Thursday, February 23, 2017

WOMANSCAPE features article on Arica Hilton / Invitation to performance: GENDER BREAKDOWN, Saturday, Feb. 25th at Flatiron Building(Chicago,IL)

Gray Matters makes its world premiere May 20 ,Wexner Center for the Arts at The Ohio State University Ohio

Gray Matters makes its world premiere May 20th
Art outside the color spectrum fills the first exhibition organized by new Senior Curator Michael Goodson for the Wexner Center for the Arts  
May 20–July 30, 2017, the Wexner Center for the Arts at The Ohio State University will debut Gray Matters, a multifaceted survey of 35 contemporary women artists who have explored the practice of creating en grisaille—the French term for working in shades of gray. The exhibition is the first organized by Michael Goodson since he assumed the role of Senior Curator of Exhibitions at the Wex, and it further enriches a calendar year of exhibition programming in which every artist featured in the galleries is a woman.
Wex director Sherri Geldin notes, “While we didn’t deliberately set out to devote the entirety of our 2017 exhibition schedule to women, we are not unmindful of the pointed and timely message it sends. Well beyond that, however, Gray Matters aims to investigate a prevalent artistic strategy that women of varying age, ethnicity, and background—and across varying artistic media—are concertedly pursuing at this moment.”
As Goodson explains, “Gray Matters gathers work executed primarily in the surprisingly vital—if  ‘colorless’—range between and including black and white. It explores the various modes in which contemporary artists persist in, yet significantly expand upon, the historical practice of grisaille. What is ultimately more interesting, however, is how the restraints of this formal conceit recede to the background as one experiences the incredibly rich and diverse range of ideas and concerns that each artist pushes to the fore.”
Goodson adds, “The exhibition also deliberately seeks to infiltrate what has been a highly gendered canon of male artists working en grisaille with extraordinary women making work now.”
The 35 artists appearing in Gray Matters range from emerging to well established. Individually and collectively, they challenge an all-too simplistic notion of colorless “neutrality” as they reveal the truly vibrant and variegated spectrum of black, white, and gray. The full list of artists appears below.
Vija Celmins, who has explored desaturated painting and drawing for most of her career, proffers the earliest work in the exhibition, the 1964 painting Heater, and provides a small burst of color in the galleries via the glowing red center of the electric space heater it portrays. In contrast, Mickalene Thomas, an artist typically associated with vividly colorful portraits of black women, narrows her palette for Hair Portrait #20—without relinquishing her celebratory use of rhinestones.
Roni Horn’s substantial glass sculptures appear as pools of water—at once surprisingly transparent and dramatically reflective, both a mirror and a lens. Xaviera Simmons’s installations use an amalgam of languages to create enveloping, text-based environments that provide an “image” of the majesty of the natural world amid blending cultures.
Julie Mehretu’s large, six-panel print exemplifies a method of constructing what she has described as “story maps of dislocation”. In the work, the columns, arches, and porticoes of the war-torn Syrian city of Damascus are part of a layered architectural and historical portrait of that city. Bethany Collins presents a beautiful and seemingly discreet installation of stark white pages with ghostlike, blind-embossed text that is actually crafted from the US Department of Justice report on the Ferguson police department.
Marlene Dumas’s Betrayal features her signature veils of ink, which create blurred, indeterminate portraits of children. Their guileless appearance, in tandem with a title that suggests something more duplicitous, urges the viewer to reflect on sameness and difference, and how time and aging affect one’s worldview. The sculptural graphite drawings of Nancy Rubins beg consideration of the intense and abundant energy expended in their making, and reconsideration of the power of the pencil as a rendering tool.
In uniting these remarkable works, Gray Matters provides a denuded, focused lens through which to see the world afresh.
Tauba Auerbach, Carol Bove, Gisele Camargo, Vija Celmins, Bethany Collins, Marsha Cottrell, Tacita Dean, Marlene Dumas, Michelle Grabner, Josephine Halvorson, Mona Hatoum, Roni Horn, Cristina Iglesias, Jennie C. Jones, Mary Reid Kelley, Toba Khedoori, Laura Lisbon, Suzanne McClelland, Julie Mehretu, Katie Paterson, Amalia Pica, Michal Rovner, Nancy Rubins, Arlene Shechet, Erin Shirreff, Amy Sillman, Xaviera Simmons, Diane Simpson, Lorna Simpson, Avery Singer, Michelle Stuart, Mickalene Thomas, Kara Walker, Rachel Whiteread, Carmen Winant
As a preview for Gray Matters, artist Nancy Rubins will join podcaster Tyler Green in conversation on Thursday, April 13, at 4:30 pm for a live-audience recording of The Modern Art Notes Podcast. Additional events will be announced prior to the exhibition opening.

Changes could be coming for Macy's State Street store in Chicago

Macy's Holiday Tree in the Walnut Room,© 2016 Linda Matlow/PIXINTL.All rights reserved

It's only February 2017 but already I feel we've had 10 years of changes and bad news over the past two months.

According to a recent Macy's press release,the chain plans to lease out its upper floors of their flagship State Street store in Chicago for office space.
What will that mean for the iconic Walnut Room?

Many figured with their recent sale of Frango Mints to the Garret Popcorn chain something was brewing.

I covered events at Marshall Field's and Macy's and this is truly one of Chicago's best retail establishments that nothing in this big city can compare to.

