Note: this is an archive of the May 1999 review
there are no images except for icons

Jump to the listing for
[1997] [1998] (1999) [2000] [2001]

An Annual Review of

= Chicago's Art on the Web =

[] [] []

With occasional updates,
and now with even faster intuitive icons

May, 1999

or read the notes below first...

This is an annotated listing of links to galleries and museums and to art organizations in the Chicago area, which deal with the visual arts, including photography. Also included are a number of artists' collectives. The sites of individual artists are generally not listed.

Links to web resources are scarce, quickly outdated, often dull, and frequently badly constructed. Before you start idling away your time browsing the local scene, check this list. If boring, empty, full of broken code, or not downward compatible, we'll let you know.

If there are comments, they reflect an impatient check with some stable Netscape version. A later look with a text browser (Lynx or Bobcat) will check text-mode compatibility.

Notes on content stand to be corrected. To do so, just send angry comments via [eMail]. Rants and spam will hit the bit-bucket, but I'll answer all others, and especially suggestions for new links. Your site can be anywhere (like in California or Finland), but the content or artists need to be Chicago based. That is Chicago, Illinois.

About Exhibition Spaces, etc

There are 100 mainstream galleries in Chicago and another hundred miscellaneous, new, temporary, and NFP galleries. A handful have URLs. Don't expect a lot; expect a lot of misdirections, moving gifs, and FRAMES which won't fit your screen, or links back which will endlessly replicate more frames.

FRAMES suck, in my humble opinion -- they are difficult to navigate, often go around in circles, difficult to get out of, hard to bookmark, and only a small error in judgement by the webpage designer can blow away any semblance of order for the viewer.

So does JAVA-Anything suck. After having a browser send you an endless series of error messages, you will probably disconnect Java from your cool options forever. And who cares about "mouse-over" crap anyway?

Remain hopeful, and remember you can always quit out.

Comment for 1999

JAVA is in, even though most users hate JAVA. FRAMES are in heavy use also, and many FRAME SETS have no method of exiting.

The second impression is of being lost in a Borgian labyrith. Local Webmasters have discovered the use of subdirectories, the default delivery by servers, and refeshing html files.

Some galleries seem to have gone packing this year, but organized listings by individual artists is on the increase -- at on-line only websites, which often assume the name "gallery" although they do not exist with a street address. We need a new name for these entities.

Ok, after three years, there still is no order to these listings. Sorry. Suggestions welcomed.

College web sites

We gave up on colleges and schools. Based on exploration done both this year and last: College web sites just plain suck, and are mostly a joke. They tend to be extremely fragmented, with alliases and alternate machines to be found everywhere. Work by artists either doesn't exist, or goes stagnant.

You would think that involvement in image making and graphic design would place colleges on the leading edge. But mostly it just isn't so. The web site gets turned over to rotating staff and recent graduates. College which have recently gotten on line tend to turn the job of web design over to amatuers and newbees, as the background colors, frames, and unusable googaws will attest.

Changes for 1999

I got stuck during the January 1999 review -- about halfway through. So at some point you will run into a marker "here's where I am" which deliniates last year's reviews from this year's reviews. I'll catch up.

We have also dropped all the very irritating moving icons which kept the boxes of some viewers in constant disk-read motion. Even the horse.

Jump to the listing for [1997] [1998] (1999)

[ON LINE] Sites which exist only on the web are marked like this.

Legend to the Intuitive Icons

We have had complaints from some viewers that the icons are confusing, although no-one complains that they are irritating. To clarify: The icons were meant to be confusing and only marginally helpfull. They originally were meant to be irritating, also. Consider them to represent a meta-statement concerning the state of the web in Chicago.

[FAST] Fast - means the source is well constructed and fast.
[WOW] Wow - means this is a place well worth looking at.
[INFO] Info - means there is information.
[PIX] Pix - means there are images.
[YUK] Yuk - means the site is aggravating or just stupid.
[BRAIN DEAD] Brain Dead - uses Java, Frames, other Bad Ideas (TM).
 [SLOW] Slow - means the images are large or early and slow.
[OOPS] Oops - means the site skids on a Text browser.

