Episode 71: van Straaten/ Hoke

January 7, 2007 · Print This Article

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Holy guacamole fun times! This week Kathryn Born interviews Natalie van Straaten. Mark Staff Brandl talks about Jeff Hoke’s kickass book-website-museum Museum of Lost Wonder. Mike Benedetto gives a DOUBLE FEATURE REVIEW. Lastly there is a special bonus treat at the end of this week’s show, it is a surprise.

Natalie van Straaten has been a professional writer on arts subjects for more than 30 years and founded Chicago Gallery News in 1983. A curator, educator, administrator and organizer, she serves on various arts advisory boards and is a frequent juror in art competitions. She served as Executive Director of the Chicago Coalition for Arts in Education (1983-1986), and co-directed an art gallery for fourteen years.

Shamelessly and apologetically lifted from Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Every now and then, a book comes along that’s almost impossible to categorize, like Hoke’s beautifully illustrated gem, a strange marriage of alchemical lore and psychology, science and “wonder.” Hoke, an artist and a senior exhibition designer at California’s Monterey Bay Aquarium, writes that the eclectic museums and curiosity cabinets of the 1600s inspired him, and that he wants to return us to a time before “science became a belief system unto itself,” a time when artist-alchemist-scientists were able to search for inner truth via mystical experiences and experiments without being ridiculed. Guided by the Greek muses and lured by his lovely color illustrations, readers are beckoned into seven “exhibition halls,” named for the stages of alchemical transformation from base matter to divinely inspired knowledge. Each exhibit also includes a pull-out interactive paper model, such as a “Do-It-Yourself Model of the Universe” in chapter one, where Hoke playfully addresses various creation myths. The chapter on dream states, visions and hypnosis is particularly fascinating. This is a book to linger over; it gradually reveals itself as a sly philosophical meditation on human consciousness, bringing in concepts from Tibetan Buddhism and quantum physics.

Coming soon! Rodney Graham!!!
The Museum of Lost Wonder / Jeff Hoke
Interview with the artist at Written Voices by life enhancement expert Allan Hunkin
Video by Hoke for the publisher
Jan Kaeser
Leonard Bullock
UIUC School of Art
Field Museum of Natural History
Monterey Bay Aquarium
Raoul Deal
Michael Paha
Cameron Zebrun
Jeff Wrona
Staff ‘n’ Eddie
Museum of Alchemy
René Descartes
Abraham Maslow
Sir Issac Newton
James Burke Natalie van Straaten
The Art Dealers Association of Chicago (CADA)
Tom Blackman
Art Chicago
Art at the Mart
River North
West Loop
Mich. Ave./Riv. East/S.Loop
North/Bucktown/Wicker Park
Ed Paschke
Museum of Contemporary Art
Richard Gray
Zolla Lieberman
Paul Klein
Kavi Gupta Gallery
Rhona Hoffman
Bronzevile Arts District /Third Fridays Gallery Trolley Tour
Henry Hansen

Direct download: Bad_at_Sports_Episode_71_van_Straaten-Hoke.mp3

17 thoughts on “Episode 71: van Straaten/ Hoke”

  1. Ball Zaack says:

    I AM interested in getting more out of my video game experience.

  2. I take it you are attempting to becute about his website. As enjoyable as that is, buy the book. It is far far better.

  3. But besides me being silly and snappy with BZ, I want to express a big thanks to Natalie van Straaten for being Chicago art “boosterish” unrepentantly and in a clear-sighted fashion. I would like to second her assertion that one huge problem in Chicago is the critical coverage. For instance, where I live in Switzerland (which isn’t much bigger than a large city), when the Basel Art Fair happens, all the leading newspapers (such as Basel, Zurich, Geneva, and more, yes, even in “competing” cities,) do giant extra sections just fo the fair. Even smaller ones do a whole page or two. Mayn do something big every day for the whole week and so on. As Ms van Straaten pointed out, you hardly even got coverage of the last Chicago Fair in Chicago — and the resurgence of a Chicago Fair was much discussed elsewhere, like Europe. I think the two majo papers should have an art review EVERY day of a gallery and bigger stuff for museum shows. I don’t know what you got for the reopening of the Hyde Park Art Center, but it should have been a whole extra section.

  4. BahlSahc says:


    I was commenting on the opening few seconds of the show, perhaps you should listen to something other than your bit before barking.


