Gallery Talk | Edra Soto

Event Date: March 16
Time: 6:00 p.m.


Edra Soto is a Chicago-based artist, educator, curator, and co-director of the artist-run outdoor project space THE FRANKLIN. Commissioned to build a piece for The Arts Club’s Winter Garden Project, Soto will be in conversation with art historian Daniel R. Quiles about her work. Expanding on her interest in architectural interventions (members may recall her work Manual Graft on the Mies staircase windows during last Fall’s open house), Soto brings us Screenhouse, a freestanding social structure influenced by traditional garden gazebo models and decorative patterns. Come toast the unveiling of Screenhouse and learn about the inspiration behind it.

Reception at 6:00, Gallery talk at 6:30pm.

Free and open to the public.


Posted February 21, 2017
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Turntable Happy Hour and Gallery Talk with Sonnenzimmer

Event Date: November 16
Time: 6:00 p.m.



This Wednesday, The Arts Club welcomes Nadine Nakanishi and Nick Butcher, whose collective art practice comprises Sonnenzimmer. Walking through the galleries at The Arts Club this season, one can experience the Centennial exhibition in two primary areas. In the West gallery, the club’s permanent collection has been installed. Usually at home in the salon on the second floor, surrounded by furniture, the highlights of a century’s worth of acquisitions are currently mounted to white walls in a gallery setting, where they have new life and context. In the East gallery, viewers will see The Arts Club Chicago at 100: A graphic timeline by Sonnenzimmer. On this exhibition, Executive Director Janine Mileaf had the following to say:

“Sonnenzimmer found an ingenious way to make the past into something new. We asked them to illustrate our history through a graphic timeline, and they ran with that idea, taking it to another level drawing on found imagery from our annual scrapbooks and their own inventive visual and aural vocabulary in a room-scale installation.”

Facing each other on opposite walls of opposite galleries, for example, are the original version and the grayscale printed version of Picasso’s 1922 Head of a Woman: one in the permanent collection, and one in Sonnenzimmer’s timeline as source material for an 8-color screenprint entitled Founding. In addition to Sonnenzimmer’s prints synthesizing the historical into new work, they made hand-printed graphic guides to the exhibition as well as a piece of sonic art titled “Enactment” on a take-away flexi-disc EP (with hand-printed packaging, of course) to complement their visual material.

On Wednesday, November 16th at 6pm, Nick and Nadine will perform one more act of synthesis in a public program at The Arts Club. They’ve described a speaker on a skateboard and simultaneous, interactive performances in two rooms.


Programs Manager Jenna Lyle interviewed Sonnenzimmer about the exhibition and their upcoming public performance.


JL: What exactly do you do, as Sonnenzimmer?


N&N: Sonnenzimmer began as a shared painting studio that morphed into a printshop that morphed into something in between a band, a graphic design studio, and philosophy club.


JL: You’re both invested in sonic as well as visual art. How do the two meet in your overall art practice?


N&N: Initially, we were being hired by musicians to design and print music packaging and posters. Over the course of our 10 years of collaboration, our personal interest in music slowly made its way into our artwork. We still balance commissioned projects like book design and murals with self-initiated projects such as performance, recordings, and exhibitions. But the longer we engage in art together, the closer our interests form a solidified intelligible shape and sound.


JL: How did the two converge in your exhibition at The Arts Club?


N&N: Our contribution to the The Arts Club of Chicago at 100, was initiated as a commissioned “graphic timeline” with lots of room for experimentation, thanks to Executive Director Janine Mileaf. Using the club’s extensive archive of historical ephemera, we collapsed images and conceptual overtones into a series of six prints, each representing a specific era of the club’s history. The exhibition culminates in a takeaway flexi record that pairs snippets of influential lectures form Gertrude Stein and Jean Dubuffet, set over a downtempo house beat, of course. For us, the sound is an aural continuation of the explorations in the visual component of the exhibit, with the added benefit of time and rhythm.


JL: What other convergences happen in that exhibition?


