This striking mural, depicting three skulls that relay the immortal message of “Speak No Evil, See No Evil, Hear No Evil,” is by Chicago-based street artist Vampiro X.
See it now on Allen Street just north of Stanton on the LES, where it’s part of The New Allen project. I believe it went up in February of 2020, so it should be up for a few months into the spring, at least.
Hailed as “the perfect painter” by avant-garde writer Gertrude Stein, Juan Gris developed his signature approach to Cubism beginning in 1911. Using classic café subject matter — such as the newspaper, seltzer bottle, and glass seen here — Gris made subtle adjustments to the conventions of picture making that render ordinary objects both familiar and newly intriguing. For example, in The Checkerboard (1915) and its bird’s-eye view of a tabletop, a cunning reorganization of pictorial space places objects that should have volume into a single compressed plane. With a nod to play, Gris shows us a fragmented checkerboard, an emblem of the strategy and gamesmanship at the center of his art.
Chicago is a fabulous city and home to one of the most beautifully curated art museums (The Art Institute) in the world. That said, it definitely does not enjoy a socially vibrant art scene that is equivalent to that of NYC — with its vast number of galleries in Chelsea, the LES, Midtown and Uptown. While the NYC art scene hosts a weekly (Thursday) night of opening receptions in galleries across the city, Chicago has one such evening per month, which is called Second Friday. Taking place in the Chicago Arts District (also known as Pilsen) Second Fridays Gallery Night is a monthly evening of opening receptions at the galleries and artists’ studios along South Halsted Street. If you’re a tourist and have the chance to attend Second Fridays only once, the one studio you must absolutely must not miss is House of The Apocalypse.
More of a studio showcase than a traditional gallery, House of The Apocalypse is where you’ll find an impressive and visually engaging collection of wildly embellished Sci-Fi-themed, mannequin-based sculptures known as the Warriors of the Apocalypse, which are designed and compiled from found objects by artist and gallery owner Brian Sperry.
The Warriors have a backstory, courtesy of Sperry, as follows:
The year is 3095, a post-apocalyptic world. Man and machine unite to form a hybrid super soldier to fight against tyranny and oppression perpetrated by governments, corporations, and banks that have destroyed the planet. The Warriors spread truth and light in a futuristic world where humanity is fighting to survive. In the darkness, we are light. We will stand and fight. We are the Warriors of the Apocalypse!
Sperry also offers his Artist’s Statement:
The visual elements of my figurative sculptures takes abstract human forms and gives them an acid bath in the surreal. The compositions attempts to displace the viewer and prompt them to question their own cognitive dissonance that is a pervasive part of what is destroying our society. The reconceptualization of mechanical found objects and the human form exudes hybridism and trans-humanism, the next wave of human evolution
This juxtaposition of objects and the body attempts to give the viewer an interactive experience and encouragement to take a stand against imperialist scum who are determined to act as slave masters over the entire planet. Each figure is a Warrior embodying specific aspects of the spirit of revolt against the system. My work can me summed up in one slogan: Death to Tyranny!
House of The Apocalypse is located at 1908 South Halsted Street, Chicago. It is open to the public every Second Friday of the month from 6-10 PM and by appointment. A suggested donation of a few dollars is requested to photograph the sculptures. Worth it.
Navy Pier in Chicago is the place to be if you want to take a bunch of photos of a person who gets paid to hang out in a Bubba Gump Shrimp Mascot costume. Appropriate for a Pink Thing of The Day, the costume is a cheerful shade of Shrimp Pink, so that counts!
It is this guy’s job to stand outside the restaurant and try not scare people away, I think.
Here, he is posing for a holiday snap with group of tourist fans! A lasting memory from an incredible vacation!
Look straight ahead and keep walking, honey!
Hello Ladies, are you perhaps hungry for some delicious chain-restaurant seafood?
He is willing to go the extra mile to recruit those who wish to dip him in drawn butter.
This amazing painting featuring a group of seven of the most well-known Fast Food Mascots at a funeral was spotted by me at an arts and crafts street fair in Chicago. They are clearly serving as pallbearers and you can see that the coffin says “Monsanto,” the notorious chemical company. But, what does it all mean? The painting is clearly mounted in an up-cycled window frame, and the rows of towering palm trees in the background indicates that the location is southern California. I neglected to note the artist’s name, so if anyone has a clue as to who painted this, and what it is all about, please leave that information in the comments! Thank you, Drive Through!
Geoffrey and I were on our way to visit the Lincoln Park Zoo when we passed a building with a glass store-front from whose interior a Pink Neon Sign called out to me. The building turned out to be the home of the Chicago History Museum (formerly known as the Chicago Historical Society), and it looked like a pretty cool place. We did not have time for an in-depth visit (next time!), but we did snap a few photos in the lobby, which is alive with a streetscape of illuminated, vintage Chicago signage such as the eight-feet tall Gas for Less sign you see above, as well as a fully refurbished Lowrider Car, which you may see in a future post! Chicago!
“Paying Attention All the Time is an Interesting Way to Go Through the Day.” That is my favorite quote from photographer Stephen Shore, and while it applies to most days of my life, it was especially true during the week I spent vacationing in Chicago. Man, excluding decent weather, that city has just about everything, including lots of fun public art. This site-specific mural of cartoonish fat cats is painted on the exterior of Broken English Taco Pub, which according to its website serves “A unique take on Mexican street style tacos.” Sound yummy!
We were running around so much that we didn’t have an opportunity to eat there (next time!) and I only got one good snap of the entire mural, but here is a cropped view of the cats, which look like ‘cat balloons,’ almost. The Luchador Mask-wearing Cat below is on the back side of the building on Wells Street as you walk toward the entrance.
There are three Broken English Taco Pub locations in Chicago, but this one is located at 1440 N. Wells (at the corner Schiller Street) in the Old Town neighborhood.