Letter from the Publisher

Happy new year! 2014 is upon us and I’ve been anticipating the start to this year for quite awhile. In this winter issue we are looking forward to many new exhibitions in galleries and museums around the city, and things are taking shape to make this a year of fresh takes on the issues of our day. 

Recently I read a Wall Street Journal interview with the collector and philanthropist Eli Broad. When discussing his many reasons for collecting art, Broad spent quite a bit of time talking about the ever changing market and the attention on the stratospheric prices a lot of works have achieved in the past few years, but he also pointed out that what really resonates with him are “artists’ thoughts on the ‘human condition.’” I liked this point of view because it brought home to me the reason why, despite the market ups and downs and the numbers game many people follow, we really ought to pay close attention to what artists are doing in their work and how they explain what moves them to create engaging art. What they see every day in the world and how they see it is different from how you and I do. We can read the newspaper and listen to pundits all day long, but how artists reveal their thoughts and perspectives on a range of current issues and conditions can enlighten us, enrage us, or simply make us stop and appreciate a moment. They draw from a deeper well of meaning and share their resources with the rest of us. 

When collectors Eileen and Peter Broido spoke with Kevin Nance for this issue, their passion for collecting recalled familiar sentiments about connecting with artists and the energetic dealers who represent them. The couple has been collecting for decades, but for them the adventure never ends. 

In the museum world, many starts get going in 2014. Nance interviewed Solveig Øvstebø, the Renaissance Society’s first new director in 40 years. The Norweigan Øvstebø is young and eager to experiment at the Ren. Continuing the spirit of a new year and new beginnings, Franck Mercurio previews the reopening of Northwestern University’s Block Museum this January. After closing last summer the museum freshened up its galleries and took the opportunity to mount two new exhibitions. Mercurio also highlights local artist William J. O’Brien’s first major survey exhibition opening at the Museum of Contemporary Art in January, which will introduce many to his work for the first time as well as surprise those familiar with his engaging, tactile sculptures. 

And there is still more. Illustrator Edward Gorey’s works will be celebrated at LUMA. Christoper Wool comes to the Art Institute. Two major conferences take place here this winter: the College Art Association returns in February, while the Glass Art Society arrives in March. The Chicago International Art, Antique & Jewelry Show debuts in Navy Pier’s Festival Hall at the end of April. There is so much to explore in Chicago this season. Art in every form from every period will fill up our year. Read the full winter news lineup here.