Episode 87: Art-ver-bridge-opolis part 1

April 29, 2007 · Print This Article

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As we recover from Sharkstock 2007 we diligently post Episode #87 the first installment of our team coverage of Artropolis, Version, Bridge, Sharkstock and a bunch of other cool stuff we went to in the last few days. Also prior to our soiree at Sonotheque we it Tony Fitzpatrick’s kickass opening at Architrove which was so crowded I nearly had a panic attack, I got to meet his Mom, who was utterly delightful. Paul Klein spent most of the fair weekend worried that we were stalking him as we were oddly on the exact same schedule at all times.

This weeks installment consists of a mix of stuff, next week we focus on interviews with gallerists and artists.

To top it all off special guest star Dolly Browder joins in!!!

The intro has a name mysteriously bleeped out. Cast your vote on our blog on who you think it was.

Team Browder reviews New InSight the exhibition of fancy-pants fresh young MFA’s curated by Susanne Ghez who, despite being a perfectly lovely person, steadfastly refuses to be on the show. C’mon Susanne we don’t bite!

Our first team coverage event: Team Queer (Terri, Serena, and Meg the war correspondent) and Team Fat White Guy (Duncan, Richard, Christopher Hudgens) get in the midst of combat with the “Carnival of art on the river” AKA “Art War 2007”. A member of the team is wounded in the line of duty. We intend to sue. Everyone. Edmar you are on notice.

Terri and Meg talk about Symposium C6 The Art World is Flat and how weirdly classist it seemed to be.

Duncan and Richard talk to William Dolan and Mark Staff-Brandl about The Artist Project and Bill makes a sale during our bit with him.

Richard talks to Michael Workman about being guillotined in effigy. Tom Burtonwood mourns the loss of his good friend Michael, but has already planned his ascendancy to the leadership of Bridge.

We wrap it all up with a discussion of Canadians drinking too much.

And this is just week 1. You should be paying us.

“This video is for Chris Sperandio Only”

The Architrouve
New Insight
Susanne Ghez
Rebecca Kardong
School of the Art Institute of Chicago
Pamela Sunstrum
Maryland Instite College of Art
Fear Factor
Niki van Strien
San Francisco Art Institute
Leeza Meksin
Yale University
Jonathan Keller
Cranbrook Academy of Art
Symposium C6
Anne Pasternak
Stanley Hainsworth
Ruby Lerner
Robert Enright
Ken Lum
Erika Dalya Muhammad
Art War
Carnival of Art on the River
Edmar Lumpen (Ed Marszewski)
Michael Workman
Chris Kennedy
Kevin Stanton
Rachel Adams
Mark Staff Brandl
Bill Dolan
Paul Klein
Art Basel
Bridge Art Fair

131 Responses to “Episode 87: Art-ver-bridge-opolis part 1”

  1. Wow, Queen Amidala is talking some serious shit. How does this tie in???

    Why bleep the name in the intro?

  2. are those photos of the lynch mob explained in a BAS podcast anywhere? If so, which one?

  3. actually, can someone please explain it in written form? I don’t want to listen to an entire BAS podcast. Are you ever going to get a transcriber for us readers/non-listeners?

  4. You send us a bunch of money, we’ll transcribe each and every show for you.

    You are rude and state that you don’t want to listen to an entire show and then you want us to do more work for you.

    Piss off.

  5. Richard, I think you’re really getting a little negative on this “Curious” feller. Curious, we’d be happy to have you as a part of our unpaid team. Transcribing will take you about 3-4 hours a week, so go ahead and start with this episode and work your way backwards through the archive. This is episode 87, so in about about 348 hours we’ll have the complete written archive!! In return, we’ll pay you the combined BAS salaries of Richard, Duncan, Amanda, myself, Meg the Intern, and heck, we’ll even throw in the big pro bono pay we give Serena and Terri.

    “Someday Son, this will all be yours.”
    – Cats Cradle, Kurt Vonnegut

  6. Kathryn,

    You know I love you but, bullshit.