N&N: Past and present converge. Built from source material and our own idiosyncratic take on the Arts Club’s history, we hoped to shed new light on the dense past. We also ask just as many questions as we might have answered. So viewers’ own takes [on the art] converge with our expressive information graphics.


JL: How does your work for this season’s exhibition, The Arts Club at 100, deal with the passage of time?


N&N: We look at time as non-linear. Not circular, but maybe pear shaped. Things move far away from one another only to get closer again.


JL: For your upcoming performance at The Arts Club, how are you addressing the concept of time?


N&N: The performance will address both our exhibition and the permanent collection in the adjacent gallery through sound and locomotion moving between the two spaces.


Please join us on November 16th at the Arts Club of Chicago for the public presentation of “Enactment,” a performative audio intervention of our current exhibit, The Arts Club Chicago at 100: A graphic timeline by Sonnenzimmer. Pulling from the original music we created for the gallery takeaway, “Enactment” will evoke and challenge the Arts Club of Chicago’s 100 year history through adhoc sculpture and music.

Posted November 14, 2016
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The Arts Club of Chicago at 100: Centennial Open House

Event Date: October 22
Time: Noon - 5 pm



The Arts Club of Chicago

Centennial Open House

October 22, 2016

Noon to 5:00 pm


A Celebration of World-Class Music and Art
The Arts Club of Chicago is proud to celebrate 100 years of contributions to modern arts and culture, and welcomes the public to join us in our special Centennial presentation. An afternoon of music and art features Grammy award-winning sextet Eighth Blackbird performing a special commissioned piece, Composition as Explanation, by Pulitzer Prize-winning composer David Lang. Artists from Chicago and around the world will be engaged in discussions and performances. The entire building, including the usually private upstairs salon and dining room, will be open to the public. The permanent collection will be on view in the downstairs gallery. Visitors will be able to view special loans in the salon from artists who have previously exhibited at the Club.
Please see the list of all artists and performers below.


Centennial composition performance:

composed by David Lang

performed by Eighth Blackbird

David Lang premieres Composition as Explanation, a work based on Gertrude Stein’s 1925 text, which explores the notion of the artist’s talk in tribute to The Arts Club’s legacy of cultural conversations. The piece will be manifested in performances scattered throughout the day and throughout the building by Eighth Blackbird and will be complemented by live presentations that similarly consider what it means for artists to discuss their work in person.


Artist performances, talks, and installations by:

Derrick Adams Passing Time. Within the Arts Club exhibition space, multidisciplinary artist Derrick Adams constructs a lounge environment, equipped with the essential components of a domestic living room environment.  Visitors are invited to sit casually and flip through Arts Club archives of artist and exhibition catalogs, mapping the history of the organization.  Visitors are further encouraged to participate in informal conversations taking place within the installation, while Adams spins vinyl records of music from the past and present from turntables stationed on the coffee table, or just relax for a moment and pass time.

Suzanne Bocanegra with Paul Lazar, When a Priest Marries a Witch, an Artist Lecture by Suzanne Bocanegra Starring Paul Lazar In 2010, Bocanegra was asked by the Museum of Modern Art to give a lecture about her work.  For that lecture, she made a theater piece in which Paul Lazar, actor and co-founder and director of Big Dance Theater, performs as Bocanegra, telling the story of how she became an artist, growing up in Pasadena, Texas. Part personal narrative, part cultural history, the piece focuses on a scandal that happened in her Catholic church.  Spectators hear both Lazar and Bocanegra’s voice, as together they tell a tale about identity, artistic expression, the Pope, and obviously, a witch.

Mark Dion In a lecture, compellingly illustrated by film strip, the earth’s 4.5 billion years is recounted. The presentation illuminates the geological and biological history of our planet leading up to birth, work and death of eminent Earth Works artist, Robert Smithson.

Irena Haiduk presents Bon Ton Mais Non, the first step in surrounding yourself with things in the right way. 

Pablo Helguera, 10 New Kindergarten Chats (after Mr. Sullivan) In about 1918, Louis Sullivan published a book entitled Kindergarten Chats, which outlined his philosophy of design and architecture. Helguera presents a reprise of these short texts for the 21st century that depart from the ideas originally discussed by Sullivan.

