Irving Penn is most famous for his fashion photography, still lifes, and portraiture, but Irving Penn: Underfoot (which opens today in the Modern Wing's Bucksbaum Gallery) explores an often overlooked topic right outside the artist's door. Instead of looking at the world around him, Penn pointed his camera to the ground to capture what former Art Institute director James Wood referred to as the "cosmos underfoot."
I have to admit, the first time I saw an image of one of these photographs on my computer screen, I began making galactic associations. To me, the white spots across the pavement do resembled clusters of stars across the night sky. But as I looked more closely at images, I began to pick out objects: matches, twigs, cigarettes. Suddenly, my comet-like objects came into focus. They were chewed gum! Never before have I examined a dirty piece of sidewalk so intently. A sort of odd beauty is created in the subtleties of the photographs.
Besides 36 gelatin silver prints—presented complete for the first time—the exhibition also includes the tools Penn used to create the photographs. For most of them, he used a medium-format Hasselblad camera specially fitted with tubes to extend the lens nearly to the ground.
11 min 54 sec ago The Art Institute of Chicago NOW OPEN—Humanism + Dynamite = The Soviet Photomontages of Aleksandr Zhitomirsky
The first exhibition in the post-Soviet world devoted to leading political artist Aleksandr Zhitomirsky offers a captivating portrayal of a satirist and loyal citizen who inventively furthered his country’s official causes across a tumultuous half-century.
2 hours 4 min ago The Art Institute of Chicago CLOSING SOON—Icelandic artist/musician Ragnar Kjartansson’s intensely durational works often manifest a rare synthesis of pathos and humor.
A Lot of Sorrow is both a music video and extended concert film, in which The National performs its ballad “Sorrow” on repeat for six hours. See the song take on new layers of meaning as the hours pass and fatigue sets in.
Closing October 16—http://bit.ly/2du3GXh
2 days 21 hours ago The Art Institute of Chicago Congratulations to the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture on their grand opening this weekend. The building, designed by architect David Adjaye, is a truly historic addition to the National Mall in Washington D.C. #APeoplesJourney #MakingHistory