  5. jaz says:

    It was really cool to pick up on this site several weeks ago cause I’ve been able to listen to interviews and shows back to back. Some are really good. I got around to Michelle Grabner #2. Tons of good insight in that one. I felt like writing for once so, here:

    I heard an interview with Michelle Grabener where she was justifying naive? art, basically adolescent art, they were talking about a show with a ballpoint pen drawing of a cartoon Chewebacka. She found value in it because she saw a “why” for its existence. I defer to her breadth of art history knowledge, but I heard, saw, read many plausible 9/11 conspiracy theories not too long ago. There are always enough dots out there to make them connect. If you can create the connections, it does not create a gestalten which also proves them true. It “feels” right but is simply erroneous. And those drawings are really nothing more than more retro things. A fad probably about 10 years dead already, so these are really, really behind the times. Didn’t someone say that the hard part about making it as an artist is that if you’re great you’re 15 years ahead of the times? They’re not a bad joke, but more of a bad knock-knock joke. People only spend time with these things to decry them. I am pleased they exist because they make my work more appreciated. By the way, I think I have a few folders at my Mom’s with the Van Halen logo drawn on it. $750 ea.

    Down with fuckin irony already. “It’s supposed to be bad”! That is total horse shit. Kill Bill? Please… This line of justification makes appropriation seem worthy of merit. Far too long did I believe that I just didn’t get it.

  6. Yeah, you’re right BollsAch. It is getting hard to find new ways to spell your name, by the way.

  7. Hi jaz,
    Um — what the heck do your comments have to do with THIS episode — wouldn’t be better for the site editor to move this comment over to the episode upon which he is commenting? Neithr van Straaten nor — especially not — Hoke have the slightest to do with so-called “bad drawing.” Although, if I recall Hoke has even in the past been criticized by the lovers of such bad art for his obvious and well-honed ability to draw and paint.

  8. jaz says:

    You’re right. I have this new habit of just hitting the keyboard. I recently subscribed to the podcast and have been listening out of order so I just heard that show yesterday and typed in my comments on the first badatsports page that came up when I searched for the website. Out of order, too little too late. I’ve heard your reviews from abroad. Well done. I look forward to more. And the Van Straaten interview was educational. The interviews are always good.

  9. Well at least you don’t attack fellow commenters at the drop of a hat as I tend to do (ask Ball Zack)!

  10. Richard says:

    We are trying to get Mark to switch to decaf!!

  11. Kathryn says:

    Jaz, I say post away. The more comments the better, and it’s not like the themes don’t come up again. Also, I don’t think a lot of people would read comments on an old show. However, the show has really grown a lot and the conversation has progressed. If you read between the lines of the episodes, you can see that there’s a ongoing dialog that keeps moving forward.

    Anyway, thanks for the kind words about the van Straaten interview. The question I’m working on, generally, is about the state of Chicago art, and trying to make sense out of it not just in opinions, but in some numerical terms. Is Chicago hopping or not? Michael Workman believes that Chicago art may be in a depressed state, and/or not growing like other cities. And that may very well be true. But I’m really into trying to do the math, find some metrics, and break it down on a more objective level. At heart, I’m a mathematical girl. What I found so awesome about Natalie is the idea that in just one woman’s adult life, Chicago galleries have grown from about 4-5 storefronts, to a current number of over 200 galleries.

    The other question I was working on, but have since abandoned, is debating if the fall of “The New Art Examiner” has the symbolic significance that everyone attributes to it. Is the demise of the Examiner a part of a larger fall in Chicago art critique? I dropped the project of exploring the question because I quickly found too many “normal” reasons for a magazine, and an art institution to fail. Others are welcome to disagree, and I may be wrong…


  12. You did do a great job in that interview Kathryn, by the way!

  13. Steve Hamann says:

    Cool video game snippet in the front, the gambler, and how to pick up chicks! Richard is the Dr. Demento of Chicago art.

  14. Richard says:


    I was a little disappointed no one had any gambler related commentary.

  15. BillDolan says:

    I’m not much of a gambler, but I am going to use what I learned to pick up chicks. With the Bears game tomorrow, the Art Institute will be loaded with chicks. I’m going to work my magic. Wish me luck!

  16. Richard says:

    Remember Bill, be sure to step on their foot first.

Comments are closed.

Point of Origin

  • No results yet!