    “actually, can someone please explain it in written form? I don’t want to listen to an entire BAS podcast. Are you ever going to get a transcriber for us readers/non-listeners?”

    If they are too lazy, snotty, disinterested to listen, why should we do extra work for them.

    I thought if anything I was too polite.


  7. I’m sure future generations will look back at the BAS experiment and transcribe it to all languages and forms of communication, much like the Dead Sea Scrolls. But for now, we all can enjoy it in Podcast form.

    I thought it was a great intro to the Chicago Arts Weekend. It was quite a coup to be there right at the Version Art War Attack.

    I was at the Bridge Fair Thursday night ( I heart Britney) , but I didn’t realize you had to pay $25 to see the Artist Project. There was some benifit or somthing going on. Mark Staff Brandl, please except my applogy for not having the cash to see you that night.


  8. Steve,

    In the future, call us, you should have been given a press pass.


  9. Ann Onymous Says:

    Dear Curious,

    Sheesh, why bother to care about what the pictures are if you don’t listen to the show.

    If you want to see the pictures and make sense out of it and you are too sad and pathetic to at least fast forward through the program, do your research before spouting off.

    More pics at Iconoduel.org




  10. Hey Richard,

    Thanks! Will this magical “pass” also get me into R rated movies?


  11. Michael Workman Says:

    FYI to the BASers. Inside word, economically, is of a mitigated flop. Sad, but true. I wish I had better news.

    And any talk of building, I think, serves only to line the wrong pockets. Shame on those who repeat it.



  13. we probably don’t need BAS transcriptins (just yet) but you know what woud be nice? If each show had chapter selections. it might be as easy as stating: reviews at 10mins 30secs, interview from 30mins-45mins, etc. I don’t mean to ask too much of you guys… it would just make listening more manageable.

  14. Curious Says:

    Jonie is spot on. Sorry BAS, but I recall not too long ago you asked for suggestions on how to improve your shows. Jonie’s is a good one. Not everyone has 30-60 minutes to kill listening to your entire program, or for that matter to do “research.” (What the hell do you think asking a question is? I better go write the journal Science and tell them researchers can no longer ask questions. Sheesh is right…) And I’d rather not spend my afternoon ‘fast-forwarding’ through your show to find the small nugget of insight I am seeking, if it even exists. If not chapters, maybe you can add time references to your list of name-droppings. Then again, why don’t you instead just gang up and attack…that would be much more effective than gaining new listeners.

  15. Curious and Jonie,

    The chapter idea is a good one I’ll see what I can do.

    Curious, you were a jerk when you posted your message and aren’t big enough to own it.


  16. CUCA,

    Which shit would that be? Art Fairs? Our Show? Art? While I agree that there is a significant lack of people of color rising to prominence in the arts I think it is something to strive for.

    While BAS tries to be diverse in our coverage, we certainly could do a better job of interviewing people of color and women.

    e-mail suggestions for guests to badatsports@gmail.com.


  17. Michael Workman Says:

    Interestingly enough, given Kennedy’s unequivocal announcement that it now owns the Armory, word comes today that the show has not exactly been “purchased” yet (notice that the deal is only “likely” a prelude to outright purchase):


    Bruit is that several influential dealers may bow out simply on account of the Mart’s involvement.


  18. Richard Says:


    Any movie you want. Duncan used to be in porno.


  19. Curious Says:

    Richard, you’re overly sensitive.

  20. I’m listening now, have to say the production is smooth, Amanda, yer mom rocks! makes me wish I was there. Thanks folks.

  21. Richard Says:


    I am a gentle soul.


  22. I don’t know Michael- I’m having a hard time seeing how a Chicago based purchase of a major NYC fair The Armory is a bad thing – especially as far as Chicago based artists are concerned… I have often thought that NYC with its impossible rents and increasingly venal and specious (insipid) art scene has become increasingly ripe for the picking…….as far as money goes -the people boo-hooing on this blog crying about ‘merchandise’……..wouyld do well to remember, this show pales in terms of rampant consumerism when held up against Art Basil Miami and/or other shows- and since when did most of the money in the art world EVER line the right pockets…….?