The List

[Uncomfortable Spaces] [WOW] [INFO] [PIX] [FAST]

Without a doubt the most interesting local art site, representing Beret International, Tough, and Ten In One galleries and their artists. Currently includes also CPR, MWMWM in NYC, Law Office, Margin and Next Space, now that Tough has closed (January 1999) and Ten In One has moved to NYC (June 1999). Lynx compatible. No Bad Ideas (TM) used.

[Cultural Affairs] [INFO] [FAST]

I have given up on last year's "Department of Cultural Affairs" as a link, for it is virtually impossible to find anything. I couldn't even find last year's postcard collection -- at that time the only graphics at the site.

I finally ended up (by accident) at the location for the Cultural Center under the heading of "Tourism" -- which is the URL listed above. Here is an up to date listing of events and exhibits at the Cultural Center.

You cannot jump directly to the exhibitions, because the file names change monthly -- but try "../9901exhibits.html" for January, and "../9902exhibits.html" for February.

And try their link to [Public Art]. which represents a very few city owned or sponsored pieces.

But wait!

Here is the best among all of the City of Chicago pretensions to art: A cache of just plain photographs of what the Department of Public Works is doing (which is, they build things). Monumental, important, and without artifice.

Find these at this [obscure] location.

[Illinois Arts Council] [INFO] [FAST]

Fast, but only mildly interesting. Actually, by the 1999 measure, deadly boring.

Check out their newsletter [on-line] in pdf (Bad Idea) format. If you don't mind 300K uploads and Acrobat decoding, then you get to look at handshaking Council members, and a set of pages which look much better than the hard copy, although still without any literary style or content.

Find their [deadlines] here.

[The Illinois Art Gallery] [INFO] [FAST]

The Illinois Gallery, at the Thompson Center Building, finally has a website, appropriately listed under the directory "ISM," which actually stands for "Illinois State Museum."

For events and exhibitions see this [link], which was found to be up to date in January, but with "Programs" (which is to say, their address and phone number) in yellow (FBA444) on white (Bad Idea).

Link also to the "Illinois Artisans Shop" [next door], also owned by the State, and only two months behind in listings.

[ARC Gallery] [INFO] [FAST]

Slower than last year (it's full of Java crap), but well constructed, informative.

Now on an alive drab (2E2E16) background (rather than black).

Some artists' works, an overview of the space, complete listing of upcoming exhibitions, maps, members, other information. A few "current events" pages date from last September.

[The Reader Gallery Listing] [WOW] [INFO] [FAST]

Fast, easy to browse. But still that strange indexing which divides galleries into "districts" -- which follows the Tribune and everyone else -- and is meant to keep the "real" gallery district separated from all those fly-by-night galleries at the imitation districts. To browse for openings can be a pain.

However, check out our solution: Openings only, in alphabetical order all in one place. Copy this link for quick future reference:


(Note the change in file name as of 5/99) Updated within ten minutes and 27 seconds after the Reader posts their files at Yahoo -- which is often not untill after midday on Fridays, and at times as late as 6pm. We truncate long descriptions also, but leave you the closing phone number, and links back to the original files. Done under agreement with the publisher.

[ON LINE] [Ezell Gallery] [WOW] [INFO] [PIX] [FAST]

The best looking page design in Chicago.

At one time known as Gallery 954 (as if we needed another numbered gallery in Chicago), Ezel has since last year gone over the edge, like Egghead, and now exists only as an on-line entity. And Vernon may have left for West Virginia.

Otherwise it is still the Chicago photographer's gallery: Gwen Akin/Allan Ludwig - Frank Barsotti - Jerry Burchfield - JoAnn Callis - Eileen Cowin - Barbara Crane - John Divola - Judith Golden - Joe Jachna - Gail Kaplan - Howard Seth Miller - Joyce Neimanas - Maggie Taylor - Mary Jo Toles - Jerry Uelsmann. Mostly folks with connections to the Tute.

Easy to read, informative.

[Able Joseph Gallery] [BRAIN DEAD]  [SLOW]

With locations seemingly everywhere, but at North and Damen since '89. Artner has said some nice things about them, in the deep past, and they quote him in total. The Java script or image maps just blow up on some pages when you follow their directions.

[Thomas McCormick Works of Art] [WOW] [PIX] [FAST]

A fast site, with the current exhibition schedule on the index page where it ought to be. I remain impressed with everything except the background done in green slime (444444) -- make some things difficult to read unless, as a MAC user, you have turned your monitor's bightness all the way up ("It looks better").

Includes (this year) a set of gallery artists and thumbnails of their work. Easy to read, informative.

[Byron Roche] [INFO] [PIX] [SLOW]

"View in Netscape Navigator 3.0," it says here, and on every page. Like last year: Blink! Tables which don't line up, Giant Headlines and Oversized Texts (Bad Idea) without paragraph breaks.

It may come from overextending the designer, one Mike Griffin, in whose home directory this stuff exists (along with pages for the Ukrainian Institute of Art, etc). If it BLINKS, it's Griffin. See Mike Griffen's [home page].

But, back to Byron Roche: The links to gallery artists work this year. And there are things to view. But still slow. A 100K million-color jpeg is not needed for a 300 x 400 black and white image.

[Ukranian Institute of Modern Art]

Kind of clunky, but there is art to view at the the [gallery] link.

[ON LINE] [AB Gallery]

FRAMES. A little confusing, but here goes: Two pages of visual art works by various people. The frames can be avoided by going directly to the [first] page or to the [second] page.

[ON LINE] [Illegitimate Art Gallery]

Actually the home pages of "" and "cap" (whatever that is). Pages of reviews (music, performance, film) and to have an on-line gallery, which doesn't seem to be ready yet.

[ON LINE] [Site Of Big Shoulders]

Art and texts, four artists.

[R H Love Galleries] [INFO] [PIX] [FAST]

Boy has this space improved. Much cleaner and less confusing (the beef in 1998). Lots of artist's work on line, and still all stored at an database, which drops frames on you -- always two more clicks away from seeing the work. Whatever. One piece per artist (I only checked the first four), and a yet-to-be-filled-out data base..

[Chicago Artists Net] [YUK]

Representing two galleries, one of which does not connect, the other is listed below. There is also a link to ["artists"] which defaults to Art Discovery Com (see below).

[Fusion Gallery] [YUK]

Fusion Gallery represents one artist with nine images.

[ON LINE] [Art Discovery] [WOW] [INFO] [PIX] [FAST]

What is still or was Chicago Artists Net. A listing of some 40 artists who have made their home here, each with images and bios and what not. FRAMES which you will never get out of.

[Lill Street Gallery] [INFO]

Last year: Slow, but cute. This year: Much faster, still Cute. I like the hand-scrawl B/W link images. Informative, otherwise. Events at [this] link.

[David Leonardis Gallery] [YUK]

Sure speeded up since last year, but still behind. Last openings in October of last year, many pages are still empty. The server wonks out frequently with repeated hits. Still the NS promo and Blink!

[The Art Institute of Chicago] [DEAD] [PIX] [SLOW]

Finally (on March 18 of this year), they dropped their 700 KiloByte opening image. Now it is down to four clickable Jpegs. No points yet for clickable maps. But what the hell, at least this year you can get in the front door without crawling.

[The School of the Art Institute] [DEAD]

Forget the School, their site is just lossitude. Barf, barf. (The index page still says "Use Netscape version 1.1 or higher" -- but don't try it. It will blow up with version 1.1.)

We seem to have lost any way to access the Gallery II site, or Betty Rymer gallery. Maybe they are gone.

[Artnet] [INFO] [YUK]

This site has changed, perhaps for the better. Certainly much faster. Turned itself into a art-search engine, with a four column listing of things. Can't read some of the gif image texts.. there is one which reads "ga g gi." Maybe my screen isn't what they were expecting. Links to auctions, some galleries, horoscopes.

[Art resources] [YUK] [PIX]

A strange place with a huge (and inaccurate) list of "complimentary" gallery listings, and a lesser number of artists -- perhaps in an attempt to sell space to galleries. Sure looks a lot like Artnet, above.

I looked up Beret again, as I have done three years in a row. Oh well, nice to know that some things never change. Beret is still listed as being on Elston Avenue. That was four years ago when they moved.

Some things do change. Their obnoxious pink wallpaper has turned into one of those cheap gray rugs you get at a hardware store or find in schools. Makes me want to sneeze just to look at it. I just don't know what the outstanding features are -- it can't be the complimentary listings.

[Adler Planetarium] [YUK] [BRAIN DEAD] [OOPS]

A great site last year, this year my browser blows up every time I connect. Stay away.

[Museum Of Contemporary Art] [INFO] [YUK] [BRAIN DEAD] [OOPS]

More changes this year. For just plain info, there is a text edition. I don't know what good it does.

The "image" version is a bagbiter. You will get caught in an endless loop of requests to put Java up (seems some web people actually realize that most people turn JAVA off). "Just reload," they say. Ah-huh. It don't work (Even with Explorer 5).

To avoid this stupidity, do this: [click here] - it will get you to an index of sorts, and without having to run JAVA.

From that point on things go to FRAMES, but with white backgrounds, smaller images, more text. Commendable, compared to last year's frankenstein.

... progress of the 1999 annual review ...

[Oskar Friedl] [WOW] [INFO] [PIX] [SLOW]

Exhibitions, artists, other information, and links to where-ever. Rogalla is mentioned ten times. A ten year history of exhibitions (set in PRE tags). All readable and navigable.

Check out also the stamp art by Michael Thompson and Michael Hernandez de Luna at this location: [] . Really nice, and appropriate to a website. Better links: [].

[Flo-tilla] [WOW] [INFO]

In August of 1997 Flo-tilla was afloat again, this time at the pond in Lincoln Park, due for October 97. James Fontana and Michael Thompson have picked it up. Prospectus available. Then the City wanted a gazillion bucks for a permit. Finally afloat in August of 1998.

This is the official Flotilla page. For the unofficial Flotilla page, look at this [link].

[ON LINE] [Art-Wpag] [WOW] [INFO]

Great, and here I am stuck for an icon for "weird." Chuck Eaton's server, starting up at this time as a data base (I think) for the crippled Netscape color landscape hex codes and names, and a host to Flotilla (see above).

Chuck pays me the following compliment, "The best I can do for you is give you a link to the best (wordy) of all browser art sites in Chicago: The Unofficial Uncomfortable Spaces Web Site" - Chuck Eaton

[Field Museum] [WOW] [INFO] [PIX]

Great. Well done and makes sense. (Making sense has become a criteria in browsing). Not as fast as in the past; using ugly interlaced GIFs; but can't be faulted for design otherwise. An endless series of things to browse. Go see it.

[Rhona Hoffman Gallery] [WOW] [PIX] [FAST]

Well organized, fast, easy to navigate. Go see it.

[Chicago Historical Society] [WOW] [INFO] [PIX] [SLOW]

Used to as slow as super-cooled molasses because of the massive jpegs, now given over to moving gifs, the neatest of which is a small fire, which I stole and placed on *our* home page.

The index page takes some time to load, and as usual is probably only used to plus-plus a CGI script for counting hits (when will they learn to grep log files?).

Still loaded with great stuff, though. A *must* see.

[Klein Art Works] [WOW] [INFO] [PIX] [SLOW]

Placing more text and fewer images on the index page would make this site load a hell of a lot faster. Indeed, the front end of the site is full of gizmos, including a CGI script which whacks back and forth between "Top 1000 Sites" and some other text. Either this gallery owner is demented or he is on the track of the true radical nature of art. I'm gonna add a "Top 1,000,000,000 Sites" label to mine.

The colored backgrounds and colored text drive me nuts, but there are more images than at some museum sites. The images look brilliant, and actually seem to be of the correct density and contrast, something difficult to find at many sites.

