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Arts & Culture

Sister’s Whispers: Writing Nüshu in China, Writing Chinese in America

Departing from a 2022 documentary, “Hidden Letters,” that shines light upon an obscure writing system, Nüshu, practiced historically among certain groups of women in China, Xiao savors the complexity of being a Chinese woman in the Midwest and explores bonds that can be formed through the exclusivity of language.

A good girl can fight her way through a thousand troops;

A good horse can gallop into a myriad-man battle!

—Wilt Idema, Heroines of Jiangyong: Chinese Narrative Ballads in Women’s Sc

Discover five new Chicagoland artists

Chicago’s art scene wouldn’t be as vibrant if we didn’t have so much new talent entering the flow each year. After all, art is about growth, change, and discovery. In its past editions, the Cleve Carney Museum of Art’s Emerging Artist Exhibit has highlighted some of the most iconic Chicagoland artists, including 2021 Joan Mitchell Fellowship award recipient Mie Kongo, who exhibited at EXPO Chicago 2022, and Juliann Wang, DCASE Individual Artists Program Grantee for 2021 and 2022, and a 2022 arti

Finding a connection through art and poetry

Americans continue to live through a silent epidemic of loneliness where over half of minority and low-income populations feel isolated and alone. “Threads,” on view at the Ukrainian Institute of Modern Art (UIMA) through October 22, invites visitors to reconsider how humans develop emotional ties and find new ways to emphasize compassion and connectivity. “Threads” is a communication experiment between art and poetry where textile artists create new work based on selected poems written by Ukrai

From Le Perroquet to STREET

Living in Chicago, we hear these amazing restaurant success stories that sound like unimaginable adventures. Too often, these tales have undergone massive editing and polishing to the point where even the worst struggle sounds like a finely crafted Shakespearean sonnet. We rarely see the raw truth. We look at successful restaurants and chefs with their list of awards, and the first thing we think is that they are different from people like us. Then an independent documentary like Susan Feniger.

REVIEW: What Else Do You Want from Me? Questioning Unrealistic Expectations on Female Resilience with Rebecca Drolen’s “Unstable Entity” at Filter Space

The exhibition is composed of three types of photographs. Images of female bodybuilders were the archetypes, representing the human body’s maximized strength and physicality. The artist’s performances of dance and yoga movements require more delicate displays of strength, such as intricate muscle control, balancing, and tender elegance, yet demand just as much stamina for proper delivery. Finally, the assemblages of planks, wood blocks, cinder blocks, and other found construction materials put t

Back in Time, to the Beginning: A Tribute to Taylor Swift and a New Age

Xiao da Cunha creative essay and tribute to Taylor Swift, her re-recording of 1989 (and others), and her presence in girlhoods around the world.

Taylor Swift's appeal is unparalleled. No, really.

For Swifties, she is everything: an inspiration, a tap on the shoulder, a push in the back, and a patient girlfriend. Born in the early 90s, Taylor and I (and about every other girl back then) took place in every step of each others lives; I watched her music career skyrocket and in turn, her music go

Vagina, vagina on the wall

Are those vaginas on the wall?

Coin Cunts, created by Louisiana-based artist Suzanna Scott, are colorful kiss lock coin purses sewn into the shape of a vagina, fearlessly presenting the organ that brings women pleasure and pain, pride and shame.

Do you look away, or do you admire how the smooth, colorful flannel resembles that most intimate and delicate body part?

The sculpture assemblage 4th Runner Up (Self Portrait as Trophy Wife), by Chicago-and-Washington, D.C.-based Iranian American arti

Making Spaces in the Museums: on Duane Linklater’s “mymotherside” at the MCA Chicago

Upon entering the museum space, visitors were greeted by a giant, uncovered tipi sheltering a hooded figure standing on top of a refrigerator on a wood pallet. Stripped naked to its bare bones, the tipi skeleton stares at the visitors in calmness and tranquility, whereas the hooded figure looks much similar to a sacrifice on an altar. All that was missing was a fire.

In the piece “what grief conjures,” Linklater deconstructed the most universal indigenous cultural symbol known by the public: th

What the SITE has to Say

For one, a site contains endless possibilities as materials and structures interact and communicate to imply what the final product will look like. At the same time, it is the particular implementation of the builder’s process to realize an idea.

SITE Seeing, currently on view at Charlotte Street Foundation, showcases “artists working at the intersection of architecture, site specificity, abstraction, and perception” to explore ways artists construct new forms and invigorate spaces. Curator Cal

Beyond Youth, Beauty, and Grace

I cannot imagine anyone not becoming curious when they see a neurotic noble woman ordering her handmaid to tighten up her corset with a pale, suffering face. When the trailer for Corsage, a re-imagination of a crucial year in the reputable Empress Sisi’s life, popped up on my Instagram feed, I knew I was in for something good.

