Author Archives: By Claudine Ise, Special to the Tribune

You have the keys to the city

'Spontaneous Interventions' aims to offer solutions to contemporary urban problems

At the Chicago Cultural Center, a young intern is stationed behind a tabletop model of downtown Chicago, miniature buildings made of painted wood blocks, old salt shakers and other odds and ends. There's even a tiny plastic cow. When people walk by, she invites them to play: "You can redesign Chicago!"

‘Art comes first’ in Tony Karman’s comeback story

C'mon — who doesn't love a good comeback story? Tony Karman gave us a great one when he launched Expo Chicago in September, a new and improved contemporary art fair that earned high marks for its visually sumptuous design, spacious exhibitor booths — which looked like art galleries, not cramped mall kiosks — and most important, for the impressive quality of the art on display. The former vice president and director of Art Chicago, Karman insisted "the art comes first," and it showed.

Visual arts: Year’s exhibitions were both ambitious and unpredictable

The year 2012 brought exhibitions that were ambitious, unpredictable and sometimes downright messy — but when it comes to art, these are all good things. What's more, all that disheveled enthusiasm wasn't solely confined to the alternative spaces and apartment galleries — Chicago's museums got a little down and dirty too. This was a banner year for sprawling group shows based around participatory themes and methods. Our list of highlights, in no particular order: