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This Is the Scariest Art You Can See in Chicago

There’s some bloody, beautiful artwork on display in Chicago this week.

See Artemisia Gentileschi’s masterpiece, <em>Judith Slaying Holofernes,</em> c. 1620, at the Art Institute of Chicago.
See Artemisia Gentileschi’s masterpiece, Judith Slaying Holofernes, c. 1620, at the Art Institute of Chicago.   Photo: Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence, inv. 1567

The city’s spooky season can offer a little more high culture than the Zombie Prom and Musical of the Living Dead, you know. Delve into the sophisticated darkside with these three macabre pieces of art on view in Chicago.
 

From the Outer Limits

Celestial Bodies screening

It took over 70 artists to create the sets and costumes for Celestial Bodies, which creator Jake Myers describes as “a live-action space adventure” where “science, art, and aerobics collide.” The six episodes, each 12 minutes long, will debut on Halloween night, followed by A Cosmic Expression with Kelan Phil Cohran and the Hypnotic Brass Ensemble. Sci-fi and aerobics costumes encouraged. October 31 at 5:30pm. Chicago Cultural Center, 78 E Washington. Free.
 

The Bloody…

Artemisia Gentileschi, Judith Slaying Holofernes, c. 1620

You can virtually hear the metal sword shredding through the neck muscle of the giant Holofernes in Artemisia Gentileschi’s masterpiece. The blood bursting from his wound, staining the sheets, and splashed on his murderer’s breasts attests to the imminent demise of Holofernes—and the conquering of a villain by the Biblical heroine Judith. Painted around the year 1620 in Florence, Italy, Judith Slaying Holofernes is believed to represent the female painter’s symbolic retribution to her rapist (she was tortured under oath; he was acquitted). Holofernes’s legs are spread open in this painting; has he also been castrated? You be the judge.
On view through January 9 at the Art Institute of Chicago, 111 S Michigan.
 

…And The Bloodier

Jordan Eagles, LF4-5, 2008

NYC-based artist Jordan Eagles collects blood from slaughterhouses, preserves it in resin, and shapes it into painting-sized objects that, when lit in a gallery, glimmer like rubies. These “Life force” painting series appear like landscapes of a blood-drenched earth, but they are also strangely attractive; Eagles is a pro at toeing the line between the grotesque and the beautiful.
On view in the exhibition Inventory at the Elmhurst Art Museum, 150 Cottage Hill Avenue, Elmhurst, through January 5.
 

Bonus Creepiness

Madame Rosa’s Cabinet of Curiosities

 Find out if artists have the creepiest costumes at this Halloween-themed benefit party on All Saints Day. $25 admission ticket gets you access to Hornswaggler cocktails and Revolution brews, DJ sets from Chances Dances, burlesque dancing, and palm reading. Artist-made objects from the specially curated Cabinet of Curiosities will be raffled.
November 1, 8pm–midnight at Heaven Gallery, 1550 N Milwaukee. Tickets here.

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