By Elizabeth Philip
Last Monday night marked Northwestern Art Review's first ever student showcase. The first floor gallery of Kresge buzzed with the chatter of student artists and visitors discussing pieces. Curated by junior Ridley Rochell, the show featured art from 17 undergraduate students in a range of media. NAR's show remained on display throughout the week, and will hopefully continue as an annual program.
Featured artists included:
Abby Blachman ‘18
Anna White ‘19
Arda Genç ‘19
Caroline Ward ‘20
Efe Yavuz ‘21
Emre Turkolmez ‘20
John Wang ‘18
Jordan Friedman ‘18
Katie Moffitt ‘21
Lucia Agajanian ‘20
Mai Schotz ‘18
Marina Seyffert ‘19
Merve Erkanli ‘21
Pedro Acosta ‘18
Sam Shealy '20
Sasha Kogan ‘19
Valerie Gruestlowing ‘20
By Carolyn Twersky
Alexis Bullock cannot be disturbed. Hunched over a little wooden desk, nose just a few inches from the surface, she grips an x-acto knife and places its blade onto a piece of paper as she carves up the map in front of her.
The 20-year-old Northwestern Art Theory and Practice major is working on her newest exploration. Her room on the first floor of the Kappa Delta sorority house is her temporary studio, as well as a makeshift storage facility for her old work. Every crevice of the room is in use. Maps are scattered on the floor, some still whole and others having suffered the harrowing effects of the artist’s blade. On her desk, Bullock fights against art supplies and yet-to-be discarded garbage for enough space to do her work. Rubbed-down sandpaper sits next to an empty cup and a price tag she hasn’t gotten around to throwing out. Despite the music playing in her ears and the frequent pop-ins of her sorority sisters, Bullock remains focused. She maintains a state of flow, moving her blade in a rhythmic motion, carving up the map and creating a new geographic landscape.
Bullock started painting at a very young age and continued to hone her skills throughout her schooling. Upon entering college last year, the current events along with her personal identity as a queer woman in Trump’s America pushed her to take a more political stand with her work.
“A lot of art classes at Northwestern are focused on politics and bringing meaning into the work beyond making something aesthetically pleasing,” Bullock said. As part of a project for class last fall, she sent out a survey to women across the country, asking them for quotes they’ve heard from men. She printed some of the results on everyday objects, including t-shirts. One of them reads: “Women were made by God to be submissive to men.” She also placed multiple quotes on a mirror, a common enemy of many women. “You could try harder to be more appealing,” reads one mirror. The reflective surface peeks through the words and stares back at the viewer.
Bullock speaks about her work with a practiced eloquence. She can divide up her aesthetic quite easily, placing her work in the category of either form or concept. Some pieces boast a political charge, referencing heteronormativity and domestic abuse. Others are simply beautiful, inspired by Bullock’s everyday sights. Years of artmaking have trained her eye to constantly be on the lookout for hidden design elements, to find inspiration in the most unlikely of places. The way the light hits the ceiling of a parking lot becomes the two-toned palette of a wooden sculpture. A wall inspires the carved pattern of that same piece.
As Bullock describes past work, she looks off in the distance, like she can see the piece she’s talking about hanging on the wall in front of her, or sitting in her hands. When there is nothing to show–the artwork she’s discussing isn’t in her room at the moment or simply hasn’t been created yet–she uses her hands to make up for the lack of visual representation. Mimicking the form of a flower she hopes to recreate with magnets, she moves her hand through the air almost like a wave.
Bullock discusses her political work proudly, showing off the incorporation of her queer theory classes and personal identity in many of her pieces. For now, though, she has decided to take a break from creating more radical work, which often deals with a more violent, dark side of society. “I'm constantly dealing with aggression towards women,” she said. “Spending so much time with this discourse can be emotionally detrimental.”
