Tag Archives: Chicago Arts

Theaster Gates’ Dorchester Projects

What do you get when you mix a maverick artist with strong community ties and an Urban Planner? For one thing, Theaster Gates. For another, the Dorchester Projects, pictured above. Theaster has been purchasing properties in the Woodlawn/Grand Crossing neighborhood for a few years now, and has quietly acquired the stock of the former Dr. Wax record store as well as the now defunct Prairie Avenue Bookstore (both businesses were revered in their respective collector communities). He created a home for glass lantern slides that depict the canon of Western Fine Art. Using reclaimed materials, he is turning his properties into cultural community hubs, featuring curators and programming that reflects the collections and the community.

In the spirit of full disclosure, I’ll be curating the record collection in May and June of 2011, culminating in a series of talks on Chicago Music History (details to follow) and a couple of good, old-fashioned dance parties starring local-born music.

Read the New York Times article about what’s poppin on the South Side with the Dorchester Projects.


the heart of Funkadelic’s image, crafted in Chicago

Funkadelic - One Nation Under A Groove - Front

This week the Sun-Times published an article talking about Pedro Bell, the man behind the iconic cover art, liner notes, and other print ephemera for Funkadelic from 1973 till about 1986.  Pedro, a Chicago native who went by Sir Lleb, has hit hard times.  Today he’s facing dire straits in Hyde Park, though his work was recently featured in a retrospective of acceptional album art at the Museum of Contemporary Art.

Here’s an excerpt from the article:

“Thick dust covers the gold lame shirt and silver leather coat in Pedro Bell’s closet.

The clothes are remnants from a brighter time when Bell, a rainbow Afro wig on his head and platform shoes on his feet, strutted through Chicago as a charter member of the ’70s funk revolution whose sound is heavily sampled in rap songs today. 

“It was psychedelic from a black perspective,” Bell said.

And despite the commercial success of Clinton’s music, Bell said he didn’t profit from it.

He’s broke.”  for more from Kara Spak’s article, click here

Last year, not only was his work featured in a retrospective entitled “Sympathy for the Devil”, but he embarked on a collaborative T-Shirt design project with Supreme, a skateboarding lifestyle store based in New York.  They captured a video interview with the man that you can catch here.  Despite this, he’s barely skirted eviction.  Every reissue that features his cover art is only a reminder of a former life, not a means of survival (which he needs).  Tragic, yet it’s one of the oldest story in the Music Industry.

Mr. Bell’s story is well worth digging into… For his 1994 interview with Jake Austen’s Roctober Magazine, click here

 


AREA/Chicago Release Party… inside and outside Chicago

pigasus for president chicago 1968

(above, Pigasus [the pig candidate for President from the Yippie party] at a rally, Chicago 1968.  classic Windy City protest)

AREA/Chicago announces a publication release / art happening….

(AREA Chicago Art/Research/Education/Activism is a publication and event series dedicated to researching, supporting and networking local social, political and cultural movements.)

AREA #9 Release Party marks the release of AREA #9 Peripheral Vision: A Local Reader Inside and Outside Chicago…November 1, 2009 from 2:00pm till 5:00 pm.

The release party will be coinciding with the closing party for the exhibit/event series titled Demise of the South Side Community Art Center at the South Side Community Art Center, 3831 S. Michigan Ave. (CTA: Indiana stop on the Green Line)

So there will be lots of great things to see alongside two events which are scheduled:

3:00 Peripheral Feminism: Readings by contributors
and 4:00 Performance by Sebastian Alvarez

This issue’s contributions are by/about:

