Episode 110: Around the Coyote?!?/ SF opening extravaganza

October 7, 2007 · Print This Article

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downloadAround the Coyote
Is there an art scene in Wicker Park anymore? Why does Around the Coyote have such a crap reputation these days? Duncan asks the hard questions to Around the Coyote Executive Director Allison Stites and festival coordinator Jessie Cochran about what they are doing, what they are working on, and how they are trying to turn the program around, bring in quality curators and artists and make it relevant and interesting. They don’t shy away from straight answers.

This week the San Francisco Bureau introduces their new co-host, the fabulous Patricia Maloney, in a survey of the fall season exhibitions. Brian, Marc, and Patricia review a smorgasbord of shows including: Olafur Eliasson at SFMOMA, the opening of the new Ratio 3, Jessica Silverman Gallery, Ping Pong, Queens Nails Annex, Heather Marx Galley and a cavalcade of others. Meanwhile, Marc pitches in with a report of the LA Chinatown openings while Brian and Patricia debate anatomical merits of R. Crumb and Tom of Finland. Good Times!

Around the Coyote
Allison Stites
Jessica Cochran
Patricia Maloney
Julia Marsh
Shannon Stratton
BAT Journal
Live Box
Abby Satinsky
Ben Shaafsma
Jim Trainor
Roots and Culture
Green Lantern
Heaven Gallery
All Rise Gallery
The Wicker Park/Bucktown Gallery Association
Fraction Workspace
People Powered
Olafur Eliasson
The Art Institute of Chicago
Anthony McCall
Jeremy Blake
Queens Nails Annex
Misako Inaoka
Constantin Brancusi
Robert Irwin
Nate Boyce
Kei Ito
Kristina Lewis
Silverman Gallery
Christopher Badger
Ratio 3
Jordan Kantor
Mitzi Pederson
Robert Smithson
Chris Perez
Ben Peterson
Douglas Gordon
Heather Marx
Libby Black
Ping Pong Gallery
Amanda Curreri
Philip Guston
China Art Objects
Sean Landers
Quick Draw McGraw
Black Dragon Society
Steve Canaday
R. Crumb
Tom of Finland
Direct download: Bad_at_Sports_Episode_110-ATC-SF_Reviews.mp3

69 Responses to “Episode 110: Around the Coyote?!?/ SF opening extravaganza”

  1. Honestly I had forgotten about Around the Coyote. I know they have been bringing in really talented people, but I wonder if the demographic shift in the neighborhood hasn’t sealed the fate of the event. It has become Lincoln Park west and those changes have driven out just about all of the galleries (heaven and green lantern being notable exceptions). I admire their tenacity, but I can’t help but wonder if they are working upstream. The center of the art scene is the Peoria/ Lake street area and there is no change in the immediate future.

  2. tony fitzpatrick Says:

    Balz– I wouldn’t count ATC out… I think Allison and Jesse have worked mightily to improve this event and I think they’ll suprise you… They’ve been aware from the beginning that this is an uphill climb and I think they have done an amazing job in elevating the seriousness of this enterprise– I think they’ve provided necessary leadership — what remains to be seen is — will the community participate?

  3. I was in ATC from 1990 – 1994 and knew Jim Happy-Delpech. Back then there was the Flatiron building, the Ludwig Drum Factory, the Paulina Arts Building and a couple of others. (Ironically, the Tower Coyote Gallery, after which the ATC was named, closed before the festival opened). There was a lot of energy back then, the spaces were raw and most of the art was good. It was a scene and seemed to be the start of something great.

    Unfortunately, things got lame when Jim got sick. He had a great vision for what Around the Coyote could be. The itinerant street fair artists (abstract paintings with drop-shadowed blobs and such) took over, the neighborhood mostly torn down and kids taped crappy drawings on newsprint to the walls in the hallways of the Flatiron building. His dream was short-lived.

    I don’t think the Peoria St. scene is as permanent as Balzac implies. It’s mostly a party, as was the Chicago-Milwaukee-Ogden scene was in the early ‘90s. Before that, it was the Huron-Orleans Building. Remember Randolph Street Gallery, N.A.M.E., Artemisia, ARC? It was the predecessor to Peoria St. The more serious artists moved on while the others focused on their day careers and new families and walked away from creating art.

    I agree that ATC has been lame for a long time, but am really glad to hear that a new group of people are running it that aren’t stuck with preconceived notions as to what ATC is. I think that it is worth saving and would not dismiss it. In the right hands, it can be something great.

  4. Around The Coyote needs to become the Chicago art walk -like The Venice Art walk -out in LA. It needs to span the city -we all need to participate -as both Alison and Jessie note –

    I suggest they do this at the time of the art fair -without being directly connected to the fair.

    I think this might be the right time to have SHARKSTOCK 3 -and perhaps this year make that event into a rock and art show that has something to do with OUR community-

    btw -anyone else notice how Dominic Molon gets around and avoids discussing the art/rock scene here -its ingenious: instead of Chicago, call it the midwest -then you can hang up a roomfull of bad slide-projected rock poster paintings by two big name LA artists -Mike Kelly and Jim Shaw….well, they used to live in Detroit…….! what a fucking joke. This is what is meant by ‘international’ as opposed to global…in otherwords, Dominic reshuffles the deck comprised of any number of consensus correct artists all in service of his careerist manuevering…while giving no more than lip service to the city he works in -the city where rock music comes from. What an affront to everyone involved in the music world or art world here.

    -stay tuned to The Reader -and sharkforum.org for more on this case of curatorial malpractice……the list of people speaking out about this is, formidable, as all will soon see.

  5. I agree with The Shark about ATC. I think it needs to disconnect itself from Wicker Park. The area is a jumbled mess of nuevo-Lincoln Park and rag-tag remnents and the show seems to be part of the latter. It needs to be more identified with Chicago and not a neighborhood.

  6. I was in ATC back in the day, sold a bunch of work too, I think it needs to re-invent itself ala the previously suggested art walk. Wesley save the the Molon critque for the already in the chamber next show. I’m sure you will have a response.

  7. What ever happened to Jim Happy-Delpach, that was one seriously odd dude.

  8. Did anyone find amusement at my poking fun – musically – at Duncan’s whining about having to see art?

  9. He became seriously ill and eventually passed away.

    He was a character. I remember a benefit for ATC where artists painted boxer shorts at some night club. Toward the end of the night he got up on a table and danced, wearing long johns, while everyone painted him.

  10. Hey Richard, why not have myself, Tony Fitzpatrick and Jon Langford on to talk about what a complete insult to Chicago Sympathy For The Devil is? Let us ask the question -why do we have these weak-ass curators -unable to write their own histories, invent their own canons of reference instead defering to the ‘local LA or NYC scenes?

  11. The Shark has this Sympathy thing (mostly) right. It’s true Molon, like many a curator here, stakes out a position relative to an internalized acceptance of the LA/NYC canon. Of course BaS itself seems to yearn for Chicago to emulate the international (vs. global – a useful distinction here indeed Sharkforum-ites) art scene. Their early shows certainly did, although recent shows (esp. the Jim Duignan + Marc Fischer) have begun to highlight what makes the Chicago scene unique – a vast array of collective practices here are disproportionately represented/active relative to LA+NYC. If Chicago should look anywhere for inspiration it should be Portland where a real DIY scene has been percolating into something quite substantial and remains largely independent. Wesley is right to fiercely resist the further colonization of the Chicago art scene by international art jet-setters and their wannabes, but we’re left with a couple of concerns:

    One – that we need to be explicit about the tactical nature of adopting a parochial perspective.

    Two – might it also be tactically savvy to ignore the posturing of what Wesley calls the consensoriat? That is to say, by accepting that what happens at the MCA is relevant in the first place, isn’t there the danger of already accepting the punishment/reward system established by the consensoriat?

    (Speaking of being tactical, it’s absolutely clear that the sorts of practices we and Wesley think ought to be supported outside of the international art hegemony are VASTLY different, but sometimes credit is due where credit is due)

  12. well Leisure your writing/thinking is slightly less muddled than in previous instances -though I seriously doubt you have any real notion of what I think should or should not be practiced outside the international cartel – anyone really familar with me knows that I do not advocate my particular aesthetics for anyone other than myself. And that being so, do advocate self-actualization for every unique, inimitable individual on what can only be, their own terms.

    -where I do find value in your comments is #2…..though I think it begs the refinement of making it less passive, more of an active rebellion. You ignore us, we will ignore you -aggressively -as a community. Either you, (the MCA) begin to self actualize and write your own canon -emmanating from here -as they do in NYC or LA, or we actively seek your demise.

    I think we sharks have left your position of pondering whether or not to cooperate with, ignore or not, the consensoriat in our wake a long time ago -as we mostly advocate its destruction as outmoded and, illegitimate. We advocate accomplishing this destruction and wreaking havoc in any way that reaps maximum benefit to…ourselves! -are we not sharks? Bottom line: the consensoriat is a corpse to be fed upon, for each of us, a unique dining experience.

    btw -I dont see Molon’s efforts as colonization -as much as a ‘job search’ for an ambitous curator seeking employment in a more glamorous, ‘upscale’ local, at our expense.

    As for VAST differences, I suggest going to look at Mr. Pettibone’s drawings up at the MCA (to be viewed for the umpteenth time here in Chicago) then go look at the two drawings I have up at Architrouve -and ask yourself what rocks and what doesn’t -without all the hype-and then remind yourself -that no real research happened here nor, were any of us in the rock or art world here in Chicago, no matter how good or relevant the work, ever even considered for this exhibition.

    Why is this? Simple, art/rock from here wasn’t perceived as a career opportunity for a curator unable or unwilling to think for himself.

  13. –look lets save this: there is a shark attack! pending at sharkforum -The reader as well, lets talk about this art walk thing.

    Everyone here, checkout the Venice ArtWalk……all of LA comes out for it -its a huge, super cool event that benefits everyone….we should do our own and let Alison and Jesse -with the organization they are quickly getting into shape…..help us make this happen. Rather than question their viability, let us question how they can be used most effectively- while affording them the opportunity to re-invent Around the Coyote

    I hear Leisure saying some of the same things we advocate at sharkforum – well, lets do it…the viral nature of our online community is ground breaking….we are creating a new kind of democratic anarchy here in Chicago, we now have the ability to really question and perhaps even undermine institutional authority…..

    Back to the art walk: we should also consider the sxsw model where official and unofficial events co-mingle; we can do all of this when the fair happens -with no affiliation- beyond proximity….

  14. I’ll chime in on the Consensoriat and the false bilateral choices of joining/ignoring after Dominic’s BAS next time. Right now, I’d like to say I was VERY impressed with the attitude of the Coyote women. I think expanding Coyote in any way, whether as an artwalk or otherwise is an excellent idea.

    Can you imagine it — I lived in Lincoln Park way back when IT was an artists’ area and there wasn’t ANY Wicker Park art activity!

    I really DO think you BASers should have Wesley and Tony and Langford on as an “answer” show. In fact, perhaps you should do other “both sides” or “response” shows. But maybe not with me as I get too nasty.

  15. Absolutely -there should be a response on BAS to this curatorial travesty of an exhibition- if you are going to let Molon come on and make excuses for this trainwreck of a farce -there should be a response from some of the artists he has insulted.

    I’d also like the opportunity to discuss the lack of (with one exception) any quallity Chicago artists in the Aquisition Show…..not to mention the poor dupes (40 artists) going down to the MCA, playing smoochie smooch, (oh! maybe if I kiss their butts now and play good little artist they will come visit my studio -or even put me in a show someday!) discussing their favorite ‘aquisition’ -while they themselves are of course, not represented….PATHETIC!

  16. What I find hysterical is that the MCA tries to throw Chicago a bone by having this “Chicago Artist” concert last Saturday. So Sympathy for the Devil has hardly any Chicago representation within the gallery, but hey, we’ll let some monkey grinders lurk outside. Did anyone go? I’m no music historian, but Poster Children? That’s who they got to play their big music/art show? I’m sorry, but this isn’t Champaign/Urbana in 1992.

