July 18, 2024

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Joanne Aono/Photo: Laura Husar Garcia
LaToya Ruby Frazier Takes Top Prize At Carnegie International
Artist LaToya Ruby Frazier (Newcity Art 50 Hall of Fame) was awarded the Carnegie Prize at the Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh, “which comes with a [medal] designed by Tiffany & Co… gifted to winners since the exhibition’s founding in 1896. Past winners of the award include George Bellows, Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso, Antoni Tàpies, Alexander Calder, Ellsworth Kelly, Josef Albers, Willem de Kooning, On Kawara, Nicole Eisenmen, and Lynette Yiadom-Boakye,” reports ARTnews. Frazier received the prize for her series “More Than Conquerors: A Monument for Community Health Workers of Baltimore, Maryland 2021–2022,” which highlights “the efforts of Baltimore health workers and community leaders during the ongoing pandemic. This series is the latest among Frazier’s medium-spanning practice, which has been anchored [by] issues of social justice, cultural change, and commentary on the American experience and often features photographic work.”
Opening Conversation Today For Block’s “Taking Shape”
A dialogue exploring “our expanding view of modernisms” opens “Taking Shape: Abstraction from the Arab World, 1950s–1980s,” an exhibition which explores the range of nonfigurative art practices that flourished in the Arab world over the course of four decades. Looking critically at narratives of mid-twentieth-century abstraction, the exhibition “rethinks art-historical canons and expands conversations around global modernisms.” This keynote conversation will feature recorded remarks from Sultan Sooud Al Qassemi, founder of the Barjeel Art Foundation, and Suheyla Takesh, curator of “Taking Shape,” as well as a conversation among Northwestern scholars exploring the exhibition’s core questions and resonances in our context. Taking place at the Block Museum on Wednesday, September 28 at 6pm; more details here.
Riverside Arts Center Names Joanne Aono Gallery Director
Joanne Aono is the new gallery director at Riverside Arts Center. “She brings a wealth of skill and experience to the position, both in the arts and in arts related administrative positions,” relays RAC in a release. “She also runs Cultivator, where she provides exhibition opportunities and promotion to other artists. Joanne is a successful independent artist, producing deeply researched and tenderly produced artworks that are exhibited widely. Most recently her work was presented in the fifth year anniversary show at boundary, Chicago, and in ‘nature lovers’ at South Shore Arts in Munster, Indiana. She has written exhibition essays, most recently for ‘Unseen Things Are Still There,’ the catalogue for the exhibition she curated at Riverside Arts Center in 2022. She is the recipient of many awards including an Artist Run Chicago Grant in 2021.” More here.
Chicago Architect Brad Lynch Has Passed
“Chicago architect Brad Lynch, co-founder of Brininstool + Lynch, has died,” Blair Kamin reports on Twitter. “A distinguished practitioner, critic + teacher, Brad graced Chicago with strong ideas + the buildings that grew from them.” From Lynch’s bio: “Lynch has guided designs ranging from high-rise mixed-use towers and corporate headquarters, to film facilities and museums, through private residences and master plans. His vast design experience is manifest in buildings and interiors whose beauty is a function of their elegant restraint. Through refined material palettes, thoughtful details, and the careful play of light and space he has continually produced works of rich experience and quiet grace.” Lynch was a member of Newcity’s Design 50 2020.
City Hopes To Renew LaSalle Street Corridor With 1,000 Apartments, Including Affordable Units
“Mayor Lightfoot unveiled a plan to revive the LaSalle Street corridor, a key downtown office district that suffered the double whammy of COVID-19 and the loss of several large firms to new towers rising farther west along Wacker Drive and in Fulton Market,” reports the Trib. “The mayor said it’s time to take advantage of the Loop apartment boom and fill the corridor’s empty offices with new renters, including hundreds of low- and moderate-income workers typically shut out of downtown living.”
Margaret McCurry Oral History Published To Honor Eightieth Birthday
On the occasion of her eightieth birthday, MAS Context is releasing Chicago-based architect Margaret McCurry’s oral history as part of their Dialogues series: “In December 2020, Iker Gil and Julie Michiels interviewed architect Margaret McCurry online to record her oral history. Margaret was at her Lakeside Home, a place she designed with her late husband Stanley Tigerman.” (The heavily illustrated history runs to almost 40,000 words.) Of the traces to be left of the life she and Tigerman shared, she says, “I am leaving this place [Boardwalk in Michigan] to my sister’s children who have promised not to tear it down. I think they will treasure it and each of them have come up this summer from Chicago, just for a quick visit on the porch. This will be the one thing that Stanley and I did together that will survive, which is nice. The Chicago apartment will be left to Stanley’s children although, since they live in other states, it will not survive as we designed it. It is too unique.”
