Tuesday, December 29, 2020

Mira Lehr: Planetary Visions from Spaceship Earth, at Rosenbaum Contemporary


Bold new series of work created during the pandemic quarantine.

Virtual Tour: Online Initiatives for Worldwide Digital Viewing

On Mira Lehr's 60th anniversary of founding one the first artist co-ops for women artists in America, in 1960.

Mira Lehr: Planetary Visions from Spaceship Earth

at Rosenbaum Contemporary

Ancient Secret Map, by Mira Lehr (burned Japanese paper, ignited gunpowder, ink, thread and pins on canvas), 2020.


Mira Lehr Confronts 2020 with New Planetary Visions and Takes Us Forward Beyond Boundaries 


During the pandemic quarantine this year, the celebrated artist Mira Lehr has created more work now than ever before in her six decades of artmaking. Her new series, called Planetary Visions, represents a bold departure for the artist.

She has been invited to present a solo exhibition featuring this new series at Rosenbaum Contemporary gallery in Boca Raton, Florida (November 16 - January 16).

The gallery has launched online initiatives to allow art lovers from all over the world to experience Lehr’s new work across digital platforms. 

This year also marks the 60th anniversary of Lehr’s visionary founding of Continuum, one of America’s first women artist co-ops which she pioneered in 1960.

“This is a major turning point for humanity. Because of the global pandemic, for the first time in human history, the entire population of the planet is thinking about the same problems ─ and grasping for the same solutions,” says Mira Lehr.

“Together, we can meet this challenge and use this time to transcend across borders and places, with a unified vision for the world. We must now work together to address global problems without thoughts of artificial separations between human beings.” 

What This Earth Does Not Remember, I and II, by Mira Lehr, from the new series Planetary Visions (acrylic, ink, gunpowder, ignited fuses, burned and dyed Japanese paper, and handwriting on canvas), 2020.

“The title Planetary Visions refers to the need for all of us to remain focused on this shared vision that we need. We are a one-world landmass island, surrounded by water, flying across the galaxy on our Spaceship Earth. What happens in one part of our world affects all of us, and the pandemic proves this like never before,” adds Mira Lehr.  

A Mystic Silence that Cannot Engage, Mira Lehr, (acrylic, ink, burned & dyed Japanese paper, handwriting, on canvas), 2020.

"Planetary Visions also refers to the mythical places featured on some of these newer paintings, my visions of environmental flash-points happening around the globe,” adds Lehr. “While these are all imaginary places that I envisioned as an armchair traveler during the pandemic, the climate issues depicted are very real: rising seas, air pollution, global warming, and more. 

These issues also point back to the pandemic. Each invented place represents different climate challenges that are alarming, and time is running out for our planet Earth.”

She ignites gunpowder fuses across the landmasses to create the visual effect of fuses from a ticking time-bomb.

“I feel the need to explore new creative pathways now. To create new imagery of imaginary places and events in nature, creating poetic visions of the earth and as a result, a more inventive and carefree approach has taken over my work,” says Lehr. 

“My previous work was more part of a certain tradition in abstraction. These new works are original visions, and it feels like they are coming from a different place, more spiritual perhaps. Replaced by more of a subject matter and a narrative, about the planet and these visions.

I feel this is all new. I have no way to analyze it, this is just different.” 

“It feels like I no longer have art history sitting on my shoulders

and watching what I am doing.

I am more of an explorer now,” says Lehr.

“So many friends have expressed their loneliness, boredom and frustrations at this time, with the quarantine. I understand, and I empathize,” says Lehr. “For me, however, I experienced a surge of new ideas and concepts while alone during the quarantine."

Embrace I, by Mira Lehr (burned and dyed Japanese paper, ignited fuses, ink and acrylic on raw canvas), 2020.

"This time of concern about the earth has changed everything,

and I don’t think the planet will ever be the same again.

We’re on the brink of making it ─ or not making it.”

"There has been more time to reflect, experiment and dream in my studio sanctuary. Being alone, without the comings and goings of normal times, has opened up new worlds for me."