    -I take it you Michael, (Bridge,) had a difficult time at the fair…………I say this as its not at all characteristic of you to grouse like this in public- so you obviously have your reasons –

    the fine actress Holly Hunter once did a biopic on tennis star Billy Jean King…..I remember walking through central park with Holly and the great playwrite Beth Henley one brilliant easter sunday morning -and hearing Holly say -I got two things from Billy Jean that I will remember -both, axioms ‘pressure is a privledge’ and, ‘champions adjust’

  23. ‘would’………’priviledge’ -that is……. -can’t you please! put a spell-check on this thing?

  24. Richard Says:

    Our tech guy is one seriously busy mofo. Some day Wesley, some day.

    Until then when I am *really* raning I cut and paste into word and let word do the spellcheck and then paste the nicey nicey version into the blog.

    We *are* considering changing the name of the show to Bad at Spelling.

  25. its more like bad at typing…sheeeeeeeeeesh!

  26. blogerer Says:

    war on the mart…………….child’s play, sort of like dungeons & dragons- disappointed that so much air time was dedicated to an overblown archaic event. suzanne ghez’s show an anomaly because it adjoined market-driven goods- sort of like a gallery leasing space INSIDE the toot or MCA. altho variety good at Artist Project- quality not consistent- very smooth & professionally run from the inside track. weird conglomeration of “emerging” and established at Bridge- what was with the Chuck Closes??? agree with observation of class-segregation at C6.

  27. “…and since when did most of the money in the art world EVER line the right pockets…….?”

    This could also be said of the world in general. The art world is no exception. I think that the Mart’s acquisition of the other fairs and the build up of the Chicago fairs are a good thing. The increased commercialization can only help the art world to grow and become a more important part of our culture.

    For those that feel that increased commercialization has a negative impact on the art world, this gives them a bigger target or foe. An alternative scene to the heavily commercialized, then stands to be better and stronger as well.

  28. Curious,

    Maybe, you have learned a lesson in manners.

    If a statement leads with a statement like “I don’t want to listen to an entire BAS podcast” you have offended. The suggestion is that some how you find the product totally unacceptable but still demand that product be made available to you. I realize that a savvy marketer might say that this is an opportunity to exploit a new market but BAS is not FORD they are volunteers who work there tails off. I’ve seen it.

    Rather then apologize for your implication that there show is beneath you. You suggest that it is in fact Richard’s failing. That guy works hard to actually create some sort of art media in town while you sit at home in your “man-ties” and act thoughtless.

    Take that kind of crap back to the “other” group. There you will be amongst your own kind.

    As a fan, I would like to place a pox on your entire blood line.

  29. Re: The length of the art war bit.

    I agree in retrospect that piece was too long. I whacked it down from damn near two hours of tape and I did it in a hurry (in my defense). I wanted to create some sort of narative flashing back and forth between the two teams. It could have been trimmed a few minutes.


  30. I thought it was a great length.

    Richard Holland your the greatest.


  31. I find the anonymous posts a bit lame. The Shark got into a bru ha ha with some no name posters on Art or Idiocy a while ago. Own up people. “Canada”, I likes your website, some cool video game stuff, would’ve liked your real name on the post. And I liked the comments from “Bloggerer”. I kind of dug how you could see some Miros and C. Closes trying desperately to be sold for big bucks along side some pretty cool emerging stuff.

    I’m assuming there will be more discussion in the next podcast on BAD interpretation of the fairs. This was just an introduction.

  32. Seriously, what can be the downside of the purchase of the armory show by the Mart?
    Name shname, the mart could be a pipeline for the chicago art world now, but i do think that if the Emerging MFA show is the “in house” “stamp of approval” of some sort of, that THAT could be a dangerous thing (“lardass” indeed!)too clique-y seemign and i was pretty bored with the selections, namely the nicely made but Rebecca Horn knock off that seemed like a fancy toy that just needed a light bulb in it to market it.
    The mart seems to have the infrastructure to hold the show, and the cash to market it to other areas (NYC if they so choose)…Since when has the art world ever been an ideal “un-market”. I wish more though would have been put into the version venue than the happening/spectacle at the mart. That would have proven a more effective critique/attack.

    The purchase of the show seems to render even more transparent the link between money and institutional structures.

    Each of us play to it or chooses not to, and sometimes time will tell if the organization of such venues as Version, Bridge, and Artropolis will be effective.

    Thanks to the BAS crew, without which my mental taxonomy of the chicago art world would be considerably less.

    Back to the drawing wall…

  33. so, about the impending sale of the armory fair to the mart people–doesn’t anyone think this might be a little strange? for me, and the numerous others i’ve talked to, it seems that the art market will be in a state of decline in a few years, where these fairs will evaporate and many small galleries might have to close their doors because of this. apparently the armory owners also see this, hence why they are selling their fair at the time they are. get out before they start losing their money and another art chicago 2006 happens. i am a large chicago advocate and i run a space here that i am in no way closing anytime soon, but it seems to be that the mart people are really a step behind, not really seeing what lies ahead. it just is going to give chicago a worse reputation.

  34. As I mentioned in the earlier post on this topic. The Kennedy family is not in the business of making stupid business decisions, nor altruisitic ones (no disrespect to their community work). I want what the master plan is. I’m sure there is one.

  35. Duncan,

    Unless you are refering to the length of something else *ahem* I think i agree with the poster, I think we could have whittled it down, it was a fun piece, but it did go on a few minutes too long. Sadly are at times rushed schedule results in programs that aren’t as tight as they could be. We are regulalry guilty of letting bits go on too long, although I do admit I have the shortest attention span ever.

    We are mere mortals.


  36. Hope to write a real message sometime, but had to say that, questions of relative length of the art-fight aside, you did make me really wish I’d been out there for it. Sounded like some nice chaos and spark-y-ness, something that I didn’t see as much of inside (standard disclaimer about the nature of art fairs and the inevitable difficulty of noticing anything sparky in the sheer volume of product).

    Didn’t know what to expect, and I enjoyed artopolisbridgeversionfest. A weird scene (my first time at an art fair) but good to see that there are so many damn people out there making art, sucky or good, and buying art, sucky or good.

    (Also, aside to the Shark, greatly enjoyed that party, and glad to see that it wasn’t your warehouse that burned down.)

  37. daniel -very good points -I think if nothing else the mfa selections – were a microcosm of how the Chicago art world has been run by the very same people -it really showcased how ‘The Ren’ in cohorts with Judith Kirchner and now their puppet/lapdog the faux curator James Rondeau -look to NYC and Europe for ‘serious work -throwing an occaisonal Kirchner clone into the mix……all the while really using Chicago only as a showroom for ‘new institutional product’ ie ‘edgy emerging artists’…..

    what use do actual professional artists like Tony Fitzpatrick for instance -or me, have for the little consensus clique cabal that have had a stranglehold on the scene here for years -busy promoting themselves, their programs?

    doesn’t anyone else besides me think its kind of weird that when the Whitney or Documenta come to town -rather than the MCA and its curators they go to UIC and its outpost ‘The Ren’ for information on whats ‘cutting edge’ here?

    Hasn’t anyone else noticed that people of the institution -Francesco Bonami for instance -will gladly attend emerging artists exhibitions at UIC’s Gallery 400 and yet NEVER takes the time to know or, be aware of, or understand the professional work of serious world class artists being done in the very city where he is paid to be a curator?

