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Photo: Ethan Tate



SHoP Closing By Lee Colon

5 SHOWS TO SEE NOW =recommended For expanded reviews, visit NEW AND NOTEWORTHY SHOWS

1 O n M a k i n g Th i n g s M at t e r

LOOP ( S o u t h s i d e H u b o f Pro d u c t i o n ) A “For Sale” sign stood significantly on the Fenn House’s Bert Green Fine Art⁄ Domestic bliss lawn as guests trickled in on Saturday, May 26, to see what 8 South Michigan, Suite 1220. ANSEL ADAMS, photography. As World War II was may be the Southside Hub of Production’s denouement at the just underway and the United States had eighteen-room Victorian mansion in Hyde Park. The opening for yet to take the plunge into its hellish caulthe affectionately titled exhibition, “On Making Things Matter: dron, Fortune magazine commissioned renowned photographer Ansel Adams to M e d l ey Strategies for Preservation,” curated by Laura Shaeffer, John provide the pictures for a story on the (Chicago Urban Art Society) mushrooming rise of the aircraft industry Preus and Alberto Aguilar, marks a crossroads for the organiaround Los Angeles in 1940. Celebrated for N e w a p p ro a c h e s t o c o l l a g e zation, which has established a successful art and community his iconic views of the pristine Western Adams proved himself to be a center in the historic residence under a year-long lease. As the landscape, gifted urban photo-documentarian in his neighboring First Unitarian Church, the property’s owner, seeks L.A. images, which appear here for the first time outside the magazine in contempoa buyer, SHoP’s members and friends celebrate a fruitful rary prints. In the twenty-seven shots on M a r i o Tr e j o display, Adams ranges from the streets, sojourn and, just in case, bid a dynamic farewell. (Elmhurst Art Museum) through the lunch stands where aircraft What is fixed in SHoP’s future is this: the relationships and workers took their breaks, to intimate bar T h e c o m p u l s i o n t o c re a t e pedagogical programs established at the Fenn House will con- conversations, always with impeccable composition and his signature precision, tinue with the support of its committed organizers. The show, which sacrifices some of the warmth of trahowever, dwells on the memories contained within materials. ditional street photography for the cooler satisfactions of elegant form. Going Objects line the walls, invoking an archive throughout the beyond his immediate subject and into the S pec t r a l L a n d s c a pe house. Installation artist Alberto Aguilar’s “Object Reservation” fills the library with shelved white mementos and city, Adams relied in many of his images on (Gallery 400) signage to convey meaning and feeling, as sound bites from their owners, imbuing the space with physical sentimentality. Upstairs, Edra Soto and Dan when we see a fluoroscopy parlor on T h e u rg e n c y a n d j oy o f Sullivan’s carefully displayed clay shells echo Aguilar’s archival approach. Feeling the effects, I pocketed as a keep- Sunset Boulevard outside of which color theory passersby are hailed to inspect “your own sake a bit of ephemera—a handwritten note to volunteers with a scrawled response that I found tucked inside a organs work with your own eyes.” It is right next to Juliette’s Manicures. We can drawer. still get our nails done, but being x-rayed Teresa Pankratz mines this same impulse to memorialize in “Dream House Collection,” an installation of encased for fun has given way to new fashions in objects surrounded by a written narrative about a fire in a family home and the artifacts that remain, salvaged and killing ourselves with technology. (Michael Ansel Adams Weinstein) Through June 30. ( B e r t G re e n F i n e A r t ) cared for by its survivors. Pankratz has painstakingly created some of these relics to radiate with a timeworn patiPILSEN T h e a i r p l a n e i n d u s t r y i n 1 9 4 0 s L A na. The artist will read her narrative on Saturdays, starting June 2. The exhibition, however, does not wallow in nostalgia, as was evident in the most popular corner of the mansion, which approached physical remembrance through Chicago Urban Art Society⁄ 600 West Cermak. MEDLEY, collage. digital imaging technology. Viewers were invited to create a tiny likeness, and men with infants strapped to their When he conceived of a collage exhibition limbs and torn paper plays against the chest peered over the tussled hair of college students as a 3D model of a woman’s head emerged layer by layer into seven months ago, Peter Kepha, corationality of grid work. Kepha started colfounder of Chicago Urban Art Society lecting comics, baseball cards and an uncanny and brightly colored resemblance. (CUAS), had three artists from Chicago in records—strong, culturally resonant graphmind and wanted to bring together talent Fifty feet away, the living room snugly housed a wooden amphitheatre built by the woodshop’s director, Erik ics in his current work—at a young age from around the country to show how and remembers going to the Maxwell Peterson. The structure acted as a forum for discussion as an organizer asked participants, “What makes a scene diverse roots in media like design, graffiti, Street market on the Near South Side of meaningful instead of dross?” Community members can sign up to use the amphitheatre for anything they like illustration and typography can apply to Chicago at age seven. Kepha continues to approaches in collage, creating a rich go to flea markets once a week. The throughout the summer. push-and-pull between structure and balalabaster “Index” pages in four of his textance and the messiness of life evident in In light of the question posed in the amphitheatre, the scene resembled many an opening, with a slightly more and banner-laden collages are from a 1914 our ephemera. The works in “Medley” are yearbook he purchased at an antique store diverse crowd; attendees—an inordinate number of them bearded—stood blocking the narrow hallways, while like a melodic composition, arranged yet because of the quality of the text and satin providing a feeling of immediacy. While other guests weaved through the clusters, cocktails and toddlers in hand. Yet, amid the guests and organizers in some of the works hint at cultural critique, feel of the pages. Kepha says “Medley” is attendance, a seed of hope persisted that something extraordinary might happen to allow SHoP to maintain its the tone of the exhibition is not of critical image appropriation but rather engagestay. Among the possibilities, a donor could step in and buy the mansion on SHoP’s behalf. The First Unitarian ment with source materials. Often it’s the Church could take down its “For Sale” sign and renew the organization’s lease. The University of Chicago, the build- dissonance between the property of the material and the image created that enering’s most likely buyer, could extend an offer to Shaeffer, Preus and the rest of the hub’s members. gizes these works. There’s order and chaos Creative director Shaeffer, for her part, maintains a level-headed optimism. If allowed to stay, she imagines a in the process of creating collages, which begins with a method of selecting and show tentatively titled “Object Permanence,” for which she would invite artists to create projects that would remain cropping and often results in ambiguity. in the space for a full year. These objects would furnish the Fenn House, finally allowing SHoP to engage in a nest- Responding to textures formed from decay, Ruben Aguirre and Justin Angelos layer coling process not possible up to this point. In the meantime, Shaeffer is directing her efforts toward the Teacher’s orful shapes cutting across worn surfaces Lounge, a collaborative endeavor with Jim Duignan focused on realizing community art projects. While currently like graffiti in the urban landscape. Collecting is important to several of these housed within the Fenn House, Shaeffer hopes this venture has legs to move, if necessary. artists’ practices. Emily Haasch chooses “Jetsam” by Justin

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5.31.12 newcity



Through July 15 at the Southside Hub of Production, 5638 South Woodlawn

the books in her collection for their design quality. Some become source material, including a 1960s book on wrestling she used for her mutely colored collages at CUAS, in which the emotion of entangled

Angelos at Chicago Urban Art Society

New City 5.31.12  

Medley Collage Group Exhibition