According to Lehr, “My paintings have become darker, more mysterious. Encased in a layer of resin that creates the appearance of a layer of ice that seems to cover the surface, separating the image from the viewer. Time appears to stand still, waiting for the moment to search for solutions for our world."

"These glossy surfaces also conversely carry us in ─ because the reflection is an invitation to be involved, to be aware. Help our Spaceship Earth! There’s still time, but the clock is ticking.”

The artist Mira Lehr with her painting Norweky (acrylic, ink, burned and dyed Japanese paper, ignited fuses, and handwriting on canvas), Portrait photograph by Michael E. Fryd (2020). From her new series Planetary Visions, that she created during the pandemic quarantine.

The depth of Lehr’s perspective and the scope of her trajectory are singular, having worked as an artist through the social changes of the 1960s and 1970s, the 80s and the 90s . . . and now the 21st century, with its direction into the unknown that feels so impossible to navigate. 

Artists can imagine places and scenarios that help all of us map out our present.

They can inspire us to make sense of our future too,

guiding us to chart new courses toward the better.

Nuclear Blue, Mira Lehr, (burned and dyed Japanese paper, steel chain, hand drawing, canvas, ink, and acrylic on canvas), 2020

The new exhibition features a selection of twenty works by Lehr, spanning nearly 2,000 square feet, with the entire front of the gallery dedicated to this new show. The gallery is located at 150 Yamato Road, in Boca Raton, Florida.

The exhibition may be viewed on-site during gallery hours, 10:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. (Tues-Sat), in accordance with current Covid-19 safety guidelines.

Additionally, reservations for exclusive, private in-person viewings without any other visitors in the gallery may be made in advance by calling 561-994-9180.

Private zoom viewings also available, exclusively with the gallery owner for his personal walk-through online of the show via Zoom.

Digital viewing also features this 360-degree virtual tour of the exhibition.



About the Artist . . .

Mira Lehr’s solo and group exhibitions number more than 300. She is a graduate of Vassar College (1956) with a degree in Art History, under the mentorship of Linda Nochlin, the renowned feminist art historian.

She has been collected by major institutions across the U.S., including the Smithsonian Museum of American Art (Washington), the Getty Museum Research Center (Los Angeles), the Boca Raton Museum of Art, the Perez Art Museum (Miami), the Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center (NY), and by The Margulies Collection, among many others.  

Her work is in the private collections of Elie and Marion Wiesel, Jane and Morley Safer, and the artist Judy Pfaff, among others. 

Lehr is included in the prestigious Leonard Lauder Corporate Collection in New York. Thirty of her paintings were commissioned for the permanent collection of Mount Sinai Hospital. 

Her work can be seen in American Embassies around the world and is permanently on view in the lobby of the Evelyn Lauder Breast Center of the Sloan Kettering Memorial Center.

Perfect Flight, by Mira Lehr (burned and dyed Japanese paper, ink and acrylic on canvas), 2020.

Her recent solo exhibition headlined Art Basel Miami Beach 2019 at the Jewish Museum of Florida, and received national and international critical acclaim.

Lehr's 2020 solo museum show at the Mennello Museum of American Art was selected by ArtNet News and The New York Times as one of their selections among the leading museum exhibitions in 2020 in the United States. 

Her museum-wide exhibition at the MOCA Museum in North Miami spanned across 10,000 square feet of installations. She has currently been chosen by Flying Horse Editions as an invited artist for a major project this year.

Lehr’s nature-based work encompasses painting, sculpture and video. She uses non-traditional media such as gunpowder, fire, Japanese paper, dyes and welded steel. Lehr is known for igniting and exploding fuses to create lines of fire across her paintings.

Dance, by Mira Lehr, 8’ x 12’, (burned and dyed Japanese paper, acrylic and ink on wood panel ), 2020.

Critics are calling Lehr “the Godmother of Miami's art scene” because in 1960 she created one of the nation’s first co-ops for women artists, in 1960.

