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Stepping into “Fashioning the Black Body” at projects+gallery

Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Events, Sightings  Rikki Byrd projects + gallery Kenturah Davis Kehinde Wiley Fahamu Pecou David antonio Cruz Dario Calmese Bisa Butler Basil Kincaid

Whenever I attend an opening at projects+gallery, I find myself as fascinated by what the crowd is wearing as much as by the art on the walls. Fashioning the Black Body, which opened Friday March 15, and the artists talk the following day, led me down the same delightful path.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Events, Sightings  Rikki Byrd projects + gallery Kenturah Davis Kehinde Wiley Fahamu Pecou David antonio Cruz Dario Calmese Bisa Butler Basil Kincaid

The exhibition is Dario Calmese’s, above right, curatorial debut. He is a multi-faceted artist who was the creative force behind last year’s wildly popular exhibition at projects + gallery titled Amongst Friends.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Events, Sightings  Rikki Byrd projects + gallery Kenturah Davis Kehinde Wiley Fahamu Pecou David antonio Cruz Dario Calmese Bisa Butler Basil Kincaid

In the curator’s statement on the gallery’s website, Calmese says: “Far from the reaches of frivolity–a domain to which fashion is usually relegated–Black people have continually engaged the fashion object beyond its utilitarian functions into a device of pride, protection, resistance and camouflage.”

Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Events, Sightings  Rikki Byrd projects + gallery Kenturah Davis Kehinde Wiley Fahamu Pecou David antonio Cruz Dario Calmese Bisa Butler Basil Kincaid

Artist David Antonio Cruz’s painting, above, is titled thereturnofthedirtyboys/girls.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Events, Sightings  Rikki Byrd projects + gallery Kenturah Davis Kehinde Wiley Fahamu Pecou David antonio Cruz Dario Calmese Bisa Butler Basil Kincaid

Fahamu Pecou’s Black Boy Fly, 2014, acrylic & gold leaf on canvas. During Saturday’s conversation Calmese said that “none of my female friends are attracted to this look.”

Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Events, Sightings  Rikki Byrd projects + gallery Kenturah Davis Kehinde Wiley Fahamu Pecou David antonio Cruz Dario Calmese Bisa Butler Basil Kincaid

Kenturah Davis’s wood frame structure with embroidered panel, right.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Events, Sightings  Rikki Byrd projects + gallery Kenturah Davis Kehinde Wiley Fahamu Pecou David antonio Cruz Dario Calmese Bisa Butler Basil Kincaid

projects + gallery’s Senior Director Bridget Melloy, standing far right, introduced the artists’ panel Saturday. Those include from left: moderator Rikki Byrd, who until recently was on the faculty of Washington University’s Sam Fox School of Design, and is now a PhD student at Northwestern, Curator Dario Calmese (wearing projects + gallery SPACEWALKER), St. Louis-based artist Basil Kincaid, and Kenturah Davis, who earned her BFA from Yale and divides her time between L.A., New Haven, and Accra (Ghana).

When asked how he chose the art for Fashioning the Black Body Calmese explained that many of the artists are friends he’s worked with in the past. Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Events, Sightings  Rikki Byrd projects + gallery Kenturah Davis Kehinde Wiley Fahamu Pecou David antonio Cruz Dario Calmese Bisa Butler Basil Kincaid

Left: Kehinde Wiley’s After Pontermo’s Two Men with a Passage.

Right, Rikki Byrd singled out St. Louis-based Basil Kincaid’s quilt and mannequin Special Spot, above right, to demonstrate that black people have historically found ways to make something out of nothing. Kincaid used various donated fabrics and waxed batik from his travels in fashioning his work.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Events, Sightings  Rikki Byrd projects + gallery Kenturah Davis Kehinde Wiley Fahamu Pecou David antonio Cruz Dario Calmese Bisa Butler Basil Kincaid

Bisa Butler’s  85 x 79″ quilt, Black Star Family, first class tickets to Liberia, 2018, cotton, silk & denim.

Fashioning the Black Body will remain on view at projects + gallery, 4733 McPherson  Ave., until May 4.

Tickets on sale, volunteers needed for 2019 CWEA Home & Garden Tour

Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Events, Sightings  Ted Wight Kingsbury Place Jess Campbell Central West End Association   Tickets went on sale today for The Central West End Association’s 47th Home & Garden Tour scheduled for Saturday and Sunday June 15 & 16, featuring historic homes on Kingsbury Place.  After 45 years as an annual event, the popular tour, which traditionally draws hundreds of people from all over the region, transitioned to a biennial schedule after 2015.

Volunteer opportunities are available, including a role as House Captain (information about all that is involved follows*), or as a Guide ushering attendees throughout the homes and gardens—and perhaps sharing bits of history too.  There are four 3-hour shifts available,** see information below.

