Review in Newcity

November 30, 2015

Read the most recent review of Matt Siber’s Idol Structures on


Idol Structures

October 13, 2015

Featuring photography, sculptures and other media, Siber brings attention to the structures that we use in urban landscapes to propagate mass-media communication. Elements like used billboard vinyls, empty signposts and other items that usually hold advertisements draw attention to the components of media that usually are meant to stay invisible.

Siber said that he has been working on projects dealing with advertising, propaganda and “the ways we are manipulated and influenced to do things” since 2002, which then turned into him looking at signage and public spaces.

The inspiration for all of this comes from his own personal dislike for “being manipulated,” he said. “Perhaps this is a way of counteracting it.”

Siber also mentioned the importance of the exhibit, specifically for college students.

“You’re learning about the world,” Siber said. “I hope this exhibition makes you think of the world around you a little differently than maybe before you’ve seen it.”

Though the themes of advertising and public spaces have been present in a lot of Siber’s work as an artist, the idea for this exhibition has been discussed for several years and is now only recently coming into fruition. Gregory Harris, assistant curator at DPAM, said that he saw one of Siber’s shows about three years ago, “back when we were just planning the new Art Museum building.”

“Idol Structures” runs through Dec. 20. (Photo courtesy of DEPAUL ART MUSEUM)

Since then, Siber had been working on creating an exhibition that would fit DPAM perfectly, taking into account the unique spaces in the new building, like the window looking over the train tracks, in which to place attention-grabbing works.

In this exhibit, Siber said that he focused on the differences between the idea of two-dimensional versus three-dimensional and “how things occupy space differently,” such as advertisements and the signage that holds them there.

Claire Sandberg, a junior at DePaul and the Gallery Tech Intern at the Art Museum, said Siber made a lot of the pieces after the exhibition had already been discussed.

“We put our trust in him that he would make something really cool for us and he did,” Sandberg said.

With so many varieties of structures in this exhibition, a lot of work went into creating an inviting yet meaningful space. With the help of the artist himself, “we spent the whole month of August hanging it all up,” said Sandberg, who especially enjoyed hanging up the huge billboard vinyls using cherry picker lifts.

“Matt (Siber) has been around Chicago for 14 or 15 years, so he’s well-known in the city,” Harris said. She said Siber is most well-known for his photography, but has recently delved into other mediums, like sculpture for this exhibition.

“This project is the first project I’ve done that’s dealt with sculpture,” Siber said. He made his first sculpture in 2010.

So far, the student response has been great, Harris said. A lot of art classes have been making their way over to the museum, from DePaul and from other schools, as well as photography classes.

“Idol Structures” will be available until Dec. 20. The exhibition is free and open to the public.

Julie Rodrigues Widholm makes Newcity’s Art 50 2015 list- Chicago’s Visual Vanguard

September 21, 2015

Long heralded as a mecca for alternative practices, collectivity and socially engaged art, Chicago increasingly finds itself among the most visible international art destinations precisely because of its distinct character and openness to change and growth. What makes this city fertile ground for launching new talent and sustaining confirmed genius? A complex and ever-changing network of curators, collectors, administrators, critics, dealers, educators and other enthusiasts cultivate Chicago’s artistic vitality and diversity. The Art 50 is Newcity’s annual snapshot of Chicago’s art ecosystem. This year, we track the power players who shape the terrain in which we thrive.

The Art 50 was written by Elliot J. Reichert, Maria Girgenti, Abraham Ritchie, Kate Sierzputowski and B. David Zarley.


- See more at:


August 28, 2015

DPAM is a Proud Partner of EXPO CHICAGO! For more on programming information and tickets, visit


DPAM names Julie Rodrigues Widholm as new director

July 8, 2015

CHICAGO — DePaul University has named Julie Rodrigues Widholm, a nationally recognized curator of contemporary art, as director for the DePaul Art Museum located on its Lincoln Park Campus. Widholm brings 16 years of experience from her career with the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago and will join DePaul Aug. 31.

Widholm will step into the position held on an interim basis by Laura Fatemi, associate director of the museum. Fatemi succeeded Louise Lincoln, who served for 17 years as director.

“Julie brings exceptional experience to this role and will help expand the DePaul Art Museum’s commitment to Chicago artists and its fine reputation in Chicago and beyond,” said the Rev. Edward Udovic, C.M., vice president for teaching and learning resources. “With her vision, the museum is poised to enter a new era of growth in collections, exhibitions and philanthropic support.”

Widholm has curated more than 50 exhibitions at the Museum of Contemporary Art, including major shows such as “Doris Salcedo,” the first museum retrospective for the Colombian artist. That exhibition is currently on view at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York this summer and will also travel to Perez Art Museum in Miami in spring 2016.