Sadly we saw the demise of Carson Pirie Scott and Sears State Street stores in recent years.The Target store pales in comparison to the beloved Carson's that stood there before.

The internet has put a dent in the bricks and mortar stores and is forcing retailers to downsize and rethink their strategy for the future.

Before you hit that 'BUY IT NOW" button online,consider that online sales are putting people out of work.Boarded up storefronts in once vital neighborhoods bring real estate values down and bring higher crime.

No one will suddenly change their shopping  habits,but it might be a good thing to make a conscious effort to reinvest in your own towns retail establishments instead of letting the 'robots' in online e-tailing take over the work force.

We don't even want to think about Macy's upcoming changes,it but it's our hope that they will reconsider their options and keep a vital part of Chicago's retail history and the Walnut Room,the go to place for generations during the holidays alive.

Macy's tree photo ©Linda Matlow/PIXINTL.All rights reserved.


Disney Ranks #1 Most Intimate Media & Entertainment Brand, Followed by Netflix and Nintendo, According to MBLM’s Study

MBLM Announces Disney Ranks First in Media & Entertainment Industry,
According to its Brand Intimacy 2017 Report
Study Reveals Netflix and Nintendo Place Second and Third;
Media & Entertainment is Second Most Intimate Industry of 15 Analyzed
  MBLM, the Brand Intimacy Agency focused on strategy, design, creative and technology, today revealed that Disney ranks the most intimate brand in the media & entertainment industry according to its Brand Intimacy 2017 Report, which is the largest study of brands based on emotions. Netflix ranked second in the industry, jumping from 25 in MBLM’s overall 2015 study to the number five spot this year. Brand intimacy is defined as a new paradigm that leverages and strengthens the emotional bonds between a person and a brand. According to the 2017 report, top ranked intimate brands continued to outperform the S&P and Fortune 500 indices in revenue and profit over the past 10 years.
The media & entertainment industry is the second most intimate according to the study, climbing to this spot from number five in 2015. The most intimate media & entertainment brands in the U.S. following Disney and Netflix are: Nintendo, Xbox, HBO, YouTube, Amazon, PlayStation, WWE and Hulu.
“Media & entertainment is surging in popularity in part because of the convenience and flexibility of streaming and video-on-demand. Consumers are becoming more attached to internet-based video services, and one reason in particular is the rising popularity of binge-watching,” stated Mario Natarelli, MBLM’s managing partner. “We also found in 2016, many Americans were not as happy as recent years, perhaps in part due to recent elections. A need for escapism has emerged. It seems people find comfort in entertainment, which also explains the rise in the category.”
Netflix has been the beneficiary of the recent streaming and binge-watching trends, with a 12 percent month-over-month increase in binge-watching among its U.S. users in 2016, and a jump from approximately 75 million subscribers in 2015 to nearly 94 million in 2016.  Its expansion to 130 countries and release of 128 original series/films has improved its ability to form more intimate bonds with consumers. Netflix has moved from the tenth spot in the indulgence category to the second, and in ritual, gone from number five to number one since the 2015 study.
This year, other notable media & entertainment findings in the U.S. include:
  • Three out of the top 10 overall brands are from this industry – Disney, Netflix and Nintendo – where indulgence is the dominant archetype
  • For half of the top 10 most intimate brands in the industry, their primary or secondary focus is video streaming
  • The industry ranks highest with those under age 35 and those earning $75,000 a year or less
  • Nintendo is the top brand for men, while Disney ranks highest for women, millennials and those 45-64 years old
  • The industry ranks high for being difficult to live without
This year’s report contains the most comprehensive rankings of brands based on emotion, analyzing the responses of 6,000 consumers and 54,000 brand evaluations across 15 industries in the U.S., Mexico and UAE. MBLM’s reports and interactive Brand Ranking Tool showcase the performance of almost 400 brands, revealing the characteristics and intensity of the consumer bonds.
To download the full Brand Intimacy 2017 Report or explore the Ranking Tool please visit:
During 2016, Praxis Research Partners conducted an online quantitative survey among 6,000 consumers in the United States (3,000), Mexico (2,000), and the United Arab Emirates (1,000). Participants were respondents who were screened for age (i.e. 18 to 64 years of age) and annual household income ($35,000 or more) in the U.S. and socioeconomic levels in Mexico and the UAE (A, B, and C socioeconomic levels). Quotas were established to ensure that the sample mirrored census data for age, gender, income/socioeconomic level, and region. The survey was designed primarily to understand the extent to which consumers have relationships with brands and the strength of those relationships, from fairly detached to highly intimate. It is important to note that this study provides more than a mere ranking of brand performance and was specifically designed to provide prescriptive guidance to marketers. We modeled data from a total of 54,000 brand evaluations to quantify the mechanisms that drive intimacy. Through factor analysis, structural equation modeling, and other sophisticated analytic techniques, the research allows marketers to better understand which levers need to be pulled to build intimacy between brands and consumers.

About MBLM: Founded in 2004, MBLM is the Brand Intimacy Agency, which is dedicated to creating greater emotional connections between people, brands and technology. With offices in nine countries, its multidisciplinary teams help clients deliver stronger marketing outcomes and returns for the long term. To learn more about creating and sustaining ultimate brand relationships, visit

Spring Spa Week National Event April 17-23

One of a Kind Spring Show (Chicago,IL)


The Celebrity Dinner Party with Elysabeth Alfano>> Oscar Nominated Producer Gigi Pritzker, Wolfgang Puck & Charles Joly