At the age of 86 and with a career that spans more than six decades of artmaking, Lehr is creating more new work now than at any other point in her life ─ with a heightened sense of urgency about the planet and climate change.

In the 1950s, Lehr studied and worked in New York as an artist, where she met some of America’s most prominent masters including: Joan Mitchell, Lee Krasner, and Helen Frankenthaler. She studied with James Brooks, Ludwig Sander, Robert Motherwell, and within the Hans Hofmann circle. 

When Lehr moved back to Florida in 1960, she was shocked at the lack of an art scene, especially for women. She convinced many of the masters from New York to visit and lead workshops for her league of women artists. This helped the evolution of art in Florida. 

She was selected in 1969 by Buckminster Fuller, as one of only two artists, to participate in his World Game Project about sustainability and his groundbreaking “Spaceship Earth” concept which preceded the world's very first Earth Day in 1970. 

Lehr’s video installation, V1 V3, was on view at the New Museum, NY. Her work has been included in numerous art fairs during Art Basel Miami Beach, including Art Miami, Pinta Art Fair and INK. 

She was the recipient of the Vizcaya Museum Lost Spaces Commission, where she was commissioned to create a site-specific installation by the Vizcaya Museum & Gardens as part of Vizcaya’s centennial celebration.

Saturday, December 26, 2020

Streaming soon at the GSFC: NIGHT SHIFT; ACASA, MY HOME; ROCK CAMP: THE MOVIE + more!

Gene Siskel Film Center banner


New releases will be available beginning 12:00 p.m. CT the day the film is available, unless noted

Opens 1/8 - open-ended
Night Shift
2020, Anne Fontaine, France/Belgium, 98 min.
With Virginie Efira, Omar Sy, Grégory Gadebois

"[Fontaine] treads her signature fine line between auteur cinema and crowd-pleaser almost perfectly."--Fabien Leme, Cineuropa

Three Parisian cops, Virginie, Aristide, and Erik, find themselves on the knife's edge of a conflict between duty and conscience in the course of a critical night in which they are charged with delivering undocumented Middle Eastern immigrant Tohirov (Payman Maadi, co-star of the Oscar-winning A SEPARATION) to the airport for deportation.  Director Fontaine (GEMMA BOVARY, COCO BEFORE CHANEL) brings a rare female perspective and thoughtful rhythm to the policier genre, delving into personal lives torn by rocky marriages, stress, and one very big secret, as the back-story to the crisis that evolves when Virginie dares to open the prisoner's sealed file.  In French with English subtitles.  (BS) 

Opens 1/15 - open-ended
Acasa, My Home
2020, Radu Ciorniciuc, Romania, 86 min.

"Stunningly intimate...a beautifully crafted, heart-wrenchingly tragic, observational encapsulation of the shredding of one family's way of life."--Jordan M. Smith, Nonfics

In the wilderness of the Bucharest Delta, an abandoned water reservoir just outside the bustling metropolis, the Enache family lived in perfect harmony with nature for two decades, sleeping in a hut on the lakeshore, catching fish barehanded, and following the rhythm of the seasons.  When this area is transformed into a public national park, they are forced to leave behind their unconventional life and move to the city, where fishing rods are replaced by smartphones and idle afternoons are now spent in classrooms.  With their roots in the wilderness, the nine children and their parents struggle to find a way to keep their family united in the concrete jungle.  With an empathetic and cinematic eye, filmmaker Radu Ciorniciuc offers viewers a compelling tale of an impoverished family living on the fringes of society, fighting for acceptance and their own version of freedom. 

Winner of the Special Jury Prize for Cinematography at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival.  In Romanian with English subtitles. 

