“Moholy-Nagy: Future Present”

 

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The Charnell House
When walking through the László Moholy-Nagy exhibit displayed at the Arts Institute, a viewer goes on a journey along with Moholy-Nagy. Allowing for the viewers to watch evolution and growth. From basic abstract sketches filled with shapes, lines, and colors to films taken by the artist.

The art work of Moholy-Nagy has developed and evolved as he has aged. This can be seen through the variety of mediums and platforms used by the artist. Starting out, Moholy-Nagy focused heavily on geometry and abstract work. His earlier work is full of lines and shapes of many colors. As you see him grow, he developed new techniques and masters many new mediums.

It is interesting to see the number of mediums Moholy-Nagy was able to take under his belt. Truly an artist who has worked to be able to produce artwork in many forms. Though it is not hard to see that all this artwork was made by one person, the elements depicted by the artist stand out whether the artwork is just an advertisement or sculptor. The same abstract elements are present.

Some of the most interesting pieces are those that he is able to use light and perception to

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Cassandra Hepner

somewhat change the visual that an observer sees from different angles. Using plexiglass and paint the raise images can seem to change when you walk by them. These pieces draw attention and make the viewer take a second look. One example of Moholy-Nagy’s use of plexiglass in his artwork is a piece called “Pacman”. The original material used to create the final piece was warped with bubbles. These bubbles inspire the direction that the piece took and the shapes that would be represented and enhanced by the artist.The use of paint draws the attention back to the blemish present within the material itself.

A large proportion of Moholy-Nagy’s work are pieces call photograms. These are images that have been developed using photographic material, however; the images are not taken with a camera. When looking at the vast collection of photograms, one can see the same abstract elements present within Moholy-Nagy’s sketches and paintings. Though the photograms have many more elements then some of his earlier work, the mind of Moholy-Nagy is still seen through the abstract presentations of the photographs transforming the images into to an interesting piece of art.

The Moholy-Nagy exhibit is a display that can draw and entertain even those who are not art enthusiasts. From the variety of work that can be seen to the more interactive such as films that are presented, Moholy-Nagy work displays a variety of work that can captivate audiences.

Moholy-Nagy: Future Present” runs through Jan. 3 at The Arts Institute of Chicago, (312) 443-3600.

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A Lost Voice: musician turned poet

81zkid3f6gl-_ux250_Christopher Andrews has been involved on and off in the arts for over 25 years. Though music and writing did not end up being his career path, the former marine was able to pursue his passions in many ways.  In recent years, he has published 5 books of poetry, “Sugar and Heartmeat”, “Empty Birds in Broken Pianos”, “Learning to Lasso the Moon”, “Erotographomania: Love Letters to M”, and “The Dead Poet”.

He started his journey into art at a very young age. Christopher said that “piano lessons [were] forced on me at the age of 5,” but he never was inspired to create anything musically until about 1987 when he heard Guns and Roses. The band made him realize that he “wanted to sing and be a rock star.” As he continued to grow, his passion for music never left. He taught himself how to play guitar and how to sing. Christopher explains “I just discovered the joy of performing,” and from there it had nothing to do with making a living, but the happiness that was brought by being on stage in front of people playing his own music. Christopher used performing as an outlet. He said that performing “was always for a personal reason and to work something out of my head.” He played for a very long time. Performing shows at local joints as a young adult and continuing until he was in his 30s.

“You could tell that performing was something Christopher loved. Something that made him truly happy,” John Taylor voices the utter joy that he was able to see when Christopher was performing back in his early 20s.

However, as Christopher got older, he started to lose his voice off and on for about 13 51uamlsrqplyears. This forced him to turn to a different outlet. He goes further stating that “one day about 5 years ago I picked up a pencil and wrote a long poem which started me to get slowly into writing and in a different style than on I had forced on myself previously.” After writing for a few years, he published his first book of poetry “Sugar and Heartmeat”. Once this book was published, he continued to write and still hasn’t stopped writing to this very day. Christopher claims that writing is something that has helped him keep living his life. He describes it as a “double edged sword”.

A close friend Julia Smitch states that “Christopher has really been able to express himself through poetry.” It’s something that she thinks has really been able to change his life and the way he conveys him emotions.

