The State of the Arts

Artists from Illinois– and one from Minnesota – Make Monstrous Magic

Who is your favorite artist from Illinois? Ed Paschke? Vivian Maier? Archibald Motley? How about Ivan Albright or Tony Fitzpatrick or Leon Golub?


Art by Julia HawArt by Julia Haw

Maybe it’s someone whose work you haven’t been introduced to yet. Next time you’re near the Thompson Center, visit the free Chicago Gallery of the Illinois State Museum — one of five art sites around the state that feature Illinois artists – and meet a local artist through his or her work.A just opened exhibition highlights paintings, prints and mixed media from four artists who hail from Chicago to downstate Chatham. It’s called “Focus 4; Four Solo Exhibitions” and runs through August 15th.

Art by Guy BensonArt by Guy Benson


The artists – Barbara Aubin, Guy Benson, Julia Haw and Thom Whalen – offer sensual forms and potent imagery that is as cryptic as it beautiful. These works can transport you or freak you out with a touch of psychedelia.


"The Beast" by John Preus (at the Hyde Park Art Center)“The Beast” by John Preus (at the Hyde Park Art Center)

And if you’re really looking for a real freak-out, visit the Hyde Park Art Center’s new exhibition The Beast, by Minneapolis-born John PreusThe Beast is an interactive sculpture that will swallow you up. Visitors can enter the skeletal structure of the Paul Bunyan-sized creature and experience it in different ways, too – the spectacle will be a setting for related programming of live music, storytelling, and dinners. There’s even a weekly yoga and meditation session in the belly of the Beast.

Artist John Preus is best known as a fabricator for artist Theaster Gates and creating furniture for his own Dilettante Studios. The Beast is open now and transforming daily through August 3rd.