Episode 79: Reviews

March 4, 2007 · Print This Article

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In this episode Bad at Sports welcomes guest reviewers: Boston up-and-comer Liz Nofziger and Columbia College Chicago’s Neysa Page-Lieberman. They join Bad at Sports locals Terri Griffith, Serena Worthington, Joanna Topor, and Duncan MacKenzie as we shake up and shake down shows in the West Loop. Tune in as they struggle with Gescheidle’s two new shows-Drew Beattie and Chris Verene-whose name Duncan butchers repeatedly; GARDENFresh’s first show in their new digs; and Gallery 40000’s two new offerings, Thomas Rapai and Amy Vogel. All that, and Brian Andrews talks politics and art!

ALSO A BRAND NEW CONTEST: The first Bad at Sports Essay Contest is announced in the outro this week. We need you to write a speculative essay of 100 words or less on why Edward Lifson dislikes us. These can be as speculative and fictitious as possible. The winner will have their essay read on the air by Book Guru Terry Griffith!!!

On that note don’t forget to e-mail Hello Beautiful and tell them about our project!!! HelloBeautiful@ChicagoPublicRadio.org

ALSO you can contact them via the following (lifted from their site)

Whether you’re an artist or enthusiast, musician or muse, Chicago Public Radio’s arts desk wants your thoughts on where to go and what to see in Chicagoland. Share your ideas one of two ways:



Columbia College
Drew Beattie
Chris Verene


Three Walls
American Book Company
WIlliam Labrant Jenning

Richard Billingham
Larry Sulton
Burtonwood and Holmes
Michael John Hofner
Jeremiah Ketner
Alain Douglas Park
Andrew Rigsby
Bodybuilder & Sportsman
MCA’s 12x

Ian Weaver
Packer Schoff
Toni Hafkenscheid
Abu ghraib
UC Berkley

Doe library
Clinton Faynes
Tomi Turrell gallery
Susan Sontag
Andres Serrano

Direct download: Bad_at_Sports_Episode_79_reviews.mp3

Erased Lifson Drawing
Erased Lifson Drawing

33 thoughts on “Episode 79: Reviews”

  1. Bullsock says:

    Nice Lifson art. Maybe we can petition to have Bad at Sports take over his time slot. At least then there would be some real discussion of art on that show.


  2. Richard says:

    I doubt we are NPR ready. We’d have to be more polite, but it would sure be nice to have paid helpers.

    Everyone who reads this e-mail Chicago Public Radio tell them what you think of the arts coverage!!!

  3. not bahl sack for once says:

    Verene’s work is in the collection of The Whitney Museum, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Jewish Museum, The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, The Walker Art Center, and The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, among others. In 2001, Chris Verene was the recipient of the first Pollock/Krasner award given for photography. Verene’s work has been featured in ARTFORUM, Art In America, ArtNews, The New York Times, The Village Voice, Vanity Fair, Parkett, Harper’s, Vogue, and The New Yorker.

    who the fuck cares what we say..sure it’s exploitative work… but does this kind of resume validate it?

    Here’s another Q: what’s the diffrence between these photos and Papparazzi photos of famous people?

  4. Cream Cheese says:

    So past validations pay for all? Once your in the Whitney you can just make product and there should be no scrutiney? Your work should not have to bare the consideration of even the most dodgy of critical inspection? This seems more like a chance to sully your reputation then rest on it.

    Some of Verene’s work has been stellar, these unfortunately read as disrespectful and shame the audience for their participation. The work that was so esteemed critically and institutionally was work that reflected on the camera/artist and camera culture, not “trailer trash” family portraits.

    Paparazzi shots exist as part of a social constructed narrative about and surrounding the famous. The famous have every opportunity to speak for themselves in our culture and do construct our notion of who they are through interaction with the mass media. Verene’s family has only him and the “spectacle of authenticity” narrative that the work claims.

    Also isn’t this the story line to “Pecker”….