Christopher confirmed this by stating that “when things in my life were so painful and out of control, the only thing I could do was write,” he continues stating “it was the only thing in my life I could control at all.” Writing has become a huge part of his life in a very important way. Allowing him to really communicate what is happening in his life even if he doesn’t feel that he can vocally communicate his emotions to the world.

He finds inspiration from many classic poets such as Tom Waits, Leonard Cohen, and Charles Bukowski. Christopher feels as though these inspirational figures have “helped 41q9mnofpnlme find a voice,” and “help mold my style.”

Since being published, one of Christopher’s favorite things about being involved in the arts is being able to hold a book of all his own work in his hands. He says that “anytime I see someone with a copy of my book and either posting it on social media or sending picture to me is pretty much the most awesome feeling in the world.” He continues to write poetry and publish his poems. His most recent release “The Dead Poet” became available just this past June.

The Emotional Journey Through “Middle School”

image-ea6c986a-65c7-42f9-9523-ca471cde6d0cThe James Patterson novel, “Middle School” brings you along through the struggling young teen Rafe and his family adapting to a new school and adjusting to the lose that they have experienced. Ever since Rafe’s brother died, he hasn’t been able to stay in a school for very long. He continues to stir up trouble in his new school when his drawing is seen by other students in the class. When Principal Dwight sees himself draw as a boring zombie, things shift.  When Rafe’s notebook gets tossed into a bucket of acid by his new strict principal, he decides that he needs to “shred the rules” and ruin Mr. Dwight’s own book. This series of event lead to a collection of hilarious pranks that really stick it to the man targeting each of Dwight’s rules from creating post it art throughout the school to promote laundering to showering the whole school with the bright colors that Dwight had outlawed.

Image from CBS Films

 

The illustrations of Rafe’s drawings come to life to create an insight into the young teens mind whether we are seeing his imaginative mind or the angst he holds within. From the illustrations of running from his zombie principle while he tried to pull a stunt or dealing with bullies in class, the artistry creates the perfect transition between the reality and the imagination of Rafe letting us see into his mind through his creations.

This family comedy is full of twists and turns though the emotional journey of that Rafe is going through. Moving from school to school makes this even more of a challenge, always being the new kids can be pretty tough. These struggles are very relatable whether you are a mother of a teen or in middle school yourself.  Rafe still succeeds is gain friendships and relationships with new people along with moving on with the loses that he has experienced. The film really displays that in the end everything will turn out alright though it make take many struggle whether its going to a new school or dealing with a crooked principal.

“Middle School” — 3 stars

MPAA rating: PG

Running time: 1:32

Opened: October 7th

TWAAP Interducing Teens to the Arts

1f6472_b391ce8b4e1a4164a534753997e99736Non-profit organization, Teen Writers and Artists Project or TWAAP is an organization focused on helping and mentoring teens that are involved in the arts. Whether the teenagers are interested in writing, spoken word, visual art, music, or theater, the project helps to create an environment for growth and self-expression. The group holds many events from wordplay (a spoken word event) or their annual sock hop or dance marathon.  The Execute Assistant at Teen Writers and Artists Program Shayne Phillips has been involved in the arts for around six years. TWAAP was the main project that helped introduce and help her get involved in the arts while she was in high school. She is currently attending University of Illinois to get her bachelors degree, but is still heavily involved in the program.

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Bennorth Photography 

What makes this project different? What makes it important?

The importance of this project is partially because of its location in the suburbs and the reach that we are striving for across the Chicagoland area. There are organizations serving youth with the arts in Chicago, but there is a need for sensitivity and a somewhat different cultural approach when teaching in the suburbs. The demographics in the suburbs vary just as widely as within the city, and youth across the board need a platform in which they can develop their voices and be heard by a greater community.

What type of environment are you trying to create through the program? Why is this so important?

This is also part of our mission, but we want to create a safe space for young people to be free to express themselves so that they can help create a better world to live in.

People often say that the youth are the key to the future, and we strongly believe that. If we want the world to be better in the future, we need to figure out what our youth want and what they need, and we need to help put the power in their hands and give them the resources and guidance to do so.

What other events or programs have inspired this program?

Young Chicago Authors and Louder Than A Bomb have been a guiding inspiration in our program, as well as some other nonprofit structures such as 826 Valencia and YouthSpeaks.

And what are some of the main programs that TWAAP host or present?

