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 thoughts on “Episode 110: Around the Coyote?!?/ SF opening extravaganza”

  1. David Roth says:

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

    god damn you make me smile sometimes.

  2. The Shark says:

    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.

  3. The Shark says:

    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

  4. Trish says:

    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.

  5. The Shark says:

    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.

  6. Richard says:

    Save it for next week.

  7. The Shark says:

    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?

  8. And ATCoyote does sound promising! Good luck!

  9. 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.

  10. 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

  11. Richard says:

    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.

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

  13. Bill Dolan says:

    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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. David Roth says:

    What ever became of the Space Gallery guys?

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