BWW Reviews: Art Institute of Chicago Showcases Video Art, Film with Steyerl, McQueen Exhibitions
Art Institute of Chicago, Steve McQueen, Hito Steyerl
Following its highly publicized summer Lichtenstein retrospective, the Art Institute of Chicago appears to be putting emphasis on video art and film installations during the fall season with two innovative new exhibitions - FOCUS: HITO STEYERL and Steve McQueen.
The exhibition from German artist Hito Steyerl, a part of the ongoing FOCUS series in the modern wing, includes six film installations: NOVEMBER, LOVELY ANDREA, IN FREE FALL, ABSTRACT, ADORNO'S GREY and GUARDS. Steyerl’s body of work often switches between serious, playful, and humorous; and her films focus on topics of sexuality, feminism, ethnicity, activism, and youthful experimentation.
One of the highlights of the exhibition is certainly the film LOVELY ANDREA, which documents Steyerl’s trip to Tokyo where she attempts to find a photograph of herself from 1987 in which she posed in bondage gear. LOVELY ANDREA is one of the more comical works in the collection, with cutaways to SPIDERMAN and the film FLASHDANCE as well as a soundtrack that includes “She Works Hard for the Money” by Donna Summer.
Yet, the film is also fascinatingly multi-faceted, as it looks at the past and present S&M scene in Tokyo, while also using the subject matter to inspire the viewer to examine societal norms by comparing the bondage of the S&M scene to the bondage of everyday life.
The exhibition from British artist Steve McQueen, in the Institute’s Regenstein Hall, features 14 video art installations and one sculptural piece. The exhibition is quite awe-inspiring, with Regenstein Hall being transformed into a dimly lit space that is occupied by large-scale video installations. The installations are mostly “in the round,” as many of them feature multiple sides that alter the viewer’s experience in sight and sound as they walk from one side to the next.