by Claire Haasl
They’re calling it “Pop-up Art,” a catchy term for a catchy trend. Put quite simply, Pop-up art is a temporary exhibit that ‘pops up’ in empty storefronts and gallery spaces in order to 1. help make art accessible to the public, and 2. activate empty spaces. If you missed the Pop-Up Art Loop last December you still have a chance to see what this movement to bring art to the streets is all about. For the whole month of February you can catch 7 “pods” or storefronts in Pilsen along the 1800 block of South Halsted. Pop-Up art curated and produced by the Chicago Urban Art Society (CUAS) with the help of the Chicago Arts District.
The project is called “Street Level, A pop-up gallery project in Pilsen” and features work by artists, Bridgette Buckley, Chad Kouri and Pete Skvara, Matt Tuteur, Peter Kepha,
Ray CRO Noland, and Ruben Aguirre Jr. The artwork is vibrant and eye catching, and is definitely worth a few passes by in your car if you’re too cold to get out and really get a close up look. But because it all the work is along one block of Halsted, it’s a little like window shopping once you brave the cold, or in my case the cold and the snow. On the East side of the street, Bridgette Buckley has created a gorgeous red fabric hanging sculpture; Ray CRO Noland stenciled a hilariously smart scene of a paranoid Blagojevich shining shoes, voting in the most recent election and drinking from a “colored only” drinking fountain; and Matt Tuteur is showing off is amazing photographic talent. On the West side of the Halsted Peter Kepha, one of the co-founders of Chicago Urban Art Society, has created a large and colorful mask-like sculptural installation; Chad Kouri and Peter Skvara together put together a tapestry of found objects which only becomes more interesting as you get closer; and Ruben Aguirre Jr. painted a valley of color against a black sky that fills the space with lines that force your eye to lift and plummet as though riding a wave.
If you want to see these works for yourself, (and I definitely recommend it) think about going this Thursday, February 11th. Chicago Urban Art Society is hosting Sweet Tooth: a Charity Bake Sale and Art Exhibit about one and a half blocks south of the storefronts at 2003 South Halsted from 6-10pm. It is $20 at the door, but all the money collected goes to support the CUAS and their mission to “promote the art makers visual voice by way of group or solo exhibitions, innovative teaching and learning opportunities and the creation of an arts and culture archive.” Plus there will be more art and lots of sweet treats! For more information on Sweet Tooth, please visit the CUAS website, www.chicagourbanartsociety.org. And if you can’t make it out on the 11th, be sure to “pop” over to Pilsen to check out “Street Level” before February 28th.