Opens 1/22 - open-ended
Identifying Features
(Sin Señas Particulares)
2020 Fernanda Valadez, Mexico/Spain, 95 min.
With Mercedes Hernández, David Illescas
“Combines stunning cinematography, evocative sound design and hints of magical realism to create a visionary work of devastating power."--Anjana Janardhan, Sight & Sound

Middle-aged Magdalena (Hernández) has lost contact with her son after he took off with a friend from their town of Guanajuato to cross the border into the U.S., hopeful to find work.  Desperate to find out what happened to him—and to know whether or not he’s even alive—she embarks on an ever-expanding and increasingly dangerous journey to discover the truth.  At the same time, a young man named Miguel (Illescas) has returned to Mexico after being deported from the U.S., and eventually his path converges with Magdalena’s.  From this simple but urgent premise, director Valadez has crafted a lyrical, suspenseful slow burn, equally constructed of moments of beauty and horror, and which leads to a startling, shattering conclusion. 

Winner of the World Cinema Dramatic Audience and Screenplay Awards at the Sundance Film Festival.  In Spanish with English subtitles. 
Opens 1/22 - open-ended
The Salt of Tears
(Le Sel Des Larmes)
2020, Philippe Garrel, France/Switzerland, 100 min.
With Logann Antuofermo, Oulaya Amamra
"There’s an element of light comedy--rather than the more familiar irony--that feels fresh and invigorating...giving audiences quite a few chuckles along the way/"--Boyd van Hoeij, Hollywood Reporter

Veteran filmmaker Philippe Garrel once again fashions a pinpoint-precise and economical study of young love and its prevarications, which ever so gradually blossoms into an emotionally resonant moral tale.  Handsome Luc (Antuofermo), following in his aging father’s footsteps as a cabinetmaker, doesn’t appear to have any trouble meeting and dating women; as the film opens he’s aggressively courting Djemila (Oulaya Amamra) at a Paris bus stop.  Skeptical yet ultimately trusting, Djemila will not be Luc’s one and only. 

Constructed and composed with crystalline austerity, THE SALT OF TEARS is a thumbnail portrait that demonstrates the persistent vitality of one of French cinema’s great observers of the callowness of youth.  In French with English subtitles. 

Opens 1/22 - open-ended
Rock Camp: The Movie
2021, Renee Barron and Douglas Blush, USA, 87 min.

Summer camp meets SPINAL TAP as we journey to Rock ‘n’ Roll Fantasy Camp, where dreamers from across America and around the world gather to shred with their heroes - and learn to rock like the legends.  Rock Camp is an institution and cultural phenomenon that has been going on in Los Angeles, New York and other cities since 1996. 

The brainchild of music producer David Fishof, Rock Camp boasts a jaw-dropping array of rock star “counselors” that include Roger Daltrey, Alice Cooper, Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons, Nancy Wilson, Joe Perry, Jeff Beck, Slash and countless other rock legends.   The counselors teach, inspire and jam with the campers over the course of four days. Each Rock Camp concludes with all of the counselors and their respective campers, performing together.  

Opens 1/29 - open-ended
2019, Valentyn Vasyanovych, Ukraine, 106 min.
With Andriy Rymaruk, Liudmyla Bileka
"Stunning to watch...sensitively observed and meticulously crafted...a  remarkable piece of filmmaking from an exciting emerging Eastern European voice."--Nikki Baughan, Screen Slate

A prize-winner at the Venice Film Festival and Ukraine's official selection for the 2021 Academy Awards, ATLANTIS is a gorgeous and visionary sci-fi drama. Eastern Ukraine, 2025: a desert unsuitable for human habitation. Water is a dear commodity brought by trucks.  A wall is being built on the border.  Sergiy, a former soldier, is having trouble adapting to his new reality.  He meets Katya while on the Black Tulip mission dedicated to exhuming the past.  Together, they try to return to some sort of normal life in which they are also allowed to fall in love again.  In Ukrainian and English with English subtitles. 
Opens 2/5 - open-ended
M.C. Escher: Journey Into Infinity
2018, Robin Lutz, Netherlands, 81 min.
Narrated by Stephen Fry

This intriguing documentary is the story of world-famous Dutch graphic artist M.C Escher (1898-1972).  Equal parts history, psychology, and psychedelia, Robin Lutz’s entertaining, eye-opening portrait gives us the man through his own words and images: diary musings, excerpts from lectures, correspondence and more are voiced by British actor Stephen Fry, while Escher’s woodcuts, lithographs, and other print works appear in both original and playfully altered form.  Two of his sons, George (92) and Jan (80), reminisce about their parents while musician Graham Nash (Crosby, Stills & Nash) talks about Escher’s rediscovery in the 1970s.

