Harlequin is one of the most recognizable and enduring figures of the Commedia dell'Arte, an improvised form of theater performed by masked actors that originated in the mid-16th century in northern Italy but soon spread to the streets and courts of Europe. Commedia dell'Arte troupes were especially popular at the French court, where their performances were enjoyed for nearly two centuries. These shows involved drama, comic skits, and acrobatic routines not necessarily linked to any one story. Stock characters were identified by specific masks, costumes, and accessories. Although these have changed little today, the personalities of the characters have evolved. Harlequin, for example, was originally an oafish but agile figure from the Italian region of Bergamo, whose poverty was symbolized by a costume of multicolored patches. By the late 18th century, he had developed into a quick-witted trickster. His diamond-patterned suit now referred to his physical agility and to his multifaceted nature, at once cunning and foolish, shrewd and absurd.
13 hours 50 min 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.
15 hours 42 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
3 days 11 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