CGN Publisher's Letter: 2023
By GINNY VAN ALYEA
My seven-year old son thinks it’s fun to sit on my lap and use my computer, currently to browse for LEGO sets, while I am on deadline. When I was working on this edition of CGN's 2023 Arts Guide, he looked at a page spread and asked why I had to make the magazine again if I’d already done it last year. (He also asks why I have to stay up so late.) I explained that every year we have to update information from the year before. In a 168-page book filled with details, it’s important to stay current. Happy with my answer, we played spot-the-difference in these CGN pages and delayed LEGO shopping a little longer.
So much changes in a year–particularly in children, of course, but also the communities we spend time in. In our fall 2022 issue we spoke with many local art leaders, who each shared what the energy of Chicago’s 1980s art scene was like when CGN began as a four-page guide to the exhibitions and openings of 16 galleries in a single neighborhood, River North.
In 2023 galleries continue to migrate to, or open in, new locations throughout the city; amidst an online world, physically relocating in proximity to other galleries fosters new art centers. West Town has established itself as a robust art district in just a few years. Creativity also thrives in Pilsen, Bridgeport, Ravenswood and Logan Square. We welcome galleries and museums from all corners of the city, as well as Wisconsin, Southwest Michigan and, for the first time, Iowa. CGN’s history is definitely in Chicago, but I’m thrilled to follow this regional art expansion and appreciation that came out of our pandemic-grounding. It’s wonderful to be able to travel and explore the world once more, but there is so much art and creativity to enjoy close to home too.
We celebrated CGN’s 40th anniversary this past fall, and this is the 7th edition of our annual Arts Guide. Introducing the guide was a big change for us in 2017. Now it feels familiar. I think when updates are done correctly, you may not even spot the difference, it just seems like something’s always been there, just right. Though formats, schedules, information, addresses and details may change over time, the search for understanding in art is ongoing and constant.
I often think about how to best balance history, legacy and change at CGN. So far, that has been to remain in print and continue to serve as a consistent publication of record, while also maintaining a comprehensive digital means of following art. CGN will always aim to be a positive and informative resource for collectors, artists, galleries, students and others who love art. We strive to keep up with the changes and cover the best of what’s happening in Chicago, and well beyond.
Please enjoy this 2023 issue of CGN’s annual Arts Guide. Like each one before, it is the best one yet, but there are more to come.
2023 CGN Arts Guide Cover artwork: Amanda Williams, Detail of What black is this you say?—“You thought getting Obama elected meant you could take a break from blackness”—black (08.09.20), 2020. Oil and mixed media on wood panel, 60 x 60 inches. Image courtesy of the artist and Rhona Hoffman Gallery.