Art Letter


Strong Art in (Mostly) Unusual Venues
Strong shows open this weekend in divergent locations.  At Mush Room, in the Flatiron building, Ben Jaffe's photographs made from multiple manipulated photographic images read like paintings. Invariably they document Chicago and present us with places we often know but have never looked at as intently as the art does.

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Down the street at Eyeporium, Alyssa Miserendino, Lauren Whitney and Lynn Tsan are in a group show called Spaces: defined. Though each of these artists lives in Chicago they are relatively new to exhibiting here, yet their work compliments and extends the solid work ethic that artists in Chicago manifest.

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A beautiful, meaty and important exhibit, titled Future's Past, opens tonight at Blanc Gallery and throughout the Bronzeville community.  Dynamic powerhouse curator, Tempestt Hazel tapped into the inspired research of the Black Metropolis Research Consortium who have been documenting Bronzeville's rich history - full of music, culture and business.  That wealth of passion is beautifully interpreted at Blanc Gallery by artists Stephen Flemister, Krista Franklin, and Amanda Williams. Outside, throughout the community, historic buildings are lighted, with an explanation of the cultural history that emanated from within. As a passionate believer of the power of art to stimulate a community, this is about as good as it gets. 

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And there's more exemplary community building art activity on the Southside.  Opening Saturday is a show of 4 artists being honored by Diasporal Rhythms, a group of powerful collectors who primarily collect art of the African Diaspora.  I know of no other collector group that has a comparable mission (and fulfills it so admirably) - to affect positive change in its community and the lives of the artists and people of their expansive neighborhood.   The show is at Room 43 and includes the art of Dalton Brown, Juarez Hawkins, Theodore C. Feaster, and Shyvette Williams.

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Dawoud Bey is a gifted artist and it turns out a brilliant curator too.  In No Place Like Home, which recently opened at the Hyde Park Art Center, Bey has selected insightful artists (Lisa Lindvay, Jon Lowenstein, Jason Reblando, Jessica Rodrigue, David Schalliol, Leilani Wertens) whose wistful images are powerful individually, and contribute to a larger statement in Bey's thoughtful catalog essay.

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Thanks very much,
Paul Klein