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Your Art Jargon Translation Guide for Chicago’s Current Shows

You don’t have to speak the lingo to know whether or not you should go see a show.

Nora Schultz, parrottree—building for bigger than real, 2014 Installation View, The Renaissance Society at the University of Chicago   Photo: Tom Van Eynde

 

So you read a promotional release about a new art show. And it made absolutely no sense. So should you go see this art? Is it any good? What’s it about?

It’s easy to be cynical about the inscrutable artspeak. As encouragement, here are a few simplifications. Quotes taken from the official descriptions have been translated so a regular, not-art person can understand them. The point? To help you figure out whether you really want to go see six current exhibitions around the city.

 

The Show: Paintings, including these untitled works by Pieter Vermeersch from 2013, in a series of monochromatic murals that are part of an exhibition called “The Fifth Dimension.”  

The quote: “With his keen knowledge of paint’s spatial effects, Pieter Vermeersch exploits the transformative qualities of color applied directly to the architectural frame.”

The Translation: The artist painted a mural.

The Details: The Fifth Dimension at the Logan Center, open now through February 16.

 

The show: This is part of Nora Schultz’s  new work called parrottree—building for bigger than real, an exhibit of 2014 work that takes place almost entirely up in the rafters of the Renaissance Society.

The quote: “Deeply engaged with material and process, Schultz’s installations are themselves, at times, engines of ongoing artistic creation.”

The Translation: The artist made all of the artwork in the gallery.

The Exhibit: Nora Schultz at the Renaissance Society, open now through February 23.

 

The show: Emerging artist Ingrid Olson places photos and drawings inside painted Plexiglas boxes.

The quote: “The exhibition features a selection of works that exercise the boundaries of the pictorial plane and straddle the line between image and object.”

The Translation: The artist mixes photographs with sculptures.

The Exhibit: B. Ingrid Olson at Document, open now through January 25.

 

The show: The Chicago artist Heather Mekkelson’s solo show includes several abstract sculptures, like this one: Light Escape and Entrapment, from 2013, made of styrofoam with foil and paint overspray, patent silver leaf, glass, brass, pyrite, and epoxy. 

The quote: The phrase ‘now slices’ refers to the idea that multiple realities can exist simultaneously.”

The Translation: Pizza continues to be a good art metaphor: Everyone can have an equal share of the experience.

The Exhibit: Heather Mekkelson at 65GRAND, opens January 17, 6–9 p.m.

 

The show: In her upcoming exhibit at the Graham Foundation, Judy Ledgerwood will create an immersive wall painting, as she did in 2011 for Rhona Hoffman Gallery show pictured above.  

The quote: Fragile and temporal, Ledgerwood’s installation must be experienced in situ in order to grasp its full impact.”

The Translation: Get off the computer and come see this show in person.

The Exhibit: Judy Ledgerwood at the Graham Foundation, opens January 23, 6 p.m.

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