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April 23, 2014

City of Chicago's FREE Summer Exhibitions Celebrate Design, Street Art, Blues, Biking and More

Don’t miss these Top 10 exhibits at the Chicago Cultural Center, Expo 72 and City Gallery in the Historic Water Tower

Jamey Lundblad    312.744.2493 Jamey.Lundblad@cityofchicago.org

The Chicago Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington Street, will host eight FREE exhibitions this summer with an emphasis on object and graphic design, street art, the blues, architecture and the work of several Chicago-based artists – including Hebru Brantley. Exhibitions at Expo 72 (72 E. Randolph Street) and City Gallery in the Historic Water Tower (806 N. Michigan Avenue) will celebrate the art of the bicycle – and explore the intersection of politics and place through the photography of Jason Reblando.

New exhibits at the Chicago Cultural Center this summer include CHGO DSGN: Recent Object and Graphic Design, May 31 – November 2 in the Exhibit Hall, 4th Floor North. (Opening reception is scheduled for Friday, May 30, 6-10pm) CHGO DSGN [Chicago Design] is a major exhibition of recent object and graphic design by 100+ of the city’s leading designers. Chicago has long been regarded as an international center for design, and this retrospective celebrates the region’s creative and innovative spirit. The exhibition is curated by Rick Valicenti, 2011 recipient of the prestigious Smithsonian Cooper-Hewitt National Design Award, with displays designed by Tim Parsons, Associate Professor of Designed Objects at the School of the Art Institute.

Hebru Brantley explores the human experience of emotion in a solo show, Hebru Brantley: Parade Day Rain, June 14 – September 23 in Sidney R. Yates Gallery, 4th Floor North. (Preview is scheduled for Friday, June 13, 5:30-7:30pm) Looking at optimism and pessimism and their place in the journey from Light to Dark through a narrative of his flyboys and girls and a parade, this exhibition of a “float” and multimedia murals and overhead “ceiling” paintings will create an immersive environment for the viewer. Brantley, a Bronzeville-native living and working in Chicago, explores personal and cultural memory in his art. Brantley draws influence from an array of pop culture icons, comic book heroes, Japanese anime and the bold aesthetics of street art pioneers Jean Michel Basquiat, Kaws and Keith Haring.

Chicago’s Front Porch: Blues Fest Through the Years, May 10 – June 22, outside Garland Gallery, 1st Floor, showcases the work of various photographers while celebrating blues musicians and the 31st Annual Chicago Blues Festival in Grant Park, June 13-15.

Saving landmarks in Chicago has always been a lively challenge. Over the years, public activism, outreach campaigns and governmental legislation have produced notable graphic designs and striking photographs. Stand Up for Landmarks! Protest, Posters & Pictures, a new permanent exhibit opening this spring in the Landmark Chicago Gallery, 1st Floor, features images, artifacts and ephemera relating to this seldom-told story.

Other exhibitions on view this summer at the Chicago Cultural Center include Matthew Girson: The Painter’s Other Library, May 24 – August 10 in the Chicago Rooms, 2nd Floor North. (Preview is scheduled for Friday, May 23, 5:30-7:30pm) The Painter’s Other Library is a meditation on silence. The quiet of the library is evoked in the paintings as well as the history of the building and the galleries that house the exhibit. Themes in the work are also drawn from research into the Holocaust and the destructive program of the Nazis. While none of the work in the show explicitly states any of these histories, the formal choices of color, image and surface implicitly beg questions about how we perceive books and paintings and how we access and conceive knowledge. A painter keeps a library to engage these subjects. The Painter’s Other Library provides models for giving them form.

100 100s on the One and a Half: Shane Huffman is on view April 26 – August 24 in the newly-renovated Michigan Avenue Galleries, 1st Floor. Shane Huffman is swimming to the Moon. If ignorance of the laws of nature is the basis of superstition, there’s an element of deliberate superstition in Huffman’s willful revision of cosmic order. Huffman reinvests interplanetary space, drained of mystery by the imposed order of cosmological description, with something “extra and other.” Using photography as an investigative process that works with three core phenomena, light, space-time and movement, he explores the individual as a participator in cosmic order rather than mere observer and parasite.

