We took advantage of the free shuttles Northwestern’s Block Museum of Art was sponsoring to Halsted Street in Pilsen for November’s Second Friday to check out the art gallery scene last week. We’ve ranked a few of our favorites for you. Check it out and visit one tonight!
6. Concrete Age Artworks, 1932 S. Halsted St., 312-226-3542. This gallery focuses on innovative home furniture. Most is made of concrete (as evidenced by the name of the place) and fashioned in modern designs. We love the slate-colored kitchen sinks and the sleek angles of all the designs.
5. Chicago Art Department, 1837 S. Halsted St., 312-226-8601. One word can describe this place: packed. And with free wine in the back, what else could we expect? In the current exhibit, 14 artists answered the question: What does $200 mean to you? The resulting artwork is as diverse as Pilsen, representing everything from new jeans to intangible moments. See the exhibit online here.
4. Alexander J. Fedirko, 1932 S. Halsted St. #206, 313-550-2519. The detailed work on this second-floor gallery merits a good, hard look. Don’t miss the floor-to-ceiling portrait of all the U.S. presidents in black and white. The one piece you can’t leave without seeing is the artist’s 2009 rendition of the view from atop the Sears Tower, done in four black and white oil paintings suspended from the ceiling, corner to corner, to form an enclosed space you can step inside.
3. Vespine Gallery, 1907 S. Halsted St. The paper here is not whatever’s sitting in your printer. Coffee table books of handmade cardboard-thick white sheets illustrate species of whale in shimmering dark blue lines on a table toward the back (right next to the most delicious homemade hot chocolate we’ve ever gotten for free). In the front, vibrant red and creme-spotted mushrooms pop out of the wall (the mushroom cap is a book with the cover facing outward and the pages posing as a mushroom’s gills.
2. Artpentry, 1827 S. Halsted St., 312-624-8687. This is by far one of the coolest galleries we’ve seen. In one corner, you’ll find a pile of old school speaker boxes, rewired to plug into your iPod or other headphone jack (and the sound quality is great!) called the Gentleman’s Boombox. In the other corner, artist Floyd A. Davis IV screenprints t-shirts, and in another he’s hung geometric sketches. Davis may just be one of the more interesting people we met that night.
Listen here to Davis’ interview with TKGO where he discusses how he’s a “Renaissance Man” and the origin of his Gentleman’s Boombox. (The audio can play on iTunes.)
1. Studio 101 Gallery, 1932 S. Halsted St. #101, 312-624-8291. We rank this number 1 not because it’s the best gallery, but because it’s the most fun! The current exhibit is an iPhone photo exhibit, with photos taken by artists from their iPhones. The art/technology fusion continued as Twitter feeds (#iphoneshow) were projected onto the ceiling, allowing guests to post notes that could be seen throughout the studio. Chalkboard paint on the wall also encouraged guests to participate (as did the Tecate in the back of the room). With techno and trance beats running through the speakers, this place turned into a party fast! Great way to end the Friday night art gallery tour, if you ask us.