Bullock made the decision not to take any art classes this quarter, in an attempt to learn more about herself as an artist. “I want to kind of explore where my art takes me without formal guidance,” Bullock said. This freedom led her to the maps, to her bedroom, to half-inch sized pieces of paper removed from their origins and scattered around the workspace. With her restless hands at work, the rest of her body remains still, in complete concentration on the task in front of her, in a moment of creative flow.
By Natalie Pertsovsky
Chance the Rapper, the Chicago native who rose to prominence with his 2013 album Acid Rap, has a penchant not only for music, but also for art. At a March 5 Museum of Contemporary Art talk, he told the audience about his personal art collection, which includes works by Michael Jackson and Hebru Brantley.
Chance spoke about his favorite artists, upcoming projects, and Social Works, his non-profit. The sold-out event, moderated by journalist Adrienne Samuels Gibbs, was part of In Sight Out, a conversation series “exploring new perspectives in music, art, and culture," co-sponsored by the MCA and Pitchfork.
Throughout the conversation, Chance was honest, genuine, and entertaining. He didn’t shy away from any questions, even those that were difficult to answer, and seemed truly engaged with the audience. His motto for the night? “Let’s keep it 1,000.”
“In my house, I’ve got quite a few Hebru Brantley’s,” he told the audience. Additionally, Chance's best friend and manager, Pat Corcoran, gave him an original Michael Jackson drawing just days before the talk.
Growing up, Chance idolized MC Hammer, Dave Chappelle, and Kanye West. “I adored them and studied them,” he said. “I wanted my path to look a lot like theirs.” It’s safe to say that Chance has traveled his own, extremely successful path. Today, he counts Chappelle and West among his good friends.
Speaking about West, Chance told a story that epitomizes what it is like to work with the artist. When recording, West apparently rents out the entirety of the studio, allowing him and his team to work on multiple projects at once.
“There was a whole room full of people on laptops… I don’t know what they were doing,” Chance explained. “I met one lady who worked on the LEGO movie and she was talking to, get this, a magician. They were talking about how to make Kanye disappear during a show.”
When asked if he’s working with West on anything, Chance was evasive. The most he would give us was: “Uhhhhhhhh.... I guess!"
He was more straightforward about a potential collaboration with Donald Glover. “We did link up in Atlanta not that long ago and started working on some tracks and they’re amazing,” Chance said. “The truth is that me and Donald perpetuated the story of a mixtape for a long time without ever working on it,” he revealed to the audience.
He also spoke about his recent foray into the acting world. Chance hosted Saturday Night Live in November, calling it a “dream.” Two sketches he wrote, Steve Harvey’s “Family Feud” and “Batman Thanksgiving,” made it to air. Although, he said, Kevin Hart did a similar Batman sketch for his own episode two weeks later, making changes that Chance didn’t approve of. “Maybe I’m just upset and I hope I get back on SNL ‘cause I’m still trying to do the host and performance thing,” he joked. “I don’t have a problem with K- Hart… but I had to get that shit off my chest, yo,” Chance told the audience.
Chance reflected on the methodology behind acting. He especially enjoys the process of connecting with and finding a meaningful script. “But, on the other side, actually acting is super whack. You sit in a trailer all day… it’s extremely hot… and you basically pretend to be somebody on camera for three different angles for four hours at a time,” he continued. “I really like the initial excitement I get off of attaching myself to a project, but about four hours in I’m usually like… I quit,” Chance laughed. He is starring in the upcoming horror movie, “Slice,” release date TBD.
In addition to entertainment, Chance dedicated a big portion of the talk to Chicago and his non- profit, SocialWorks. Chance gave his thoughts on Rahm Emanuel and the upcoming gubernatorial election.
Following the vote on the recent Chicago Public School (CPS) closings, he said he felt “cheated, angry, [and] vengeful.” On endorsing a candidate in the upcoming election, Chance said, “they need to schedule a meeting with me, tell me what you’re really about.” Although some have pushed for it, “I’m not trying to be a politician, but I’ll stand with who that is and has that voice,” he said.
Even though Chance anticipates traveling more as his career continues to grow, his heart is in Chicago. “I’m gonna live in Chicago until the day I die,” Chance said. “I may go away a bit and tour but I’ll always come back and lobby for y’all,” he promised.