From studio critique, a mode of conversation about art works, Adelheid Mers has evolved a generative, productive method of talking about other issues as well, by diagramming them onto her Fractal 3-Line Matrix. In this exhibit, Adelheid Mers: Enter the Matrix, April 26 – August 24 in the Michigan Avenue Galleries, 1st Floor, she presents diagrams of conversations with artists about their work, visualizations of arts ecologies and the first iteration of Face Cloud, a cooperation with programmer Robert Woodley. Blank Matrix Whiteboards will be available for ad hoc diagramming sessions with the public in the adjacent Garland Gallery. Mers will also utilize Garland Gallery as an open studio. Through her residency project, Mers invites the public to participate in her artistic process.

And in AGAIN GONE ~ Miller & Shellabarger, April 26 – August 24 – also in Michigan Avenue Galleries, 1st Floor – Miller & Shellabarger use gunpowder and black oil sunflower seeds to outline their bodies and hands. Both materials hold immense amounts of energy, even when distilled into diminutive containers, and are utilized for their rich metaphorical connotation. One is used to feed the flame. The other is left as feed. The flash of gunpowder produces an afterimage, visible not when closing one’s eyes, but sprawled out across paper. The explosive marks of smoke and flame trace that which is gone.

All exhibitions at Chicago Cultural Center are presented by the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE). Gallery hours are Monday – Thursday, 10am-7pm; Friday – Sunday, 10am-6pm; closed holidays. Admission is FREE.

For more information, visit chicagoculturalcenter.org; like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter, @ChiCulturCenter. For more DCASE news and events, visit cityofchicago.org/dcase, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter, @ChicagoDCASE.

Exhibits at other DCASE venues this summer include CHAIN REACTION: Chicago Biking on the Move, May 16 – July 13 across the street from Chicago Cultural Center at Expo 72, 72 E. Randolph Street. Pedal into the past, present and future of cycling at this bike-inspired exhibit. See the arch of bicycle design starting from the 1860s and continuing through today featuring a selection of Mark Mattei’s collection of antique bicycles. National biking awareness organization ARTCRANK will exhibit contemporary posters by artists using art to change the way people think about cycling and how it impacts our lives for the better. See bikes from the Chicago Cruisers, a west side bike club, and learn how they strengthen our neighborhoods through biking and community outreach. Chicago Bike Week is June 13-20. Visit bikechicago.us for details.

Expo 72 hours are Monday – Thursday, 8am-7pm; Friday, 8am-6pm; Saturday, 9am-6pm; Sunday, 10am-6pm; closed holidays. Admission is FREE. For information, visit cityofchicago.org/dcase, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter @ChicagoDCASE.

Jason Reblando: New Deal Utopias is a solo show by the Chicago-based photographer May 3 – September 28 at City Gallery in the Historic Water Tower, 806 N. Michigan Avenue. (Preview is scheduled for Saturday, May 3, 2-5pm) The exhibit examines Franklin Roosevelt’s idealistic vision to resettle displaced farmers and poor urban dwellers in model cities. These “Greenbelt Towns” were testing grounds for a new American way of life as envisioned by the short-lived government agency, the Resettlement Administration. The towns were planned communities that embodied the hope that the challenges of the Great Depression could be met in a spirit of cooperation, not individualism. Today we are again struggling through tough economic times – though not as tough as then – and the politics and divisions that produced the Greenbelt Towns still prevail. These photos explore the intersections of politics and place, of the natural world and the built environment, and of the ideal and real. (A second exhibit by the artist is on view in the Richard J. Daley Center Pedway, 50 W. Washington Street: Jason Reblando: Our Work, through September 24.)

City Gallery hours are Daily, 10am-6:30pm; Holidays, 10am-4pm. Admission is FREE. For information, visit cityofchicago.org/dcase, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter @ChicagoDCASE.

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Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events

The Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) is dedicated to enriching Chicago’s artistic vitality and cultural vibrancy. This includes fostering the development of Chicago’s non-profit arts sector, independent working artists and for-profit arts businesses; providing a framework to guide the City’s future cultural and economic growth, via the 2012 Chicago Cultural Plan; marketing the City’s cultural assets to a worldwide audience; and presenting high-quality, free and affordable cultural programs for residents and visitors.