“Undoubtedly, only artists devote themselves to science.”
– Santiago Ramón y Cajal, 1900 interview
Art and science may seem like complete opposites to some. But for Santiago Ramón y Cajal, the father of modern neuroscience, blending the two led him to groundbreaking discoveries about the human mind. Growing up in the late half of the 19th century, Cajal dreamed of becoming an artist, but his father encouraged him to pursue medicine instead.
As a neuroscientist, Cajal found a way to blend his talents by drawing detailed diagrams of the brain as he observed it through a microscope. “Cajal represents a good example of the bridge between science and artistic inspiration that existed in an earlier age,” said Javier DeFelipe, a researcher at Cajal’s namesake research institute in Madrid.
Novel at the time, scientists still use Cajal’s drawings and techniques in research today. He won the Nobel Prize in 1906 for his pioneering work.
Music is never something created within a vacuum. Time and place are the cornerstones for the very essence of a musical genre. These, along with culture, identity, politics and society all formulate trends within the musical space. Yet, the world no longer quite holds the same boundaries it once did. The internet has expanded to allow globalization to remove the shackles of proximity and temporal vicinity.
Right now, the internet is creating and cultivating its own culture based on the new connected world. This culture impacts the music itself with the internet housing genres that could only have formulated community within the digital space. 2018 saw the rise of a new genre that overtook YouTube. Unlike those before it, this was not so much a remix, but a rejuvenation and resurrection.
For Medill Newsmakers we explore the music, fans, curators and the rise of ‘City Pop’ from 1980’s Japan.
In an age of social media and high-quality iPhone photography, music festivals have become the perfect backdrop for any fashionista’s post. Festivalgoers at Pitchfork 2018 didn’t let a rainy forecast or cloudy skies damper any chance of showing off their unique looks.
The typical flower crown and boho dress were left at Coachella, as attendees of the three-day festival mixed bold patterns, textures and gender identifiers.
2018 marks the 13th year that Pitchfork has curated the performances at Union Park, with capacity for 20,000 attendees per day over three days this year. Crowds had the opportunity to hear the likes of Ms. Lauryn Hill, Chaka Khan and Tame Impala, to name a few.
Photo at top: Shaheem Anderson and Max Goldstein walking throughout festival arm in arm. (Katelyn Sabater/Medill)
William Douglas has been creating art since he was a child. But unlike other children, he stayed away from the company of people. As someone who battles social anxiety, Douglas found a haven in Project Onward, a not-for-profit studio and gallery for artists with physical and developmental disabilities.
Video: William Douglas narrates his life story as he creates a bouquet of flowers, at the Project Onward Gallery. (Vishakha Darbha/MEDILL)
Photo on Top: Douglas’ final piece: A bouquet of flowers bought by Robert Darnell for his wife Susan, on Mother’s Day. (Vishakha Darbha/MEDILL)
Riverside is a small Cook County village where time seems to have stopped. Street lights powered by gas still line the sidewalks. A small business, that’s been around since 1948, still produces glass art. The studio’s brochure calls it a place where “miracles are done with everyday glass.”
Higgins Glass celebrates it’s 68th birthday this year. Michael Higgins and his wife Frances started the company to make art. Today, their works are sold around the world. Some Higgins pieces are even on display in famous museums around the United States and Europe. But the glass is still sold for every price range.
“Because art must be for everyone”, says Jonathan Wimmer, an artist who works at the studio.
Michael and Frances Higgins passed away years ago, but their legacy is carried on by the Wimmer family. The Wimmers worked with the Higgins for decades. The original style and glass making technique hasn’t changed.
Some of the Higgins glass artworks at their studio, in Riverside (Iacopo Luzi/MEDILL)
Malala Yousafzai. Benazir Bhutto. Gloria Gaynor. These women of color – activists, leaders, cultural icons – stand in sharp relief against the sky-blue background of the collage.
Pasted together, their edges overlapping, the figures pay homage to survivors of sexual violence, domestic violence, political violence, deportation, incarceration and hate crimes.
“They kept going,” said the artist, Naomi Anurag Lahiri, gazing at her framed collage on the wall. Sometimes it’s hard for her to get out of bed in the morning, she said; this piece is a reminder to push onward.
Clad in orange jumpsuits, a group of high school students carrying large suitcases trudged onto the center stage. Heads down with hands, feet and waists shackled, they took a seat on their suitcases while two girls dressed as nuns slithered through the “criminals” and settled in front of them.
“Outside, the deportation bus looks like just a regular coach, but on the inside, Plexiglas separates us from the men and women,” one of the nuns narrated in a somber tone. “You can’t walk down the aisle. You can’t just touch them on the shoulder to say goodbye.”
Desperate, one of the deportees called to the nuns in Spanish: “Please tell my wife that I love her and take care of my children.” Continue reading →
While voters across the nation cast Super Tuesday ballots, Columbia College Chicago students merged their artistic talent with political activism through a free poster giveaway depicting candidates in the 2016 presidential election.
The Art + Activism student group provided potential young voters with detailed voting information and tries to persuade people to register to vote. To capture their peers’ attention, organizers gave out 10 posters that mimic the style of artist Shepard Fairey’s iconic Barack Obama poster, according to Lane Hedler, president of the organization.
“This year’s election is kind of theatrical and the candidates are kind of wild and have their own personalities. We want to utilize that to spark this conversation among young people about the election,” said Emily Gallaugher, member of the project. Continue reading →
According to acclaimed Chinese artist Xu Bing, the answer is all around us.
“Our creations will always be a response to the new energy and questions or problems that occur from our social reality,” said Xu, who spoke before a full auditorium at the Art Institute of Chicago on February 22 as part of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago’s Visiting Artists Program.