  5. Donald Trump recently fired an Apprentice contestant on the spot for using the term “white trash.”

  6. Richard says:

    Those are my people

  7. Emily (UK) says:

    1. Lifeson: Okay, can you explain for us non-Chicago and ex-USA residents what Hello Beautiful is exactly? I take it it is a radio show about art? And has this DJ Lifson actually voiced his dislike of BAS or is he just refusing to acknowledge BAS’s existence? Your hate campaign is making me wonder about going online and seeing if I can listen to the show, but I get the impression this isn’t really worth my time, but I want to know what all the fuss is about! We don’t have any FM radio shows soley dedicated to visual art here, but shows do get reviewed alongside films and books etc in some programmes.
    2. Microphones: How much do these things cost and can you promise me that if I make a donation you’ll spend it on a/some new one/s ? Its so frustrating when you have people on saying (funny) things in the background and everyone is laughing and having a good time ‘cept us poor listeners feeling left out 🙁 I’m sure you have lots of other very important things to spend donations on (like beer to fuel art reviewing/praise collecting) but maybe we can put this to the vote?

  8. Richard says:

    Howdy Emily,

    1. Lifson. Hosts a local arts review show on Chicago Public Radio. I think you can check out his show online. google Hello Beautiful Chicago Public Radio.

    2. Mics. Well we use unidirectional mics. The problems aren’t with the mics but with the person in charge of them. It is hard in group situations to control the crowd and the comments. This is why BAS Usually works with small crowds 2-3 tops so that everyone can have their own mic, or can wait until someone hands them one. When you get into crowd situations lots of stuff happens off mic and it is a problem. Note Duncan reminding people to be on mic. As most of what we do is recorded portably we are using recording technology that has two inputs. In a more controlled situation it is easier to use a mixer and have multiple mics. Unfortunately it is hard to get everyone to someones studio to record. That said please send your donations to us! We operate a huge loss and the listenership should pony up a couple bucks here and there to help us defray our costs.


  9. Alas says:

    I cannot even begin to bring myself to actually listen to the show because of all the anti-Lifson crap on the website. Funny, I don’t listen to his show either.

  10. Boo Hoo says:

    Your loss. The lifson stuff is only at the end of the show. Toughen up.

  11. Steve Hamann says:

    Um, Bad at Sports are not nice guys. They are very punk rock, DIY, and anti establishment. The anti Lifson stuff is hilarious and great. Keep it up! Forever!

  12. John Smith says:

    Little Stone Boys

    By John Smith

    Why ignore Bad at Sports, Lifson? To keep deep and unholy secrets one
    could ignore most anyone. But we know how you obsess over Fragonnard,
    wishing, no, praying to your darkest recesses that you were THAT woman
    on the swing, undulating carefree and playfully ignorant. All those
    irresistible cupid eyes groping you, a stoic, granite gaze under the
    frilly garments. You say you undulate for the pleasures grown men in
    bushes, but you hope to never offer them invitation, preferring
    instead their drooling distance. We at Bad at Sports know better. Yes,
    Lifson, we are on to you.

  13. Ben says:

    But so has Lifson actually dissed you, or is it just refusal to acknowledge? Is he the kid who knocks your books out of your hands and kicks you in the ass when you bend over to pick them up, or is he the hot chick who won’t even give you the time of day? Or something else? Put this into the context of a high-school hallway so I can get a fix on it.

    (If he’s such a dick, why do you crave his love so badly. And also, if you do indeed crave his love, then posting pictures of him all Satan-ed up on your website might be the wrong way to go about it.)

  14. Marc says:

    I could care less about all this Lifson stuff. BAS should be putting their time towards more productive activities, like, I don’t know, finishing the website might be a good start.

  15. Steve Hamann says:

    Come on! The Lifson stuff is a minor diversion. Its a small part of the end of the episode. Don’t knock it. I find it really funny. A way to focus against the artsy fartsy Chicago stuff. I think the website is kick ass as is.

  16. Cream Cheese says:

    I think it totally seems like a pissed off kid thing to do. Like when your Dad doesn’t pay enough attention to you so you cut the eyes out of his picture.

    What you guys do has nothing to do with what he does. I’m sure the cross over audience is like 0.

    But why not. Everyone has to be against something.

  17. the wop says:

    I think this fight is being quite successful, why else would you have 14 comments on the first day?
    I don’t know who this Lifson is, but if you say he’s a cunt he’s gotta be a cunt.
    Gabba gabba hey!

