Windy City Media Group Frontpage News

THE VOICE OF CHICAGO'S GAY, LESBIAN, BI, TRANS AND QUEER COMMUNITY SINCE 1985

home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2022-03-16
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
Donate

Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

Artist Elijah Burgher has a magical time
by Ben Sanders
2015-07-14

This article shared 3752 times since Tue Jul 14, 2015
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


Chicago-based artist Elijah Burgher continues to find success at every turn. He just opened and closed his first solo exhibition at Chelsea's Zieher Smith and Horton Gallery in New York and now is back in Chicago, where his work is currently on display at the Elmhurst Art Museum as part of the New American Paintings: Midwest Edition exhibition. He's just one of 40 Midwest artists featured.

Because of his time in New York, he hasn't had the opportunity to visit this exhibit and doesn't really know what to expect. That said, he's honored to receive recognition for his talents and is curious to see where his work is hung in proximity to.

Windy City Times spoke with him outside of Chicago's Caffe Streets about his passion for magic and the abstract, the award he received last year, the pressure associated with depicting the familiar, and more.

Windy City Times: A lot of your work has to do with magic and the occult, and I read somewhere that it stemmed from your interest in magic as a child. Can you tell me a little more about that?

Elijah Burgher: I grew up in the woods, and my mother would kick me and my brothers out of the house. It was kind of laissez-faire parenting, so we would just wonder around in the woods, and I would wonder around in the woods alone and make up worlds. I think growing up in nature one can easily cultivate a sense of enchantment, and aside from action figures and fantasy worlds, I was interested in Greek and Norse mythology. So all those things prepared the way for an interesting vehicle in art.

WCT: As someone who delves in the abstract, does it concern you how people interpret your work?

EB: I don't worry about it at all.

WCT: So you don't mind if it's open to them?

EB: Most of the literature I read tends to be difficult, experimental, often times sort of transgressive, and when I first read William S. Burroughs as a teenager I didn't understand it at all, but there was imagery that I became obsessed with, and I read it over and over again.. There's a way in which you create your audience, you know? I wouldn't want to make anything easy that gives away all the answers.

WCT: Last year, you were selected as one of 100 or so people for the 2014 Whitney Biennial ( a survey exhibition that endeavours to take the temperature of contemporary art every two years. ). What was that like?

EB: It was exciting because it's a really large platform and a larger one that I've ever exhibited my work on. It was also an opportunity to make some connections with some far-flung artists whom I admire.

WCT: Was it like an honor to be accepted? What was it like when you got the call?

EB: Oh yeah, I was very thrilled. I laid down on the floor for a couple of minutes, and then I called my boyfriend.

WCT: In previous interviews you mentioned that you don't see naked images of yourself and others as an erotic thing. Can you explain why you don't see it that way?

EB: When I said that, it was in order to distinguish it from a genre of the erotic "male nude" [that] idealizes the male figure. The most extreme example, which I love, would be Tom of Finland, where everyone has enormous pecs, biceps and penises, and I'm more interested in depicting people I know with the bodies and faces that they have. I'm not saying that there's not eroticism in it, but the point is not to eroticate and titillate. If I made some pornographic drawings, you would know it, because they would be pornographic.

WCT: A lot of your work deals with the familiar. Do you feel any added pressure to do those works justice, because they have to do with your friends lives as well as your own?

EB: Yeah, that would be the wager and the gambit. By dealing with issues that I'm deeply invested in, I have to make it good.

WCT: Who are some of the artists that have inspired you, both living and dead?

EB: Two of my very close friends are two of the artists some that I love the most are Doug Ischar, and he actually has a show up right now at a place called Nightclub, and John Neff. Also, Richard Hawkins, who's an L.A. based queer artist. There's so many, it's kind of hard so I just go with my friends whose work I look at all the time…Add in, Edie Fake, who has a show up right now at Western Exhibitions. He's a Trans artist who makes really killer drawings.

WCT: I understand that you do a lot of writing on the side and contribute to publications such as So Gay! So how does the writing process compare to the artistic one?

EB: I used to write art criticism when I was straight out of grad school. It was too time-intensive, and people started to see me as more of a writer than an artist. Now writing happens as a function or an extension of the work I make, except in rare cases when a friend asks me to write about their show for an exhibition catalogue. I'm also a regular journal keeper. Sometimes I hammer post-writings into shape, like after I finish a drawing or painting I usually sit down and write about what I think it's doing.

WCT: After this exhibit, what do you have planned?

EB: There are rumblings about a couple shows in the future, but they aren't set in stone so I don't want to say anything. But this summer I'm going to have some unstructured playtime in the studio, which is much needed. I kind of never stop working, but I'm happy not to have a project or a deadline looming over my head so I can try some new things.

Elijah's work will be on display at the Elmhurst Art Museum, 150 Cottage Hill Ave., until Aug. 23. Call 630-834-0202 for more information.

In addition, Burgher has artwork up now at Chicago's Western Exhibitions, 845 W. Washington Blvd., as part of a show called "The Gay Mafia is Real," which lasts until July 18. The gallery is open Wednesday-Sunday ( and most Tuesdays ) from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.