By Nicole Fallert
The quiet was a sound in itself. In between crying babies and the erasers of art students sprawled across the floor, twenty visitors contemplated a similar scene:
There is a man looking into a pool, where a body floats in tropical-blue water. He wears a bright red jacket, and everything about his body is still. His torso perches forward, the angle suggesting his line of vision is contemplating the swimmer. Is this man tempted toward the water? Is the swimmer a fragment of his imagination?
These are the questions raised by David Hockney’s 1972 piece “Portrait of An Artist,” which the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris, France displayed this fall. The museum’s exhibition “David Hockney Retrospective,” traced the evolution of one artist with a focus on medium and subject. Hockney was known for his commentary on society and investigation of ideas such as love and perception.
Born in England in 1937, David Hockney inserts himself in the work he creates. The beginning of the exhibit contains “Man In Shower In Beverly Hills,” which depicts the naked form in what Hockney believed to be a most sensual moment: touching oneself under a stream of water. Homosexuality is thematic to Hockney’s work, making his pieces inherently personal. He was also keenly aware of where he stood among other artists, citing Picasso’s Cubism, Matisse’s use of color and even the bathroom scenes from classical Rome as inspirations.
Hockney wasn’t afraid of shifting mediums. The exhibit moves from acrylic paint to polaroids, emphasizing how this artist transitioned himself based on what he felt would create the ideal perspective.
For example, Hockney traveled to California in the 1960’s and produced pieces depicting the landscapes and love he experienced during this period in his life. “A Bigger Splash” and “Portrait of An Artist,” two pieces from this era, transported me.
Surrounded by French men and women, I contemplated how these western portions of America must appear at first look: perfectly blue, warm and exotic. After a longer look, these two paintings may appear extremely sad. Hockney’s frothy, empty pools of water made me envision a finger slowly stirring something quite expensive, like coffee. There is boredom, expense and a need for nature. Here is a pool of wealth, but it’s disturbed.
I was also struck by a portrait entitled “My Parents,” which Hockney produced in memory of his father. The old man is absorbed in a book, while the artist’s mother sits patiently, her hands on her lap. Her gaze is directly at the viewers, practically asking them to give her action. She waits for her husband to look up, but the painting keeps him in the moment of reading. We will never know whether he will look up. On the bureau is a mirror, indicating a moment of reflection. We are looking back at a marriage that hardly took time to admire or criticize itself.
Sun, wood, skirt, berry, afternoon, literature: these are words that came to mind as strolled through Hockney’s “Four Seasons” video series and his emulation of Fra Angelica’s “The Annunciation.” This confrontation of contemporary and renaissance art is especially thematic in Paris. The city was a meeting place for the greatest artists the world has ever known or are yet to love.
When I left an exhibit, turned around and walked back through the final room for just one more look. The collection of experiences captured by Hockney’s works indicate a lifetime spent looking for answers. As the artist would have wanted, I left the exhibit asking questions.
By Luke Cimarusti
Chicago’s Gold Coast is known for a few things: gorgeous turn of the century mansions on Astor Street, stunning lake views on Lake Shore Drive, and the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts. Located in the historic prairie style Madlener House at Burton Place and State Parkway, the Graham Foundation is an exhibition site, event space, bookstore, and one of the preeminent artistic grant providers in the country. It was founded in 1956 as an organization primarily concerned with architecture and its surrounding discourse, and its exhibitions and grantees tend to stick to this original purpose. However, “architecture” is loosely defined at the Graham, and as a result its exhibitions tend to be diverse, surprising, and consistently fascinating.
