The Art Institute of Chicago commissions a surreal assortment of brightly colored objects from German artist Katharina Fritsch.
Artist Michael Rakowitz channels both our frivolous obsession with food trucks and the heavy political residue of the Iraq War with the latest iteration of his Enemy Kitchen project, a food truck selling Iraqi cuisine. This mobile version of Enemy Kitchen is the result of Rakowitz’s collaboration with Iraqi chefs from Chicago and will be staffed by American veterans of the Iraq War.
I met with Nathan Vernau at Small Bar, an apt name for the neighborhood hangout roughly equidistant from our respective apartments on Chicago’s Northwest Side. It was a few days before the opening of his first solo show in the city, and he had just finished the exhibition’s centerpiece. Titled Everything Will Be Okay, it took thirty consecutive nights of focused labor to complete, and was the largest and most complex work he’d ever undertaken.
Robert Bills Contemporary’s subterranean location offers much needed relief from humid July afternoons in Chicago. Located ten steps below street level in the city’s West Loop district, the gallery has had a busy spring, winning attention at NEXT 2011 and scoring hometown praise from art critic Lauren Viera at the Tribune. In her review of Exploding Faces [Confining Spaces] – an exhibition of work from Second City-based artists Nathan Vernau, Tiphanie Spencer, and Steven Frost – Viera said that RBC had “redefined” the concept of the group show. Vernau will open the fall season with a solo show in September. But as the gallery looks to build on its recent successes and put a punctuation mark on the summer, it has turned to two native Chicagoans with sharply different perspectives on what constitutes the “ordinary.”