Includes also a wealth of discussions by Paul Klein, and responses from others, which makes intriguing reading. Smart for a gallery, informative, and easy to cruise. Go see it.

[ON LINE] [Lot 33] [WOW] [INFO]

Real news about the art scene in Chicago, occasional reviews, and unbridled enthusiasm. And a place where you can add your opinions. Not, however, frequently updated. June 1999: going off the air. Jim Siener (Head Cowboy) is moving to the East coast.

[Oriental Institute] [YUK] [SLOW]

Last year I had trouble with the menus, which "just sort of go in rotation." This year half the links never fill, or lock up.

Still, as a year ago, "you must have installed.." the "FREE APPLE QUICKTIME VR PLAYER SOFTWARE," etc. At least I no longer "gotta have" Netscape Navigator 3.0. with plugins, etc.

Good. I run NOTscape 2.02, and have no intentions of upgrading. I have jettisoned the QT, NA Player, Shock Wave, and Java files. (QT writes 30 megs of read-only files to the Windows directory!). Sometimes I run Bobcat, and make it sign in as Mozilla.

Most interesting at the site are the text files describing the massive effort at making panoramic images of all the gallery's alcoves, and have them play back with QT software. "We already owned a Vivitar zoom lens," does not encourage confidence in resolution. Nor does their ownership of a "florescent filter," no doubt integral to the projects' blooming.

But it is none the less interesting to see the proud descriptions of the details of the project, especially since *I* have made panoramic images for years. I still can't figure why half the pages won't load.

[Renaissance Society] [OOPS] [YUK] [SLOW]

Black background, Java, FRAMES (at some point 8 at the same time, most as blanks), neon text, but too small to be able to read even at 14 point default, half of which folds over. Can't figure this site at all. Sucks.

[Chicago Academy of Sciences] [YUK] [PIX] [SLOW]

This site will slow you down to a crawl. Java. The header takes 35 seconds to write to the screen, and then repeats. All it does is tell you you're at the Chicago Academy of Sciences, while delaying any links from the index page.

One page samples with images from various collections. Colored backgrounds make reading a bitch. Some nice stuff though, not much where you would expect a lot. Many of the links just go to a press release about the "nature museum." I'm gonna start a Web Museum before it is too late.

[David and Alfred Smart Museum of Art] [WOW] [PIX] [FAST]

Well constructed, Lynx compatible, interesting. Go see it..

[SOFA Exposition] [PIX]

Actually, which will connect with the above URL. Nice, reasonably fast -- if you think using four 60 K files on the main page (which dissolve to images only 3/4" square), is a way of being fast. Much better than last year; actually provides rational information, rather than the usual non intuitive clickable nonsense.

The pink squiggly wallpaper background drives me bonkers, though. But that isn't SOFA's doing, it is the design of their web site provider, ArtResources. For which see above somewhere.

[Tobai International] [OOPS] [SLOW]

Duh. Don't know. It's a Chicago Gallery. FRAMES somewhere too.

[TBA Exhibition Space] [OOPS] [YUK] [SLOW]

That's Tom Blackman's Art Expo in case you don't know. The screaming yellow has changed to burnt umber.

FRAMES, and funky graphics, and very difficult to make sense out of; some of it just unreadable and seems to just go round in circles.

Somebody must have been working 60 hour weeks over the last year: the whole of the 1997 show catalog is on line. A CGI search links to a database with formal descriptions (location, the stable, and a sample) of just about every gallery exhibited in 1997. This all the same construction is as boring as it is endless.

[Orca Aart Gallery] [WOW] [INFO] [PIX] [FAST]

Fast, easy to browse, images, well organized.

[ON LINE] [U-Turn magazine] [OOPS] [WOW] [YUK] [PIX]

Jim Hugunin's magazine now gone on line. The FRAMES suck, and are all but unavoidable, but look at the endless photography, art, video, and criticism. Issue two is a an on-line gallery of Chicago artists.

Lots of wacky font colors and Netscape slaverings right now. Over the last year this has grown into a 40 megabyte cache of images, commentary, and magazine rack of back issues and Jim Hugunin projects.

