Chicago Art Review

Signs of the Apocalypse / Rapture @ Hyde Park Art Center by Steve Ruiz
July 28, 2009, 2:27 am
Filed under: Chicago, Openings, Reviews

Mystery replaces history this month at the Hyde Park Art Center, where the heavy and the high of contemporary art have been shaken south for one of the hottest shows of the summer. Following the curatorial undertaking that was Artists Run Chicago, the Hyde Park Art Center’s Signs of the Apocalypse/Rapture is a doomsday blend of local and international artists curated by Front 40 Press, who publish the critical survey book of the same name and from which is born this exhibition.

Eduardo De Soignie, Saint Child of Atocha

Eduardo De Soignie, Saint Child of Atocha

Signs of the Apocalypse / Rapture immediately brought up place and time as contributory issues. However foreboding the subject matter of this show, the HPAC’s main gallery space is so beautiful that the imagery of ruin and whirlwind destruction echo like hellfire in a megachurch. Whats even stranger is that the content of the show seemed five years old and politically unsynced, as if some time around the re-election of George W. Bush would have been the more appropriate moment for this show, the peak of doom, back when we were fucked for sure whether it was the terrorists or the neocons or the fags or the devil who would push the button.

Jon Elliott, Continental Drift

Jon Elliott, Continental Drift

Back then I could stare at a Julie Mehretu and imagine myself exploding.

Back then if someone asked me how I expected to die, I would have said “violently.”

Today, I’d say “broke.” Its a different kind of horror.

Ricky Allman, Apocolyzer

Ricky Allman, Apocolyzer

Emilio Perez (detail)

Emilio Perez (detail)

But while the horrible specter of poverty might be overlooked in the content of the artwork shown in Signs of the Apocolypse/Rapture, the quality of artwork does invoke it. Putting an Emilio Perez next to a Julie Mehretu is enough to make any collector ache, and that pairing represents only two of the many top shelf artists who are represented. Though there are plenty of scenes of chaos and collapse, they’re matched with more somber images (David Opdyke‘s Undisclosed Location and Richard Misrach’s Swamp and Pipeline, Geismar, Louisiana) along with a few pictorial, appropriately scaled rapturous paintings (Nicola Verlato‘s Mothers 2, John Prianca‘s Autumn).

Caleb Weintraub

Caleb Weintraub (detail)

The only piece to actually disturb me was from Caleb Weintraub. I think. His painting is hung on the ominous black object in the middle of the gallery and, like the other pieces on that object, whether for misfortune or mystery or mistake, isn’t tagged so far as I could see. Hopefully they are by now.

Andrew Shoultz

Andrew Shoultz

Hisham Akira Bharoocha

Hisham Akira Bharoocha

In addition to the artwork in the main gallery, two wall pieces are included, both stellar and massive. The first is a boggling, visually ecstatic wall painting by Hisham Akira Bharoocha (who also has work in control c, control v), and directly across from it Andrew Schoultz‘ mural rampages down the hallway in a flaming ticker-tape parade. Both are excellent installations, and Schoultz’ piece is an especially appropriate up-sized companion to his painting in the main space.

Andrew Schoultz, Running with Chaos, Nature, War, & Power

Andrew Schoultz, Running with Chaos, Nature, War, & Power

I wish I had greater access to Front 40 Press’ Signs of the Apocalypse / Rapture book, whether at the show or online, as without the critical writing that informed the show I feel like I’m only getting one half the experience. I’m curious. However, when considering the quality and work on display, even my partial slice of the curatorial team’s complete vision may be enough. Signs of the Apocolypse / Rapture is simply an excellent show, a highly appreciated opportunity to see top flight work, and yet another excuse to get down to Hyde Park.

I give it a:


Signs of the Apocalypse / Rapture runs from July 19th to September 20th, 2009 @ the Hyde Park Art Center, 5020 S. Cornell Ave.

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[…] the one with the kids with axes and the owl costumes and crushed space and the one which, when I wrote about that show, I complimented as the show’s “only piece to actually disturb […]

Pingback by Caleb Weintraub @ Peter Miller Gallery « Chicago Art Review

[…] 2) Signs of the Apocalypse / Rapture […]

Pingback by Top Five Shows of the Year That I Went To « Chicago Art Review

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