Cindy Loehr | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Cindy Loehr

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Cindy Loehr's installation of three goofy giant singing bluebirds, Bluebird Burden, is certainly an attention getter, but it's also conceptually compelling and emotionally moving. Each bird, made of wire covered in light and dark blue shiny plastic garlands, has a speaker inside broadcasting Carlos Lama singing lyrics Loehr wrote and he set to music. The song is as important as the physical object. The lyrics argue against the notion that the world exists to improve our emotional lives--the same narcissistic ethos that infects the art world. Loehr's birds rebuff the viewer: "We are not joy / You are not sorrow / We cannot love you." They declare the viewer to be "self-obsessed," burdened by "past and future pain," unwilling to admit to her own emptiness. Yet they also say, "You are not alone." The central bird is higher than the side ones, evoking an altarpiece, and the melody and a cappella singing suggest Gregorian chant, adding to the sacralizing effect. It's a haunting work that encourages viewers to search for something larger than themselves. Monique Meloche, 951 W. Fulton, through March 13. Hours are noon to 7 Tuesday through Friday and 11 to 6 Saturday; 312-455-0299.

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