    I’d like to hear a tape of the Sharks (Whale Shark included) vs Molon cage match.

  17. Wesley, you are the epitome of an internet troll.
    You make this site a worse place.

  18. Marc. It seems you are the pot calling the kettle black. Except everyone knows who the Shark is, and you are making essentially an anonymous post.

    Please, no more baiting, or chum. Only intelligent discourse. Or just discourse.

    Steve Hamann

  19. Steve Hamann-
    Do you actually listen to the show? How about this weeks episode? If you did, you might realize that Marc has been a major contributor to BAS for over a year. He is in this weeks show for over 45 minutes. Give it a listen.
    Brian Andrews

  20. Sorry Brian,

    Still don’t know who “marc” is without a last name. I’m just responding to the comment made, not about the show itself. When I click on your name, I know who it is. Not sure without a last name. It could be Marc Anthony for all I know.

  21. Its so nice to hear all the support for Around the Coyote – music to my ears. We are doing everything we can to turn this organization into one that truly represents and serves emerging artists – and we have made great strides. If you haven’t taken a fresh look at what we do, I encourage you to come to our Fall Festival this weekend Oct. 12-14 and do some exploring. And always know that if you have ideas on how we can better serve artists and curators, my inbox is always open.

    Also I wanted to let you all know that we are planning a studio walk in conjunction with Artropolis in late April. The Shark and I have talked at length about this being done outside the purview of the folks at the Merchandise Mart for various reasons, but we have found that they are willing to let us expand it to include established and emerging artists with big and beautiful studios as well as artists who work from their home. The only criteria is that the work be excellent (and I’m sure we will have to make some choices based on location for purely logistical reasons). Paul Klein has so far been doing most of the work on getting artist for this, but as soon as our festival is over I’ll be turning my attention to the project. If anyone is interested in having their studio on the walk, please email me some images, your studio location and your contact info at allison@aroundthecoyote.org. Young, old, known or unknown, all that matters is that the work is excellent and that you are willing to have a bunch of collectors clomping through your space.

  22. Marc, you are the epitome of a weenie -you make the world a worse place.

    Actually, what does make this site a worse place is when simpering fools like you start in with the name calling. Note: my posts above are substantive, and topical. You are the are the one behaving like a snotty little creep. Don’t worry, we’re in the art world, you have plenty of company. Krill.

  23. Allison -good to see this is working out with The Mart -when we/I initially thought up the idea, it was with their participation in mind as you know. Whether we work with the offical art fair or not, things can happen simoultaneously here that are on or, ‘off site’. If the Mart wants to get behind a Chicago Art Walk -great! But lets see them put their money where their mouths are and really come to play. One way or another, this is an idea that could point to the future for your organization Allison, and be a good thing for the community here.

    The Mart needs to do more than lip service to whats going on in Chicago -and needs to get up to speed where it concerns emerging and established artis. Lets face it, the great ’emergence’ is just about as over as is the super heated art economy not to mention, ‘art fair art’.

  24. look here sharkie, just because you and your croonies were not picked to be in dominic’s show or any other MCA show for that matter does not mean that what is in sympathy for the devil is not valid. and taking swipes at dominic for bringing in works that would never be seen in the MCA before this show is pathetic and childish. so, he doesn’t like your work or think it fits. its time to get over it and stop harking. in fact, i think you should congratulate him on his effort. and as for limited chicago artists in the show, get OVER it. he is not anti-chicago…just anti crappy art
    there are more than a few places in chicago that show only chicago work and to me its plain boring. so open your eyes, shark. you are not the only one that matters.

  25. Sounds right to me and I think the Mart knows all of this, but in the end they have to focus on their bottom line. They are, after all, a for-profit company. I think sometimes we expect for-profits to act like non-profits, then get mad when they don’t. Instead, we should put our weight behind supporting the very few non-profits focused on emerging art in Chicago, such as, oh I don’t know, Around the Coyote.

    Looking forward to all of it…

  26. Rachel, get a clue…..actually its kind of heartwarming to know there is one artist (I’m assuming you are an artist, MCA employee or Dominic Molons girlfriend) here in Chicago gullible enough to support Sympathy For The Devil. Because it definetly does not enjoy the support of the art world at large here. Rachel, you are breathing rarefied air on this one….most people I know think the show is bad -and are disgusted with the lost opportunity to do something different. Rather than the same old faces we have seen here time and time again..I mean are you kidding? Mike Kelly, Pettibone? Shaw? The Chicago Reader will have an article soon Rachel you can note all the crappy artists who are pissed off with this exhibition.

    The point is Rachel not that I wasn’t or others were not included in this exhibition, its that none of us were ever considered.

    I wish I could list the names of the people who agree with me about this show -from museum people to editors, to artists, to musicians around town…but I won’t break their confidences. The list is, formidable.

    The point is Rachel.if you can focus for a moment and hear what I have said, no Chicago artists were even considered. Tony Fitzpatrick -his huge involvement with Steve Earl….me with Eleventh Dream Day, with Alejandro Escovedo…do you think Tony got as much as a studio visit -or does he just make crappy art in your estimation? Speaking of which, Molon’s pending Karen Kilimck show -says it all, as to where he is coming from….trendy, specious garbage….being discussed as ‘hot’ by the international consensoriat…..rather than anything real, self inventing, creating a canon based from here, we get another imported exhibition that add up to little more than just a bunch of junk as fodder for an ‘international’ career.

  27. Actually, Rachel is co-director of lloyd dobler gallery -speaking of crappy, student grade work .But dont take my word for it, -go to the site.

    Rachel, perhaps if you smooch on Mr. Molon’s behind publicly enough and with enough gusto he will come visit your gallery……dealers, be them high-end or ensconsed in a store front peddling student grade work..hmmmmm..Rachel!….., why are they almost always, with a fortunate few exceptions, the same unctuous opportunists, seeking and currying favor as their only real goal?

    btw Rachel -until the day comes that you handle work of a slightly higher caliber, perhaps you should put a lid on describing any number of artists here who should have been AT LEAST CONSIDERED for this exhibition -based upon the merits of their work, as crappy artists- though I’m sure your opinion, no matter how imbecilic, will be duly noted by all.

