Archive for April, 2007


Don’t miss this –

The Intelligent Design of Jenny Chow.

A play with an absolutely bravura performance by Jennifer Shin.* A story that has meaning. A complex, interwoven, smart script. Emotional pull. High energy. Fabulous live score with guitar and computers. Insight into youth.

This play by Rolin Jones was a finalist for the 2006 Pulitzer Prize in Drama.

At base it might be about, “What will the Chinese girls that so many Americans adopt think when they get older?” I find that interesting to think about. But the intelligent script of The Intelligent Design of Jenny Chow covers a lot more ground than that. It’s about finding your self, reconnecting, ambition, identity, and love.

Jenny Chow will shake you up. I couldn’t talk afterwards.
When’s the last time a piece of art did that to you?


A little later I’ll post a bit more on this year’s superb ArtChicago. If you haven’t gone yet, the fair ends this afternoon.Even the fashion show was fun and top quality last night . Photos to follow!


*Her performance reminded me of the young John Leguizamo in Spic-o-rama


Chicago Ergo Sum

Who needs Vegas?


The Arpino Box at the Auditorium Theater

The Joffrey has been performing at the Auditorium Theater by Louis Sullivan since about 1969. It’s one of the greatest houses in the world to see dance, celestial from the moment you enter. Since the Joffrey moved to Chicago in 1995 the Auditorium has been its home. And one man has seen all or nearly all of the Joffrey’s performances there, and from the same box – the one closest to the stage, house right. He is the Joffrey’s Artistic Director, Gerald Arpino.

Last night’s performance at the Auditorium began the wind-down of the two-year fiftieth anniversary celebration of the Joffrey. It’s been announced that Arpino will become Artistic Director Emeritus and an international search will begin to find his successor.

So last night, before the dance, first, a short excerpt was added to the program from Gerald Arpino’s Olympics of 1966 (complete with torch and flame) to celebrate winning the bid to become the U.S. choice to win the 2016 games.

And then a spotlight shone on Arpino sitting in his box and an announcement was made that it shall be named after him.


Britney naked ???
The ugliest piece of art at the Chicago fairs

Daniel Edwards
Monument to Pro-Life: The Birth of Sean Preston

“A nude Britney Spears on a bearskin rug while giving birth to her firstborn marks a ‘first’ for Pro-Life. Pop-star Britney Spears is the “ideal” model for Pro-Life, … in what is proclaimed the first Pro-Life monument to birth.

Dedication of the life-sized statue celebrates the recent birth of Spears’ baby boy, Sean, and applauds her decision of placing family before career.”

Politics aside, it’s hideous. In ways I’m sure it does not intend, but Jeff Koons might, it reminds me of

“Michael Jackson and Bubbles,” by Jeff Koons,

What a couple they’d make.
-Ees materials provided by Manhattan Right To Life Committee.


ArtChicago / Artropolis & ….

More than five art fairs in Chicago this weekend!

Art Chicago, The International Antiques Fair, The Artist Project, The Intuit Show, and Bridge Art Fair.

Paul Klein of Art Letter offers a fine guide.
Here’s the list of galleries at ArtChicago.

Will ArtChicago rise from the ashes? Can the city support a great fair? Will people buy, will dealers return, can we compete with the sexy still hot Art Basel Miami? We’ll soon have some indications when ArtChicago opens tomorrow night.

Plus, in a large tent in front of the Merchandise Mart, a performing arts component!

Thursday, 9:30 p.m. The Joffrey Ballet
Friday, 7:30 p.m. ‘Art Music’ by Fulcrum Point
Saturday, 5 p.m. Anna Deavere Smith
Saturday, 7:30 pm Hubbard Street Dance Company
Sunday, 6:30 pm Blanc International Fashion Show
Monday, 12:30 pm The Chicago Chamber Musicians

click here for full schedules and more information.

Good excuse to get in this lovely photo, seen on buses and subway entrances about town, of the Joffrey’s Light Rain.



Soon when you need a good kosher knish downtown, you’ll know where to find it. The
Spertus Institute of Jewish Studies

in Chicago on South Michigan Avenue, overlooking Grant Park.
Our fearless architects

Ron Krueck (l) and Mark Sexton (r)

a facade like the facets of a diamond.