[Spencer Weisz Galleries] [SLOW]

Slow, complicated.

[ON LINE] [Open Studio Org] [INFO] [FAST]

Last year: The $1,000,000 dollar investment by the NEA in net-art. Not sure what this will turn out to be yet.. supposedly it is about access and "helping artists become effective information providers on the web" (to quote from the NEA press release.

This year: Oodles of text, fast link to just about anything. But I have no idea what this is all about, but then, I never did have academic leanings.

For Chicago the one of ten initial NFP orgs is Beacon Street Gallery, at Truman College, at []. Ask them what this is all about.


Yes, the outfit in Washington DC.

Last year's comment: A few broken links if you are browsing with Lynx and looking for Fellowship money. You'll never find it. But then, that is their policy.

This year's comments: (1) They are still there. (2) Money has moved to the index page.

Nice white backgrounds. All put together by a crew of over 50 people, or maybe 100. Ah, what committees can't do!

[Arts Midwest] Minneapolis [INFO] [FAST]

A well constructed web site. Once you get past the white on black index page, the remainder by and large is plain black on white -- fast loading information.

And, hey! Free money.. when there is money. Funding programs are easy to find.

[ON LINE] [Tezcat's chi arts] [YUK] [INFO]

Last year, Arts to Tezcat was mostly music, and one painter. And a gallery listing cribbed from the Tribune or the Reader five years earlier.

This year they have gone to a longer text file, but otherwise nothing has changed: Still listing one artist, mostly music, a longer list of on-line publications, and the same gallery list as years ago: Look at Artists Book Works (closed four years ago), darkroom aids (closed last year) or Beret (moved from Elston Avenue three years ago). Forget it.

[(Art)^n Laboratory] in Evanston [WOW] [PIX]

You can go nuts here. These people make something image wise. I'm not sure what. The pages on this site never stop moving.

[Chicago Filmmakers] [INFO]

Mostly: schedules, exhibits, classes. Actually up to date.

[Chicago Artists Coalition] [PIX] [INFO] [FAST]

There was considerable futsing required last year with this URL. This year the address actually works.

CAC services, and artists' images.

[New Art Examiner] [INFO]

Braindead last year, things seem to work this year, although....

Subscriptions, back issues, etc.

Strange, for the slamming I gave them a year ago, they actually have a "links page" entry which reads, "Jno Cook's review of Chicagoland art sites" -- meaning, I suppose, this file, which is a review of *Web* sites. But the URL for the link contains three errors, and you will *never* connect. That's one way of getting even.

My bitch last year was that their "art resources" list did not have a single link to anything in Chicago. (I suggested they list the Utrecht catalog.) This year things have certainly improved. The NAE web-master was able to find 6 Chicago links, which includes one gallery (besides the Uncomfortable Spaces) and two museums.

Says something about Web activity in Chicago. I think *I'm* gonna add the Utrecht Catalog on this page

(later:) The Utrecht Catalog can be found at [this] location.

[White House], Washington

[] The last place to go when you won't be heard elsewhere.

not seen, duplicates

[big pigeon] [project room - CPR?] [fassbender] [The Chicago Academy of Sciences] [Downers Grove Museum] [The Mary and Leigh Block Gallery] [Museums at the Crossroads] [Chicago Psyberview] [Chicago Architecture Foundation] [Chicago Athenaeum: Museum of Architecture and Design] [Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio Foundation] [Intuit: The Center for Intuitive and Outsider Art] [National Vietnam Veterans Art Museum] [Chicago Children's Museum] [Chicago Historical Society] [Oriental Institute Museum] [DuSable Museum of African-American History] [Spertus Museum] [Chicago Public Library Harold Washington Center] [Newberry Library] [University of Chicago Library] [Field Museum of Natural History] [Nature Museum of the Chicago Academy of Sciences] [International Museum of Surgical Science] [Museum of Broadcast Communications] [Chicago Art Dealers Association] [Gallery 37] [Centerstage Chicago Art Guide] [Culture Finder]

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