    “its a bad day when certain people treat their superiors with a contempt they haven’t earned”

  28. this is jessica from around the coyote– thanks everyone for your support! this organization is a work in progress. we have learned so much about what it means to be an institution with a….let’s say colorful… history. and it’s a difficult project, but it’s a great one. (who doesn’t love a challenge?)

    the reclamation of our institutional identity and the restoration of our credibility as an organization that matters is made possible with the help of so many great people in chicago.– including many of you! we sincerely appreciate your ideas, time, and contributions….

    chicago needs its non profits– and it needs a strong support system for emerging artists and curators, particularly those who have smart, critical, and dedicated practices–ones are not market-driven or based on last month’s artforum. now, more than ever.

    we need to encourage artists and curators to take risks and develop their practices the way they were meant to develop: slowly.

    okay, that was my two cents…. back to work 😉

  29. oh, and shark– go easy on us youngsters! 😉

  30. Well Jesse -I try -though I don’t suffer fools gladly be them young or old…

    People here need to get this: we know of the LA artists and the NYC artists -precisely because their local institutions support them…we should expect our curators to create their own canons of reference (a thought of yours Jesse..) and write a history, truly global that begins here in Chicago with our local community. If we are ever to be on the level with NYC or LA, we must reject the position Molon epitomizes in both the rock show and the upcoming Kilimnck fiasco -a position of kowtowing to the coasts, using their histories rather than our own.

    back to Rachel, Rachel -one of the most powerful, important art dealers -anywhere -who happens to be from LA, came to see me over the summer. She was disgusted by the lack of support artists here get from the institutions. Once again, hear me -Molon did next to zero research here -as Chicago was never on his map.

    The fact is Rachel, that rock and art has comingled here in a way far more sophisticated than a bunch of bad poster paintings by Destroy All Monsters…..the problem is, Molon didnt have either the imagination or, the courage (or both) to self-actualize, to create his own history -as Paul Schimmel did in 1990 with his Helter Skelter show at MOCA -an exhibition that put many of the artists in Sympathy For The Devil on the map.

    What we must expect from Molon and other curators here in otherwords, is, originality. Think about it.

    Jess, we should have a meeting when the dust clears -you me Allison Tony and Paul and further discuss this art walk idea of The Sharks.

  31. I didn’t realize Cologne was so important. I haven’t seen the show, but I thought Artner’s review mentioned a piece by Ed Pascke. Would that be the representation of the Chicago art scene?

    I still love the Stooges…

  32. Something else comes to mind, and I’m a bit surprised that neither Kot nor Artner mentioned it in their reviews. As important as LA and Cali are to the Punk and Indie scenes (X, Black Flag, Germs, the Nuns – speaking of Alejandro), it doesn’t really stand out as a seminal scene in Rock ‘n’ Roll (I’m drawing a distinction between Rock ‘n’ Roll and the great forms which followed it). And I’ve got no frickin’ idea what Cologne’s got to do with it, unless that’s where the Stones recorded Exile.

    Speaking of the Stones, when they came to the States for their first tour they were excited about Chicago – that was the place they wanted to go. They drove up to the front of Chess Records on Michigan Avenue and an old man was painting the outside of the building. He helped them unload their gear – it was Muddy Waters. Every single British invasion band idolized the Blues, and they continue to know way more about our history than we do.

    Aside from the fact that Rock ‘n’ Roll would never have taken root without the urbanization of the Blues represented by the likes of Waters, Howlin’ Wolf and Elmore James (and others, and I realize this happened in places other than just Chicago), I think there’s also a legit argument to be made that the “alternative” wave of huge-piles-of-cash in the 90’s could never have occurred without the support of Chicago audiences.

    Starting with trailblazers like the the above mentioned LA bands, Twin Cities bands like Husker Du, the Replacements, Soul Asylum and the rest, the network of venues and couches ran straight through Chicago. One of the biggest componenets of that support network was the kick-ass poster art that was and is being created – and this could and should be a show unto itself. Bands like Nirvana, Soundgarden, Pearl Jammies and the rest wouldn’t have gotten very far had it not been for the paths cut by these artists, and Chicago is central to that narrative.

    There may some interesting pieces on display there – I dunno. I’ve heard they’ve got Jimi Hendrix’s guitar in Cleveland, but I’m pretty sure I can see that at the Hard Rock Cafe while i slather up some hot wings. From the sound of it this is anything but a historical analysis of a rich territory. Hard to say without seeing it of course.

  33. Dave -go see the show…..Molon’s take is tired, cliched, self serving, very suburban white boy -and almost completely and fatally lacking in originality..and yes, where are any! of the great poster artists from here?

    As the second half of Sympathy begins -there are these dreadful figurative paintings…some German guy….Tony’s work or one of the large scale paintings I have made for Alejandro or Dream Day or Nick Tremulis would literally smoke this…ordinary looking stuff right off the wall…its insane really……..the lengths this guy went to -to avoid here.

    -Go see it….then we will discuss this thing on sharkforum.

    btw -Rolling Stones…..Satisfaction was recorded on south Michigan Avenue -as was I believe, the first Beatles Album.

  34. This starts to sound like another shooting-fish-in-a-barrel promotional idea. We all know that David Byrne went to RISD, that the Stones, Floyd, etc. were art students. does that really tell us anything about the weird chemistry between art and music, specifically R’n’R? That’s some pretty rich territory for someone like, say, Oliver Sacks. From the reviews I’ve read it seems to focus more on the social aspects of the two media than anything.

    Even if that were enough for a whole show, the ommission of Chicago in a substantive way is a glaring ommission.

    Oh, and Rachel – you may want to check your facts:


  35. I do intend to go see it – the Stooges fuckin’ RULE.

    I’d be interested to see a show on this subject currated by a neurosurgeon, or a sociologist, or anyone equipped to dig into the bizarre differences/similarities in the two media.

    I just find it hard to generate a ton of interest in a show of this sort currated by a man who, from the sound of it, has never had his teeth rattled in a mosh pit. I could be wrong about him – anyone who knows him can feel free to set the record straight.

