August is here, and there's still plenty of art to see and things to do to alleviate those end of summer blues. From dance to theatre to public art, this blog offers lots of options for making the most of the dog days of summer. Go check out some of these events, and then be sure to let me know what you thought. Let's get the conversation flowing!
This month you should definitely make a point of stopping by Flourish Studios, loacted at 3020 N. Lincoln Ave, to experience "Anatomy of Thought," an exhibition featuring the work of sculptors Nancy Pirri and Robin Power. The artists explore the transformative ability of thought, using their work to "portray the powerful influence of thought... merging heart, mind and soul." Even better, their work has the power to transform people's lives, with a portion of the opening night proceeds benefiting Lillstreet Art Center's ArtReach non-for-profit initiative, a program that brings art education to communities in need. "Anatomy of Thought" will have an opening reception on August 3 from 6 to 8 p.m., and the show will be up through August 30. Enjoy the work of these talented artists while supporting supporting the art community here in Chicago.
Beginning this month the Garfield Park Conservatory will be home to Chicago's Twelve, an exhibition that brings together 12 local artists who are "Mobilizing the Earth." Chicago's Twelve vision is "to inspire our community into action and stimulate dialog by addressing sustainable alternatives and their positive impact to the environment we inhabit." Through their work, artists Jason Brammer, Mary Croteau, Victoria Fuller, Sharon Gilmore, Kim Guare, Salvador Jimenez Flores, Dana Major Kanovitz, N. Masani Muhammad, Yva Neal, Connie Noyes, Alfonso Piloto-Nieves, and Vivian Visser "call into question not only our present relationship with our world, but also the possibility of its sustainable future." The exhibition will run August 8 through December 9, with an opening reception August 8 from 6 to 8 p.m.
Nothing says summer in Chicago like public art. This month, the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago will feature an illuminated sculpture by Martin Creed, Work No. 1092 (MOTHERS), as part of their ongoing Plaza Project and the artist's year-long residency at the museum, titled Martin Creed plays Chicago. Creed's 40-foot-tall sculpture utilizes neon to spell out the word MOTHERS across the top on both sides, and slowly spins to create "a rhythmic incantation [of] the word over the plaza." Be sure to check out this latest addition to the public art scene here in Chicago, and head into the museum to experience all of Creed's ongoing residency projects that build on the MCA's ideal of an "artist-activated, audience-engaged" museum. Learn more about Creed's work at the MCA through the exhibition blog.
Who doesn't enjoy a nice glass of wine? This month you can experience great wine, listen to amazing music, and support Chicago's artistic community -- all at the same time. Be the among first to experience the Chicago City Winery, an "exciting new venue featuring a fully-functional winery, a Mediterranean-inspired restaurant, outdoor wine garden, private tasting rooms, and a 325-seat performance venue" at a special preview party on August 11 from 7 to 10 p.m. Guests will be treated to wine and hors d'oeuvres, as well as the musical stylings of jazz outfit Reginald Robinson & the 5th Element and the acoustic blues duo Eric Noden & Joe Filisko, with special guest Katherine Davis. All proceeds from the event benefit the Urban Gateways Center for Arts Education. Tickets are $75 and can be purchased here.
Packer Schopf is one of the giants in the Chicago gallery scene, and with good reason. This month, the work of artist Tom McDonald really stands out, as he transforms the outdoors adventure that is often so inherent to summer into high art. In North Woods, McDonald draws inspiration from both the Italian Renaissance and Pop Art to create "reminiscent reliquaries that honor the artist's outdoor experiences, both past and present." These encounters with the wilderness touch on humor without losing their emotional impact. While at the gallery, continue to revel in nature and the natural world with the work of Nathaniel Galka, Karen Savage, and Jessica O'Hearn. North Woods will be up through August 18. Gallery hours are 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday.
One of the wonderful things about theatre is that it's capable of telling multiple stories at once. This month, Sideshow Theatre Company highlights the unique storytelling abilities of the theatre with the American premiere of IDOMENEUS by Roland Schimmelpfennig, translated by David Tushingham and directed by Sideshow Artistic Director Jonathan L. Green. Brought to life by the largest cast in Sideshow's history, IDOMENEUS details "the end of a war between nations and the beginning of a war between reason and superstition." Director Jonathan L. Green has described the play as "a sharp, high-speed retelling of a very familiar story -- coming home from war to discover that everything has changed -- told in a bold, larger-than-life way. [It] explores what happens when a community tries to tell a story together, a story riddled with contradictions and disagreements about our own shared history." IDOMENEUS runs August 18 through September 23, 2012 at the DCASE Storefront Theater, 66 E. Randolph St. in Chicago. Tickets are available here.
Celebrate the best and brightest of dance this month with the 6th annual Chicago Dancing Festival, August 20 through August 25. Co-produced by renowned choreographer Lar Lubovitch and esteemed dancer Jay Franke, the Chicago Dancing Festival aims to "present a wide variety of excellent dance, enrich the lives of the people of Chicago and provide increased accessibility to the art form." This year's festival will feature works by: Larry Keigwin, Twyla Tharp, William Forsythe, Nicholas Leichter, Alexander Ekman, Jerome Robbins, George Balanchine, Christopher Wheeldon, Martha Graham, Brian Brooks, Marius Petipa, Mark Morris, Ohad Naharin. In the true spirit of accessibility, the festival is completely free, though some performances do require tickets for entry. Free, non-ticketed performances include "Dancing Movies," a screening of dance films at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago; "Dancing Under the Stars," a partnership with SummerDance Chicago at the Grant Park Spirit of Music Garden; and "Celebration of Dance," the Festival's signature grand finale program at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion of Millennium Park. Hope to see you there!
Dmitry Samarov is an artist who is as comfortable with a brush in his hand as he is driving a cab, and his art has a lot of stories to tell. This month his work will grace the walls of the famous Rainbo Club in Chicago's Wicker Park neighborhood. The show features a vibrant collection of charcoal drawings, sumi ink paintings, watercolors, gouaches, and oils that offer an exploration of the artist's new home and the process of acclimating to a new space. The show runs August 22 through September 19, with an artist's reception on Saturday, August 25, from 4 to 8 p.m.
With Project Runway starting back up again last month, fashion is back on everyone's mind. If you love fashion, why not celebrate at the second annual Fashion and Arts Humanity Fete, which celebrates the best of Chicago's creative community for not only their artistic talents but also their humanitarian spirit. 2012 award recipients include Kevin Coval, poet and Artistic Director/Co-Founder of Louder Than a Bomb; Karyn Watkins and Lovette Ajayi, Red Pump Co-Founders; Ken Patrick, President and CEO of Beau Ideal; and Alisa Roadcup on behalf of Heshima Kenya's Maisha Collective initiative. The event will also feature a fashion show featuring designs from featuring designs from Horacio Nieto, Elizabeth Smith Fashions, and Rose Turner of Rosina Mae, among others. Attendees can tap into their own humanitarian spirit by helping to support the FAHF's featured charity for 2012, The Princess Closet, "a non-profit organization that grants prom wishes to high school girls, promotes self-confidence, individual beauty, and promotes higher education achievements via its Princess Closet Scholarship Fund." The event takes place August 30 at 7 p.m. at the Beverly Arts Center. Tickets are available here.
What art are you planning to see this month? As always, let me know what great art you saw and what just didn't work. Let's get the art conversation flowing on Twitter @FearNoArtChgo and Facebook. Looking forward to it!
This post was written by Nicole Nelson and Elysabeth Alfano.
Follow Elysabeth Alfano on Twitter: www.twitter.com/DinnerPartyChgo