Chicago has a long history as a city of magic, or rather a city of magicians. Artists Dan Miller and Aaron Walker slip seamlessly into this lineage with “Handkerchiefs and Flowers,” a spry exhibition at Roots & Culture that slyly performs a series of tricks on the unsuspecting audience. Some of these feats are architectural: a room vanishes where there was one, two triangular closets materialize where there were none. Some are decorative: curtains move from their usual window perch to become the backdrop of a theatrical stage. Some are human: audience members suddenly become performers, in subtly comical costumes, able to transform objects from one thing into another. But the best are, as always, the props: a half-dozen colorful custom packaway tables that, when grabbed at the handle—by those surprise performers—instantaneously go from flat thing to functioning table with a click-click-snap. Is it design? Is it art? It’s magic, that’s what it is, and if you think magic ain’t art, well, I’ve got a bunny just waiting to jump out of a hat and into your arms.
—Lori Waxman 2020-02-22 4:53 PM