  36. He’s pretty soft and doughy-

  37. Sorry to bring this thread back to Around the Coyote (hopefully I won’t get a shark bite for not engaging the shit talk fest) –

    You are invited to:

    WHAT: A roundtable discussion about Around the Coyote
    WHERE: InCUBATE 2129 Rockwell Ave. 60647
    WHEN: Sunday October 14 8pm

    At the close of this year’s Around the Coyote Fall Arts Festival, InCUBATE presents a panel discussion on Around the Coyote’s history and future within the Wicker Park arts community, with a presentation and discussion moderated by Anne Elizabeth Moore on media and urban consolidation and featuring participating artists from this year’s festival, including Lora Lode of People Powered and Fereshteh Toosi.

    This discussion will present a critical reflection on how Around the Coyote as an organization functions within the neighborhood, how they deal with the artists they work with, and their influence within the local arts community. As new curators within the festival, we (Abigail Satinsky and Ben Schaafsma of InCUBATE) felt the need to have an open conversation after we approached different artists about participating with the festival, and found that they would not work with us based on how they felt about Around the Coyote.

    We are interested in what possible new directions that Around the Coyote could take as they expand to include a Public Art program among other changes, while taking into consideration a problematic history within the neighborhood.

  38. either allison or i will be there….

  39. I think a lot of what the prior discussion is getting at, but never quite addresses is marginality. As people living in Chicago, we all recognize that currently, we are not at the center of cultural production for the country. Therefore, we must be at the margins. Rather than constantly yearning to make Chicago into a cultural center, and yearning for recognition, I think we would all be well served to recognize the radical possibilities that exist at the margins that do not exist at the center.

    That may mean that rather than griping about central cultural production being shown in Chicago people could embrace the extreme openness at the margins and create work so radical and amazing that people may eventually take notice of it.

  40. Here, here, Let’s be civil to each other. We share this scene together. Rachel is just trying to acknowledge that part of Dominic’s job is to bring this work here. That his Director and their board would not tolerate nor support them doing all shows that were outside of the international circuit. It is just the facts.

    We (the non-commercial Shark Forum, BAS, and Lloyd Dobler Gallery) can provide other things. I think that it’s great that a Chicago Curator got a full page in the NY Times. Do I think that it sucks that somebody like Jay Ryan wasn’t in there? Sure but I also think if it was my show I would have a tough time putting Jay Ryan’s Posters up next to the “Destroy All Monster’s” Paintings. And the art world is a small world and it is for the better that major international shows get produced here. Even if there is less local content then we would like.

    I think that the Shark/Leisure had it right in the first place. Fuck it. Lets do our own thing. If people care then they will care. And I think that Rachel and Lloyd Dobler do there own thing and deserve some respect for doing so.

    I also think we should ALL (BAS family members included) stop the name calling.

    Also, Richard. You Jerk! I want one weekend night sometimes. So, I’m a little Bitch about it. You Sir, are a jerk face. Take that. AND have fun in London. That goes double for Meg and Chris.(not the jerk face bit)

  41. Duncan! Hello! No one is saying the show should not be international in scope -but what would happen if Paul Schimmel did a show like this weighted with Chicago artists? -LA being shrugged off as part of the west coast, and then this section filled with Chicago artist who spent a summer surfing at Santa Cruz….well, they were on the west coast once upon a time!……..PEOPLE IN LA WOULD HAVE THE GOOD SENSE TO BE LIVID!…….Destroy All Monsters? You mean those poorly done slide-projected poster paintings -in the midwest section even though they were done by two of LA’s top artists? I don’t think that they would would fair so well against my large-scale paintings -ones that have been used in the rock world -not even close. I’m not talking about hype -I mean, visual impact. And a good curator might have noticed this and invited comparison by not just showing THE USUAL SUSPECTS! But by contrasting and comparing some of this with things in HIS OWN FRONT YARD! Thats how they do it in LA and NY -here, we just show THEM! And you are defending this? Space could have been made for Screwball Press……DUNCAN are you trying to say there just wasn’t any room to discuss Chicago’s art/rock scene?

    Rachels position (when not utterly without guile and hopelessly naive) is oddly enough, in proximity to what I once believed -but no more. And besides, if Rachel is going to come after me or ‘my croonies’, she had better find some better work to hang behind her if she hopes for even a semblance of legitimate authority concerning her argument.

    LA NYC they promote their own first. And when we wise up, so shall we. When we become global putting our community first, we will be like NYC and LA….in realizing the benefits of a certain chauvinism. And we will become global, when we say no to the ‘internationalists’ who flock from museum to museum looking at the same tired shite, going on the same tired junkets, talking with and comparing note with the same few people -the ones Dominic is attempting to ingratiate himself with, using us as an audience for whats happening…elsewhere. As for the board at the MCA…..the direction of that museum……..is there any doubt how badly they are floundering? I’m not happy nor do I take joy in saying this…..but its common knowledge, the MCA is in trouble.

    As far as that puff piece inthe NYTimes……wait a minute Duncan, Tony Fitzpatrick -had nearly a full page review by Roberta Smith, a real page-not a piece of puffery- MOMA purchased a piece, PS1 is doing an exhibition…….Tony has done extensive work in the rock world…..read my lips Duncan….NO STUDIO VISIT by Molon. Me, seen the huge article in Shelter? Any idea how much work I have done in the music scene? Molon came to my studio after the fact (the show was in the can) he at that point had not bothered to even talk to Joe Shanahan about the scene here -I know, because I offered to introduce him to Joe.

    Look Duncan…..even people in his field see this show as incredibly careerist…….I have heard a major editor discuss it in disgust because of this. Rock people are angry, artist are pissed…..don’t become an apologist for a guy who is -I’ll give him a break -a symptom of a big problem here.

    Chicago is not bumfuck Duncan. We do not need to import everything, including historical canons or, consider art, whats relevant, based only on other cities terms as to what they find valuable via THEIR LOCAL ARTISTS! Leaving our own history unwritten. Curator…..it means care-taker -not art-star on the backs of consensoriat approved artists.