    The MCA is going to do a Rock Music/art exhibition: I hear there will be some of the usual suspects, sporting the same, tired Sonic Youth hipness factored junk- Pettibone, Kelly, Richter, Richard Prince,…. no doubt the east coast and the west coast will be well represented -wanna bet what will be shown from here will be some ‘edgy’ emerging’ ‘new’ institutional product more than likely emanating from the flavor of the moment Shane Campbell Gallery of poorly made trend signifiers? That all the professional artists who have worked continually in the music world will be completely ignored?

    when people at Art Basil or Documenta or Frieze think of Chicago, they think of it in terms of its power brokers -Kirchner, Ghez, Rondea, and to a lesser extent Bonami……what they get is a corrupted, collegiate perspective.

    But, but! all of that is changing now: Sharkforum, BAS, Iconoduel……..finally some democracy and some transparency.

  38. -btw Andrew Patner gave my pal Tony Fitzpatrick a glowing and entirely appropriate review on WFMT – strange experience, all the right ideas, all the right words -all from the lips of a snake.

    now that he’s done one good deed -lets get this clown yanked off the air and fired along with the other art radio deadbeats here in Chicago. -One good review doesnt turn a turd golden.

  39. Richard Says:

    That should go on a bumper sticker.

    I need to go back and check out Tony’s show, it was so f-ing crowded at the opening I couldn’t see the art!!!

  40. Really,
    it’s hard to show interesting pieces at a fair because of space militations and such, but at least the art could have been indicative of a larger conceptual project. I think that that was hard to grasp in such a limited context.

    But videos on fat girls smearing and eating lard always gets me *”hot”*.

    PS and I appreciate Rachel’s cautionary vision…

    ,sigh, though it prods my momentary optimism uncomfortably…

  41. thanks daniel.

    and by the way, your links are not working.

  42. It’s refreshing to see a conversation (this one) about the fair which hasn’t done a nose-dive into whining. The Mart bought Armory? Hell yes. How much more of a power move does Chicago need? Think about it – these guys not only put MILES between last year and now, the follow it with a bold expansion. From where I’m sitting it looks like they’re telling the industry they’re in it for a while. It’s a savvy move from the standpoint of attracting the really major gallerists for future shows here.

    Were there any major fumbles by the Mart during the show? It seemed like they ran a pretty efficient operation, which figures since that’s the business they’re in.

    One of the things I was pleased by was the fairly clear distinction between the various shows. The big show was nice in size, but there was a bit of sameness to the work I saw – VERY little sculpture (I recognize that that’s about space), in fact very little 3-d work in general. Other than the Russian Constructivist work I thin the most impacting work I saw was photography, specifically Aaron Siskind and Edward Burtynsky.

    My only regret missing the war. Sounds hilarious.

  43. a little exert from brian scholis’ artforum diary about this past weekend. and i do tend to agree with him.

    “But still, the pickings were slim, a sentiment most easily demonstrated when you measure the booths against those at the fair the Mart just bought: Of the roughly 130 exhibitors at Art Chicago, I’d hazard that no more than a dozen would be accepted if they applied to next year’s Armory.”

    rest of the article is found here. i would definitely suggest it:

  44. Bahl zack Says:

    I’m amazed that with 43 comments thusfar that people aren’t all over the bleeped name issue and two that the poll has a tepid 9 voters. I for one voted for Scott Speh.

  45. Great read, Rachel – thanks for that.

  46. Sharkface– I mostly agree with your usual complaints (and they are no more pertinant than now, during/after the fair), but I’d like to add this: Living in Chicago, I am thrilled to be able to stay in Chicago and yet see international artists that AIC, Ren, and MCA bring in to town. If it weren’t for them, I imagine we’d be doing a whole lot of looking at ourselves and having conversations in the mirror. I think eventually that would have the same effect as one of those news stories one hears every now and then about the child who grows up locked in a closet, totally unsocialized and cannibalistic. So I thank our curators for aligning Chicago with an internationalism by way of bringing the internationals into our local venues. Of course there is the other side of this: are Chicago arts being promoted and exported to international venues? I don’t hear much of that going on…

  47. JF -We are in accord on this. I actually don’t believe for instance that it neccessarly is the MCA’s mission to continuously promote the community here to the exclusion of their program of exhibiting contemporary art on an international level.

