Regional Report: Midwest
Kerry James Marshall, Slow Dance, 1992-93, mixed media and acrylic on canvas. On view in "Take Care" at the University of Chicago's Smart Museum of Art.
Kerry James Marshall, Slow Dance, 1992-93, mixed media and acrylic on canvas. On view in "Take Care" at the University of Chicago's Smart Museum of Art.

AICA-USA's regional representatives report on the state of the arts and art criticism in their area in order to bring wider awareness of important exhibitions, events, and the accomplishments of art critics throughout the country. The following notes were compiled and by Janina Ciezadlo, AICA-USA's regional representative for the midwest.

Museums and galleries in the Chicago area are still closed but ambitious plans for the coming year and a rich array of virtual offerings abound.

The Smart Museum of Art at the University of Chicago presents a timely virtual tour of their exhibition organized around the concept of care, Take Care. Works from their collections extend from Berthe Morisot and Susanne Valadon through Sylvia Sleigh to contemporary works by Chicago artists Kerry James Marshal and Suellen Rocca. The exhibition is organized into four sections. Who Cares? highlights who performs the work of care. Sustenance depics “gestures of care” with paintings, photographs and objects like a sake cup inscribed with poetry from 19th century Japan. Testimony includes works by Lorna Simpson and Kathe Kollewitz and considers how art that bears witness to critical issues of the time might inspire empathy. Ecologies of Care explores The Detroit Tree of Heaven Workshop and includes a video about Chicago Streets and Sanitation Workers among other offerings.

I continue to hope to hear more from critics in the Midwest.
Looking forward to being out-and-about and with warmest regards,

Janina Ciezadlo, Chicago

Reports from AICA-USA midwest members

Ron Scott Teachworth has written a report offering his online art criticism publication Detroit Art Review as a model for small and medium-sized cities who want to cover the visual arts. The publication is supported through subscriptions by local museums and galleries. Freelance critics cover only the visual arts, producing reviews that are largely missing from the local media. Critics are invited to report on exhibitions outside the city featuring artists from Detroit. In 2017, for example, eight artists from Detroit were represented in the Whitney Biennial.

Pat Badani’s artists’ book Comestible 7-Day Meal Plan: Food as Text published July 2020, is reviewed in Afterimage Journal of Media Arts and Cultural Criticism (UCPress), Vol. 47, Issue #4 (December 2020). Art historian Claudia Costa Pederson, PhD, notes: “Comestible 7-Day Meal Plan: Food as Text by Argentinian artist Pat Badani combines the taxonomic language of science (biology and chemistry), with the seductive photography and pseudo-babble of marketing, with the declarative style of the art manifesto.”

Sabine Eckmann, director of Washington University’s Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum in Saint Louis has sent a listing of their Spring Exhibitions:

The Autonomous Future of Mobility, Teaching Gallery
On view through March 12, 2021

Christine Sun Kim: Stacking Traumas
, Atrium
On view through January 31, 2022.

Amy Sillman: After Metamorphoses, Video Gallery
On view through July 30, 2021

William Messer an AICA-International Vice President living in Cincinnati, Ohio whose principal areas of art involvement are anti-censorship and photography would like to help AICA-USA establish regional art censorship watchdogs in conjunction with your efforts to achieve greater intra-national communication as well as international. Members are invited to contact him at wfm@fuse.net.

Christine Sun Kim, detail of Three Tables III, 2020. From "Christine Sun Kim: Stacking Traumas" at Washington University’s Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum.
Christine Sun Kim, detail of Three Tables III, 2020. From "Christine Sun Kim: Stacking Traumas" at Washington University’s Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum.

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AICA supports arts writers around the world through public programs and membership that offers free access to museums across the globe. AICA-USA represents the largest national section of AICA International with over 450 distinguished critics, curators, scholars, and art historians working throughout the United States. As part of the international organization, we benefit from a global reach in presence. AICA-USA is intent on international communication, elevating the values of art criticism as a discipline, and acting on behalf of the physical and moral defense of works of art.

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