What We're Reading: 8/23

The Chicago Architecture Biennial, opening September 17, reimagines city-owned vacant lots. 

The Chicago Architecture Biennial Takes a Fresh Approach

For many, the mention of “architecture” conjures thoughts of floor plans and blueprints that become houses and buildings and skylines — facts and figures about which are conveyed to us on riverboat tours of the built environment.

But the fourth edition of the Chicago Architecture Biennial, which opens September 17, centers on the unbuilt. Dubbed The Available City, the 2021 biennial pairs contributing architects and designers with community organizations to imagine — and, in some cases, implement — new projects for Chicago’s approximately 10,000 city-owned vacant lots.

Via Chicago Magazine


Dawoud Bey picks 8 of his favourite early images

Dawoud Bey began photographing the streets of Harlem in the mid 1970s after receiving a camera that belonged to his late godfather. He took a class at his local YMCA, purchased some books, and quietly began observing the street with this camera in hand. Almost 50 years later, Dawoud’s archive of portraiture traces seismic changes – social, political and technological – that play out in the grandest and smallest details of his images. This year, an exhibition of his work, Dawoud Bey: An American Project, currently on show at the Whitney Museum, further cements his status as one of America’s most vital documentarians, and a pioneer of a medium that was once overlooked.

Via I-D Vice


Dead Tree Near Loyola Beach Gets New Life As 16-Foot Sculpture

For decades, a massive locust tree at Loyola Beach provided shade to parkgoers, including chess players squaring off under its canopy. The tree has died, but it is being reborn as a 16-foot-tall sculpture.

The Chicago Tree Project, a joint effort from the Park District and Chicago Sculpture International, turns diseased and damaged trees into public art. Artist and sculptor Plamen Yordanov is using a chainsaw to reconfigure the Loyola tree into a stack of geometric shapes.

Work started last week and will likely be complete in early September, making it the 46th tree transformed into a sculpture under the seven-year-old initiative.

Via Block Club


Chuck Close (1940-2021): Painting Monumental Portraits, Chronicling the Art World

Chuck Close, one of the most important painters of the postwar era and a blue-chip name in the contemporary art world, died on Thursday at age 81. One of the last surviving pioneers of the old New York art scene in SoHo, where he moved in 1967, Mr. Close became a marquee figure thanks to his monumental portraits. Painted from photographs taken by Mr. Close and executed with such precision that he found himself included in the nascent Photorealism movement (an association he rejected), they were field-filling head shots in which every detail down to the smallest pore was meticulously recorded. While he experimented with style and medium across his long career—painting, printmaking, drawing, collage, photography, tapestry—Mr. Close will always be remembered for his attentiveness to the human face, for his regard for and manipulation of that most unique of physical characteristics.

Via Wall Street Journal


Thumbnail image: Chuck Close’s ‘Big Self-Portrait’ (1968) PHOTO: CHUCK CLOSE/PACE GALLERY