As soon as one enters through its enormous wooden door, the uniqueness of the space is obvious. Visitors are greeted by stained glass, a hearth in the foyer, and a warm, inviting atmosphere. All of the original wood paneling and molding remains intact, and the grand staircase fits the Madlener House’s socialite past. Very little of the austerity of a more traditional gallery space is present, and the intimacy is a welcome change. Exhibitions generally occupy the first and second floors, each with several galleries, and the ballrooms on the third host special events like Chicago’s long-running Lampo series, which invites experimental musicians and composers to perform new works at sites across the city. The first floor is home to the Chicago’s only architecturally-focused bookstore, and perusing is always rewarded with an interesting read (plus there’s a 10% student discount). A library serves as the reception area after events and lectures.
I have had the pleasure of visiting the Graham twice in the past two weeks. The first was a performance for The Master and Form, the current exhibition on display. It is both an installation and a performance series, with its sculptural elements acting as aids for the ballet dancers who perform in the space. The exhibition is a collaboration between Chicago-based artist and former dancer Brendan Fernandes, architecture and design firm Norman Kelley, and the Joffrey Academy of Dance. During performances, four or five dancers utilize the space of the Graham as a studio. The sculptural elements serve to help the dancers extend and perfect iconic ballet positions, and each one was designed to fit the dancer who uses it.
Fernandes characterizes them as both a support and a burden: while the pieces allow the dancers to more easily maintain the positions, they simultaneously force dancers into them. The dancers move throughout both floors of the gallery, performing a continuous pattern of individual training and group exercises. Inadvertently, gallery visitors became part of the piece as well. The dancers often have to wait patiently as the visitors scramble out of doorways or off the stairs. In this way, each piece of the gallery was made into an actor: performer, artwork, exhibition space, and viewer. On non-performance days, the sculptures remain and a sound recording of the dancers moving through the space is played, as though the training continues even when no one is present.
My second visit to the Graham was a Lampo performance in the east ballroom on the third floor. Lampo has been supporting local and international experimental sound and intermedia artists for more than 20 years, inviting them to perform new works in an intimate space. I saw Thomas Lehn and Marcus Schmickler, both German, perform an improvised collaborative work on synthesizers and laptops. The room was filled with the usual gallery crowd sitting on chairs surrounding a center console of flashing synthesizers lit by a single lamp. The musicians were introduced by Lampo’s director, Andrew Fenchel, and then sat down to play. And it was loud. They used aspects of ambient music and field recordings to create a slow build and transitioned into noise work that was grating, yet somehow meditative. The piece was performed in three parts, differentiated by a rise and fall in volume. Although Lehn’s contributions became increasingly confused, it never felt like a disorganized performance, with Schmickler maintaining a level head throughout. It was as much a physical experience as it was auditory, shaking the house and the audience. As a result, I’m not sure it could be something I would listen to while studying, for example. But as a performance, it left me dazed and pleased. As we sipped wine in the library afterwards, the ringing in my ear told me it was just loud enough.
So consider visiting the Graham Foundation. It’s one of the most unique and active gallery spaces in the city, all the programming is free, and it’s just a few blocks from the Clark/Division Red Line. The Master and Form will be on display until March 31, and the next Lampo performance at the Graham will be Sarah Davachi on April 21.
By Amanda Gordon
In early December, still giddy from guzzling hot chocolate at the Christkindlmarket downtown, I strolled into the Michael Rakowitz exhibit around 30 minutes before closing at the Museum of Contemporary Art. Greeted by a large reconstruction of the Ishtar Gate, I was immediately transported back to 2014, when I encountered the "real thing" on a sweaty group tour in Berlin. That sensation of recollection and familiarity repeated itself many times over the course of my short encounter with Rakowitz’s exhibit, Backstroke of the West.
Rakowitz, a professor at Northwestern, presents cultural and political history through a series of multimedia narratives and objects. Many pieces in the exhibit are described in Rakowitz’s own handwriting, inviting visitors to linger over his semi-script letters and facilitating a unique intimacy between not only viewer and object, but also artist and viewer.