Geof Oppenheimer Using images and texts, Oppenheimer delves into the Arts Club’s archive to present a social and psychic bricolage that explores and reimagines the Club’s history of creative liberty, class construction, and desire for social change.

Walid Raad contributes stories and documents.  Some are included in the catalog.  Others are on display in The Art Club’s restrooms.

Edra Soto Manual GRAFT Iron rejas became ubiquitous in the architecture of post-war Puerto Rico due to the security they provided and their ability to allow for cross ventilation. Today, these iron rejas are viewed not so much as a protection device, but as a language that pertains to the island’s visual culture. As part of an ongoing exploration of these design elements, Edra Soto presents Manual GRAFT, an architectural intervention that arrives via performative gestures and a process-based experience that unfolds in front of the viewers, unveiling the artistic process. Soto will install a related pattern on the glass walls that enclose The Arts Club’s famous Mies van der Rohe staircase.


The Arts Club of Chicago

201 E Ontario St.

Chicago, IL 60611

(312) 787-3997


Posted August 15, 2016
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Public Event: Rudzienko Screening with Melika Bass

Event Date: June 2
Time: 6:30 pm
Installation view of Rudzienko. Photo: Michael Tropea.

Installation view of Rudzienko. Photo: Michael Tropea.

The Arts Club premieres Sharon Lockhart’s latest film, Rudzienko. Chicago-based filmmaker and installation artist Melika Bass will give an introduction to the film before the screening begins.

The film, along with related still photographs entitled When You’re Free You Run in the Dark, derives from her long-standing relationship with Milena, a girl she met during the making of another film, Podwórka, in Łódź in 2009. During the past two years, Lockhart organized summer retreats for a group of teenagers who lived with Milena in a girls’ home near Warsaw in the town of Rudzienko. Through exercises in movement, reenactment, dance, yoga, craft, cooking, writing, and performance, Lockhart encouraged the girls to bring forth their personal narratives.

Sharon Lockhart is an American artist who lives and works in Los Angeles, California. She received her BFA from the San Francisco Art Institute in 1991 and her MFA from the Art Center College of Design in 1993. She has been a Radcliffe Fellow, a Guggenheim Fellow, and a Rockefeller Fellow. Her films and photographic work have been widely exhibited at international film festivals and in museums, cultural institutions, and galleries in New York, San Francisco, Berlin, Paris, Brussels, Turin, Rio de Janeiro, and many more around the world.

Melika Bass is a filmmaker and installation artist, whose international exhibitions and screenings include the BFI London Film Festival; Film Society of Lincoln Center, New York; Torino Film Festival, Italy; and solo exhibitions at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago and the Hyde Park Art Center. Bass has received an Artadia Award (NYC), the Kodak/Filmcraft Award, an Experimental Film Prize from the Athens International Film Festival, and two Media Arts Fellowships from the Illinois Arts Council. In 2014, Bass was an appointed Pick-Laudati Resident Artist at the Alice Kaplan Institute for the Humanities at Northwestern University. Bass is currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of Film, Video, New Media, and Animation at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Posted May 20, 2016
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Public Event: Alexander Calder Speaks his Letters at The Arts Club of Chicago

Event Date: August 12
Time: 7:00 pm
Alexander Calder, Red Petals, 1942. Plate steel, steel wire, sheet aluminum, soft-iron bolts, and aluminum paint.

Alexander Calder, Red Petals, 1942. Plate steel, steel wire, sheet aluminum, soft-iron bolts, and aluminum paint.

In 1941, former Arts Club president Rue Shaw commissioned Alexander Calder to create the mobile Red Petals, a prominent part of the club’s collection. For this program, Calder and Shaw return to The Arts Club to share the letters, telegrams, and sketches that resulted in this iconic sculpture.


Dmitry Samarov as Alexander Calder
Jane Beachy as Rue Shaw
Izzy Olive as Isabel Jarvis

with host Paul Durica


This program made possible by the generous support of the Terra Foundation for American Art.

Posted May 5, 2016
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