ROAD TRIP #3: Chicago, Part 2

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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.

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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…

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Nuclear Energy by Henry Moore, photo by Lilly Lampe.

…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.
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The view from inside University of Chicago’s Mansueto Library, photo by Lilly Lampe.

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.
Inside the Oriental Institute's Assyrian galleries, photo by Lilly Lampe.
Inside the Oriental Institute’s Assyrian galleries, photo by Lilly Lampe.

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.
Roundup: An Entomological Endeavor for the Smart Museum of Art, 2000, by Mark Dion, photo by Lilly Lampe.
Roundup: An Entomological Endeavor for the Smart Museum of Art, 2000, by Mark Dion, photo by Lilly Lampe.

 
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Detail of Roundup, photo by Lilly Lampe.

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.

A deaccessioned Felix Gonzales-Torres in the Ren offices, photo by Lilly Lampe.
A deaccessioned Felix Gonzales-Torres in the Ren offices, photo by Lilly Lampe.

 
Alex and Zach in the expansive Ren galleries, photo by Lilly Lampe.
Alex and Zach in the expansive Ren galleries, photo by Lilly Lampe.

 
U Chicago campus, photo by Lilly Lampe.
U Chicago campus, photo by Lilly Lampe.

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.
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Installation view, Hall of Khan at the Hyde Park Art Center, photo by Lilly Lampe.

 
The next day began with some truly excellent donuts from Glazed and Infused.
Glazed and Infused, photo by Lilly Lampe.

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).
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Installation view of works by Jose Lerma, photo by Lilly Lampe.

 
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Bill Murray, 2010, by Daniel Clowes. Photo by Lilly Lampe.

 
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Imperial Nail Salon (my parents’ living room), 2011-2013 by DZine. Photo by Lilly Lampe.

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.
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Seating outside The Suburban, photo by Lilly Lampe.

 
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The Suburban’s footprint is 8 x 8 feet. Photo by Lilly Lampe.

 
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Entering The Suburban. Photo by Lilly Lampe.

 
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Installation view of Jan van der Ploeg responds to Brendan Fowler at The Suburban, photo by Lilly Lampe.

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.

A model of the Whitney Museum for Michelle Grabner to work with at home. Photo by Lilly Lampe.
A model of the Whitney Museum for Michelle Grabner to plan with at home. Photo by Lilly Lampe.

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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