Rakowitz’s background as an Iraqi-American Jew injected a sense of familiarity into a historical narrative that has often felt unapproachable and distinctly foreign to me. I felt a particular connection to a box of Iraqi dates that sat behind the glass alongside photos of his family. Rakowitz, like myself, grew up on the North Shore of Long Island, a lush patch of suburbia home to a large Sephardic Jewish community. When I was younger, I cherished visits with my mom to the local kosher supermarket, where there were aisles lined with chocolate babka, halva, baklava and, my personal favorite, kleicha or date rolls. By showcasing his own ancestry in the form of personal mementos like the date containers, Rakowitz encourages those who step into the exhibit to relate their own experiences to these curated objects and to place themselves into the divisive, often misunderstood modern chronology of the Middle East.
I was especially captivated by a project in the exhibit entitled “The Breakup,” which consisted of four shadow boxes lined with different colors of satin and filled with medals to represent the uniforms worn by The Beatles on the cover of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, the group’s groundbreaking 1967 album. This visual representation of the album, released the same year as the Arab-Israeli Six Day War, is meant to draw parallels between the breakup of the legendary Liverpool band and the dissolution of Pan-Arabism as a unifying regional ideology.
“The Breakup” also contained handwritten notes comparing John, Paul, Ringo and George to different Arab countries. According to Rakowitz’s estimation, Paul would be Egypt, as he was the ringleader of the band, just as Egypt led the Pan-Arab movement. This synthesis of popular culture and geopolitics made me laugh, but it also made me think about how we articulate our relationship to the past. There seemed to be an element of “making the strange familiar and the familiar strange,” a cliché co-opted by Surrealists and anthropologists alike.
But nothing about Michael Rakowitz’s MCA exhibit was cliché.
From the scattered shards of Libyan glass to the pages of books burned during the Second World War, the specimens behind the display cases were captivating in their frailty. Even the reconstructed Ishtar Gate that welcomed me was, I realized upon closer examination, made up of Pepsi cans and Lipton Tea packets, suggesting that reproductions of the past can never be as whole or authentic as they appear.
This question of collective memory, its transmission and representation, is one that I feel Rakowitz tried to hammer home in his first-ever museum survey. I was forced to leave the gallery when the museum closed for the day, but the feeling of retrospection elicited by my brief visit to Backstroke of the West lingered.
By Emily Hollingsworth
On a typical weeknight, the Evanston café Kafein quietly buzzes with studying students and locals on coffee dates. But on one Thursday night in November, the quaint coffee shop transformed into a lively jazz club. In her solo debut, jazz trombonist Tromblau drew claps and cheers from the audience as her pianist, Spenser Hyun ‘21, improvised tunes over classics like Stevie Wonder’s “Isn’t She Lovely” and Duke Ellington's “In a Mellow Tone”.
The woman behind Tromblau is Emma Blau, Bienen ‘19, who hails from New York City.
Blau only started playing the trombone when she was 16, but her love for jazz has been a lifelong passion. Her grandfather was a trumpet player in a jazz band in the Bronx and inspired in her an early affinity for big band music.
Blau initially wanted to play the trumpet to follow in her grandfather’s footsteps, but he told her that she was built to be a great trombone player. He showed her a video of the famous jazz trombonist, Tommy Dorsey, playing “Getting Sentimental Over You,” and the seed was planted. By her junior year, Emma had earned a spot in the prestigious Jazz at Lincoln Center Youth Orchestra. Through the program, she met Vincent Gardner, who would later become her professor at Northwestern.
Jazz is a form of self-expression for Blau, but she also communicates through her fashion choices. Blau is currently designing her own line of clothing. She describes the line as bold in color and relatable to jazz, but without an explicit jazz context. Her personal style is hip and eclectic, and she experiments with texture, color, and shape to create a cohesive ensemble every day.
"Getting dressed every day, to me, is an art," Blau said. "I have this need every day to say something through my horn, but a lot of days I don’t know how to say those things yet, but I can say them through my clothes."