    Think Walter Hopps Duncan! We need people like him,! Individuals! We need curators with originality and, vision. Not, a bunch of bureaucratic button pushers trying to climb the corporate ladder.

    WAKE UP! and smell the god-damned coffee my friend…sheeeeesh!

  42. Maura Thompson -I like what you said -even though now with the internet, there is less and less of any center. Still, your comment could be unpacked in many useful directions.

  43. After reading over my way too long posts I still don’t know if I have made this simple point clear. For the Rachels and others on this site, to the best of my knowledge, Dominic Molon did not look here in Chicago when curating this show. He didnt think one way or the other about my work or any other artists who have done work with the rock world here Rachel. You need to understand that none of us present a ready-made career opportunity like showing…..now how many times has Mike Kelly been shown at the MCA?…..

    This exhibition isnt about anti-Chicago -good art anti-bad art- which is one reason why Rachel’s reasoning is fundamentally flawed and, simple minded. This show is about a kind of art-an art that is acknowledged and has cache’ -currency with the international consensoriat. Its a brand.

    -Dominic came to my studio at my insistence -way after the show was curated. He expressed suprise as to the direction my work had taken…..the last time he had probably even seen a painting of mine was in the 45-95 MCA exhibition -12 years ago. He had never been to my studio……I don’t know any other people he saw locally concerning this exhibition either. I’m sure someone told him and he stumbled upon Pedro Bell quite by chance – people need to get, this isnt a guy interested in walking down the street to see a good painting or an interesting drawing collage, he’s not alone, almost none of the curators at the MCA have anything to do with Chicago. Bonami brags about how he does not do studio visits.

    This particular group of people -professional curators of the moment, are with some few exceptions, interested in going to documenta, hearing the ‘buzz’ about some second rate painter- Kilimck -and writing an essay to pass along amongst their colleagues…getting on the consensoriat gravy train.

    They, are conformists. Dealing in like-minded consensus. I personally don’t care for them. But thats just me.

    Rare is the curator today who thinks for themselves. Who just goes out to look -for themselves. Who curates out of real interest in an artists work -not how it is positioned with the international crowd.

    The good news is, the market, now so aligned in every way, tied into the consensoriat…with art fairs as their gathering points/convention sites, is on the verge of major change (collapse). As it goes, probably so goes much of the art world as we know it today.

    Its interesting here in Chicago right now……people my age, in all walks of the art scene here are watching this all unfold, wondering whether or not the upcoming generation is going to be spoon-fed this conformist stew, going willingly down this road to complacency and subservience, not questioning authority -and castigating those who do, or grow up become men and women -artists who think for yourselves, and begin to act accordingly.

  44. I’m kinda into the Destroy all Monster’s paintings. Call it a guilty pleasure.

  45. Very guilty, Duncan! OK, they are passable works, but of no importance.

    But to sum up, the show is entirely Consensus Curator Correct as well as an example of Malichismo, the provincialty of self-detestation, of dissing your own and worshipping the Great Kowtau to What’s Expected. Even as a rocknroll ex-Chi boy from afar, I’m disappointed in you, Dominic.

  46. tony fitzpatrick Says:

    I’ve kind of watched this dialogue progress(and digress) and I understand why Wesley is angry — I get it. As for myself…. I’m more sad than anything else…. I don’t hate Dominic Molon — I don’t know him, though I DO like that he likes Wire– and I wasn’t waiting around with baited breath for a studio visit for the rock show. In truth; I don’t much care — You get in some shows and you don’t get in others… that is the way it is. In a week and a half , my PS1 show opens — I’ve had a wonderful career– I’ve been able to support myself and live quite nicely– I have no complaints. I’ve been blessed with a collectorship that has supported me for 25 years.
    I’ve thought about this show and I’m just not that bummed about it — The Steve Earle cd covers I’ve done were always more about my friendship with Steve and a kind of dialogue he and I have had for 20 years, than they are about Rock & Roll– I would like to think that there is the spirit of R&R in my work ; as it has been the soundtrack of my whole life… before I made a living as an arttist , I worked as security for concert venues here, and in New York.
    I remember the excitement of the first Clash tour– I worked one of those shows as well as many other Punk shows — Dead Kennedys, Black Flag, Circle Jerks, Buzzcocks, and Television to name a few– it was amazing — the world was changing and this was the sound of that change– Those were the angry, dissonant voices I listened to on the way to finding my own. I have a deep love of rock and roll.
    I still get shivers when I hear the Stones ‘Let it loose’.

    My sadness about the show, however, is because of the exclusion of other artists who have the requisite Rock and Roll pedigree– Jon Langford– founding member and amazing frontman for the Mekons, The Waco Brothers, and solo– also a painter and printmaker of mourful, elegaic, and heart-breaking American portraits of the musicians who started Rock and Roll– these paintings also have the bitter after taste of the dark side of the music business– they are sharp and wonderful.
    Or Jay Ryan and Steve Walters and the many other Screen-printers they have inspired — this crew has been THE visual language of Rock and Roll in this town for at least a decade. These are shameful omissions. Where is Archer Prewitt? Sam Prekop?– both Rock and Roll guys and damn fine artists.
    So, while I understand Wesley’s anger — I don’t so much share it myself– this makes me sad a bit is all.

  47. I think what stands out here is that there’s just so damn much rich material and essential history right here to draw from. It’s like a show in Houston about the Apollo missions only featuring interviews with people from JPL and Cape Canaveral, or a a show here on architecture omitting the Monadnock Building, or Mies and so on.

  48. You guys know he [Dominic] is on the show next week and will address directly the question of how he choose work for the show. Then we can all do this again.

    The questions on the table for me are…

    How is going to go to the ATC things this weekend. Are we as a community convinced that this could be a vital and useful part of our art world and if so what are we going to do about it?

    Do we still care about Art Chicago? Is the DC fair happening at the same time this year? What changes are the mart making to what went on last year?

    How great is it that we now have a posse of three people giving us on the ground access to SF?


    PS. Tony. I can’t wait to hear about the PS1 show. Also I think the show your imagining for the MCA RnR show is very different then the one they have done and frankly one that should get done at the Cultural Center and really focus on that culture here. Sympathy is not that but I’ll let Dominic explain it for himself.