Some say it protrudes too far out from the historic steetwall. Especially since it’s in glass, rather than stone as the other buildings are on South Michigan Avenue.

The projections and the faceting give views up Michigan Avenue

Here’s what you see from a balcony on 10. Also on this floor – the Board Room and Sky Garden.

Above this, greatly pleasing the Mayor, a green roof.

The glass (American-made), has markings which purposely make it less than completely transparent.

Glass on the left, no glass on the right. I’m curious how transparent it will look when it’s finished, washed and the protective coating removed.

And the 400-seat theater space looks large and promising, a two story space.

The exhibition spaces will also feature a two story atrium, to connect the Museum’s Core Collection on 9 and the Changing Exhibition Galleries on 10. Plus space for Spertus College , the Asher Library, a children’s center, site-specific art and more. Plus, when you need a good

kosher knish downtown, you’ll know where to find it. (Though Wolfgang makes it a little different than they did in the shtetl.) A kosher cafe by Wolfgang Puck, on the second floor, overlooking the park at tree top level.

At night the building is supposed to emit ‘a warm glow.” Spertus literature says

“This emphasis on light echoes the Spertus logo, a falme accompanied by the biblical phrase yehi or, let there be light, symbolizing both physical light and the light of learning and truth.”

This new $55 million Spertus Institute of Jewish Studies is set to open on November 30, 2007. They’ll host a week-long public celebration with tours, music and more.

No full review of the building from me until it’s complete and occupied. But now you have today’s photos. I’m hungry, how about you?

Spertus President Howard Sulkin wanted a home for this multi-faceted institution that would be open, transparent and dynamic; and he’s getting it. He should be commended for building a downtown Jewish institution that projects not fear, but optimism, enlightenment, joy, culture and learning. The building also expresses assimilation. The glass should make everyone feel welcome, and through the glass all visitors will feel still connected to the city, to the park, to Michigan Avenue, to Soldier Field, Lake Michigan and the midwestern sky. It’s an intimate connection I felt today, looking from Spertus to the rest of my town. And I saw the city anew, from fresh angles, which is the mark of a great city, to be able to offer new perspectives, on itself, and on life.



It’s not chopped liver….

Later today I’ll try to post, with photos, on the new Spertus Institute of Jewish Studies, designed by Ron Krueck and Mark Sexton.

The Rotating Tower


A skyscraper to make your head spin.

Update! May 6, 2007 David Fisher is trying to convince the powers-that-be in New York City, Miami and Chicago that this is a viable concept. At least two developers in Chicago are interested?

from their marketing campaign:

Dynamic Architecture-dawn of a new era

The Dynamic Architecture buildings keep changing their shape. As each floor rotates separately, the form of the building is changing constantly; you may not see the same building twice.

Dynamic architecture marks a new era in architecture as this new approach, based on motion dynamics, is in fact challenging traditional architecture that until now has been based on gravity.

Dynamic Architecture buildings will become the symbol of a new philosophy that will change the look of our cities and the concept of living. From now on, buildings will have a fourth new dimension – TIME. Buildings will not be confined to rigid shapes; construction will have a new approach and flexibility. Cities will change faster than we ever imagined.

I thought buildings always involved the dimension of time.
But click on this link, it is worth seeing, cheesy animations and all. And you thought the proposed twisting tower by Calatrava was futuristic.



860 – 880 Lake Shore Drive by Mies van der Rohe –
7+ million dollar restoration project

Just wanted to update you, and tell you where we stand.

Per the trustees, the following architects responded to our
Request For Proposal

Booth Hansen, Epstein, Gunny Harboe, Holabird & Root,
Krueck & Sexton, and Vinci/Hamp.

Gensler, and Fujikawa Johnson Gobel rejected our proposal.

After we choose an architect, the roof and exterior painting projects could start as soon as in August. The work on the travertine plaza

and lobby window wall would start next spring.

I wrote more about it here and here.

Stay tuned,


Companion Words

“The first time I visited the Rothko Chapel in Houston, in the late 1980s, I was operating under the influence of a remark by the poet Czeslaw Milosz, something to the effect that the Western search for meaning in abstract art was a case of expecting too much from mere pigment.

As you probably already know, as guides for the perplexed, the writers of central Europe cannot be beat. History has equipped them with just the right balance of the tragic and the ironic dimension.”