“I admire the beautiful new museum space at DePaul and, in the last few years, there has been great momentum around the museum and its exhibitions,” she said. “I look forward to creating a vision for the exhibition program and related events that promotes interdisciplinary thinking and explores how art is relevant to all facets of life. I plan to put DePaul Art Museum on the cultural map of nationally-recognized art museums.

“With an international program that creates a global perspective through the lens of art,” Widholm said, “I envision the DePaul Art Museum as a space for dialogue around diverse experiences, which supports the university’s mission of social justice and inclusion, and an innovative space for teaching and learning.”

In her current role as curator, Widholm oversees three to seven exhibitions a year. She has published extensively, researching and writing publications for each show.

Widholm said she is particularly proud of providing opportunities for artists and commissioned Chicago-born sculptor Amanda Ross-Ho’s first outdoor public art project, “The Character and Shape of Illuminated Things.” The artist’s work, as well as the MCA’s marketing efforts, drew a “phenomenal” response on Instagram and other social media sites, creating conversations around the role of public art.

She also supports women and Latin American artists, such as Amalia Pica, whose first major American solo exhibition Widholm co-organized with MIT List Visual Art Center, and last year curated “Unbound: Contemporary Art after Frida Kahlo,” bringing forward artists who share Kahlo’s spirit of rebellion.

In addition to her curatorial work, Widholm has raised as much as $1.5 million from private donors to support exhibitions.

Widholm began her career at the MCA as a research assistant in 1999 and rose through the ranks to assistant curator and associate curator before beginning her current role in 2012. During that time, she earned a reputation for highlighting the work of emerging and local artists by curating dozens of 12×12: New Artists/New Work exhibitions. Her landmark exhibition “Escultura Social” brought work from young artists in Mexico City to Chicago for the first time. She also organized artist Rashid Johnson’s first major solo exhibition in 2012, which toured to Miami, Atlanta and St. Louis.

“I’m committed to making Chicago a world-class city for the arts,” she said. Although Chicago is her adopted home, it’s the place she has lived the longest. Growing up, Widholm’s family moved around the world with her father’s job, from Brazil and Mozambique to Portugal and Germany, as well as to cities throughout the U.S. These travels influenced Widholm “in every way,” she said. “Art is a space where you can engage with ideas and experiences that are different than your own. It’s very important to be able to do that in this world.”

Widholm earned bachelor’s degrees in art history and political science from the University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana and a master’s degree in art history, theory and criticism from the School of the Art Institute in Chicago.

Founded in 1898, DePaul University is an educational institution distinguished by its Catholic history and urban character, which are deeply rooted in the fabric of Chicago. The DePaul Art Museum extends the university’s commitments to excellence, diversity and social concerns through its innovative exhibitions, programs and events.

The museum’s strong interest in Chicago art is likewise in keeping with the university’s local heritage. Its exhibitions and collections are enriched by the wide-ranging expertise of DePaul faculty and provide space for faculty and students to pursue innovative approaches to art and culture. The museum has an established history of presenting exhibitions that appeal to the breadth of Chicago’s audiences while maintaining a high standard of academic and intellectual integrity.

The DePaul Art Museum serves as a visual arts resource for the university and the greater Chicago community. In recent years the museum has grown in size and visibility with a state-of-the-art 15,000 square foot, three-story building that opened in 2011 at 935 W. Fullerton Ave., just east of the CTA’s Fullerton ‘L’ stop. It has been widely praised for its welcoming exterior and versatile galleries. More information is available on the museum’s website.

See the full press release here.

Upcoming Events

5th Wave Collective Presents "Modern Connections"


Wednesday, August 1, 5:30 pm

5th Wave Collective is an organization dedicated to the promotion and performance of music by composers who identify as female. Their Modern Connections concert will explore the concept of abstraction within Modern and Contemporary music. The set features a majority of female composers from the Black and Latinx diasporas and will take place in the first-floor gallery alongside the current exhibition Out of Easy Reach.

Free and open to everyone | Register

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"Beverly Fresh: Really Somethin Else" Book Release & Potluck


Thursday, August 2 from 5:30 – 7:00 pm

Production is underway for Really Somethin Else, an experimental “expanded catalog” chronicling the recent work and current solo exhibition of artist Beverly Fresh. The book not only documents and contextualizes the work in the exhibition, but also includes research, sketches, production stills, inspiration and other works not on view in the exhibition. Featuring essays by DPAM Director Julie Rodrigues Widholm, DePaul Humanities Center Director H. Peter Steeves, and DePaul Associate Professor of Sociology Greg Scott, and designed by Beverly Fresh himself, the catalog captures the distinct aesthetic of the exhibition.

Beverly Fresh will be signing books. Retail $30, but only $25 at the event. 

Free and open to everyone | Register.

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