Category Archives: Art

Shacks and Shanties: a temporary art project

shack

The “Shacks & Shanties” project is a South Side Chicago installation initiative organized by Faheem Majeed. Shacks were constructed as platforms for artistic performances and installations. I attended one such installation/performance, titled “Ghana Must Go” after the infamous plaid patterned tote bags that are so prevalent in West Africa. I talked to Faheem Wajeed as well as Abbéy Odunlami, the artist behind “Ghana Must Go”. We talked about community engagement, fashion, and appropriation.

 

The piece below was produced for “Reclaimed Soul” (hosted by Ayana Contreras). Reclaimed Soul airs Thursdays from 8-10pm on http://vocalo.org, and over the airwaves  on 89.5fm (NWindy) and 90.7fm (CHI).

This Friday, Shacks and Shanties is hosting a community open mic. See details below:

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Opera-Matic’s New Moon on the Lagoon

Opera-Matic's New Moon on the Lagoon


In this audio piece, I eavesdrop on rehearsals for Opera-matic’s very cool New Moon on the Lagoon, an “evening lullaby parade”, featuring a 15 foot tall giant moon that will be lit up from within by projections of facial expressions.

It’ll be happening Friday May 10th and 11th, 2013 at the Humboldt Park Lagoon in Chicago. For more info, visit: opera-matic.org/upcoming-events/

This piece originally aired on Reclaimed Soul on Vocalo. Reclaimed Soul features music spun on original vinyl records, and stories of people making our world better (artistically, economically, etc) with old materials.

You can tune in to Reclaimed Soul live at 8pm CST on vocalo.org, 89.5fm (NWI/CHI) and 90.7fm (CHI)


Never Records… the Reclaimed Soul Interview cut on wax.

Fresh from New Orleans, it’s my interview with Ted Riederer…. that he cut by hand on clear wax. It’s the first Reclaimed Soul interview that was played directly from a real record to play on the radio show!

Ted Riederer is a New York based artist who is in New Orleans running a pop-up record store this month called Never Records. Never Records is outfitted with recording equipment and his record cutting machine (or lathe), and he is recording local artists for free this month. Only two copies of the sessions are committed to wax: one copy for the artists and one for Never Records.

 

Listen to fresh episodes of Reclaimed Soul Thursdays at 8pm CST on vocalo.org!


Dreams in Jay-Z Minor: The Intersection of Visual Art + Excess + Lyrics

Krista Franklin, (Roc)oco, 2012

Visual Artists Amanda Williams + Krista Franklin have collaborated on “Dreams in Jay-Z Minor”, a new exhibition at Blanc Gallery in Bronzeville running October 5, 2012 – December 29, 2012.

Connected by dual recurring dreams of Jay-Z, Williams and Franklin explore the natures of upward mobility, excess, fantasy, and hip-hop luxury. In their works they utilize a variety of mediums including handformed paper, altered books, and collage.

Tonight on Reclaimed Soul, in anticipation of tomorrow’s opening, you can listen to the artists talk about their work and the Societal cravings for Fabulousness and Upward Mobility that inspired it.

We’ll also listen to loads of samples and feature other audio surprises.
OPENING RECEPTION: Friday, October 5th, 2012, 6pm-9pm
Featuring Sounds by Jamal “JayToo” Jefferies

Blanc Gallery
4445 S. Martin L. King Dr.
Chicago, IL 60653
773-952-4394
www.blancchicago.com

Of course, this wouldn’t be Darkjive without a throwback Chicago hook, so without further ado:

One of Jay-Z’s most memorable collabos (that recently begat a wife and baby makes three) was his verse on Beyonce’s 2003 hit “Crazy In Love”. The song samples Chicago legends the Chi-Lites, and their single, “Are You My Woman (Tell Me So)”.

Perhaps the lesson learned is that if you are “Crazy in Love” but unsure if she is “Your Woman”, maybe you ought to “Put a Ring On It”, lest she be a “Single Lady”. Jive on.

UPDATE: In case you missed the Reclaimed Soul broadcast mentioned above, below is the link to the podcast version. Also, there will be a Curator/Artist Coffee Talk on Saturday October 20th at Blanc Gallery from 2pm-4pm.


Objet Petit Ahh… aka the Piñata-Palooza.

from our friends at the Co-Prosperity Sphere in Bridgeport:

Objet Petit Ahh… is a single-evening exhibition and smashing party of artist-created piñata-sculptures.

In what could be the most destructive art exhibition in the history of Chicago, all of the artwork in the show will be obliterated by the show’s closing that evening. Whatever various and sundry contents should spill forth from the piñata sculptures will immediately be considered public property.

A User-Directed Super Raffle™ will determine the privilege of smashing each piñata, and all proceeds will go to benefit Version Festival 12. Each raffle ticket is $2. If you buy 5 tickets for $10 you will get a copy of the just released Proximity #009.