    Having said that, I also don’t feel it ishould be the MCA’s mission to ignore us our to be blind to the context in which they as a public institution, exist.

    I agree its good all of these institutions brings things here -but HOW that is then MANIPULATED and USED to promote certain aesthetic AGENDAS here -thats what has to go.

    I hope all of you note -the sharks are all swimming in the same direction on this blog; -Dave Roth is exactly right -buying the Armory was a completely sharky power move and, A GREAT ONE! at that…………the fair was better than it has been in a very long time-

  48. Having said that, I also don’t feel it should be the MCA’s mission to ignore us or to be blind to the context in which they as a public institution, exist.

    -I could add to this, I find it very interesting to be an artist in Chicago at this point in time -removed from some of the more venal aspects of the overheated Chelsea art bubble/ Art Basil Miami/Lear jet as bling contingent-

  49. The best part of this site is being able to brows all the shows plus pick and choose multiples and listen to them back to back (57 so far). I just listened to the most recent 2 after all those others and your guests need to revisit their earlier interviews. After last weekend many are gonna have to eat their words based on predictions made for artchicago and the future of the art show in town.

  50. Richard Says:


    Chicago has a deeply engrained collective naysayer depression, which I am certainly guilty of as well. In defense of the grousing, Chicago’s art scene has taken its lumps over the years, but I agree the fair came off well. I’d love to see some info on how sales went which will be the indicator as to whether or not people show up next year.

  51. Richard Says:


    At least the MCA does *something* for the local scene. Granted it’s pretty small, but they do the 12 x 12 and occasionally show locals in the collection (I recall seeing Grabner, Sokolow and some guy named Wesley Kimler in recent months).

    The AIC shows no interest whatsoever in the local scene.


  52. Richard -agreed the MCA does do something -especially the MCA’s best curator -no, Chicago’s best curator- Lynne Warren who really is the most knowlegable person there is on art in Chicago, and actually thinks for herself…….-having said this, and in contrast to- Dominic Molon’s pending Rock/art show -that apparently has plenty of artists from both coasts -and one -thats right, ——————–one artist————————— from here……this, aside from being a total slap in the face to the entire art and rock community, is a very foolish thing, with reprecussions no doubt in the planning stages……. as for the art institute…….well Rondeau has puchased a couple of Kirchner clones -I’m sure James and Judith sealed that deal at the lap pool they frequent together…as long as artists put up with kind of behavior -and tolerate dilletants like Rondeau, we will get what we deserve…..

  53. Perhaps the city can get behind Artropolis next year and promote it in a big way. Hosting a large annual international event could help in its bid for the Olympics site.

  54. Why do all these posts seem so naive about the mart’s purchase of the armory show? Clearly, the mart folks are getting onto what the rest of the international art community knows it is a sinking ship. And for all those chanting Chicago is Back, you should realize that having a fit art community is not contingent on whether or not your city has a fair. Especially a fair, that by all accounts I’ve had, was far from great.

  55. I dunno krunk – we might see this differently. First of all, how is it naive to say that the Mart’s purchasing of Armory makes sound financial sense? I think they’re doing it more for financial than civic reasons, but so what? it seems to me that they’re trying hard to walk a fine line, but they make no bones about this. I think they could do a ton to help even the playing field in favor of artists, and re-building the Artists Project would go a long way toward accomplishing this goal. One thing I’ve learned from doing Sharkforum is that you’ve got to incrememntalize your successes. The Mart pulled off a gig with a LOT of moving parts, and it seems to have done so pretty seemlessly. Purely from the standpoint of presenting Chicago as a city with it’s shit together they’ve helped us a ll a great deal.

    Is the health of a scene contingent upon having a fair? I dunno about that either, but I know that it sure can help in a big way. I don’t think the fair is a panacea – far from it – but exposure goes both ways, and it’s most definitely healthy of artists of every stripe to be able to see so many legit galleries in on location.