In addition to her jazz studies, Blau is double majoring in Middle Eastern studies with a focus on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Although these majors are quite different on the surface, Blau says that her goal is to use both fields of study as a means to make people feel heard. “When it comes to Middle Eastern studies, you have to have an extremely in-depth and nuanced understanding of what’s going on there on a political level. What’s important though, is to not let politics dictate everything that is going on in those regions...there are still people there who are coexisting and sharing cultures and are doing a lot more than politics gives credit for,” Blau said.
Starting this summer, Blau plans to spend six months in Israel to explore ways she can make an impact with her music. Blau says, “What I would love to do one day is be able to use music as a tool for peacebuilding; what that looks like I’m not exactly sure."
Blau currently plays in the Northwestern University Jazz Orchestra. Its next performance is at 7:30 p.m. on February 13, in Galvin Hall.
By Kathryn Rothstein
Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin—his home, studio, school, and estate—is located about three hours by car from Evanston in Spring Green, WI.
An estate that today covers nearly 800 acres, Taliesin first served as a school for Wright’s aunts, before becoming a hideaway for Wright and his mistress, Mamah Borthwick Cheney. Later, it morphed into an architecture school run by Wright. A retreat in every sense of the word, traveling to Taliesin is a journey through the fields and farms of the Midwest to reach Wright’s enclave in the hills.
The two-hour “Highlights Tour” was a fast-paced journey through Wright’s personal history and development as an architect. The estate includes structures completed between 1896 (the earliest is a windmill with viewing tower) and 1967 (the latest is a visitor center and restaurant, completed after Wright’s death in 1959).
The tour began at Wright’s Hillside Home School, constructed in 1903 for his aunts. The Hillside Home School houses a dining room that is used by the still-operational School of Architecture at Taliesin for special occasions, an iconic 5,000-square-foot Drafting Studio completed in 1932 for use by Wright and his students, and the Hillside Theater, a dramatic 1957 theater space with circular seats arranged in descending rows that cascade toward the stage. Each successive building on the tour shows important developments in Wright’s style over time.
Visitors are taken by shuttle through the winding roads from the Hillside School to Taliesin III, Wright’s personal residence. The “III” indicates the number of times the home has been rebuilt due to fires and other difficulties. The third iteration of the building was completed in 1925 and includes Wright’s personal studio. The main house is situated on top of a hill with a pond at the base. Finding the front entrance to the house is an intentional maze of breezeways and porticoes that frame both the architecture and the surrounding landscape.
Wright’s manipulation of space is especially evident in the path from the entryway of the house to the main living room. In his designs for domestic homes, Wright always made sure to tailor the dimensions of the house he was designing to the height of the owner. Taliesin is no exception—Wright used low, flat, human height ceilings over the corridors.
The main entryway is low, tailored of course to “Wright height” (5’7), and our tour guide led us down a narrow hallway that culminates in a doorway. Entering and coming around the right corner of the shelf, the living room opens up.
A high ceiling suddenly rises and the room seems to drop out beneath it. Inside the space sits a grand piano (a recurring motif and inspiration for Wright’s architectural details), a setting for a quartet and ample seating for Wright’s many visitors. The panoramic windows around three walls emphasize the surrounding hills that seem to envelop the room. At the time of our late October visit, the fall foliage was enhanced and drawn out by the ochre-upholstered furniture.
The tour took us through the rest of the house, including the balconies, guest bedroom, sitting room, library, Mrs. Wright’s bedroom, and Wright’s own bedroom. His twin bed is tucked into the corner of a large room filled with books and items he collected on his travels, complete with a blue shag carpet. The room opens onto another private balcony that looks over the garden. The bedroom has no door, only a wide doorway. This makes it feel so much like a living room that it is easy to miss Wright’s small bed.
But in order to enjoy Taliesin, one must also grapple with some of the more troubling aspects of Wright and his career. For one thing, the estate was conceived as an escape from early twentieth century Oak Park for Wright and his mistress. Wright left behind his first wife and children to start a new life in Spring Green.
Additionally, the influence of Asian art and architecture on Wright’s work is incredibly apparent. Chinese and Japanese art covers the walls in the form of screens and prints; nooks and shelves are peppered with statues, plates and vases that Wright collected on his extensive travels in Asia.