Notes for a People’s Atlas of Calumet, Claire Pentecost, disability activism, Paul Durica, deindustrialization, Stephanie Farmer, Sean Noonan, Compass Group, Hobofest, Jayne Hileman, Ishpeming, Anthony Rayson, Forgotten Chicago, Dinah Ramirez, James Lane, Crandon mine campaign, Sarah Kanouse, Nick Brown, suburban segregation, The Brownlands, Mairead Case, rural pilgrimage, Beth Gutelius, feminism, Dale Asis, Southeast Environmental Task Force, Sarah Kavage, the Burnham plan, Lorenza Perelli, Chicago Otra, Donna Kiser, Erin Moore, immigration detention, Mara Naselli, used bookstores, Sue Simensky Bietila, Mary Patten, donation diasporas, Joann Podkul, MAS, Brian Schultz, ecology, Joey Pizzolato, regional energy, Alex Yablon, Native American sites, Carrie Breitbach, HIV in minority communities, Quincy Saul, Gary, Bert Stabler, Great Lakes waterways, Charlie Vinz, teaching urban studies in the suburbs, teaching art on the south side, Larry Shure, Southworks, Laurie Jo Reynolds, Dan Wang, Nazis in Skokie, No Se Vende, Mike Wolf, Human Action Campaign Organization, Ashley Weger, demolition, Ryan Hollon, Andrew Greenlee, Gloria Ortiz, Steel Shavings, Paul Sargent, slumming, Laurie Palmer, neoliberal poetry, Michelle Lugalia, world systems, Steve Macek, distribution, Rebecca Zorach, Nicolas Lampert, sprawl, Daniel Tucker, Tamms, Carol Ng-He, STAND, Wade Tillett, Nicole Marroquin, CTA, anarchists in the suburbs, Sam Barnett, Chase Bracamontes, Sergei Chrucky, Generations for Peace, Matthias Regan, Just Farming Small Farmers Confederation, parking meter protests, radical memory.

RSVP here: http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#/event.php?eid=150798202534&ref=ts 

For more info, email areachicagointern@gmail.com

(below, the South Side Community Art Center. The Art Center, which was established as part of the Works Progress Administration’s [WPA] Federal Art Project, has been influential in the development of the city’s African-American artists. It is the only continuous survivor of the more than 100 centers established nationwide by the WPA during the 1930s and ’40s.)

ssarts1a


Tofu Chitlin Circuit presents the Mac and Cheese Edition

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From the Tofu Chitlin Circuit: a Theater Conservatory based in Bronzeville:  A Panel Discussion featuring you…

Our October A La Carte features J. Nicole Brooks, playwright of “Fedra” at Lookingglass Theater and African-American Illusionist Walter King Jr. We’re talking about SPECTACLE. What is it? How does it work? Is it low-brow theater? Is it a cop-out to creating dramatic narratives?
We’ve asked Walter King Jr. to share his experience as an illusionist and how his “magic ” of theater creates a form of SPECTACLE. J. Nicole Brooks, company member and playwright of the highly anticipated “Fedra” at Lookingglass Theater will share in her experience with the company and their approach to creating SPECTACLE.
Join us:
Monday, October 26, 2009
The Digital Youth Network
1050 E 47th Street
Chicago, IL 60653
6:30-8:30 p.m.
Donation: $3
macaroni-cheese-


Marion Perkins: Sculpted a Better Chicago, a Better World

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Woodson Regional is a gem of the South Side.  I’ve always believed that.  One of my favorite locations of the Chicago Public Library, bar none.  The library, located at 95th and Halsted, boasts the Vivian Harsh Research Collection (all manner of Black Ephemera) and a really strong overall collection.  1 of only two regional libraries in the city (the others, save Harold Washington downtown are all “branches”), Woodson is stocked with literature and art from a good number of local sociologists, artists, and writers.  Case in point,  the temporary exhibit celebrating the Art (and activism) of sculptor Marion Perkins

Born in 1908, he moved to Chicago as a small child.  He worked as a dishwasher, freight handler, and postal clerk in his lifetime, and though in his artistic career he was lauded with awards (among them the Guggenheim Fellowship) he was never able to devote full time to his art.  Perkins was not only an artist, he was an activist for social change, fighting for both Ethiopian freedom and civil rights in his own backyard.

Visit Woodson for Woodson’s sake, but don’t forget to carve out time to see the temporary exhibit: “To See Reality in a New Light: the Art and Activism of Marion Perkins”, at Woodson until December 31, 2009.


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