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Art Roundup: The Fair and Balanced Edition

By Justin Sondak in Arts & Entertainment on Apr 19, 2006 10:50PM

Chicagoist has been called plenty of not so nice things. Some of these adjectives are spot on, some baseless accusations. We’ll admit we sometimes get things wrong and can stand to improve. So in the spirit of springtime renewal, we turn to the galleries and museums to help us right our wrongs.

Chicagoist has been hard on the Amish, too hard perhaps. Sure, they’re different. Sure, we’ve laughed at their expense. But they want the same independence, sense of freedom, and happiness which our forefathers fought for and inscribed into America’s most sacred documents. The Illinois State Museum downtown branch’s latest exhibit puts Amish and non-Amish quilts side-by-side to explore how these artists declared their aesthetic independence from larger trends. The Amish avant-garde, if you will.

cartooncar.jpgWe’ve been called sellouts and worse for cozying up to a car company, and some of you will be thrilled to know that we recently paid our respects to an even cooler auto manufacturer who pasted their brand all over the latest exhibit at DvA Gallery. In the spirit of ‘Cows on Parade,’ but much more commercialized, the gallery is showing three-foot models of the sponsor’s car painted and refashioned so many different ways. The anthropomorphized cartoon car (to the right) was one of our favorites.

And yes, we really do think we’re so smart. But for the next few months, we know the real genius in town is Leonardo da Vinci. One of the greatest painters and inventors the world has ever known, Leonardo practically defined Renaissance Man. He brought art into the 16th century and beyond. He enlightened generations about our body, our selves, and at the Museum of Science and Industry’s recently opened “Leonardo da Vinci: Man, Inventor, Genius,” we can learn more about his robot! Exhibit visitors can poke around models and simulations of his many inventions and then learn about 40 modern inventors who’d love to be remembered in Leonardo’s company.

Amish and English is at the Illinois State Museum Chicago Gallery, 100 W. Randolph, through August 18. The funky cars are at DvA Gallery, 2568 N. Lincoln, through April 30. Leonardo da Vinci: Man, Inventor, Genius is at the Museum of Science and Industry, 57th Street and Lake Shore Drive, through September 4.

Image via the author, just so you don’t think we stole it.