We have a weekly event modeled after Chicago’s “Wordplay,” that happens in three different cities in the suburbs. These events consist of a writing workshop, an open mic, and a featured poet or artist. We also have our biggest event of the year coming up in January, Slammin’ the Sun Down, which is the far west suburban regional poetry slam for Louder Than A Bomb.

What has made this project successful?

Our organization relies heavily on community support. We would not be able to continue without the youth who attend our events and the community members who act as mentors and participants as well. We have a very small staff, but we do our best to keep up with promotion both on social media as well as direct networking. We also spend a lot of time with promotions and publicity. Our events are the base of our organization.

Any recent events happened or happening in the near future that you can tell me about?

We have a weekly event modeled after Chicago’s “Wordplay,” that happens in three different cities in the suburbs. These events consist of a writing workshop, an open mic, and a featured poet or artist. We also have our biggest event of the year coming up in January, Slammin’ the Sun Down, which is the far west suburban regional poetry slam for Louder Than A Bomb.

 

Hand of God: A dark comedy with an interesting twist

 

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Image from Victory Gardens/victorygardens.org

A satanic sock puppet takes control of a troubled teen’s left arm seeking out to feed on the flesh of his young victim in a play by Robert Askins.

Set in Cypress, Texas, Hand of God takes place in the basement of a church where many of the youth spend their time putting on and practicing a show at the Christian Puppet Ministry.  Tyrone, a hand puppet, is made out of a sock and a few scraps of fabric. The young puppeteer controlling Tyrone realizes that there is no way to control the puppet. It developed a life of its own. However, he is planning to feed and corrupt his young host.

The comedy is an interesting twist on the set of a small town Christian community. The foul mouthed humor presented by the sock puppet Tyrone is absolutely and shockingly hilarious. Though this comedy is dominated by a puppet, it is not something for the kids. In a way, Hand of God is like the foul mouth adult brother to a show like Sesame Street.

As Tyrone starts to take control of his host Jason played by Alex Weisman, the puppet becomes the dominate force speaking out in what Jason would never say. In the end, the puppet creates a disaster around his host that is at the same time extremely funny. Tyrone makes everyone around Jason shocked and often uncomfortable. Shouting lewd and foul suggestions at everyone around.

This vulgar adult comedy will make most roll on the floor with laughter.  Though this type of humor may not be for everyone, those who can get past the profanity are sure to find that this comedy is worth the time. The transformation and almost procession of the young boy by the evil force is something that is completely hilarious and left the whole audience filling the theater with laughter.

 

REVIEW: “Hand to God” (3 STARS)

When: October 23

Where: Victory Gardens Theater

2433 North Lincoln Avenue

Chicago, IL 60614

Running time: 1 hr and 50 min

Tickets: $20-$60 at 773.871.3000 or www.victorygardens.org

 

 

Ridge (out, away, back) in Chicago

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Richard Nonas’s ridge will be displayed at the Arts Institute in Chicago at the Bluhm Family Terrace starting in October.

Abstract artist, Richard Nonas’s creation the ridge (out, away, back) is an art piece centered around the medium of the line. The art piece is the first large scale work of Nonas to be displayed in Chicago. The exhibition will be held by the Arts Institute of Chicago from October 13th to April 23rd in the Bluhm Family Terrace.

Richard Nonas was born in New York. He turned to scrupling as an art form in his 30’s. Often, Nonas used pieces of nature to take up space in a way that creates a place, feeling, and message. Much of Nonas’s art work is meant to demand space by being presented on the ground similar to the presentation of ridge. The artwork created by Nonas are very minimalist and abstract.

A display of a message that is created simply by the use of lines. It is constructed of mainly raw materials including wood, stone, and steel (Art Institute of Chicago). He uses lines to help prevent the idea of space and how it is made into a place.  The Arts Institute describes the exhibition as “a rhythmic array of 90 ready-made granite curbstones cutting like diagonal tracks across the underlying grid of the terrace floor” (Art Institute of Chicago).  The artwork is made up of many granite curbstones demands the attention of its viewers by being presented sprawled across the floor taking up a large amount of space.  These stones cut through the space in many directions creating horizontal and vertical intersections. The lines are displayed in a rhythmic pattern. Though the piece is a simple variety of lines and intersection, it takes a space and creates a place filled with pieces of nature.