It's February and time for the Fear No ART new blog,"Got ART?" Hopefully this blog will help to highlight some of the very cool art happenings going on around town and give you a nudge to see some of them or all of them. Getting a little bit (more) of art in one's life is never a bad thing and this list is by no means exhaustive of all the great art events taking place. Some of the things on the "Got ART?" list I have seen and some I want to see. Feel free to let me know what you saw and what you liked and hopefully we can start a dialogue about all the great art around us.
Here it goes:
1. Molly McCracken Kumar's whimsical compositions represent Shiva's cosmic dance of the dynamic tension and change of the universe. McCracken Kumar says she "experiences this dynamic tension most keenly while gardening and observing plants. Through her paintings, McCracken Kumar searches for tranquility as a way to find balance and rest within the constant movement of her everyday life." I know I could use a little balance and tranquility from the turbulence of every day life and I am going to try to see this at the Elmhurst Art Museum before before it closes on March 3.
2. The very talented spoken word artist, Marco Maltbia, was nominated for a Gospel Stellar Award this year. On February 10, Sonya Blakey of Inspiration 1390AM and Clear Channel is hosting an event called Chicago Stellar Salute honoring those nominated for Stellar Awards from Chicago. The event is at Christ Universal Church, where Maltbia will also be performing. And don't miss the chance to see Maltbia perform as the opening act at the March 26 Dinner Party on Chicago's Mayne Stage.
3. The Feast: Radical Hospitality in Contemporary Art opens at the SmART museum in Hyde Park on February 16th and runs through June 10. I will be there on the 15th for a reception and, given my own interest in art and food with our new show the Dinner Party, from my perspective, this exhibit is a must-see. Discover first hand the ways in which artists are using shared experiences with food and drink to spark new encounters with the world around us. And it always exiting to be around Theaster Gates' work, one of the featured artists, so I consider this a double whammie of don't miss. On March 1st there is also a combination of performance art and beer drinking making this is easiest way to bridge the gap between the arts and the public.
4. The upcoming exhibit at the MCA promises to be a crowd pleaser! The 1980s -- from the election of Ronald Reagan to the fall of the Berlin Wall -- was a transformative decade for art, music, and politics. The Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA) Chicago presents an ambitious new exhibition, This Will Have Been: Art, Love, & Politics in the 1980s, with over 150 works that represent the diversity and complexity of art produced during this tumultuous decade when the art world shifted between radical and conservative, lighthearted and political, sincere and irreverent. It runs February 11 through June 3 and on May 1 at noon, Helen Molesworth, guest curator of the exhibition, gives a curator tour on this FREE Tuesday. Mark you calendars early!
5. Exploring Axis Mundi: The Still Point At The Center Of TheTurning Universe, a solo exhibition by Chicago artist Jason Brammer, opens at Firecat Projects on February 24th. I am told that "the exhibit will debut a brand new series of mixed media paintings and drawings inspired by symbology, alchemy, and spiritual iconography. According to Brammer, his new works are influenced by ancient manuscripts, mandalas, and other images that early alchemists and philosophers used to create a visual representation of the cosmos." At the core of the show is the concept of Axis Mundi (meaning, "axis of the world"), which has been thought of as a portal between the earthly and heavenly realms in various religious and mythological traditions." This show sounds fascinating, and is on my list!
Of course, with so much going on in our wonderful city, there have been some great things that have already come and gone in February, and I will be sure to keep an eye out for their next endeavor. Of particular note is Chicago Human Rhythm Project (CHRP) JAMboree.
Finally, I hear time and time again that people want more art in their lives and more arts coverage. So let's put our money where our mouth is. Performance Painter Stacy Bowie is launching a gallery and looking for some Kickstarter love. Small amounts add up, so help her go big if you can.
Follow Elysabeth Alfano on Twitter: www.twitter.com/fearnoartchgo