephanie Izard, Erling Wu-Bower), favorite restaurants (City Mouse, Monteverde), and a smattering of well-respected musicians (Poliça, Lee Fields).

9/14–16. $25–$75. Fulton Market.


6. Reboot

Margi Cole, Colleen Halloran, and Peter Carpenter — three Columbia College professors with serious choreographic chops — team up for an evening produced by Cole’s company, the Dance Colective. With his laughter-inducing, eyebrow-raising political bent, Carpenter constructs a new solo set for Cole that draws from current discourse surrounding truth, deception, and “alternative facts.” Halloran surveys similar territory in a rare new work.

9/14–16. $15–$20. Dovetail Studios.


7. Edie Fake

Art collectors make a mad dash to any exhibit of new work by Fake, who rose to prominence memorializing Chicago’s gay and lesbian architecture in dazzling ink and gouache. For his second solo show at Western Exhibitions, he returns with jewel-like drawings that imagine the spaces where transgender people feel safe and thrive as a result.

FREE 9/14–10/27. Western Exhibitions.


8. We’re Only Alive for a Short Amount of Time

In David Cale’s one-man autobiographical show, British singer Petula Clark (among others) and a backyard bird sanctuary provide a young boy respite from a troubled family and a bleak industrial town. Violence and beauty coexist in a monologue that fuses music with words and memories.

9/15–10/21. $20–$70. Goodman Theatre.


9. Bethany Collins: Undersong

This rising multidisciplinary artist is known for altering printed text, whether by erasing specific words so that sentences take new meanings or creating small sculptures from scraps of sliced paper. For Undersong, her second solo exhibit at Patron, Collins explores rootlessness by modifying Homer’s Odyssey as well as old classified ads from former slaves looking for their lost family members.

FREE 9/15–10/27. Patron Gallery.


10. Up Is Down: Mid-century Experiments in Advertising and Film at the Goldsholl Studio

This show celebrates the golden age of advertising through the lens of a homegrown design giant. In the 1950s, Chicago was a hub for modernist graphic design, with Goldsholl and Associates being one of the best-known firms, churning out iconic logos for Motorola, 7-Up, and Vienna Beef. It even produced many of the era’s then-groovy, now-nostalgic educational short films.

FREE 9/18–12/9. Block Museum of Art.

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You Should Know

Rebecca Zorach

Up next in our series of interviews with notable, in-the-know locals: Rebecca Zorach, professor of art history at Northwestern, and curator of The Time is Now! Art Worlds of Chicago’s South Side, 1960–1980, an exhibition on the city’s Black Arts Movement opening September 13 at the Smart Museum in Hyde Park.

What was the genesis of the exhibition?
I’d been researching the Black Arts Movement in Chicago for a long time, and had worked on a group of exhibitions on AfriCOBRA [African Commune of Bad Relevant Artists]. I was aware of the real richness, breadth, and depth of the Black Arts Movement, and other artists who were working here in the sixties and seventies. And this was a story that really hadn’t made any ripples — Chicago art is not always on the surface, especially on the South Side.

How political are these artists?
They were very much inspired by the Black Power movement. A lot of the artists in the show were really attuned to the sense that the Civil Rights movement had made some gains through the courts, but that it hadn’t had as much of an impact as hoped on the actual material conditions that African Americans were living in. A lot of the artists had the educational qualifications to aspire to the middle class, but were really identifying with poor and working class African Americans in their communities, and trying to think about what was not working for them. So there are really pointed critiques of America in the show. Barbara Jones-Hogu’s work takes the stars and stripes of the American flag and turns them into swastikas and KKK figures. There are images that are about police brutality, or about racial conflict in really direct ways.

Why was there this need for, basically, a separate infrastructure for the city’s black artists?
Up until the nineties, the art worlds of Chicago were incredibly segregated — I sometimes use the phrase “Jim Crow art world.” (It’s not quite that, because Richard Hunt was showing in North Side galleries, as was Ralph Arnold, who was a great painter and collage artist.) But the North Side galleries were white galleries, and mostly not interested in African American artists. There was plenty of knowledge on the side of African American artists — they knew a lot about the white art world, but the white art world knew nothing about them.

That has a cascading impact on histories that get told, exhibitions that get done, what artists are researched. Decades later you get to this point where you have textbooks being written that canonize certain artists from fifty years ago and not others. There’s a historical winnowing.

How did you conduct research for this exhibition?
I did a lot of digging in physical archives and online like Chicago Defender and Chicago Tribune. The Defender is a really, really rich resource for the cultural history of that period. I went to people’s homes and looked at work that they had hanging on walls. I would meet one person and then meet their friends and associates. I’m kind of a shy person — I get nervous about calling people up on the phone. I had to do a lot of that, because a lot of the artists who were active in the sixties and seventies are in their seventies and eighties now. Some of them don’t do a lot of email. You have to make a phone call; that was an adjustment for me.

Are there any public programs tied to the show?
Yes. “Celebrating South Side Stories” this Saturday really serves as the opening for the exhibition. It’s a day of activities at different South Side art institutions including the Smart Museum, the DuSable, the South Side Community Art Center, and the Hyde Park Art Center. South Side Projections is doing a screening of films relating to Margaret Burroughs and the DuSable Museum. There will be tours of The Time is Now!, and hands-on art-making activities at the Hyde Park Art Center. — As told to Christian Belanger


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