The original trilogy about Princess Sisi’s life was one of the first foreign movies that became popular in China. Our mothers, aunts, and even female teachers spoke of th

Ignorance is not a Bliss

An email from ArtsKC landed in my mailbox. It asked for “feedback” regarding the latest book-banning attempt in Missouri.

As of October 2022, 32 states are reinforcing book bans, with Texas leading the show with a dumbfounding 801 banned titles, followed by Florida (566), Pennsylvania (457), and Tennessee (349) (Brooklyn Daily Eagle, 2022). Most of the “most commonly banned books in the U.S.” over the 2021–22 school year discuss LGBTQ rights, racial inequality, gender identities, feminism, sexu

Penis Envy is A Myth

On “This Is Not A Pipe” by Chicago Danztheatre

What if Sigmund Freud was actually a woman?

What if the analysis of dreams was her last and desperate attempt to shield herself from her own identity confusion as a woman?

To kick start their 2023 season, Chicago Danztheatre brought back one of their most iconic and memorable productions: This Is Not A Pipe.

A stageplay, a musical, and a contemporary dance ensemble, This Is Not A Pipe is everything you would NOT expect from a play spun off Sigmu

We are Angry at The Wrong People

We are Angry at The Wrong People

A.I. art won first prize at a privileged art contest, and the crowd is furious. NFT bro burns ten-million Frida Kalo sketch — what an unforgivable crime. Climate protestors defile master paintings in museums to create controversy, and a few of us thought: what a pity that hurting people is illegal.

But what if I tell you we’re all yelling at the wrong people?

Don’t get me wrong. I am as furious as you’re at the fact such absurdity is happening. Nonetheless, sh

An Eloquent Presentation is Louder Than An Angry Roar

An Eloquent Presentation is Louder Than An Angry Roar

on Nick Cave’s “Forothermore” and activism in art

As Nick Cave’s “Forothermore” comes to an end and his new collaborative exhibition “The Color Is” opens, there seems to be no better time to share some thoughts provoked by these colorful and meaningful installations and sculptures.

“Forothermore,” exhibiting at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, is a multi-media installation showcasing Nick Cave’s most iconic and representative pieces

A.I. as a Conceptualization Tool

The rise of the AI art programs, like any other AI tools, has started another wave of controversy (like we haven’t had enough, right?). Just like how many years ago, people feared robotics would replace fundamental manufacturing jobs that many rely on as the only means to feed their families, artists now fear that AI art will take away their market.

According to a 2021 study, robots will end up helping create more jobs for their human counterparts while reducing redundant management, which is a

Human + Nature: Re-introducing the Basics Of How Humans Can Interact With Art

Human + Nature: Reintroducing the Basics Of How Humans Can Interact With Art

I've been waiting to pay the Human + Nature exhibition a visit. Of course, giant sculptures resonating with my spirituality and personal philosophy sound intriguing. However, I was curious about how these sculptures would interact with the surroundings. After all, "human + nature" is a quite high-level concept — and sculptures playing with natural symbols alone sound slightly insufficient to fully unfold the symbiotic

All The Cool Kids Are Painting By Hand

All The Cool Kids Are Painting By Hand

What it means to be a traditional artist in the era of AI and digitality

Midjourney blew up the Internet and brought AI art from an experimental concept to flesh-and-blood reality. Whether we want to admit it or not, a computer program is now far more skillful than at least 80% of artists (self-proclaimed or not) in this world.

So, just imagine the public’s reaction. What a brew of hatred, intimidation, excitement, and expectations. Isn’t it interesting

We’ve Had the Answers All Along — on Robert Heinlein’s “For Us, The Living”

We’ve Had the Answers All Along — on Robert Heinlein’s “For Us, The Living”

Most know Heinlein for his longer epics, from The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress to Stranger in Stranger Land. It is not unfamiliar to devoted sci-fi readers, especially social science fiction readers, that Heinlein is one of the leading voices advocating alternative social structures and showing both the absurdity of our presence and a hopeful future.

Unlike the Utopian/Dystopian route so highly attributed to today’s scienc

Desired Lines by Isgshaan Adams: Tracing Through Past and Future

Desire Lines by Igshaan Adams: Tracing Through Past and Future

What is the most anticipated art exhibition in Chicago this April? Desire Lines showing at the Art Institute came out on top of my list.

Created by South African artist Igshaan Adams, Desire Lines was an astonishing textile haven that carried us through the artist’s past, presence, and future, weaving old and new influences the artist underwent into a beautiful narrative. For those of us who also left our home country to chase the

From Cuteness to Darkness — A Tribute to Japanese Artist Munokubo

From Cuteness to Darkness — A Tribute to Japanese Artist Munokubo

It has almost been three whole months, yet the thought of one of my favorite illustrators has passed still rips a piece from my heart. For years, I quietly followed Monokubo across social media, witnessing the change in her art’s subject and style.

However, while I was one of the people wondering what has the artist gone through IRL, I never expected her death at such a young age. Her art had so much energy and hoped hidden bene

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