The film looks at Escher’s legacy, encompassing tributes to his work in movies, in fiction, on posters, on tattoos, and elsewhere throughout our culture, testifying to the artist's popular appeal.  In Dutch, English, Italian, and German.

Titles have open-ended closing dates, unless otherwise noted.  Click here for a full list of streaming titles.
Another Round

Join the Gene Siskel Film Center's free virtual discussion series, featuring Q&A with filmmakers and special guests. All times noted below are CT. read more
Museum Town
Featuring visual artist/sculptor Nick Cave. Date TBD. 

These films are available for a limited time only. Catch them before they're gone. read more
Born to Be (Closing 12/30)
Tania Cypriano, USA 2019. more info
Fire Will Come (Closing 12/23)
Oliver Laxe, Spain/France/Luxembourg 2019
With: Amador Arias, Benedicta Sánchez 
more info

Divine Love (Closing 12/23)
Gabriel Mascaro, Brazil/Uruguay 2019
With: With Dira Paes, Julio Machado 
more info

Francisca (Closing 12/23)
Manoel de Oliveira, 1981
With: Mário Barroso, Teresa Menezes, Diogo Dória
 more info

Mama Gloria (Closing 12/23)
Luchina Fisher, USA 2020 more info

Beasts Clawing at Straws (Closing 12/23)
Kim Jong-hoon, South Korea 2020
With: Jung Woo-sun, Jeon Do-yeon 
more info

Three Summers (Closing 12/23)
Sandra Kogut, Brazil 2019
With: Regina Casé, Rogério Fróes 
more info

To bring you the best in independent and international film, Gene Siskel Film Center curates its selection through many different distributors. Price per film may vary, but all films will be less than the price of a movie ticket. Streaming is easy, just:
1. Go To SiskelFilmCenter.org and find the movie you want to watch.

2. Click on "Stream Now" button. (You may need to set up an account on the streaming service.)

3. Pop some popcorn and enjoy your film.



Facebook logo  Twitter logo Instagram logo  YouTube logo

Gene Siskel Film Center and School of the Art Institute of Chicago logos

About the Gene Siskel Film Center of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago
Since 1972, the Gene Siskel Film Center of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago has presented cutting edge cinema to an annual audience of 85,000. The Film Center’s programming includes annual film festivals that celebrate diverse voices and international cultures, premieres of trailblazing work by today’s independent filmmakers, restorations and revivals of essential films from cinema history, and insightful provocative discussions with filmmakers and media artists. Altogether, the Film Center hosts over 1,500 screenings and 200 filmmaker appearances every year. The Film Center was renamed the Gene Siskel Film Center in 2000 after the late, nationally celebrated film critic, Gene Siskel. Visit www.siskelfilmcenter.org to learn more and find out what’s playing today.

About the School of the Art Institute of Chicago
For more than 150 years, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) has been a leader in educating the world’s most influential artists, designers, and scholars. Located in downtown Chicago with a fine arts graduate program ranked number two by U.S. News and World Report , SAIC provides an interdisciplinary approach to art and design as well as world-class resources, including the Art Institute of Chicago museum, on-campus galleries, and state-of-the-art facilities. SAIC’s undergraduate, graduate, and post-baccalaureate students have the freedom to take risks and create the bold ideas that transform Chicago and the world—as seen through notable alumni and faculty such as Michelle Grabner, David Sedaris, Elizabeth Murray, Richard Hunt, Georgia O’Keeffe, Cynthia Rowley, Nick Cave, and LeRoy Neiman. Learn more at saic.edu.