A Tour of Theaster Gates’ One-Man Urban Renewal
May05

A Tour of Theaster Gates’ One-Man Urban Renewal

Over the years we’ve occasionally covered Theaster Gates, the Chicago change agent and international art star who is persistently turning abandoned South Side buildings into community assets like libraries and low-income housing.  The PBS television show Newshour recently interviewed Mr. Gates, and toured some of the buildings he’s injected with new life. It’s a wonderful piece that gives you hope for the future of...

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A Tour of Glencoe’s New Writers Theatre
Feb16

A Tour of Glencoe’s New Writers Theatre

This past Friday, the Writers Theatre up in Glencoe opened its new $28 million theater building.  The Studio Gang-designed building is a modern marvel that somehow fits in OK with the staid and skeptical landscape of this suburban Chicagoland town.  At 36,000 square feet, it has enough room for two performance spaces, a public gathering space, a gallery, and rehearsal rooms. The building is designed to have an inner glow at night to...

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They Say The Neon Lights Are Bright, On Waaaaabash
Feb04

They Say The Neon Lights Are Bright, On Waaaaabash

It was a big night for Jack Newell and Seth Unger, the driving forces behind The Wabash Lights, a public art installation that made its beta-test debut beneath the Wabash L tracks Thursday evening. And looking at them gave us anything but the blues. Though, they *are* blue. Sometimes. The Wabash Lights project gained notoriety in June of last year, when Newell and Unger launched a Kickstarter campaign to procure the funding needed to...

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Chicago’s Least Loved Buildings Get Their Own Art Show
Nov16

Chicago’s Least Loved Buildings Get Their Own Art Show

The shiny, new, spectacular bits of Chicago’s urban landscape have long held esteemed places in museums and art galleries around the world.  Now Chicago’s least-loved buildings are getting some attention. An exhibit called Shuttered opened over the weekend featuring the work of local artist Jennifer Cronin.  It focuses on Chicago’s neglected, abandoned, and foreclosed homes.  If we were art critics, we’d...

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Chicago Buildings Need Help Getting to London
Nov09

Chicago Buildings Need Help Getting to London

Remember five months ago we told you about Rocco Buttliere, the full-time IIT student and part-time brick jockey who is recreating downtown Chicago’s buildings brick-by-brick out of little plastic LEGO blocks? Since then, Mr. Buttliere has exhibited his brickwork at a local LEGO convention and caught the attention of the organizers of the global BRICK event being held in London next month.  They invited him to exhibit at their...

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Artist Nick Fury Focuses Latest Effort On Buildings That Survived The Great Fire
Oct22

Artist Nick Fury Focuses Latest Effort On Buildings That Survived The Great Fire

When we last caught up with local artist Nick Fury, he was displaying his work in a most unlikely venue — the CTA’s Ashland elevated train platform. Or maybe it was exactly the perfect spot for his art, since transit buses and trains have long been his favorite subject. Now, Fury has taken on a new subject: buildings. Specifically, those structures that survived the Great Fire 144 years ago. Fury’s artwork is on display on the...

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Rebuild Foundation And Theaster Gates Open Newly Restored Stony Island Arts Bank
Sep23

Rebuild Foundation And Theaster Gates Open Newly Restored Stony Island Arts Bank

After years of decay, the newly-restored Stony Island Arts Bank is ready to shine again. The 17,000 square foot building was the most ambitious project undertaken by Rebuild Foundation and its founder, artist/urban planner Theaster Gates, Jr. Stony Island Arts Bank will officially re-open on Oct. 3 as a primary venue for the Chicago Architectural Biennial. A sneak preview was offered over the weekend at the facility at 68th Street and...

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Spilling The Bean: Cloud Gate Gets A Twin In China
Aug12

Spilling The Bean: Cloud Gate Gets A Twin In China

Millennium Park’s iconic centerpiece sculpture “Cloud Gate” evidently has a twin bean, all the way over in the Chinese town of Karamay, according to the government-run newspaper People’s Daily Online. The oil producing town fittingly refers to its sculpture as a “big oil bubble.” People’s Daily reports that the stainless steel sculpture is scheduled for official unveiling later this month. The sculpture has been in the...

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Wabash Art Gets The Green Light — and Blue and Orange and Yellow…
Jul28

Wabash Art Gets The Green Light — and Blue and Orange and Yellow…

The ambitious and inspirational art project that seeks to line the underside of the CTA L tracks on Wabash Avenue with multi-colored lights is going to get a test.  Thanks to almost $60,000 donated by nearly a thousand people through a Kickstarter campaign, the CTA and CDOT will allow artists Jack Newell and Seth Unger to install light tubes on a small test section of the street. The plan is to install the test between Monroe and...

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Want a Better Wabash Avenue? Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is
Jul06

Want a Better Wabash Avenue? Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is

Ten months ago we told you about an interesting proposal to renovate, revitalize, and quite literally light up Wabash Avenue in The Loop.  It’s called The Wabash Lights, and involves lining the underside of the L tracks on Wabash with hundreds of illuminated colored tubes. Sure, it’s an art project, but it’s also a renovation project — trying to turn the slightly run-down commercial corridor into something better....

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