About the festival of Changing Women

A festival celebrating

through an exhibition, workshops and readings
weekends beginning October 10, 2008 through January 17, 2009

Take a fresh look at concepts of feminine beauty, wisdom, truth and
aging through this exhibition and discussions.

Opening reception: Friday, October 10, 5:00-8:00pm

Bette Cerf Hill Gallery
1821 West Hubbard Street • Chicago, Illinois • 312-550-6483
free parking
Hours: Weekends beginning Oct 10, special events and by appointment


Fine art photographers Barbara Ciurej and Lindsay Lochman
exhibit original prints from their new book All Things Are Always Changing, and
nationally syndicated feminist cartoonist and playwright Nicole
Hollander displays her original cartoons and signs her new book,
Tales of Graceful Aging From the Planet Denial.
Opening Reception: October 10, 5:00-8:00pm

Ciurej and Lochman are among the featured artists for the
13th annual Chicago Artists' Month
for more information visit www.chicagoartistsmonth.org

MEMOIR WORKSHOP with Nicole Hollander
Nicole Hollander will conduct memoir workshops…explorations of past lives…not the kind where you turn out to be the Queen of Sheba or Louis Sullivan, but the kind where you talk about memories elicited by photographs, clothing, favorite foods or bad meals and then write it down. Turning it into a book or screenplay later is up to you. She will also be signing her new book, Tales of Graceful Aging From the Planet Denial.
Hollander is the nationally syndicated creator of the Sylvia cartoons and author of several books.
For more information about Nicole Hollander visit www.nicolehollander.com
Saturday, October 11, 9:00am-12:00pm
and Sunday, October 12, 2:00-5:00pm
$30 per person. Limit 8 to a class. Men and women welcome.
Call the gallery at 312.550.6483 for a reservation.

Join the immortals! A 15 minute “mini portrait” sessions where we create a photographic portrait of you as though you are carved in marble. Take home a small print to insure your immortality.
View other images by the artists at www.ciurejlochmanphoto.com
Learn about their working methods and collaboration at
October 12, 2:00-5:00pm. $25
Call the gallery at 312.550.6483 for a reservation.

LECTURE: The "New Normal"
Why are young girls looking older? And older women looking younger?
Writer Anne K. Ream explores how marketing, media and the
15 billion dollar beauty industry
have created a "new normal" that has troubling implications.
A percentage of the proceeds from the series will benefit The Voices and Faces Project.
For more information please visit www.voicesandfaces.org
Saturday, October 11, 1:00pm

DISCUSSION: What does money have to do with it?
Civic leaders, Sunny Fischer, and former executive director of the
Chicago Foundation for Women, Isabel Stewart,
reveal how women's philanthropy has changed the landscape for women's issues
and how the power of using their money has changed women.
For more information visit www.cfw.org
Saturday, October 18, 1:00pm

DISCUSSION hosted by De Gray
Join activist De Gray as she hosts a discussion led by writer Anne K. Ream at the gallery.
Artists talk by Barbara Ciurej followed by an informal discussion.
Sunday, December 7, 3:00-5:00pm

DISCUSSION hosted by Sel Yackley with the International Women's Associates
Sel Yackley, author and activist, hosts a breakfast buffet and discussion.
Artist talk by Barbara Ciurej followed by an informal discussion.
Saturday, December 13, 10:00-12:00pm

Exhibit Catalog

All things are always changing and in the opinion of photographers Barbara Ciurej & Lindsay Lochman, its a good thing. In this book of photographs which is the catalog for the show, they debate the ideals of wisdom, beauty and aging and provide a wry 21st century alternative. You can view or purchase it at Lulu Marketplace.

Printed: 72 pages, 8.26" x 11.69", perfect binding, white interior paper (80# weight), full-color interior ink, white exterior paper (90# weight), full-color exterior ink. Free Download: 1 document, 83374 KB

Press & Interviews

The show at Bette Cerf Hill Gallery was reviewed by Abigail Foerestner for NorthShore Magazine, January 2009.

Barbara Ciurej & Lindsay Lochman were selected as featured artists for Chicago Artists Month, Artists + Issues That Matter, October 2008.
They were pictured in the centerfold of the publication which was distributed to 80,000 Chicagoans. The Festival of Changing Women exhibit and events were flagged as a "Don't Miss" event.

They participated in Pecha Kacha, presenting their work in a fast-paced 6 minute/20 slides presentation at Martyrs Pub as part of Chicago Artists Month.

See 2008 Featured Artist: Barbara Ciurej and Lindsay Lochman

Chicago Artists Month, the thirteenth annual celebration of Chicago’s vibrant visual art community was organized by the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and was made possible through the Presenting Sponsorship of 3Arts and the Lead Sponsorship of the Sara Lee Foundation.