PLUS! In addition to the curated piñatas in the exhibition, the event will conclude with a Bring Your Own Piñata finale. Anyone attending the show may bring a piñata to add to the fun. Plus, all BYOP’s will be exhibited until the finale, so basically, yeah, you’re in the show. Put it on your resume… Whatever!

The beer’s free, but BYOP(iñata)!


April 14, 2012
6pm… 11pm-sih
3219 S Morgan St


Record Store: where you can’t buy anything, but you can listen to everything.

I’ll be spinning for the opening of this… The record store is completely modular and made to encourage the kind of listening-based cultural interchange that makes record stores awesome. Over 4,000 records on loan from community members’ collections. None of them are for sale, but visitors can listen to them all: from “Belly Dancing Favorites” to the Moody Blues to Earth, Wind, & Fire.

Record Store — an installation presented by Seattle Art Museum in collaboration with [storefront] Olson Kundig Architects (MacDowell architect Tom Kundig’s firm) — December 13th in Seattle! Attempting to remove the barrier between artist and audience, Record Store encourages the community to participate in the curation of this Olson Kundig Architects-designed traveling installation. Record Store is on view at Olson Kundig Architects (406 Occidental Ave., Seattle, WA 98104) from December 13 to January 31, 2012, Monday to Friday, 9 am to 5 pm. An opening event will be held on December 13, 2011 from 6:30 pm to 9:00 pm. Special DJ listening parties will take place during the installation’s run.


Garland M. Taylor: Chicago’s otherworldly metalsmith

When I met Garland Taylor recently, it was at a Jazz concert held on the lawn of Chicago’s Museum of Contemporary Art. I commented on his sandals (brown leather that appeared to be custom), and he proceeded to tell me about how he blew all of his money on them some years back while interning with a metalworking artist in Italy. So far, they were still holding up, he said. The investment had not been in vain. Shoes do, in fact, tell stories.

Speaking of stories, Taylor says of his work:

“[It is] informed by characteristics of people, and designs in nature. My sculptures are short stories that illuminate the evidence of my labor, that is, my struggle to create logic, balance, and harmony with welding electrodes and tiny pieces of steel discards from railroad maintenance crews, the construction trades, and the manufacturing industry.”

According to his website, his works “deal with improving that which has fallen into decline.”

Unassuming and friendly, Taylor has a studio not too far from Bronzeville on the South Side, and he creates otherworldly metal sculptures utilizing reclaimed materials, slick finishes suited for an automobile, and organic yet mechanical forms. Jive on!

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Dance Dorchester!

dance locally to vintage sounds culled from Dorchester Projects’ Dr. Wax Collection heavily leaning on music that ‘jus grew’ out of our community: this friday, june 24th, 7pm til 10pm.

bring your favorite summertime dish to share with friends

100% wax spun by dj ayana

from The Dr. Wax Collection


Mark Bradford at the MCA: exercises in community, texture, and collaboration

"Scorched Earth" (2006), The Artist pictured in Foreground

So, I am totally late on this one… which is inexcusable really, because I was at the Opening of the exhibition.  Least I could have done is pub it.  But, alas….

Mark Bradford‘s Exhibition currently on view at Chicago’s Museum of Contemporary Art is a Retrospective that really gives a sense of the artist’s use of layers to establish history and depth in his work.  A number of the pieces displayed (like “Strawberry”, [pictured below]) feature small square wrapping papers (the sort used in beauty parlors to augment rollers) as a medium.  One particular work utilizes sun faded wheatpaste movie posters.  A good measure of his materials are, in fact, well known residents of his neighborhood, and his work whispers of larger community-based issues. Some of his work even echos Topographical maps.

In part due to his works’ scale, and in part due to his use of texture, his work needs to be seen in person, rather than in print or on a screen.

On the Collaborative tip, during this past year, the Artist was Skyping and Zipping back and forth between his homebase of Los Angeles and our fair city working with youth from both Lindblom Math and Science Academy in West Englewood and the YOUMedia Program at the Harold Washington Library culminating in a well received Pop-Up Gallery exhibition of the Students’ work.  The exhibition (a part of the MCA-backed Mark Bradford Project) dealt with issues of community and mapping, while using a variety of mediums.  Many of the students agreed that they learned as much about life as they did about artistic practice from Bradford, who beautifully validated the burgeoning voices of the self-proclaimed “Art Kids”.

Mark Bradford’s work will be on display at the MCA from May 28-September 18, 2011

Museum of Contemporary Art

220 East Chicago Avenue, Chicago


Bridgeport Neighborhood Sees Identity Shift

Detail of a larger mural created by Juan Chavez and located at Fellowship House, 32nd and Lituanica, Bridgeport. Image from Mad About The Mural.

Below is an interesting piece from WBEZ by reporter Natalie Moore that sheds light on changes that the Bridgeport neighborhood  (home base for the Version Fest [see below]… and the Daleys) has been going through in recent years.  As a new generation (among them an influx of artists and immigrants) are choosing to make Bridgeport their home, the older working-class roots and racially-charged reputation of the community seem to be fading away.  But are they?

Bridgeport Neighborhood Sees Identity Shift.


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