18 December 2015

more architecture biennial and chicago

Thursday started with shlepping my suitcase from Karen's to the Congress Hotel. While I waited for my room to be ready, I stopped in at the Museum of Contemporary Photography at Columbia College Chicago. The exhibition on view was "Grace of Intention: Photography, Architecture and the Monument" which included this haunting "Fengjie III (Monument to Progress and Prosperity), Chongqing Municipality" (2007), by Nadav Kander, part of his "Yangtze, the Long River" series. The show also included works by Iman Issa whose work I met through the "Monuments" show at Lismore Castle Arts. That show came into my scope through the work of Pablo Bronstein. The Issa works in "Grace of Intention" were each entitled "Materials for a sculpture ..." Really good show.

After I checked into the hotel, I took the El up to Andersonville for a visit to Women & Children First bookstore, a favorite store of Nicole Gotthelf with whom I was going to have supper. The store was full of good stuff as well as holiday shoppers. Somehow, holiday shoppers at an independent bookstore are quite easy to take.

Snacked at Taste of Lebanon and then took the Clark Street bus back down toward the Loop and checked out the Barbara Kasten show and installation at the Graham Foundation. Really great. The show was on all three public floors of the foundation which is in the 1902-1903 Madlener House. Lots more information about the foundation on their website but they are a great supporter of architectural publications and programs that "foster the development and exchange of diverse and challenging ideas about architecture and its role in the arts, culture, and society."
The Kasten "Scenario" installation on the third floor, in the ballroom, commissioned for the Biennial, was a lovely play of color, shape, and shadow across a simple set of plaster boxes. Reality and illusion.

Then off to Wicker Park for a stop at Quimby's Bookstore ("specialists in the importation, distribution, & sale of unusual publications, aberrant periodicals, saucy comic booklets, and assorted fancies" and lots and lots of zines) which hadn't been on my radar but Michael Donovan, VR person at the U of Chicago, asked if I'd been there when I went to Myopic Books. I found the catalog from the Palais de Tokyo for the Ugo Rondinone show "I [heart] John Giorno" at Quimby's. Then supper with Nicole at Club Lucky.

Today was rather quieter but this whole week has been such a wonderful visit to Biennial locations and to Chicago at large, and time with friends. I went out to the lakefront to see "Chicago Horizon" by Ultramoderne, the winner of the BP Prize competition to design a lakefront pavilion in conjunction with the Biennial. Ultramoderne is a collaboration of architects Yasmin Vobis and Aaron Forrest, and structural engineer Brett Schneider, based in Providence, R.I.

Then lunch with Helen Schmierer at Miss Ricky's, a new faux diner at the recently-opened Virgin Hotel. Then I sort of diddled away the rest of the afternoon with a visit to Bookworks up on Clark that I had noticed from the bus back from Andersonville, to Lucky Horseshoe Saloon, and to the Thai restaurant nearby for some pad thai before heading back to the hotel.

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