What We're Reading: 6/6/24

Vivian Maier, Chicago, IL, 1960. ©Estate of Vivian Maier, Courtesy of Maloof Collection and Howard Greenberg Gallery, NY.

In Her First U.S. Retrospective, Vivian Maier Proves to Be Much More than a Street Photographer

In 2011, a new art star burst onto the scene. A nanny and a self-taught photographer, Vivian Maier had roamed the streets of New York City and Chicago in the 1950s, ‘60s, and ‘70s, her pint-sized charges in tow, snapping pictures of derelicts and swells, skyscrapers and train yards, naked mannequins and discarded dolls.

She had taken hundreds of thousands of these photos. She stashed them in a storage unit until she couldn’t afford the payments any longer. She died destitute in 2009, at the age of 83. But then a young real estate developer named John Maloof bought the contents of her locker at a Chicago auction, scanned what he found, and uploaded it to Flickr.

Via Artnet


Artwork Bought Online for $1,000 Identified as a Long-Lost Degas Worth $13 million

A savvy online thrifter got the deal of a lifetime when they spotted a pastel drawing listed as a “fake” Degas in 2021. The surprisingly masterful composition caught the punter’s eye and, with the help of expert Michel Schulman, they determined that it was most likely Éloge du maquillage (In praise of cosmetics) (1876), a known brothel scene painted by Degas that had been recorded as missing for several decades.

Via Artnet


A First Look at the Big Ticket Artworks that Galleries Are Bringing to Art Basel

If one were to liken the marquee New York auctions in May to the homecoming game between rival high schools, then Art Basel is certainly the art world’s prom. Next week, 287 galleries from around the world, including the four biggest, will jet to Switzerland, closely followed by the traveling circus of collectors, art advisers, and, of course, journalists.

Via Artnews


The National Museum of Mexican Art plans to turn long-vacant structure into the Yollocalli youth arts center

In Little Village, an old fire station has stood empty and unused since its modern replacement opened three blocks away in 2011.

The building finally heads toward a new use as a youth arts center filled with performance and studio spaces, an indoor garden made from an old spiral staircase and disco balls.

“Lots of disco balls,” said Vanessa Sanchez, the director of Yollocalli Arts Reach, a program of the National Museum of Mexican Art in Pilsen.

Yollocalli, which means “House of the Heart” in the indigenous Mexican language Nahuatl, is adding this facility to its longtime home in the Little Village Boys and Girls Club.

The museum bought the mothballed fire station from the city for $1 and is starting a $2 million rehab of the building at 2358 S. Whipple St. and plans to open it in early 2025.



Insect Asylum aims to inspire with public cicada art, now on display in Chicago neighborhoods

For those enjoying the hunt for cicadas, you’re in for a big treat. Really big.

In Ravenswood Manor alone, residents have spotted a rare silver, jewel-eyed cicada, as well as one with blue eyes and multicolored wings. Another cicada has the familiar red eyes and orange wings, but its shell is a plastic shopping bag.

These new creatures are 18-inch, plaster sculptures decorated by Chicago artists, and they are popping up in parks, in front of homes and even on light poles.

Via Chicago Sun-Times