    PPS. Let’s try not to make each other cry. We are all in this together.

  49. tony fitzpatrick Says:


    I’m not really ‘imagining’ ANYTHING in terms of the MCA R&R show — truth be told; I don’t much care about it– I’m bummed that some very worthy artists were left out of it — but other than that I don’t much give a shit about anything the institutional art world does here … it has nothing to do with me.

  50. Duncan, we know what Sympathy For The Devil is -I don’t need to hear Dominic make excuses, I can see exactly where he is coming from having spent a good amount of time looking at the show. Also I don’t need to have rock music or art contextualized or explained to me -as I am quite confident having as a 16 year old kid stood -maybe a 100 feet from the stage at Altamont when the real Sympathy For The Devil took place, I have forgotton more about rock music in any given week than Dominic Molon knows about it today.

    If you read between the lines, the finality of Tony Fitzpatricks dismissal of the scene in Chicago -is way more devastating than anything I have to say here. Clearly, Tony is done. Washed his hands of it.

    Being a shark is a haphazzard, violent affair -I really had no intention intially of hijacking this thread -and yes, having grown up and shown many times in San Francisco am quite enthusiastic about your (Marc’s) coverage there-

    Also, I think what we are discussing does feed back into ATC…..which does need to expand to remain viable. And yes, there is a glimmer of the model at ATC -as to how the art world might happen down the road here-

  51. “PPS. Let’s try not to make each other cry.”

    god damn you make me smile sometimes.

  52. a postscript:

    here is a quote from Molon in The Reader – speaking of visual art/rock music in Chicago-

    “its not quite as well documented” as the relationship elswhere. “I think there’s just a greater sympathy between the visual arts and rock music” in Los Angeles and New York. With the exception of what’s in the show, he says, there didn’t seem to be Chicago art”that I felt compelled to present as part of that relationship.”

    Well thats strange Dominic -since when you came to my studio you seemed pretty much oblivious to what that relationship was here in Chicago. You left me with the impression that the show was a scattershot kind of affair that had become overwhelming, that you had done no research here…and since the show was already in the can, what? did you go out and do research AFTER curating the show -so you would know what you are talking about? You were completely in the dark as to the large scale paintings I had done -used in various rock projects over the years…the massive happenings -with music at the center that have happened at the Sharkpit over the years…….and btw, as for documentation…….isn’t that kind of your job?

    it really bothers me when he makes these comments essentially disparaging whats happened here -WHEN HE IS ALMOST COMPLETELY IGNORANT ABOUT IT!

    Dominic! How about some honesty and, integrity for a change? How about a statement like: I had an agenda, and wanted to show internationally well known artists and younger artists with a ‘buzz’ around them -to further my own ambitions. Since those artists are mainly in NYC and LA, thats what I showed. Finding out what was happening here in Chicago simply was not on my list of priorities.

    In the next day or two I will post ‘SOMETHING IS HAPPENING HERE AND YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT IT IS, DO YOU MR. MOLON?’ up on sharkforum:

    with this, I will post images of large scale work I have done in the rock world- using myself as an example. There is world class art being done here in conjunction with the rock musc scene. Things Dominic was oblivious to and due to his lack of research and professionalism, became barely aware of, seeing only fragments of, way after the fact of this exhibition being curated. I invite everyone to as best as you can online, have a little contrast and compare session…..I use myself, there are others like me……I have a difficult time believing the scene here in Chicago (not to mention the quality of the exhibition!) could not have been better served….but everyone can take a look and come to their own conclusions…..

    I think ultimately, Tony is right: it is time to walk away from the MCA and other institutions here. We are not on their radar, we should remove them from ours.

  53. I almost left out the best part of that quote -the most revealing as to Molon’s knowledge of whats going on here-

    ….”if there is a history between rock and art in Chicago” …..”its not quite as well documented” as the relationship eslsewhere. “I think there’s just a greater sympathy between the visual arts and rock music” in Los Angeles and New York. ………….

    ‘if’ and apparently for Dominic, it remains a big if……

    You’ve been with the professors
    And they’ve all liked your looks
    With great lawyers you have
    Discussed lepers and crooks
    You’ve been through all of
    F. Scott Fitzgerald’s books
    You’re very well read
    It’s well known

  54. wow.

    for starters:






  55. I think its a great thing that the Rock and Roll show has produced such a heated debate, whether it be good, bad, or just plain mean. When was the last time Chicagoans of all artistic backgrounds have gotten so flustered over a show that is actually in Chicago? In hope this is the beginning of many passionate exchanges about our art scene.

  56. Trish with all due respect, this isn’t the kind of controversy that a good exhibition generates. This is a conversation centering around curatorial malpractice.

    Personally, I think I have been way, too god-damned nice about the whole thing.

  57. Save it for next week.

  58. Okay! See you soon!

  59. OOPS!…does anyone have some duct tape and bondo handy so we can try and stick that curat……errrrrrrhhhh! I mean ‘seal’s head’ back on his torso until next week?

  60. And ATCoyote does sound promising! Good luck!

  61. Northside Mike Says:

    I first discovered the ATC back in 1994 and it was great back then, and I been there throughout the rest of the 90’s and it was still a great festival to attend. However, I was there in 2004, and I thought most of the artwork (with a few exceptions) could have been done by anyone, but was only being called “art” because it was done by a so called artist, and was recognized to be exhibited at the ATC by some important person who probably thinks that their taste in “fine art” exceeds that of the average human being. And I can’t imagine why these paintings cost anywhere from $300 to $3000, when I could do just as good or even better without even trying. If these people are getting what they are asking then maybe I should quit my job and become an artist.

    I thought I’d give ATC another chance so I went there this evening. I was surprised that the price of admission went up to $10. I never remembered ATC being that expensive. Heck, if they are going to charge that much, I might as well go to the Art Institute and see real art instead.