  18. Bob Loblaw says:

    I’m with Marc that the show seems very adrift lately (Chris Verene hasn’t been worth discussing since the mid-90s, and even then wasn’t really worth discussing) but I do wonder whether Mr. Lifson might not like BAS because of their inability to spell. It’s B-e-e-l-z-e-b-u-b. Beelzebub. Use a dictionary, fellers. Or shorter terms like “Satan” or “Devil.”

  19. John Smith says:

    It was a play on beautiful I thought…

    I think those who are complaining should pitch in either personally or financially.

  20. Hudgens says:

    Believe it or not it it was a pun, as is the whole image and idea. It was meant to push the idea very tongue in cheek over the top. What is odd is what “Boo Hoo” stated above which is that it is such a small side point to this episode or any previous that it is almost inconsequential (and I didnt need to spell check that word 🙂 but it does seem to get a majority of the observations.

  21. Joseph Mohan says:

    Go back to your law blog, Bob Loblaw. First of all, I think you’re wrong about Chris Verene, and secondly, regardless of your opinion on Verene, reviewing a new show at a notable Chicago gallery isn’t “adrift.” That’s what BAS does.

    I haven’t seen the Verene exhibition yet but I’m curious. I’m familiar with his earlier photos in the Galesburg series (and Galesburg itself, having gone to college there). As far as that work goes, I disagree with the review crew; I think his photos convey much respect for his subjects, so I wonder if his work has changed over time or if we’d just be disagreeing. I do find it interesting that the reviewers’ opinions of the work seemed to be based not on Verene’s choice of subject or his execution of the work, but on the perception of his attitude toward the subjects. I think that scope of consideration is too narrow. I do agree that sometimes the captions/titles detract from the work, though.

  22. The Pow! says:

    Marc is a whiny little bee-atch anyhow. My toy poodle could best him.

  23. daniel says:

    Ok. Edward Lifson is a different demographic, yet the arts coverage is under-reported.

    I feel he’s small potatoes as to this weeks current problem.

    By today,
    we should all have seen the results of the NEW FORMAT of THE READER’s ART LISTINGS
    and I’m sad to see it. I believe , though not without a well intentioned but pithy merit ,it is going to do more harm for what we have going at all here in chicago, than anything else.

    Highlights indeed! Images are great, but to forgo any other listings or TEXT at all , is a travesty.

    We’ve reduced our arts coverage to a few flimsy JPEGs, and won’t be able to just pick up a reader on the fly as we head to openings every friday. As if we couldn’t get people interested enough, already, as our A.D.D. culture reduces our entire arts listings to a couple of snap shots.

    As if the reviews given out in the Reader weren’t truncated or abbreviated enough, now unless a gallery has an opening,and is one of the few CHOSEN (how?) to be included in that weeks listings, then we live in another version of an arts vacuum!

    VISIBILITY is the key issue, but the irony in this situation is some degrees less than laughable.

    Artists, hours of visitation, all cannot be accessed, except in the online version.
    WHAT? people go to movies, theater, readings, sports, restaurants.
    WHY not listing s for art???????????

    This is one of the absolute worst things to happen to our art scene since the closing of the NEW ART EXAMINER. (r.i.p.) some years ago.

    I cannot imagine that every museum, alternative art space, school would NOT be incensed. Write a letter to the READER. demand the RETURN of the text listings, which should also include the new “image heavy format”.

    long time listener
    1st time caller

  24. lloyd says:

    I agree this is a problem. I emailed tamara at the reader and this is the response I got. Seems like we might have to lodge some serious complaints.

    Thanks for asking. Due to the cost of printing, we were very limited
    for space each week, and never able to run anywhere near a
    comprehensive listing, or more than a few images. We decided to use the little space we had to run images with listing captions and run the comprehensive listings online. I would hope that the captions with listings would do some service in letting people see what is out there, and also to see more art online.
    with regard,

  25. Bad at Sports says:

    This weeks show is in the can (well, close), but we will most certainly talk about this for next week.

    Maybe we can interview the responsible party.


