In Nothing Personal, works by three American artists come together in a show about the passage from personhood to persona.
The 82 photographs that make up The Fae Richards Archive provide a convincing record of a person who never existed. Fae Richards could have been an actress and singer who worked from the 1920s to the 1970s. She was black, gay, and talented, and she achieved success to the degree that circumstances permitted. Zoe Leonard meticulously prepared a mix of publicity shots, film stills, and personal photos to create this fictional archive. She researched historically appropriate photographic papers, and “cast” different printers as well, to guard against a uniform look. The results show happiness tinged with melancholy and ask us to think about what it means to go through life behaving as a credible facsimile.
The 70 black-and-white photographs in Cindy Sherman’s series Untitled Film Stills constitute a major contribution to contemporary art. At 8 × 10 inches, Sherman’s prints look like ordinary film stills: publicity images that stage scenes from a movie for press and other promotional uses. In fact, Sherman did not re-create any specific character or movie. Her one-person show, modeled mainly on European art-house cinema, features a range of postwar genres and female roles that the artist inhabits like a shadow. “The characters weren’t just airhead actresses,” Sherman has said. “The clothes make them seem a certain way, but then you look at their expression and wonder if maybe ‘they’ are not what the clothes are communicating.”
Lorna Simpson’s fifth video work, Corridor, compares two historical periods: the mid-19th and the mid-20th centuries. Two characters, each alone in her domestic world, bring these moments to life, moving in parallel or in tandem through their respective daily routines. One appears to be a household servant or freed slave from around 1860, the other a successful homeowner living one century later—yet both are played by a single person, the artist Wangechi Mutu. The soundtrack, composed by John Davis, similarly contrasts a variety of musical sources, including echoes of “The Battle Hymn of the Republic,” Chopinesque piano, New Orleans dirges, and free jazz. Using sounds instead of words, the two characters—who are and are not the same woman—carry on a dialogue across the divide of time and circumstance.
Generous in-kind support for this exhibition is provided by Tru Vue, Inc. and Gemini Moulding, Inc.
4 hours 2 min ago The Art Institute of Chicago Happy birthday to Winslow Homer. In 1883 the artist moved to a small coastal village in Maine, where he created a series of paintings of the sea unparalleled in American art. The paintings he created after 1882 focused almost exclusively on humankind’s age-old contest with nature.
In The Herring Net, Homer depicted the heroic efforts of fishermen at their daily work. While one fisherman hauls in the netted and glistening herring, the other unloads the catch. Utilizing the teamwork so necessary for survival, both strive to steady the precarious boat as it rides the incoming swells. Homer’s isolation of these two figures underscores the monumentality of their task: the elemental struggle against a sea that both nurtures and deprives.
See five paintings by Winslow Homer in Gallery 171 of American Art—http://bit.ly/2l89rfx
18 hours 1 min ago The Art Institute of Chicago Put your own creative spin on 30 masterpieces from the Art Institute of Chicago. Our coloring book is now available online at the Museum Shop.
23 hours 12 min ago The Art Institute of Chicago #TBT The Boy Scouts check out Whistler’s Mother, on view at the Art Institute for the Chicago World’s Fair, 1933.
Whistler’s iconic painting has only been exhibited at the Art Institute on two occasions: once in 1933 and again in 1954 for the exhibition Sargent, Whistler, and Mary Cassatt. See this beloved American portrait—at the Art Institute again for the first time in over 60 years—starting March 4.