  62. Kevin Freitas Says:

    I was in ATC from 1990 – 1994 and knew Jim Happy-Delpech. Back then there was the Flatiron building, the Ludwig Drum Factory, the Paulina Arts Building and a couple of others. (Ironically, the Tower Coyote Gallery, after which the ATC was named, closed before the festival opened). There was a lot of energy back then, the spaces were raw and most of the art was good. It was a scene and seemed to be the start of something great.

    Bill, there’s actually a few minor clarifications that could be made and “names dropped” beyond Jim Happy-Delpech who made ATC possible when it first started in 1989. The main impetus was a man by the name of Wes Andrews, who at the time was the owner/management of both the Tower Building and the Flat Iron Building, who managed along with his partner John Lubinski(?) owner of the furniture store that was further down on Milwaukee ave. You might recall the Ricky Renier gallery that I believe was up above on the 2nd floor. Wes Andrews enabled many many artists to have studio space and galleries such as mine to exist. Andrews had an artistic fervor and vision for the arts in Wicker Park coupled with a philanthropic heart without the deep pockets unfortunately, that would enable such a dream to exist. However he was the first and the first to opine the word “coyote” which for him symbolized the Tower Building as the lone coyote surviving on the fringes, outside the city walls, scraping by but standing tall and proud utilizing all the resources it had within its territory – those resources happened to be the artists living and working there. He often saw Milwaukee avenue as a river of life that flowed from downtown and ended at the Tower Building.

    Once Happy-Delpech originated and started ATC, and I don’t exactly recall how it came up, but there was obviously some discussion as to what to name the event and I believe it was Andrews who suggested “Around the Coyote” or around the Tower Building if you will, since it was a neighborhood event comprising Wicker Park and Bucktown. The name stuck and it it seemed logical that the Tower building would be the pole in which everything else would be tethered.

    As for the Tower Coyote Gallery, that was in association with my gallery – Abel Joseph Gallery which was installed on the first floor of the Tower Building(currently the Sprint store). The agreement I had with Andrews was that I would showcase from time to time artist’s works from the Flat Iron Building. Beyond that, Andrews had no curatorial input on the types of shows I organized in my gallery. In reality, Abel Joseph Gallery and the Tower Coyote were part of the ATC both in 1989 and 1990 and did not participate in 1991 because I closed the gallery to move to Paris, France. Andrews too had moved on.

    BTW the Wicker Park/Bucktown association was also created during this time and I can still recall doing the layout, submission of news and the photocopying of the newsletter with other members.

    Kevin Freitas

  63. I hate to sound like the old man am indeed becoming but I liked Wicker Park ever so much more then, when the Double Door was still a liquor store, when Copy Max was the true hub of information, when there were 572 storefront galleries, and no botiques to be found. Alas.

  64. And I, an even older man, liked it just fine with NO galleries.

  65. Thanks Kevin, for the clarifications. There were some great people on the board. Jim didn’t do it all by himself.

    Yes Richard, buying a six-pack through a bullet-proof window at the Double Door made a mundane task somewhat exciting. I also miss the days when most of the neighborhood was built before 1925.

  66. I wanted to weigh in about Northside Mike’s comments regarding our $10 fee. In the beginning Around the Coyote’s festivals were free (the organization was staffed solely by volunteers, it lost money every year and was seemingly always on the brink of collapse). In an effort to stabilize the organization, pay a staff and increase the quality of the organization, ATC later started charging a $5 admission at the door which included all visual art venues (additional donations were requested at all performances). When I came on as ED 3 years ago the admission was $5 and all performances were an additional fee of $5 to $10 per performance. In an effort to integrate the festival I decided to make one ticket valid for the entire day so that patrons could view visual art, then go to a theatre performance, hear a literary reading, listen to music, see a film screening etc.. The $10 is valid for all festival events, performances and venues all day long and includes admission to an afterparty with an open bar and food. We think it is a pretty good deal and I’m always a little amazed that people think they shouldn’t have to pay to see the artists and performers. If we didn’t charge something at the door we would have to raise the fees to the artists (currently they pay $35 to apply and once accepted they pay $65). Is Northside Mike advocating that the artists and performers be charged more, or would he be interested in offering Around the Coyote a yearly grant in order to allow us to make our door fee lower? Northside Mike – did you pay to get in or did you take off? Just curious if you actually saw the artwork you are dismissing. As it turns out we had our best attendance ever and overwhelmingly we have heard that patrons and artists consider it the best curated festival ever.

  67. Also, Kevin – I’m curious to hear more about the Wicker Park Bucktown Association that was created. Currently our neighborhood has the Wicker Park Committee, the Bucktown Community Organization and the Wicker Park Bucktown Gallery Association. What did the Wicker Park Bucktown Association do? If you want to email me directly about that – not sure how interested BAS readers will be in this – my email is allison@aroundthecoyote.org. Also, I’m trying to update the history of the organization on our website (currently it is patchy at best) and I’m wondering if you would like to have lunch with me and Elizabeth Burke sometime in the next couple of weeks to discuss all that is and was ATC.

  68. Kevin Freitas Says:

    Allison, thank you for your inquiry. You’ve made me pause a moment about the Wicker Park Bucktown Association (slash) Gallery Association, trying to remember now. We used to publish a monthly newsletter and also coordinate the monthly gallery walks including publishing a flyer for it. I remember distinctly the logo which was comprised of a “drawn” circle with three intersecting lines running through it that represented Milwaukee Ave, Damen and North. If the Wicker Park Bucktown Gallery Association got its start at around the same time as ATC, then yes we are talking about the same group and I simply forgot the gallery part.

    If I am allowed to romanticize a bit about ATC’s beginning, it was less about the money so to speak – certainly everyone was trying to make it work and was aware of the financial burden(s) – but it was very much a grassroots group of individuals who were trying to draw attention in part to an alternative gallery scene and modus operandi from the one presented in River North. Speaking for myself, I’m not sure anyone knew exactly where it would take us all. I would say Ricky Renier Gallery had a much larger stake in the success of their gallery in Wicker Park showcasing works by Arnulf Rainer for example, and worrying about how to draw collectors in Chicago to the neighborhood. Being located there as a gallery at the time, often felt like living in Siberia.

    I will contact you through your email.

  69. What ever became of the Space Gallery guys?

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