CGN Art World Recap: 6/15

2021 Chicago Prize Competition Calls For New Visions for the State of Illinois / Thompson Center

Designed by the late architect Helmut Jahn, the State of Illinois Center, also known as James R. Thompson Center, is facing the threat of complete demolition. Located in Chicago's “Loop” it is a major transportation node, commercial center and workspace. The building has been criticized for being ugly, oversized, inefficient, and poorly maintained. However, the Thompson Center has been pivotal to urban transit and a highly democratic contemporary civic center. At the time of its construction in 1985, Jahn’s State of Illinois Center was a stark contrast to Chicago’s historic and modernist architecture, yet today it is an architectural icon in its own right. For the fourth year in a row, the Thompson Center has been listed in the Landmarks Illinois’ annual Most Endangered Historic Places in Illinois and it was included in Preservation Chicago’s Chicago 7 Most Endangered list in 2018, 2019, and 2020. The Chicago Architectural Club and the Chicago Architecture Center ask the 2021 Chicago Prize participants to envision a new life for the building through restorative architecture.

The competition brief can be found at the following LINK.


‘Obama Portraits’ is opening at the Art Institute of Chicago: Expect long waits, and 44 other things to know

Since their 2018 unveiling at the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, the official state portraits of Barack and Michelle Obama have been a pilgrimage for many, a curiosity for others, an argument for contemporary art, a clarion call for Black artists and a startling left-turn after decades of calcified propriety. To James Rondeau, president and director of the Art Institute of Chicago, the Obama portraits are, also, home. Their story, he said, by nature of their local subjects, makes this “a Chicago story, and knowing the Obamas’ history with the city, and their history with the museum, any possibility to show the Obama portraits felt incredibly important.”

So, after years of negotiations, starting June 18, “The Obama Portraits” will be shown at the Art Institute for the next two months — the first exhibition of the portraits outside of Washington, and the opening stop of a five-city nationwide tour.

Via Chicago Tribune



Via Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices

Former Dorchester Church for Sale as Condos 

This 1904 church, built by famed architect Solon Spencer Beman, at 4840 S Dorchester Ave in Hyde Park/Kenwood is eye-catching and trendy. It's for sale for $999,999 (down from $1,250,000)

Via Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices


The Chicago-Based Scientist Who Helped Find Art-World Frauds

The recently released Netflix documentary series “This Is a Robbery” explores the twisted story surrounding the theft of 13 pieces of art from Boston’s Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in 1990.

One of the potential paths to recovering the $500 million in stolen artwork involves scientific analysis of paint chips, with microscopic detective work done by a Chicago-based innovator in the field.