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A group of artists from Le Genie de la Bastille in Paris has come to Chicago to show their work at ARC Gallery. They are being hosted by the members of ARC in their homes for 2 weeks. Come to the gallery to the exhibit. It will only be up until August 6.
Chicago News Cooperative
By KARI LYDERSEN
Published: July 1, 2011
John Pitman Weber remembers the 1960s and ’70s in Chicago, when scores of artists would join mammoth marches protesting the Vietnam War and antiwar murals were a common sight on city streets.
Today, public art is much more “domesticated and institutionalized,” said Mr. Weber, the co-founder of the Chicago Public Art Group and one of the city’s best-known muralists. But Mr. Weber hopes a traveling exhibit of murals about civilian casualties in Afghanistan will evoke a past era when murals made bold political statements and spurred frank discussion about foreign policy. The exhibit, “Windows and Mirrors,” runs through July 23 at the ARC Gallery, 832 West Superior Street.
Mr. Weber helped the American Friends Service Committee, a Quaker peace group, get the project going last summer, signing up noted muralists from around the country, including himself and seven other Chicagoans.
The 32 murals on exhibit here, which are painted on large panels of parachute fabric rather than walls, are graphic and disturbing: images of women wailing in despair; children playing amid explosions; corpses in an abstract, colorful array that Mr. Weber likens to “a cave painting.”
According to the United Nations, May was the deadliest month for Afghan civilians since it began keeping track in 2007, with at least 368 killed. Human rights groups say the true civilian toll may be significantly higher because many people die of disease, cold or hunger after being displaced from their homes by fighting.
The two murals by Lillian Moats, a Chicagoan, explore the impact of unmanned drones on civilians. One shows people fleeing a drone that casts a blood-red shadow. Another features a woman at a window, unaware that she is framed in digital cross hairs on the computer screen of a remote operator.
Mr. Weber’s piece, based on a news photograph, depicts a young boy learning to walk with a prosthetic leg, below a hodgepodge of low-tech artificial arms and legs jumbled on a shelf.
“The tens of thousands who must learn to live with their mutilations seem to me more dramatic than the mourning of the tens of thousands dead,” Mr. Weber said in his artist’s statement.
The prevalence of amputees is also depicted in drawings by Afghan children displayed alongside the murals. Zaher Wahab, an artist who splits his time between the United States and Kabul, Afghanistan, asked the children to draw situations representative of their daily lives. They drew pictures of children with amputations, a bleeding pigeon and a frowning sun.
The exhibit made its debut in Philadelphia in October and is touring cities across the country. At each stop, artists are working with local schools to create pieces. In Chicago, they have been at Josephine Locke Elementary School and Sullivan, Thomas Kelly and Orr Academy high schools.
Mary Zerkel, the American Friends Service Committee’s national coordinator of “Windows and Mirrors” and a Chicagoan, said she hoped the exhibit would remind people to contemplate the effects of a war that seems endless, even as President Obama last week announced a troop withdrawal in coming months.
“It’s been almost 10 years – my daughter’s entire life – this war has been going on,” Ms. Zerkel said. “People talk about ‘Afghanistan fatigue.’ They’re tired of thinking about it. We hope this makes people talk and remember.”
by Liz M. Kobak
March 08, 2011
Chicago’s art world is answering the call of Hillary Rodham Clinton.
“Let us redouble our efforts to make sure that all women and girls in our country have a chance to live up to their God-given potential . . . who in their own ways are making it possible for generations to come after them to seize and hold their rightful place,” the U.S. Secretary of State said in a speech last year during Women’s History Month.
Exhibiting quality art, irrelevant of creator’s gender
On Friday, the Arc Gallery at 832 W. Superior, hosted an exhibition that displayed male and female artists’ works together – unusual considering its timing and the gallery’s history.
Founded in 1973 during the feminist movement, the non-profit gallery only offered membership to women and exhibited female artists’ work. Arc Gallery’s initial mission was to place typically secluded artworks in the public eye.
“Women had a hard time showing their work in a professional environment,” said Cheri Reif Naselli, vice president of the gallery’s grants.
Now the gallery shows works by both sexes. And this month, the exhibition features photographs, paintings and representational art by four female and three male artists.
The left walls of the space are covered with a series of abstract portraits rendered in pastel watercolors and followed by photographic portraits of South Side Chicagoans. Toward the gallery’s center are three-dimensional, representational art composed of cardboard and tape.
Unlike “Where Are We Now? 30 Years of Feminism,” a 2008 exhibition of female artists’ works pertaining to feminism and Women’s History Month, the gallery’s president said the pieces in the current exhibition were chosen solely for their aesthetic qualities.
“We look for good art,” said gallery president Iris Goldstein, “And that’s our focus.”
When the gallery members selected Alberto Aguilar’s cardboard artworks to be a part of the exhibition, he initially felt like an outsider in a feminine art atmosphere.
“At first I thought I was being intrusive,” said the 37-year-old freelance artist and teacher at Harold Washington College, “But now I don’t even feel it.”
The gallery, Goldstein said, has organically changed over time and is not: “a particularly feminist gallery that hunts for a certain type of political message.”
One female artist in the exhibition said female pioneers in art inspired her to follow in their footsteps.
Although her works are watercolors conceptually based on personal family photographs, Washington-based artist Sue Sommers, 51, said she admired early 16th-century female Renaissance painters who used fashionable, thick mediums of oil and tempera.
“They made amazing work,” Sommers said, “and they didn’t let anybody stop them.”
Join us for a roundtable discussion with the Southwest Youth Collaborative about the dreams of youth. The discussion is centered around the Recurrent Dreams Exhibit.
photos below by Hector Gonzalez