bKL Architecture is going as bullish as any Chicago-based firm in this start-and-stop economy, embarking on big commissions in Beijing and Toronto while committing to more and more work at home. The firm bunks with Magellan Development in ground floor offices at Aqua Tower and has partnered with the Lakeshore East progenitor on a number of buildings including two phases of the new GEMS Academy private school.
And now that kinship is extending into River North. Fresh off the drafting table is a 38-story rental tower slated for 720 North LaSalle Street (at Superior) on the present site of a Howard Johnson Inn, one of downtown Chicago’s last remaining suburban-style motels—and a relic of affordability.
My Florence: Photographs by Art Shay
Museum of Contemporary Photography
624 South Michigan Avenue
Through May 24
My Florence is a photographic project by renowned Chicago Photojournalist Art Shay. For over six decades, Art Shay’s photographs have appeared in such periodicals as Time, Life, Fortune, and Sports Illustrated. In Shay’s words, My Florence “is the story in pictures of our 67 years of marriage.” The photographs in this show are primarily candid and capture moments beginning with the first photograph Art took of Florence, his wife, the day they met in 1942 as 20-year-old camp counselors in the Catskills.
Eavesdrop attended the opening of William J. O’Brien’s mid-career solo show on view through May 18 at the Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA) Chicago. 2014 is shaping up to be a strong one for Chicago-based artists, with this show clearly thrusting O’Brien into the upper echelon.
The Chicago Design Museum, our resident pop-up pantheon of graphic aesthetics, is looking for your help to mount the first exhibition in its new permanent home. They’re planning a centennial show for the American Institute of Graphic Arts (hey, AIGA’s as old as Wrigley!), and they’ve launched a Kickstarter campaign to get it funded (and time is really running out!). Eavesdrop’s been known to drop in on ChiDM’s shows since its inception, so we could be persuaded to part with some cash.
A recently restored Frank Lloyd Wright house on Chicago’s far North Side will be open for weekly tours this summer, starting May 7. The Emil Bach House, 7415 North Sheridan Road, is a Chicago Landmark and an entry on the National Register of Historic Places. As a vacation rental, the carefully crafted private dwelling invites Wright enthusiasts to stay a while.
Last year, Mesa Development and the University of Chicago announced they’d planned a 13-story mixed-use development for the western end of Hyde Park’s 53rd Street commercial strip. The massive project drew opposition to its scale and a lawsuit delayed construction—until now.
Chicago’s urban planning history is epic and, therefore, it’s no surprise that the city draws young folks fresh out of school with their MUPs, MPAs, and MPPs in droves (yours truly was one these eight years ago). However, Eavesdrop had no clue how many of them were gay until a couple weeks ago. A young buck, Daniel Ronan—fresh (meat) off the boat from Portland, Oregon—started an LGBT social group for planner and policy folks called Moxie. The inaugural meeting, which took place at Hubbard Inn, was well-attended, including not one, but two AN contributors and Dr. Curtis Winkle, the department head at UIC’s College of Urban Planning and Public Affairs. And some hot guy from our gym whom Eavesdrop didn’t know was a planner—heyyy!
The next meetup takes place on Thursday, April 17 at the Vinyl Lounge Chicago. RSVP here.
Apparently, Chicagoans are bonkers for typography. Jeff Sanchez, Graphic Design Manager for the International Interior Design Association, invited us to Typeforce 5, “the annual showcase of typographic all-stars.” Hosted by the Co-Prosperity Sphere down in Bridgeport, this was the most well attended opening we’ve been to in ages. Eavesdrop bumped into old AN pals, like local designer Michael Savona and Gravity Tank power players Robert Zolna and Moritsugu Kariya. Robert, Eavesdrop wouldn’t mind a new day job, so, if you hire us, rest-assured we’d never use Comic Sans or Chiller in communications with clients. Call us!
4 West Burton Place
Through April 5
Judy Ledgerwood’s Chromatic Patterns is a site-specific work that transforms the lower galleries of the Graham Foundation’s historic Madlener House in Chicago. The house was designed by Richard E. Schmidt and Hugh M. G. Garden and built in 1901–02. Judy Ledgerwood is a Chicago-based painter and educator. She is the recipient of numerous awards, including The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation Award, an Artadia Award, a Tiffany Award in the Visual Arts, a National Endowment for the Arts Award, and an Illinois Art Council Award. This exhibition surrounds the visitor in vibrant colors with a vibrant floral motif that almost mimics the house’s prairie style ornamentation. This installation examines the effect of paint on architecture, specifically the wall covering’s ability to produce new effects and feelings about a space. In this work, Ledgerwood uses ornamentation to change visitors’ perception of the ornamentation in the Madlener House’s lower galleries, highlighting the divergent ways that pattern, color, ornamentation, and surface have been coded, gendered, repressed, and embraced in art and architecture.
Social media was abuzz recently over the reports by eavesdrop, the WSJ, and other major papers about the biggest recession scab over Chicago: the failed Spire designed by Santiago Calatrava. That Irish pie in the sky developer apparently found someone to bail the project out of its foreclosure. Everyone was all, “It’s back on!” Dear readers, until they start pumping the water out of the big hole in the ground, Eavesdrop is betting against this one.