This article shared 3752 times since Tue Jul 14, 2015
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

Siskel to show 'Judy Garland Summer Centennial Retrospective' 2022-05-23
- This June and July, the Gene Siskel Film Center, 164 N. State St., will celebrate Judy Garland to mark the 100th anniversary of her birth (June 10, 1922). The Judy Garland Summer Centennial Retrospective will involve ...


Gay News

THEATER Musical 'Get Out Alive' running July 8-Aug. 7 2022-05-23
- Haven will continue its 2021-22 season with Nikki Lynette's multidisciplinary afrogoth musical Get Out Alive, co-directed by Roger Ellis and Lucky Stiff, which features the writer and her personal journey with mental health. The production will ...


Gay News

Lakeside Pride to present 'Sweet Home Chicago" May 29, part of Pride Bands Alliance Conference 2022-05-23
-- From a press release - On Sunday, May 29 at 7pm, Chicago's Auditorium Theatre will host the culmination of the 40th annual Pride Bands Alliance conference. Chicago's Lakeside Pride is welcoming Pride Bands Alliance members from its family of 38 affiliate ...


Gay News

SHOWBIZ Broadway, JoJo Siwa, WEHO Pride, 'Jurassic World,' Madonna 2022-05-22
- The Broadway League announced that all 41 Broadway theaters in New York City have extended the current mask requirement for audiences through at least June 30, Playbill noted. Charlotte St. Martin, president of The Broadway League, ...


Gay News

SHOWBIZ Queer playwright, LGBTQ+ films, BMI Pop Awards, new superhero 2022-05-15
- Jeremy O. Harris, the queer Tony-nominated author of Slave Play, has been named the presiding playwright for the 2023 Yale Drama Series Prize—one of the theater world's most prestigious playwriting honors, Deadline noted. Harris joins the ...


Gay News

Inaugural Heatwave Music Festival in Chicago on July 16-17 2022-05-14
- Auris Presents announced the debut edition and artist lineup for the Heatwave Music Festival, coming to Chicago on July 16-17 in Douglass Park, 1401 S. Sacramento Dr. According to a press release, the festival will be ...


Gay News

MUSIC Ty Herndon releasing 'personal' album 'Jacob' on July 15 2022-05-13
- Out gay Grammy-nominated and Dove Award-winning country artist Ty Herndon announced the release date of his forthcoming album, Jacob. Jacob—called Herndon's "most personal album to date"—will be out July 15. ...


Gay News

Casting announced for 'Queer Eye: The Musical Parody' at Second City 2022-05-13
- Comedy institution The Second City announced the cast and crew of Queer Eye: The Musical Parody, which will start running Thursday, May 26. (The production will run Thursdays through Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at ...


Gay News

MUSIC Riot Fest to take place Sept. 16-18 in Chicago 2022-05-12
- Riot Fest—one of the largest remaining independent festivals in the country—is slated to return to Douglass Park on Sept. 16-18. Festival organizers revealed a jam-packed lineup taking up five stages and performing punk, indie rock, hip-hop, ...


Gay News

57th Street Art Fair marking 75th anniversary on June 4-5 2022-05-12
- The 57th Street Art Fair, the Midwest's oldest juried art fair, will mark its 75th anniversary with an in-person celebration on June 4-5 featuring nearly 200 artists, live music presented by Buddy Guy's Legends, and a ...


Gay News

THEATER Underscore's 'Notes & Letters' running through May 28 2022-05-12
- Underscore Theatre Company celebrates its 10th-anniversary season with the world premiere of the musical Notes & Letters, which features book, music and lyrics by Annabelle Lee Revak (she/her) and is ...


Gay News

Chicago Gay Men's Chorus to present 'Unimaginable' on May 20-22 2022-05-11
- The Chicago Gay Men's Chorus will present the spring show "CGMC: Unimaginable," on May 20-22 at three Chicagoland venues. The performances will take place Friday, May 20, at 8 p.m. at Chicago's Athenaeum Center for Thought ...


Gay News

Kokandy Productions to present 'Cruel Intentions: The '90s Musical' June 9-Aug. 7 2022-05-10
-- From a press release - CHICAGO (May 10, 2022) — Kokandy Productions is launching its 10th-anniversary season this summer with the Chicago storefront premiere of Cruel Intentions: The '90s Musical—a flirty and fun, nostalgia-packed show ...


Gay News

Tonys: Queer-themed 'A Strange Loop' leads nods; 'Paradise Square,' 'MJ' close behind 2022-05-09
- Nominations for the 75th Tony Awards were announced May 9—and a Pulitzer Prize-winning original musical and a play that recounts the 2008 financial crisis led the nods, CNN reported. Leading the nominations was A Strange Loop, ...


Gay News

Lakeside Pride to host 'Sweet Home Chicago' on May 29 [UPDATED] 2022-05-08
- As part of the 40th annual Pride Bands Alliance Conference, Lakeside Pride will host "Sweet Home Chicago" on Sunday, May 29, at 7 p.m. at the Auditorium Theatre, 50 E. Ida B. Wells Dr. Chicago's Lakeside ...


 



Copyright © 2022 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 
 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS







Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor


 



Donate


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.