  26. Caroline says:

    letter sent this sunday

    Dear Tamara,
    Though I’m sure you’re already getting swamped with responses from the
    latest reader art listing format, I wanted to respond personally. I
    couldn’t help but voice a number of questions, probably a little
    disordered, but I hope you’ll bear with me.

    With this new format, the function of the art listing is lost: the
    center fold of jpegs becomes a decorative garnish, rather than a
    every-where usable map of artistic activities. Where already there was
    a certain competition to be listed, now the competition has been
    reduced from the list of 80 museums and galleries to a 12. The
    exhibition is opening-centric, gallery times and show dates being no
    longer readily at hand.
    What about galleries that do not want to send you images?
    What is the criteria for your selection?

    What affect do these selections have on the art community at large?
    Perhaps even in a historical sense? This could affect the style and
    direction of the art community, reducing it further to an
    insider-inside community in which people have to rely on their social
    networks to find out what is going on. The danger of this, as the
    danger of much on-line distribution, is that it reciprocally
    marginalizes communities that do not have regular access to the web,
    thereby making any artistic dialogue even more remote to a population
    that is already questioning it’s relevance.

    What makes Chicago unique is the ground it holds between affordability
    and support. Unlike NYC or L.A., artists can afford to live, being
    thus more capable of artistic risks–what may be lacking in cities
    with higher financial stakes. Unlike a Pittsburgh or Baltimore,
    however, where life is similarly affordable, Chicago actually has a
    vibrant community of art-goers, who consistently maintain a dialogue
    about their respective endeavors. This is essential to our urban
    character. It is something that every member of the population can be
    proud of. What does it mean to dismiss this community in the Reader,
    when other communities (theater/music/restaurants) maintain their same

    None of this seems democratic.

    Granted, I’m dissapointed. I’m sure it you’ve been juggling a number
    of logistical issues that would compel you to make this change, but I
    feel like the arts community has been publicly reduced–a travesty
    considering that chicago is one of three major metropolis’ in the
    country. Maybe this is the mark of something nation wide. Considering
    the timing, It is ironic that in the wake of ny times discussions
    about purchasing work through jpegs, critiquing work through jpegs,
    the increasingly common acceptance of the similacre recreation of an
    image (also exclusive in its representation: i.e. an
    artist/collector/gallerist may be able to decipher a visual sense of a
    jpeg, but probably not the unfamiliars) the arts listings would have
    similarly switched to an all-jpeg format.
    I’d love to continue talking to you about this. I feel like these are
    important issues, and I’m sure I must not see the big picture-

    all the best and happy sunday,

  27. Marc says:

    I’d always had it explained to me this way: Because galleries don’t buy ad space and every other business does, movies theatres, clubs, bars, boutiques, and playhouses, basically all the businesses that make up every other section, there’s no real financial reason to devote multiple pages to galleries/businesses that will never buy an ad. I don’t agree with it, but it’s not surprising.

  28. daniel says:

    So do something about it Marc, if you don’t agree with it.

    Seems like the very reason that those other listings or venues that are advertising couldn’t offset the cost of arts listings.

    I mean to say that to maybe question how much effort does it take to print black and white text listings versus laying out color images and the inking costs? They are taking the exact same space (2 pages).

    Chicago art is already suffering enough invisibility and stigmatization, in the Art Chicago debacles, the loss of The NAE, and the loss of much of its talent to other more supportive or finacially lucrative seeming markets (Ahem, MARC!).

    The fact that even museums or institutions which are meant to serve the community at large, such as Hyde Park Art Center, The Art Institute, the MCA, the Chicago Cultural Center, the Mexican Fine Arts Museum, The Ukrainian Institute of Modern Art, The Museum of Surgical Science, The Field Museum, etc etc ETC, are not even listed I feel is a grave disservice to the community at large.

    I feel any art tourism here will suffer as a result, and wonder how anyone would even consider not listing galleries et al, in , say, The Village Voice!

    Can you imagine coming to chicago and NOT being able to look something up as easy as picking up a READER? How will people negatiate the gallery district eevn during the fair?

    comparatively which is more rewarding? “300” (yay, thinly veiled militarism!, NB: sorry If I stepped on your review MIKE B) or a great art show?