They were interviewed for the Chicago Artists Resources: Artists Stories about Backstories and Collaboration. http://www.chicagoartistsresource.org/visual-arts/node/16847 or you can read the interview below:


We have always constructed photographic narratives to reconcile our personal experiences, which we sometimes find at odds with society’s mythology. We imagine and tell another story ("backstories" is what we called them, but they are fictions as well). We try to tell a better story: of the life we want to aspire to, stories that ring true for us and in turn for others. We are optimists and attempt to present a noble way to look at our circumstances. In this way we work to resolve the mixed messages we get from the prevailing culture.

In our most recent body of work: All Things Are Always Changing (excerpts from this will be shown in October at Bette Cerf Hill Gallery for Chicago Artists Month), we confront the fact that middle age is invisible in our culture. At best, it is viewed as a battle to maintain youth. Growing old is considered a defect. As we change in midlife, we lose our "place" in the world and we must find or invent another one. Through our artwork we look for an option that isn't characterized by all that is sexualized and youthful. We know we can do better than “looking good for her age” because we have seen the power inherent in ourselves.

Wisdom, gained by years is venerated, but what does it look like? We address this mind/body disconnect by reworking influences from art history, photographic history, fairy tales, myths and popular culture to create a parallel history. As Iris Murdoch said, "...one surrenders power in one form, and grasps it in another." Our photographs create a new timeline--one where the power in the process is revealed.

We take this approach in all our work -- from depicting domesticity to traveling through the landscape. We are looking for the nobility in our daily lives. We invite you to our website to view our other “backstories.”


For us, collaborating is a conversation. Whether taking the form of argument, agreement, or cry of outrage, our projects always start with a lot of talking. These discussions began when we were students at the Institute of Design in 1978 and this process has informed our photographic narratives ever since.

Initially, we joined ranks to make images that challenged the world around us. Most recently, we have tapped into the spirit of collaborative community during our Ragdale Foundation residencies in Lake Forest, here we received support, shared inspiration and even offers to pose from the other residents. By appearing in many of our own photographs, we took advantage of the artist/model collaboration -- working together to realize a shared vision.

Early in our careers we joined Artemisia Gallery, a women's cooperative, where we came to appreciate the broadest parameters of communal artmaking. We came together with a shared aesthetic and an interest in photography's storytelling potential, but collaboration required that we learn to listen to each other, to take criticism, and sometimes, to let go of an individual vision. Our “work flow” is a negotiated team effort, always moving toward and subservient to “the truth” in the images which tell our stories.

Culture is really a communal storytelling process. It is fluid and mutable. Who is telling the stories? Why? Is a story true for any time and in any place in the world? Through the years we have expanded our view of collaboration as a conversation. We study history, art history and mythology, taking great pains to weave our own emotions and thoughts into a familiar vision shared with our audience. Not only do we converse with each other, we converse with the past and invite a dialogue with the future.

Barbara Ciurej and Lindsay Lochman both attended the Institute of Design at the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago, where Ciurej received a BS in Visual Design, and Lochman received an MS in Visual Design in 1978. Both had early affiliations with Artemisia Gallery in Chicago from 1979-84, where their work was included in many exhibitions. They have consistently shown their collaborative work at galleries and venues such as the the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota, the Museum of Contemporary Art, the Museum of Contemporary Photography, the Chicago Cultural Center and the Art Institute of Chicago,amonst others. Ciurej lives and works in Chicago and Lochman lives and works in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin. They recently published a monograph of their work "All Things Are Always Changing" available at lulu.com.

Previous press on this work can be found at Art Net: Prairie Smoke by Victor Cassidy


December 13 event hosted by Sel Yackley for International Women's Associates

Left to right, Doe Thomburg, founder of IWA; D. Clancy, IWA president;  Sel Yackley, host;  gallery owner, Bette Cerf Hill.

Inspirational messages on the breakfast buffet.

Chatting with Lara Bersano, at left, a visiting journalist from Argentina.

Beth Urich with one of Bette Cerf Hill's paintings gazing over her shoulder.

On Saturday, December 13, 2008, Sel Yackley hosted a breakfast meeting at the gallery of friends and members of the International Women's Associates. After a delicious breakfast buffet, we began with a presentation of the work on display by Barbara Ciurej followed by a lively discussion about art and feminism.

December 7 event hosted by De Gray

Writer Anne K. Ream began the discussion with points from her article "Desperately seeking the female ideal"

Listening to stories about women mentors.