Wright vehemently denied the notion that he stole ideas from Japanese architecture. According to our guide, Wright simply believed that he had reached the same conclusions to problems in architecture as his Japanese counterparts. However, in light of today’s necessary re-evaluations about appropriation in art, it is also important to view Wright’s work through this critical lens.
BY Elizabeth Philip
Northwestern senior Lindsey Spohler loves gummy worms, millennial pink, and what she calls “glorified arts and crafts”. Her studio space at Northwestern, little more than two perpendicular walls, is host to an intersection of common material, pop culture, and Spohler’s personal understanding of feminism, American girlhood, and the millennial experience.
Spohler has transformed those white walls into something my eight-year-old self would’ve dreamt of for my birthday slumber party – had I not been a complete tomboy. Pink fabric drapes over the perpendicular walls. Two collections of index-sized photos, all featuring a light pink, border a third collection, that of white cards with marbled light pink nail polish. A string lined with a feather boa forms the hypotenuse, holding up Spohler’s original t-shirts with clothes pins. Her small paintings and sculptures are scattered around the space. It is sensory overload, coupled with the calm of a single-color scheme. Pantone has named the color rose quartz, and gone so far as to declare it color of the year.
Though she did not formally practice art until attending Northwestern University, Spohler said she was inspired by the creativity of her friends and classmates at LaGuardia High School for Music, Art and Performing Arts in N.Y.C. What once manifested itself through nail art, custom sneaker decoration, and occasional costume design, her creativity is now fostered through her unique art making process, one as simple as her “hot glue gun, a spool of yarn, some paint, some glitter,” she said. She attributed her artistic style to an emphasis on the process, rather than the final product.
Spohler even sometimes incorporates steps of the art-making process into her final piece, such as a painting with a hyperlink to a paint mixing video which was displayed in Kresge this past fall. “I like the meta aspect,” she said, “I like capturing all the mistakes along the way and the mess, but it’s always a pretty mess.”
Spohler described her style as a semblance of “American youth girlhood in the early 2000’s.” Besides paint and canvas, Spohler uses Mr. Sketch markers, feathers, rhinestones, clothespins, and feather boas to create her artwork. She referenced Sign Pierce as one of her inspirations. His work pairs florescent colors and imagery to reclaim the feminimity of youth. Spohler’s lighter t-shirts, which are available in rose quartz and serenity, were partially inspired by Pierce’s message, Spohler said.
While Spohler said she considers some of her art to be feminist, Spohler quickly realized the word “feminist” has as much interpretive leeway as art itself. Her professor, renowned contemporary painter Judy Ledgerwood, said Sophler’s painting of Michelle Obama’s final White House dinner dress showed off the womanly figure too much. On the other hand, Spohler said she thought her generation was fighting to portray women and themselves however they process that concept, regardless of the reaction. The subjectivity of art does not deter Spohler, who said she looked forward to critiques in class.
Set to graduate in just a month, Spohler said she plans to move to Los Angeles to pursue a career in acting. This pursuit might come with some side jobs, she explained, perhaps one of which will be in an art gallery. As someone who sees creativity in overlooked aspects of the everyday, Lindsey Spohler will surely find art in her next step in life.
BY Helen Murphy
Here at NAR, we love Chicago. Northwestern University is just a few miles up Lake Michigan from the city, and NAR loves to get out and explore all of the art that Chicago has to offer, from the world-class Art Institute of Chicago, the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, the National Mexican Museum of Art and all of the galleries in between.
That's why we were so excited to read this New York Times piece detailing a planned year-long celebration of Chicago's international role in the arts over the centuries. In 2018, over 25 exhibitions in venues throughout the city will feature work from local artists, both contemporary and historical. The exhibitions will be supplemented by numerous public programs, all under the heading of "Art Design Chicago." Over 40 organizations and donors have pledged millions of dollars to support the initiative.
Here's hoping 2018 comes quickly— NAR can't wait to be immersed in the art of this wonderful city.