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Arturo Herrera’s Les Noces: A Marriage Made Through Time

Written on March 28, 2008 at 10:08 am  |  Comments (0)

Nell Andrew, Visiting Assistant Professor, Art History, Northwestern University


Criticism on Arturo Herrera’s work often highlights the artist’s rigorous mining of modernist art history, from the use of collage and action-painting gesture or large scale, to his play between flatness and depth, figuration and abstraction. This remains a rich framework for viewing his installation piece Les Noces, but in placing the work within the exhibition Adaptation, I want to consider the multiple layers of adjustment Herrera used to adapt a work of dance and music to plastic art. Just as exciting in Les Noces is Herrera’s adaptation of his own past work by using fragments of photographs from previous work in his projected images.  …Read More »

Dangerous to Beauties: The Sabine Women, Symbolic Conquest, and Classicism

Written on March 20, 2008 at 2:14 pm  |  Comments (0)

Rebecca Zorach, Associate Professor, Art History, University of Chicago


The hand-held camera jumps and jerks; at full scale, it’s vaguely nauseating. We flash backward and forward: there’s grainy video of a stone face brutalized by the years, scenes of an idyllic place we do not yet know, references to things we’ve seen before, the sea. Sounds of shuffling feet surround us—and coughing, effortful grunts, keening voices, mechanical noise. From Berlin to the butchers’ stalls of Athens, disorientation doesn’t stop. Metal clashes, vendors call out against a buzz of nearly static, expectant sound, and women are dragged away—rag dolls that put up no resistance. With its knives slowly, rhythmically falling, the violence of the meat market does not reassure us that what the women leave behind is preferable to what they face.  …Read More »

Smart Adaptations

Written on March 17, 2008 at 11:12 am  |  Comments (0)


Aileen McGroddy, a University of Chicago student, wrote an adapted absurdity inspired by Arturo Herrera’s Les Noces. Check out the Smart Adaptations Writing Contest and read some other great written adaptations inspired by artwork on view at the Smart.

An adapted absurdity by Aileen McGroddy  …Read More »

The Installation of Adaptation

Written on January 30, 2008 at 5:17 pm  |  Comments (0)

Building Ben-Ner’s Wild

Check out our Flickr page for photos of the Adaptation installation. Watch a hill and forest sprout up in front of Guy Ben-Ner’s “Wild Boy” and see the preparation crew in action, working on the lighting, video, and lettering.

We’ll be posting more photos—of the opening, programs, and final installation—throughout the run of Adaptation, so check back often.

More reflections from Snow City

Written on January 30, 2008 at 1:57 pm  |  Comments (0)

Sarah Bendix, Teaching Artist, Snow City Arts Foundation


There is a wonderful conversation that happens whenever one hears or reads a story, an intuitive response that creates the visual world of the story. Working with the idea of adaptation allowed patients to explore their own unique ideas while working within the framework of a larger project.  …Read More »

Being Adaptable: Guy Ben-Ner inspires the Snow City Arts Foundation

Written on January 30, 2008 at 1:53 pm  |  Comments (1)

Mikey Peterson, Teaching Artist, Snow City Arts Foundation


Snow City Arts Foundation teaches hospitalized children the art of creative writing, music, painting, photograph, and filmmaking. In the fall of 2007, Smart Museum education staff invited Snow City teaching artists to consider Adaptation as a way to inspire young patients in three Chicago hospitals. Using the work of Guy Ben-Ner as a starting point for discussing the adaptation process, Snow City teaching artists worked with children at Rush University Children’s Hospital, Stroger Medical Center, and Children’s Memorial Hospital to produce two short films.  …Read More »

In class with Catherine Sullivan

Written on January 22, 2008 at 12:45 pm  |  Comments (0)

Natasha Long, student, Master of the Arts in Humanities, University of Chicago


ARTV 24103 grew out of a class with the specific aim of creating a collaborative piece for this exhibition. Back in September [2007], Catherine instructed us each to choose a source (anything!) and from there we began brainstorming ways to approach the issue of adaptation.  …Read More »