What We're Reading: 3/9/21

Following is a summary of  current art news from our local art community and around the world, as shared by fellow arts writers and publications. Please click to reach the original source. We will continue to share relevant links each week as the news fills up our reading list. – CGN Staff

Audrey Niffenegger Plan for Artists Book House Gets a Green Light in Evanston 

The Evanston City Council authorized lease negotiations with a tenant for the long-vacant landmark Harley Clarke Mansion and Coach house, a city-owned lakefront property that faced potential demolition in 2018.

The 1927-built Harley Clarke Mansion and Coach House building has been owned by the city since it was purchased from a fraternity in 1960 and has been vacant since the Evanston Arts Center departed in 2015. 

The top-scoring plan was submitted by the Artists Book House group, founded by author Audrey Niffenegger. The proposal envisions using the Harley Clarke house as an instructional space, gallery, library, bookshop and cafe devoted to the art of books and showcasing local authors and artists. There will be a papermaking studio and heavy machinery for printing, with bookbinding in the home's former master bedroom area. A restored library will be open to the public on a limited basis.

Niffenegger, an Evanston native and author of the bestselling "The Time Traveler's Wife," founded the Center for Book and Paper Arts at Columbia College Chicago in 1994. That center, which offered master's degree programs and residencies, closed in 2019. The Artists Book House proposal seeks to offer non-credit community education and internship opportunities.

Via Patch


A blues museum, eco-food hub and apartments are part of $67 million in projects picked to kick off Chicago’s Invest South/West initiative

A proposal was just unveiled to renovate a 20,000-square-foot former bank building with commercial uses including a blues museum, bank branch, cafe and business incubator. On adjacent land, the firms propose a multistory apartment building with affordable units, a green roof, public plaza and outdoor art.

Via Chicago Tribune


AN visits Studio Gang, whose adaptive reuse projects are reinvigorating the past

In a recent interview with AN, Jeanne Gang, founding partner and principal of Chicago-based architecture and urban design office Studio Gang, described adaptive reuse design as a delicate process of responding to the creations of the past. When approaching adaptive reuse projects, architects have to ask, “What’s already there? What do we give back in return?” While architects can’t control every result of the design process, they have a responsibility to cultivate the best possible outcome of interactions between created space and the natural environment.

Via AN


26 Art-World Women Celebrate the Women Who Inspire Them

It is not always easy being a woman in this world, and being a woman in the art world can be doubly challenging. Gallery rosters and museum collections around the world have been skewed against women for centuries, and many of today’s top institutions still have yet to appoint a female director. Even so, there is a vast community of women in the art world, dedicated to supporting and uplifting each other.

Via Artnet


Louvre launches flurry of brand partnerships and ‘e-boutique’ in bid to make up Covid deficit

After a year when the Musée du Louvre—the world’s most popular art museum—welcomed a fraction of its ten million visitors, it has launched a flurry of brand partnerships and e-commerce initiatives to appeal to customers beyond its masterpiece-laden walls.

Via The Art Newspaper


Celebrating Black Children in America

“The Brownies’ Book: A Monthly Magazine for the Children of the Sun” was a short-lived but influential publication edited by W.E.B. Du Bois a century ago. Widely regarded as a pioneer in children’s literature, it celebrated African-Americans with positive images, stories and poetry at a time when caricature toys were the norm.

Over the past century, the magazine, which ran from January 1920 to December 1921, has inspired scores of artists, including Jennifer Mack-Watkins, whose upcoming solo exhibition at the Brattleboro Museum & Art Center in Vermont draws from the publication’s illustrative imagery.

Via The New York Times



Thumbnail image credit: Appearing via Chicago Tribune: Heartland Alliance and Oak Park Regional Housing plan a $37.5 million redevelopment of the former Laramie Bank building and adjacent land in Austin. The proposal includes a blues museum, bank branch, cafe, business incubator and apartments. Rendering provided by City of Chicago. (Handout / HANDOUT)