Seventy-Five-Year Richard M. Daley Parking Meter Contract Challenged Under Antitrust
“In 2008, the city entered into a seventy-five-year contract to lease its street parking meters to a private company,” reports Dave Byrnes in an extended rundown at Courthouse News. The Seventh Circuit is now considering whether that contract violates antitrust law. For private company Chicago Parking Meters LLC, “mostly owned by Morgan Stanley but with healthy investment from the Emirati oil industry, the contract was a clear win. Street parking generates millions in profits per year, and by 2019, CPM had made back its initial $1.15 billion investment plus $500 million in profit… But for regular Chicagoans, particularly the city’s low-income residents, it was such a bad deal that the Better Government Association called it a ‘lesson in “worst practices.”‘ … The concession agreement CPM signed with the City Council won’t expire until 2084… Any attempt to cut the system’s profitability for CPM could result in penalties and fees that [the] city couldn’t afford.” The attorney making the case “said that CPM still has the ‘nuclear option.’ Per the contract, if the city’s actions reduce the value of the agreement by twenty-five-percent or more, CPM can choose to terminate the agreement and demand payment for the rest of its projected seventy-five-year profitability. ‘That’s billions of dollars. Billions of billions,’ the attorney said.”
Chicago Police To Encrypt Communication
“The Chicago Police Department is moving all of its radios to digitally encrypted channels by the end of this year, limiting access to one of the few ways the public can best monitor police activity,” reports the Tribune. “Journalists have had a long tradition of listening to police radio traffic to know when breaking news is occurring and to get to the scene of an unfolding event…. Adam Scott Wandt, an assistant professor and vice chair for technology at the Department of Public Management at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, said the change equals an end to citizens around the country having full access to know what police are doing as they work.” Wandt tells the paper, “If the police lock the media out of live radio broadcasts, it, in my opinion, certainly reduces the level of accountability that police departments will face.”
Billy Eichner Looks Back To Northwestern Years
“I loved being in college. We did ecstasy and we did Chekhov. That was college to me. We’d go to the clubs with a huge group of friends. We were really, truly coming of age,” “Bros” star Billy Eichner tells Michael Phillips at the Tribune. “Bros” is an R-rated romantic comedy “about two New Yorkers finding each other through the maze of their clashing personalities and expectations. Universal bills it as a history-maker: the first gay major studio rom-com.” Eichner sees his time at Northwestern University as elemental. “Eichner was the first in his family to go to college anywhere outside New York City… Eichner was accepted into exotic, faraway Northwestern University. One look at the campus, followed by a longer look at an NU acting class in session, made up his mind for him. He went and loved it.”
Momentum Is With Academy Museum Under Jacqueline Stewart
“I’ve been thinking a lot about how to encourage repeat visitors—building a sense of community so that, not only do people see new things when they come back again, but they also feel that they’re participating with us in creating this experience,” said Jacqueline Stewart [Newcity Film 50], the Academy Museum’s president. “Our museum depends in a lot of ways on breaking down some of the barriers I think that people might have felt when they hear the term academy. There’s an assumption that it’s an elitist institution.” Reports Brooks Barnes at the New York Times, “At the very least, the museum’s rosy first-year financial picture makes it something of a rarity among nonprofit cultural institutions, many of which are still reeling from the pandemic.”
Public Book Burning Any Time Soon?
Circumstances could rise from book banning to book burning if religious fervor maintains its trajectory, writes Frederick Clarkson at Religion Dispatches. “Many book bans are the result of Christian Right political organizing and the election of their activists to local school boards. This is bad enough. But where books, authors, teachers and librarians are deemed demonic, and part of an ultimate war between good and evil, the stakes could get much higher.”
Politico Frames Brooklyn Library Lending Books As Culture “War”
Politico New York frames book lending as an act of “war”: “New York libraries have waded into America’s culture wars…” the publication tweets of one of their articles. “Far from the trenches in states like Florida and Texas, organizations in deep-blue New York are stepping into the fray by directly lending 25,000 books to non-residents since spring, including thousands of students living under the bans. The Brooklyn Public Library’s ‘Books Unbanned’ program provides access to its eBook collection and learning databases for people between the ages of thirteen and twenty-one.”
WXRT Leaves “Blues Breakers” Broken-Hearted
“OK. That’s it. Final Blues Breakers on ‘XRT this Sunday at 9. Tune in if you can,” posts Tom Marker on Facebook. “The positive impact that WXRT has had on blues, especially Chicago blues is enormous,” Marker tells Public Square’s Charlie Meyerson, “certainly more than any other radio station, anywhere. The blues is still important, relevant and vital, but not as much to the generation that listens to a rock radio station as the audiences of ten, twenty, thirty, forty or fifty years ago. I could go on forever. And I will, but now on public radio, Chicago’s listener-supported jazz and blues station, WDCB.”
