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Fall of Possibilities

By SIGALIT ZETOUNI
May of 2010 marked the beginning of construction for the University of Chicago’s Reva and David Logan Center for Creative and Performing Arts. A year later in May of 2011 the university celebrated the last beam that marked the point when the 10-story tower had reached its intended height, and by May of 2012 the modernist design glass-and-stone Logan Center is scheduled to open. The Logan center is designed with teaching and presentation spaces for dance, music, cinema and media, theater and performance, and visual arts. Acclaimed architects Tod Williams and Billie Tsien, a husband-wife team based in New York, created technically sophisticated interiors that take advantage of natural light and integrate with dynamic outdoor spaces for students and faculty to work on painting, sculpture, and theatrical scenery.
   
In anticipation of the opening of the Logan Center, internationally acclaimed Seattle-born artist Jessica Stockholder (b. 1959) has recently joined the University of Chicago faculty as a Professor and chair of the Department of Visual Arts (DOVA). Stockholder, an artist whose work has transformed the traditional conception of sculpture, had come to the University of Chicago after more than a decade of teaching sculpture at Yale University. About her move Stockholder said: “The [University of Chicago] community seems really dynamic and full of conversation and energy. I am excited and happy to be part of the effort to bring more energy to the practice of the arts at the University,” (Artist Jessica Stockholder to join faculty and become the new chair of DOVA, by Susie Allen, “arts.uchicago.edu”, April 6, 2011)
   
Stockholder’s work has been shown at museums and galleries worldwide. Her intricate installations invite viewers to walk and discover. Her works are often site-specific extending to the floors, ceilings, and walls that are inside and outside the exhibiting space. Stockholder employs familiar found objects such as household furniture, rugs, stuffed animals, plastic bags, fake fur, pillows, plastic bowls, extension cords, lumber, light fixtures and light bulbs. A master colorist, Stockholder paints her objects with spectacular colors and constructs environments of living paintings through careful composition and lyrical choreography.
   
In a 1992 interview, Stockholder discussed her process: “Building the pieces is sometimes not much fun. There isn’t the same pleasure that comes from looking at them. Building them is usually a struggle. I’m irritable, grumpy, upset, and worried. It’s difficult. Then looking at the piece afterward, there is still some of that, there are always difficult places in the work that make me uncomfortable. But, to the extent that the work is successful, I’m provided an experience that is not there while building it. It’s an experience of being really wonderful or exciting. It keeps me moving just the right way; that is something that is very particular to its being finished. The static and timeless experience is in contrast to our own temporality. The static experi- ence is an imaginary one and as such, full of possibility.” (Jessica Stockholder by Stephen Westfall, BOMB 41/Fall 1992)
   
In conjunction with the currently ongoing “Chicago Artists Month” Stockholder will give a talk that features a presentation of her work at 6 p.m. on Thursday, October 27 at the University of Chicago’s International House, Assembly Hall 1414 East 59th Street.
   
Each year, Chicago Artists Month spotlights a group of artists who embody the range of talent and diversity of the community. More than 45 neighborhoods are participating in this celebration, showcasing artists living and working in Chicago. Throughout this month there are many exciting events, ranging from exhibitions to open studio tours and neighborhood art walks presented by museums, galleries, cultural centers and arts organizations throughout the city. One of this year’s featured artists is Vivian Visser who creates sculptures using natural materials including branches, leaves, and wool. Visser’s work is part of a show entitled “Form In Flora” at the Lincoln Park Conservatory that includes nature-inspired works created by members of Chicago Sculpture International. “Forms In Flora” runs through November 4. Chicago Artists Month is presented by the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events, in partnership with the Chicago Office of Tourism and Culture. For a complete calendar of events visit www.chicagoartistsmonth.org.

Published: October 01, 2011
Issue: November 2011 Issue