As a thank you, volunteers will receive a complimentary ticket to tour the homes on Saturday or Sunday. Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Events, Sightings  Ted Wight Kingsbury Place Jess Campbell Central West End Association

A Kick-Off Party, sponsored by realtor Ted Wight, is planned for Friday evening June 14 from 6 to 11 p.m. at the Kingsbury Place home shown above. The price of admission ($100 for CWEA members, $125 for non-members) includes food, an open bar, and a ticket to tour the homes on Saturday or Sunday. More information can be found on the website or Facebook page.

*House Captain responsibilities include staffing a home with volunteers for both Saturday/Sunday morning and afternoon shifts, scheduling, and communicating with CWEA Volunteer Liaison Lacey Mitchell to ensure all rooms/shifts are covered.

**House Tour Shifts
Saturday, June 15 and Sunday, June 16
10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

To sign up or for more information, contact CWEA Executive Director Jess Campbell, jess@thecwe.org. You can also purchase tickets for the Home & Garden Tour here ($20 in advance, $30 after May 15, or at the door).

The board of The Central West End Association thanks you in advance for your support of this event which supports the organization and showcases the beautiful homes in the neighborhood, another wonderful reason to call the CWE home. And a big thank you to the generous sponsors of this year’s Home & Garden Tour, see list below.Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Events, Sightings  Ted Wight Kingsbury Place Jess Campbell Central West End Association

New construction projects in the CWE

Over the past 5 years many building projects have sprung up throughout the neighborhood, including several major apartment buildings, multiple additions in the Cortex Innovation District, and taking shape currently at West Pine and Kingshighway, One Hundred, a fascinating 36-story, 316-unit apartment tower designed by Chicago-based Studio Gang. While high-profile developments have garnered well-deserved attention, there are also some more modest projects underway that demonstrate the broader vitality of the neighborhood as well.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture  Washington Place CWEA Planning & Development Committee Cultural Resources Office

The new entry gates on Washington Place at Union are noteworthy because they reflect the extraordinary comeback—spanning over 20+ years—of the two blocks of Washington stretching from Kingshighway to Union Blvd. Over the years, adventuresome home buyers have recognized the redevelopment potential of the housing stock and have committed great energy and significant financial investment into restoring residences on these blocks.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture  Washington Place CWEA Planning & Development Committee Cultural Resources Office

Washington Place resident Jassen Johnson said that neighbors had been dreaming about and saving for this gate project for 10+ years. At each annual meeting the gate project would be raised but nothing was done about it, so he finally volunteered to find a way to make the dream a reality.

Johnson reached out to architectural firm UIC for design and construction help. The design, which is a modern interpretation of the original entry way, was based on 2 small existing columns that remained on the site and a photo of the original found by one of the neighbors. The new gates will include lighting and a security camera system.

Funding for the project is provided by the Washington Place Special Business District. When the design process was completed and construction bids obtained it was realized that there was a shortfall in funding to complete the project.  Rather than wait, Johnson and Commissioners of the SBD secured a loan to enable the project to proceed.

There will be a neighborhood gathering/ribbon cutting shortly, once final details are completed, including installation of landscaping at the base of the gates.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture  Washington Place CWEA Planning & Development Committee Cultural Resources Office

Several blocks east, a three-story single-family residence is under construction in the 4400 block of Fullerton’s Westminster Place, just east of Taylor.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture  Washington Place CWEA Planning & Development Committee Cultural Resources Office

The project (rendering above) is the work of CWE-based designer Jimmy Jamieson.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture  Washington Place CWEA Planning & Development Committee Cultural Resources Office

Developer Mark Mathis and his daughter Lauren are developing a 4-story apartment building at 4301 Maryland (at Boyle). The first floor consists of a 585 s.f. 1 bedroom unit, a common entry with elevator, and parking. There will be a 766 s.f. one-bedroom and an 838 s.f. two-bedroom unit on the second floor. A two-story 2,000 s.f.  3-bedroom unit with two balconies will occupy the 3rd and 4th floors. The first and second floor units include balconies as well.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture  Washington Place CWEA Planning & Development Committee Cultural Resources Office

An early rendering of the project is shown above. Numerous refinements were incorporated into the final design in a collaborative process between the developers and the Cultural Resources Office and the Central West End Association Planning & Development Committee. A second structure of similar design is planned for the site once this building is completed and the units leased.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture  Washington Place CWEA Planning & Development Committee Cultural Resources Office

The photo above, taken as construction was just underway, shows the location of the project on the west side of Boyle Ave., directly across from the Gaslight Theater and the former West End Grill & Pub.