BURNAWAY Magazine presents ROAD TRIP, a summer photo series covering critics Lilly Lampe’s and Alex Robins’s path as they make a circuitous journey from Atlanta to Brooklyn. This is Part 2 from their visit to Chicago. Read Chicago, Part 1 here.
After spending our first full day in the Loop, we spent the next couple of days driving to a few of the different neighborhoods. A must-see neighborhood in Chicago is Hyde Park on the South Side. Hyde Park includes the University of Chicago, and all that entails…
…like the site of the first nuclear reactor, marked by a mushroom-shaped bronze by Henry Moore. Behind the sculpture is the university’s main library, including the recent Mansueto addition, which was completed after I graduated.
It’s incredibly beautiful, but it’s definitely a few degrees warmer inside than out. The university also hosts several museums, including the Smart Museum of Art and the Oriental Institute, an archaeology museum and research center which contains a fascinating collection of Persian, Nubian, and Mesopotamia artifacts, among others.
The Smart Museum has an ongoing exhibition examining artists’ engagement with urbanism and social practice. One of the works on view was an installation based on a performance in which artist Mark Dion led a group of volunteers around the museum collecting insects.
No visit to U Chicago is complete without a visit to the Renaissance Society, a contemporary gallery tucked away in an academic building. The Ren has an incredible exhibition history but unfortunately for us, it was between shows during our visit. We did, however, run into an employee, Zach Kaplan, who was kind enough to give us a tour of the offices. It turned out we had a friend in common in High assistant curator Lily Siegel (she and Zach are originally from L.A.) which made our meeting all the more serendipitous.
Before we left the neighborhood, we swung by the Hyde Park Art Center which is the oldest alternative exhibition space in Chicago and was instrumental in the careers of the Chicago Imagists. On view at the time was a solo exhibition by Jeremiah Hulsebos-Spofford called Hall of Khan.
The next day began with some truly excellent donuts from Glazed and Infused. We spent a good part of the day at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago (MCA).
A highlight of our stay in Chicago was our trip to The Suburban in Oak Park. Oak Park is best known as the site of Frank Lloyd Wright’s home and studio, but also contains one of Chicago’s most interesting curatorial spaces. The Suburban is an independent artist-project space situated in the backyard of artists and educators Michelle Grabner and Brad Killam.
Michelle Grabner was home and graciously invited us in. She’s one of the curators for the upcoming Whitney Biennial and will be curating an entire floor. The Whitney had recently sent a model of the floor she’ll be working on, which was out on a table.
That rounds out our short week of art tourism. Throw in some quality time with old friends, a trip to our favorite Indian restaurant, and fantastic weather, and you’ll have the sum of our sojourn in Chicago.
Next stop: Detroit!
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