De Gray hosted a meeting at the gallery with a discussion led by Anne K. Ream. This energized group of women met as Obama supporters and have continued to come together around issues of interest and activism. After a short presentation by Barbara Ciurej of the work on display, Anne presented points from "Desperately seeking the female ideal". We discussed how older women have acted as mentors in our lives. Encouragement is such a simple, positive force. Surprisingly many of the group had negative stories to relate. This darker side revealed the mixed messages we receive, that youth and good looks are economic currency, how women undermine themselves and each other with competition and comparison. It was a great discussion reminding us that it takes consciousness and kindness to ensure the kind of future we would like to see.

Discussion: What does money have to do with it?

The discussion circle.

Sunny Fischer, at right, and Isabel Stewart, second from right, lead the discussion.

Saturday, October 18, 2008 1:00pm

Civic leaders, Sunny Fischer, founding executive director of one of the first private women's foundtions in the country and current executive director of the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation, and Isabel Stewart, former executive director of the Chicago Foundation for Women, led a discussion on how women's philanthropy has changed the landscape for women's issues and how the power of using their money has changed women. Stewart reminded us that the role of women within their families is that of a philanthropist, working for the good of others.

To find out more about Chicago Foundation for Women, go to www.cfw.org

Lecture by Anne K. Ream

Anne K. Ream presenting her thoughts.

Bette Cerf Hill (at right) contributing to the discussion.

The "New Normal"
A lecture by and discussion with Anne K. Ream
Saturday, October 11, 2008 1:00pm

Why are young girls looking older? And older women looking younger?
Writer Anne K. Ream explored how marketing, media and the 15 billion dollar beauty industry have created a "new normal" that has troubling implications. "Desperately seeking the female ideal" was published in the Chicago Tribune and appears below.

Desperately seeking the female ideal

Tweens and teens are trying to look older. Women are trying to look younger.
All the self-modifying leaves little time for learning or doing.

by Anne K. Ream
November 16, 2008

Remember your 6th-grade class picture?

I’m sorry to take you back there. I know this is awkward for all of us but think about it for a moment. You might have been many things at 12: bucktoothed, regrettably sporting a bowl cut or, in my case, plagued by a gap-toothed smile.

What you probably weren’t was professionally improved upon. But an unfortunate school photo is, according to trend watchers, fast becoming a remnant of another time.

A plethora of photo agencies and Web sites now offer retouching services that wipe out pesky adolescent imperfections, making for a more gorgeous (and grown-up) school picture. One such site offers a “Total Makeover Age Progression,” a retouching package for young girls that includes new hair, skin, makeup, eyebrows, facial expressions and even arm reshaping.

Tween and teen girls are the new grown-ups, participating in our image-conscious culture in unprecedented ways.

Spas and salons report increased demands for facials, full makeovers and bikini waxes for girls who have yet to reach puberty.

Abercrombie & Fitch has marketed thong underwear with slogans such as “wink wink” and “eye candy” to girls age 7 to 14. Gary Rudman, author of gTrend Report, a nationwide study on tweens and teens, says “There isn’t a real teen on television. Dramas such as ‘Smallville,’ ‘The O.C.,’ ‘One Tree Hill’ and ‘Laguna Beach’ feature teens whose vocabulary, complexion, fashion sense, wisecracking and comedy skills well-exceed their supposed years. This places a great deal of social pressure on ordinary teens to act with life experiences they don’t possess.

“The combined efforts of magazines, television programs, MTV and models in teen stores have fabricated an image of what teens should be and look like,” Rudman said. The only problem is, it’s impossible for real teens to live up to the [media-hyped] expectation.”

The sexualization and “adultification” of girls is a troubling enough trend. But it’s bookended with an equally disturbing phenomenon: the extreme “youthification” of older women.

Thanks to Pilates, supplements, salmon-only diets, $500 face creams and a breathtaking array of surgical and dermatological fixes, 50 is the new 30. Or 20. Or something like that.

It seems almost quaint to remember the days when “Does she or doesn’t she?” referred to hair color. Today it’s not so much about what women put on (makeup, hair color, shape-shifting lingerie)—but what we put in—collagen, Botox and an entire arsenal of injectables.

The joke in Hollywood just over a decade ago was that there were three ages for actresses: Babe, District Attorney and Driving Miss Daisy. Well, they’re all Babes now. A recent issue of Glamour, with the headline “Sexy and Happy at 20, 30 and 40,” features a photo of three A-list actresses who, despite a 20-year age span, look to be roughly the same age.

The popularity, in recent years, of child-inspired clothing for women—including schoolgirl dresses and over-the-knee socks—manages to be creepy and, in its faux nostalgia, more than a little bit sad.