  29. brad says:

    My biggest problem with the guy is that Edward Lifson’s voice just sounds *so* phonesex. And not in a good way.

    Anyhow. That show is jsut so upper-crusty doilies-on-endtables. And always with the architecture. Oy.

    Enjoyed the show, even if Duncan can’t get everyone to use a mic properly. Will definitely go check out the shows, esp. Verene- That’s the best part about BAS; getting me off my ass to go check this shit out for myself, instead of just lifestyle-magazine-ing about art (cough HB cough).

  30. John Smith says:

    He is kinda creepy in a want-to-hide-your-kids kindof way.

  31. The Shark says:

    Could you guys be more off target and flat out wrong on the Drew Beattie paintings? -As someone who no doubt has forgotten more about painting in any given day -than the whole lot of you collectively know, I thought the show was terrific -your assemblage comments laughable -ever heard of Robert Rauschenberg? sheeeeesh! -your discussion said way more about your visual ignorance and parochial attitudes towards what painting is than anything else. How could you possibly miss what a subtle eye this guy has? How wonderfully inventive and strategic the work is……..and then you go on about that trite, trendy, lightweight cutsey-pie work of Thomas Rapai or Amy Vogel…….you guys really need to get even the slightest clue about painting – forever in front of these paintings? whew! you’re easily entertained -to be kind.

    As for Chris Verene…….I happened to view the exhibition with a serious photographer -as opposed to an art photogapher -in fact probably one of the top photographers in the country and definetly in the midwest- Sandro Miller -responsible for instance, for all of the Steppenwolf theatre/ actor images- we both took note of what fine sophisticated images these works were -how high the quality of composition was, how well done the work was, how clearly the photographer had the trust of his subjects- you know -the actual photographs -something I didn’t hear you discuss-

  32. Some VERY pithy statements here on the blog!!! Ones that need to be shouted from the Sears Tower.

    Caroline — great!:
    “What makes Chicago unique is the ground it holds between affordability
    and support. Unlike NYC or L.A., artists can afford to live, being
    thus more capable of artistic risks–what may be lacking in cities
    with higher financial stakes. Unlike a Pittsburgh or Baltimore,
    however, where life is similarly affordable, Chicago actually has a
    vibrant community of art-goers, who consistently maintain a dialogue
    about their respective endeavors. This is essential to our urban

    Daniel great!:
    “Chicago art is already suffering enough invisibility and stigmatization, in the Art Chicago debacles, the loss of The NAE, and the loss of much of its talent to other more supportive or financially lucrative seeming markets (Ahem, MARC!).” (And… ahem…me Mark, too).
    I loved this too: “I feel any art tourism here will suffer as a result, and wonder how anyone would even consider not listing galleries et al, in , say, The Village Voice!.”

    I liked the two-very-different-opinions bit by Duncan and Terri. That is something I actually tried in the past to get the old NAE to do — side-by-side reviews of the same show by people who think very differently about the work. They didn’t like the idea. In BAS it works well.

    I think the Shark is right about Drew Beattie’s work and Rauschenberg too. It bothered me that you argued about “what is painting” fom a very closet-Greenbergian (and limited) sense, as if Rauschenberg (and Pop) and so much else had never happened. Would you have such a discussion about installation? Painting is whatever a painter successfully proves it is in his or her works. It is, in my opinion (and David Reed’s) the best absorber and embody-er of all the art forms. It has only been seen so limited since the pintophobe rhetoric of Krauss and the Octoberists (and she being a Greenberg student), where painting is seen as the only art form that has to somehow only use a small handful of “pure-to-itself” elements, in effect making it impotent by only being allowed to discuss itself. Don’t believe that crap. Use your clear ability to understand the multiplicity allowed in works such as installations, as often is exhibited on BAS, and apply that thought process to paintings too.

    In all, though, I liked this show a lot!

  33. Judy Spood says:

    If you think Thomas Rapai’s paintings are bad, have you ever talked to the guy? “Pedantic posuer” doesn’t even begin to cover it. He’s like a bad character from a cheap novel. I had the distinct impression he walks around with a bag of psuedo witty, culturally obscure one liners ready to drop at a moments notice. Pitty the girl (or guy?) who falls for it.

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