You are here

Special Projects

Gaylord & Dorothy Donnelley Foundation Curatorial Fellowship in Partnership with the CAC


CAC and the Gaylord & Dorothy Donnelley Foundation are pleased to announce the second exhibition, Yelling at the Sky, in their curatorial fellowship program. La Keisha Leek, an emerging curator and graduate of CAC's HATCH Projects, was selected to conceive the next exhibition, featuring artists affiliated with some of the twenty visual arts organizations that the Foundation supports in the Chicago metropolitan area.

Featured Artists
Robert Burnier - Zakkiyyah Najeebah - Lise Haller Baggesen Ross - Michiko Itatani - Darian Longmire - Victoria Martinez - Nicole Mauser - Cristiane Mohallem - Johana Moscoso

Yelling at the Sky

The Gaylord & Dorothy Donnelley Foundation Exhibition
July 8, 2016 –  January 9, 2017

Yelling at the Sky is an exhibition that explores the artistic practice of working through a void into resolve. The title is inspired by a 2011 independent film directed by Victoria Mahoney, which leads the audience through a young girl’s coming of age, discovering herself and the world around her through trial and error. When I began visiting the twenty-two grantees of the Gaylord & Dorothy Donnelley Foundation, I found myself wanting to create an exhibition that was as inclusive and representative of as many visual art practices and artists as possible. There was no one answer. In talking with the artists, the common thread between my curatorial process and their practices was allowing the work to lead. In other words, finding meaning through process and experience.

Artist Robert Burnier is interested in beauty and manipulating structures through the act of repetition. The three works featured in the exhibition are representative of Burnier’s own manipulation of material and the outcome of its form when pushed to its limit. Cristiane Mohallem, also interested in beauty, uses the lens of environmental consciousness to investigate the relationship between people and the natural world. The sky, animals, and trees are recurring subjects in Mohallem’s work. The image of the tree in Violets Appear in a Pleasant Season is a layered embroidery of repetitive stitches, tracing a tree as it blooms from Winter to Spring. Environment also plays a significant role in Victoria Martinez’s work. Her sculpture, Sunday, embeds the story of her travels to the tops of the Sun and Moon Pyramids in Teotihuacan, Mexico. Here, the artist felt a spiritual solace with a higher power, creating a metaphysical connection between the self and the void. In pushing themselves and their practices, these artists have figuratively flung themselves to the universe with no more than the faith that it will yell back.


Image: Darian Longmire, Selection from a satellite, 2016, Monotype and screenprint, 16 x 20 inches


CAC and the Gaylord & Dorothy Donnelley Foundation are pleased to announce an inaugural curatorial fellowship program. Jessica Cochran, an emerging curator and graduate of CAC's HATCH Projects was selected to create an exhibition featuring artists affiliated with some of the twenty visual arts organizations that the Foundation supports in the Chicago metropolitan area. The exhibition, The Heart of the Matter, will be installed in the foundation’s Chicago offices from late January through June 2016.  The Donnelley Foundation will host several events in 2016 to view the exhibition. 

Featured Artists
Esau McGhee - Laura Davis - Alex Bradley Cohen - Roberto Jamora - Alice Tippit - Jovencio de la Paz - Jean Schuster - Josue Pellot - Howard Fonda - Anna Kunz - Polly Yates - L.J. Roberts 

The Heart of the Matter 

The Gaylord & Dorothy Donnelley Foundation Exhibition
January 29  – June, 2016

The protagonist of the meta-fictional novel, The Illogic of Kassel, is a Spanish writer-in-residence at the citywide Documenta biennial, where he moves through a sometimes-foreign, sometimes-familiar sea of contemporary art and ideas, experiencing in near-simultaneity the cyclical highs and lows of an artist’s inner life. On his last day walking the German city of Kassel, he expresses an absorptive “peak”: 

 “Art was, in effect, something that was happening to me, happening at that very moment. And the world seemed new again, moved by an invisible impulse. Everything was so relaxing and admirable, it was impossible not to look. Blessed is the morning, I thought."  (Enrique Vila-Matas)

As cultural producers, how is our capacity to make catalyzed by what Vila-Matas calls the ‘invisible impulses’ that move through the world? In this sense, how are the objects and images we make something of a vital record; a form of transmission; an extraction from the everyday? 

What unites these works—mostly “faces and places”—is some observable manifestation of the artist's everyday life through closely observed gestures that span intimacy, awkwardness, specificity and inimitability.  At the heart of each work we can perhaps locate, at arms length, the mobilization of some “invisible impulse” or energizing force – it may be an Instagram photo, a magazine, a bottle, studio remnants, rocks, a residency, a friend, a joke, or a llama. In a world saturated and fast, these artists model slowness and divergence, situating themselves and re-situating themselves in relation to the world, as if art is always, "in effect," happening.

Images: Anna Kunz, Untitled, 2011, found Styrofoam, branch and enamel; Alice Tippit, Flush, 2015, Oil on canvas