The nationally televised 2005 “Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show” that featured supermodels dressed in baby-doll teddies, pulling stuffed animals and surrounded by toys, made clear that the trend of dressing women as girls had gone mainstream. The current Neiman Marcus catalog, which sells $1,200 diamond “Hello Kitty” watches to women, shows that the trend has gone upscale. Am I alone in thinking “Hello Kitty” and “diamonds” really don’t go together?

In a new variation of an age-old formula, teen television programming has come to dominate the adult market, with shows like the high-school drama “Gossip Girl” attracting adult viewers in record numbers.

Disney star Miley Cyrus captured the muddled-up cultural moment we find ourselves in perfectly when she recently told Vanity Fair that “Sex in the City” is her favorite TV show. A 15-year-old-going-on-20 follows the TV adventures of a group of 30-something women who look like they are not much over 20. In a crazy way, it makes perfect sense.

The adultification of young girls—and the youthification of older women—points to a troubling cultural fixation on an age and beauty “sweet spot,” that elusive place and space when women are, at last, “just right.”

The American Psychological Association has a name for this—“age compression,” which is defined as “a phenomenon in which girls are adultified and women are youthified.” According to the APA, age compression affects younger and older women in largely the same ways, impacting cognitive functioning and body image, increasing the probability of eating orders and depression and creating a restless and relentless need in some women to alter who they are.

The realization—or rather, the belief—that at so many points in our lives the world wants us to be different—older and sexier, or younger and fresher—comes at a social cost. Girls and then women become so busy self-modifying or improving that little time is left over for learning or doing. We have the power to change the world, but it’s too often subjugated to the culturally constructed need to change ourselves.

Some say that it has been ever thus. And certainly, a focus on physical appearance is not new: More than three decades ago researchers argued that physical beauty can translate into power for girls and women. But our definition of beauty shifts according to contemporary cultural values, and there is strong evidence that physical appearance was not always the prime currency it seems to have become today for a girl’s social success.

In her groundbreaking book, “The Body Project: An Intimate History of American Girls,” Cornell University researcher Joan Jacobs Brumberg examined the diaries of adolescent girls in the U.S. over the past 100 years to better understand how they discussed self-improvement. While girls of earlier eras focused on improving their studies and becoming better-mannered, the diary entries of contemporary young women showed an almost exclusive emphasis on improved or changed physical appearance.

Feminist firebrand Elizabeth Cady Stanton, in her renowned work, “Our Girls,” once wrote, “I would have girls regard themselves not as adjectives but as nouns.” It’s a hopeful sentiment that feels, right now, more nostalgic than ever before.

Anne K. Ream is a Chicago-based writer and the founder of The Voices and Faces Project, a national documentary initiative created to bring the testimony of sexual violence survivors to the attention of the public. A longstanding advocate for women’s issues, Ms. Ream is also co-founder and Chief Creative Officer for Girl360.net, an empowerment project for tween girls, and a founding co-chair, with attorneys Susan Vickers and Susan Estrich, of CounterQuo.org: a national initiative that challenges the way we respond to sexual violence. She is a former Senior Vice President and Group Creative Director at Leo Burnett USA, one of the country's largest communications agencies.

Immortality Photo Booth

October 12, 2008 2:00-5:00pm

Ciurej and Lochman offered 15 minute “mini portrait” sessions in the style of the immortals. Each participant was given a small print to insure their place in history. It was a wonderful afternoon filled with noble poses and great stories.
These were some selections from the event.
Proceeds were donated to the Voices and Faces Project.

To inquire about portrait commissions, contact Barbara Ciurej at quirrel@aol.com

Nicole Hollander Memoir Workshop

Saturday, October 11, 2008 9:00am-12:00pm and Sunday, October 12, 2008 2:00-5:00pm

Nicole Hollander, nationally syndicated creator of the Sylvia cartoons and author of several books including Tales of Graceful Aging From the Planet Denial conducted a memoir workshop among her cartoon strips on display. Participants explored past lives…not the kind where you turn out to be the Queen of Sheba or Louis Sullivan, but the kind where you talk about memories elicited by photographs, clothing, favorite foods or bad meals and then wrote and discussed and marveled and laughed.

For more information about Nicole Hollander or her memoir workshops, visit www.nicolehollander.com
Her book is carried at Women & Children First in Chicago and many other bookstores.

Exhibit Installation Photos

All Things Are Always Changing exhibit of photographs by Barbara Ciurej & Lindsay Lochman as part of the Festival of Changing Women at Bette Cerf Hill Gallery, Chicago.

On view from October 10, 2008 until January 17, 2009.

The show is available to travel. Contact Bette Cerf Hill Gallery at 312.550.6483 for further information.