News from Around the Art World: December 4, 2017

Giant mural by Kerry James Marshall honors Chicago women of culture

Giving Chicago its own Mount Rushmore was Kerry James Marshall’s idea for his biggest work ever, a mural that will be officially dedicated Monday morning at a gathering of city luminaries.

“RUSH MORE” is an homage to women who have shaped arts and culture in Chicago — including Gwendolyn Brooks, Oprah Winfrey, Sandra Cisneros and Maggie Daley — and it occupies a wall nearly half the size of a football field on the west facade of the Cultural Center.

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--Via Steve Johnson, Chicago Tribune



Kehinde Wiley on Painting the Powerless. And a President.

LONDON — Early next year, a portrait of Barack Obama will go up on the walls of the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery in Washington, produced by an artist who was chosen by Mr. Obama himself in the closing months of his presidency.

The artist, Kehinde Wiley, is known for picturing young black people in stylized portraits that are deliberate throwbacks to earlier traditions of painting. His “Napoleon Leading the Army Over the Alps” (2005) shows a young man in hiking boots and camouflage riding a rearing stallion the way the French emperor does in an early-1800s painting by Jacques-Louis David. In the 2010 “Equestrian Portrait of King Philip II (Michael Jackson),” the pop superstar Jackson, in a cape and elaborate armor, mimics the monarch in the Rubens work it references.

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--Via Farah Nayeri, The New York Times



A New Study Shows That Most Artists Make Very Little Money, With Women Faring the Worst

The struggle is real. A just-released survey of international artists yields some dismal findings: In the US, a full three quarters of artists made $10,000 or less per year from their art. Close to half (48.7 percent) made no more than $5,000. The report, titled The Artfinder Independent Art Market Report: 2017, was commissioned by Artfinder, and doubles as a pitch for that company’s online marketplace for independent artists. It was conducted by a-n, an artist information company which did a similar study specific to UK artists in 2013.

Based on data from 1,533 self-identified working artists in the US and the UK surveyed over the first three weeks of this month, the Artfinder report claims to be the “biggest ever independent artist income survey.” (UK income data is broken out separately, given the different currencies, but appears to represent roughly the same hard realities.)

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--Via Eileen Kinsella, Artnet



Chicago Became an Outdoor Art Museum This Year

Local artists made our streets the city’s most exciting exhibition space.

Last fall, Mayor Emanuel declared 2017 the Year of Public Art, promising a $1.5 million investment and new outdoor murals, sculptures, and performances in all 50 wards. As a result, Chicago’s streets have been transformed into the city’s most impressive permanent showcase of local and global talent. Here, five standouts from the artwork that emerged this year.

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--Via Chicago Magazine, Text by Jason Foumberg