• “Julia Margaret Cameron’s Women”

    The Art Institute of Chicago

    The exhibition “Julia Margaret Cameron’s Women” could be faulted for the exclusivity of its focus on the female sex. It is true that Cameron portrayed the men of mark of her day: Carlyle and Tennyson, Darwin and Herschel, Watts and Rossetti number among her pantheon of patriarchs. Thus, it is also true that in the absence of those bearded eminences, the sheer worldly ambition that drove her to photograph is not conveyed as well as it might be.

    On the other hand, women were the main object of Cameron’s eccentric zeal, and the exhibition, curated by Sylvia Wolf of the Art Institute, conveys that

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  • Paul Thek

    The Arts Club of Chicago

    Should the artist be a man of the world? Paul Thek came up in the ’50s and ’60s, when it was hard to answer “no,” when “avant-garde artist” became a profession, an idea that repulsed him, Wrestling with this question in 1979, Thek wrote to a priest, “I am OK, still trying to be ‘an artist’ in the secular world . . . as you know, the world is the world, very ‘worldly,’ etc, etc.” He longed for recognition, but had little respect for posturing or artistic orthodoxies, retreating to Europe—and even, late in his life, to a monastery—for long periods.

    Curator and critic Richard Flood called Thek’s

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  • Marc Alan Jacobs

    Beret International Gallery

    For his recent installation “Hymietown,” Marc Alan Jacobs created a crowd of a hundred inflated plastic punching bags, each made to resemble a religious Jew, with yarmulke, shawl, and black suit, standing in prayer. Vaguely shaped like bowling pins, these roly-poly four-foot tall figures were identically screenprinted with the same rather blank and impassive face and reddish-brown hair. Several pounds of sand sealed within the base of each clone gave it stability and a degree of physical imperturbability; if you were to push or strike these figures—and it was impossible to walk through the

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