Pianist Eric Lu Makes CSO Debut
American pianist Eric Lu will make his Chicago Symphony Orchestra debut in performances of Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 27 with Riccardo Muti and the CSO in subscription concerts October 6-8. Lu steps in for renowned Italian pianist Maurizio Pollini, who withdrew from these performances for medical reasons. The program also includes Franck’s tone poem “Le chasseur maudit” (The Accursed Huntsman) and Mussorgsky’s “Pictures from an Exhibition” (Ravel orchestration). Eric Lu won the 2018 Leeds International Piano Competition at the age of twenty. The following year, he signed an exclusive contract with Warner Classics, and was a recipient of the Avery Fisher Career Grant in 2021. He has performed with the Oslo Philharmonic, Seattle Symphony, Royal Stockholm Philharmonic, Finnish Radio Symphony and Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra. In recital, Lu regularly performs at London’s Wigmore Hall. More here.
Illinois Philharmonic Names Composer-in-Residence
Nearly a hundred composers from across the country submitted original work to be considered for one of the three finalist slots in the Illinois Philharmonic Orchestra’s fourth annual Classical Evolve competition. Twenty-five-year-old Oswald Huýnh of Portland, Oregon was selected from three finalists. Huýnh will serve as IPO’s composer-in-residence for the 2023-24 season and see three of his original pieces have world premieres as part of IPO’s regular season. Huýnh was named after he, along with finalists Aaron Mencher (La Jolla, California) and Max Vinetz (Princeton, New Jersey), had his submission workshopped and then performed by IPO in front of a live audience at the Marg Kallemeyn Theatre at Trinity Christian College. Composers James Stephenson, Hans Thomalla, and Lita Grier served as judges and along with IPO maestro Stilian Kirov, sorted through the three works to determine a winner. A collective audience vote, as well as a collective musician vote, also factored into naming Huýnh IPO’s next composer-in-residence. More on IPO here.
CSO Latino Alliance Announces Season
The Latino Alliance of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra has set its 2022-23 season, including special events with legendary Cuban pianist and composer Chucho Valdés and Spanish guitarist Pablo Sáinz-Villegas. A liaison and partner group of the CSO, the Latino Alliance connects the organization with Chicago’s diverse community by creating awareness, sharing insights and building relationships for generations to come. The group, beginning its ninth season of programming, encourages individuals and their families to discover and experience timeless music with other enthusiasts at concerts, receptions and educational events. Membership to the Latino Alliance is free here. More here.
Chicago Area’s Longest-Running Musical Theater, Marriott Theatre, Announces Season
Marriott Theatre has announced its 2023 season under the direction of new executive producer Peter Blair and artistic director Peter Marston Sullivan. Chicagoland’s longest-running musical theater will present “Big Fish,” “Damn Yankees,” “Buddy—The Buddy Holly Story,” “Gypsy” and “Beautiful: The Carole King Musical.” Subscriptions for the 2023 season are available October 12, single tickets go on sale November 15. More here.
Howard Brown Health Partners With Chicago Dancers United
Howard Brown Health and Chicago Dancers United (CDU) have announced a partnership to improve healthcare outcomes for local dance community members. Through the partnership, Howard Brown will be the go-to referral source for dance industry professionals looking for quality healthcare services at little to no cost. “Howard Brown is honored to provide access points for healthcare services for the Chicago dance community, a talented and diverse group of local artists,” Channyn Parker, director of strategic partnerships at Howard Brown Health says in a release. “Supporting dance industry professionals is vital to reaching communities that may not have access to health insurance. We look forward to supporting Chicago’s dance community through this partnership.” Beginning immediately, Howard Brown Health will refer Chicago dance community members to primary care physicians, dentists, mental health professionals, and more at its clinics for little to no cost. While individuals can make an appointment at any Howard Brown clinic, the partnership clinic of choice will be in Hyde Park at Howard Brown Health 55th Street, 1525 East 55th. A list of clinics is here.
Joffrey Welcomes Nine Dancers From Six Countries
The Joffrey Ballet has added nine dancers to the Joffrey roster for the 2022-23 season: Coco Alvarez-Mena (Miami), Wictor Hugo Pedroso (Uberlândia, Brazil), Nae Kojima (Gold Coast, Australia), Zachary Manske (St. Paul), Annabelle de la Nuez (Cincinnati), Davide Oldano (Turin), Sergei Osminkin (St. Petersburg, Russia), Basia Rhoden (Fresno) and Natali Taht (Tallinn, Estonia). “As we prepare to launch our 2022-23 season with a world premiere by choreographer Chanel DaSilva in Beyond Borders, followed by our second collaboration with Chicago Symphony Orchestra this fall and the largest Joffrey production to date this spring with ‘The Little Mermaid,’ we are pleased to welcome new dancers Coco, Wictor, Nae, Zach, Annabelle, Davide, Sergei, Basia, and Natali to the Joffrey, and are proud to see Nae and Davide, graduates of the trainee program at the Joffrey Academy of Dance, elevated to the Company,” says artistic director Ashley Wheater. Greg Cameron, president and CEO says, “The Joffrey Artists are the foundation of The Joffrey Ballet, and we warmly welcome our new Company Artists who now join a legacy of excellence.” More here.
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