Vijay Iyer


“I’m not balanced; I’m imbalanced. It’s a scramble being an artist in America. I guess in my case, I’ve taken on more challenges than necessary. It’s probably because as an artist you want to keep growing and keep learning and transforming. What all these things do for me is they lead me somewhere outside of myself, and that’s nourishing. Because otherwise, I’ll just be spiraling in the same area forever—and that sounds, to me, terrifying. Not to say that you can’t stay with one thing and go deeper in; that’s also very enriching.”

Black Box

This is a promotional post. I (we) know one of the people behind this new online publication, even though the thing appears to be anonymous, and we (I) wish it well, Suzanne. Here is text from a couple of its pages (and my proofreading compulsion kicked in a bit).

“If we consider a black box that can not be opened or examined inside, we can only make a guess as to how it works, and what happens when something interacts with it and what happens in result of that. If we put a ball in one side and a ball fell out the other side, it’s possible that the box is full of balls. Or there could be a broken Dyson vacuum inside. Or the gravitational pull outside the box is greater than inside the box. In the end, all we can do is hypothesize.”


“Black Box is a bi-annual literary zine focusing on nonfiction, poetry, and illustration. Our concentration is on experimental and short form writing in an attempt to explore the power of a single word and its relation to the whole. We’re drawn to pieces that focus on the economy of words used to convey the greater ecosystem they take part in. Illustrations should mirror this concept in visual language, consisting of simple images and minimalist use of color.

“Each issue is printed entirely in black and white, focused on the theme of a singular color. The color is meant to serve as a backdrop, a diving board or a negative space. It does not dictate. It is the black box, and in the end, all we can do is hypothesize.

“Black Box is currently accepting submissions for our Spring 2015 issue. The issue’s theme is Blue and we are looking for short form, experimental creative nonfiction and poetry as well as black & white illustrations. We will be accepting pieces until 2/01/15. To submit email your work (no longer than one page per piece) to”

This sounds as though photography is not (yet) welcome, but that it could fit into their guidelines with ease. Perhaps an editor’s personal taste does not happen to include photos at this time; send some in anyway and see what happens.

P.S. I get a kick out of how long the “economy of words” sentence is.

“Go” Here & Do “This”







Later (much).

Happy Birthday, Roy DeCarava (1919-2009)







W. o’ W.: Elaine Mayes


“I never thought of seeing as a skill. I think it is an ability that can be educated and can go further.  Thinking is important too. Seeing is a kind of thinking. It is an act of engagement or consideration.”



Technology, Redefined.


I posted a post-dated post yesterday! somehow showed up as a November 14 entry; how did this happen? Who knows! Hoocares!? Just click on the link so you can watch the video.


Visit the National Veterans’ Art Museum at 4041 North Milwaukee Avenue to see 100 Faces of War Experience: Portraits and Words of Americans Who Served in Iraq and Afghanistan, a solo exhibition of paintings by Matt Mitchell. P1060364

From the catalog: “Unlike photographs, portraits are artists’ interpretation and presentation of their subjects” (emphasis mine). P1060366

“The artist met with each person to start their painting…  Each meeting lasted between two and eight hours. Mitchell then continued working for 40 to 80 hours to complete each portrait.”


The gallery truly becomes a place for contemplation. Also on permanent display: “The Things They Carried.” From the website: “With artworks and objects created and collected by over twenty Vietnam veteran artists, The Things They Carried also provides visual interpretations to viewers, illustrating the war by those who were there.” This installation includes actual photographs.

At the Chicago Cultural Center, allow yourself to be engulfed by “Drury Brennan: Die Welt (The World).”P1060369


From the card: “With the heart of a beatmaker, eyes of a ‘Street Artist’ and mouth of a poet, Brennan seeks to unite these disparate traditions & concepts, making new systems of poetics to bring us together.” P1060373



TONIGHT! the big reception and awards ceremony for the Harper Area HS Art Show! This year’s drawing/painting/photo display cases are a little thin on bombast and contrast, and imagination beyond the terms of each assigned project. Still, as Lee Friedlander said, “The pleasures of good photographs are the pleasures of good photographs, whatever the particulars of their makeup” (or the care invested in the making of their negative[s] and their prints). Regarding that, Kendall Free’s picture may be the best print in the entire show, and Buffalo Grove’s photography the best overall. Between the quality of the lighting and the size of the crowd, one may need a little luck in order to view all of the work.






The biggest thrills, however, are reserved for the other (almost secret) display area for the 3-D mediums. No amount of signage can be too much for directing tonight’s audience to this work.



The biggest expense for the participating schools is tonight’s refreshments. Go early; say, seven-ish.