    I’m not really sure how to judge the quality of this year’s fair other than by means of comparison with last year. Having had a seat pretty close to ring side I can safely say that these guys worked HARD to cover a range of facets. They could have just offered up old wine in new bottles, i.e.; last year’s show with a little more sizzle.

    I think there’s still some ground to cover, but having spoke with Mark Falanga and Tony Karmen a bit I can safely say that they don’t intend to rest on their laurels. In many ways next year is the acid test. But the acquisition of Armory is huge for Chicago! In a sense they’re infiltrated the enemy camp, allowing them to establish good working relationships with another calibre of dealers from the US and abroad.

  56. ton’s ‘o’ typos in there – sorry

  57. I agree that the Mart buying the Armory and Volta would actually be great for Chicago, making it an instant almost competitor with Basel and Basel-Miami.

    The idea of Chapters or at least “chunks” is good because I listen to BAS on my mp3 player and cannot always do so in one sitting, thus would like to be able to get back to where I stopped. (Yes my player does that automatically, but usually I screw that up by accidentally pushing the FF button or some other stupidity.)

    I haven’t listened to this show yet, even though I’m on it. I’ll do so tomorrow, but I would like to say that I personally find ALL the BAS shows fun and rewarding. SO if you don’t like it, go somewhere else. Maybe Hello Beautiful.

    One thought: Looks like Chicagoans are going to have to stop nay-saying and start being boosterish — maybe against their own wishes?!!! Stop trying to call the Fair bad — in terms of such fairs (of which I am NOT fond) it was great. I see and have seen many others including the “King” Basel-Basel every year. Trust me. But the Shark is right, some serious provincial Malinchismo is going to have to come tumbling down.

  58. (Malinchismo = mex. Spanish. Favoring things foreign, disrespecting things near to you, encouraging the provincial copyists of things far away.)

  59. Bowl Sack Says:

    “I haven’t listened to this show yet, even though I’m on it. I’ll do so tomorrow, but I would like to say that I personally find ALL the BAS shows fun and rewarding. SO if you don’t like it, go somewhere else. Maybe Hello Beautiful.”

    Ouch, wouldn’t wish that on anyone.

  60. Yeah, kind of mean. You know me Balzack! (Did I meet you in your secret Identity at the Fair?)

  61. Lynne Warren Says:

    I am not in any way a spokesman for the C6 symposium but I had such a different experience in the three days I did attend (although I did not attend each and every session). I would like to suggest that sometimes one’s assumptions get in the way of the truth.

    One of your reviewers claimed that students were relegated to the upper level of the bandshell and were not allowed refreshments. I myself sat in the “choir” and I am hardly a student. I sat there because I felt I could see the screen better. A good number of my MCA colleagues and other non-students types sat up there too, and all of us were welcome to have all the food we wanted. If for some reason the students were too timid to go down and serve themselves coffe, well I can’t speak to that. And I know for a fact a box lunch was served to them the first day.

    Also, this was the symposium’s first year, so all the comments about it having been “closed” last year and finally this year tickets were sold other than it being by invitation only are just wrong.

    Finally, I noticed panelists of varying backgrounds on almost all the panels I attended (and since your reviewer in particular seemed to be counting African-Americans, I saw Adam Pendleton, Stephen Burks, Rick Lowe and Erika Dalya Muhammad) Some of the panelists were not able to make it to the conference due to airline delays, so that may have skewed the experience of “minority inclusion” on the panels your reviewers did catch.

    And if your reviewer is so disturbed by ladies dripping with diamonds, you better stay inside and lock the doors. God forbid you shop at Whole Foods; you’ll be virtually blinded by them.

  62. Steve Hammann! It is really a shame we missed each other — you could have gotten in the show free any other day, or called me and I’ve have gotten you in at the opening , or met me at the Sharkpit!

    Lynne, once again it was great to see you again! The symposium was about the only thing I missed. I’d love to read a longer report on it’s elements from you (even about idiots like P Sellers). Have you got time to do one on Sharkforum?

  63. Braaandl!

    Missing you, and missing your kick ass art is a HUGE regret! I was there Thurs But didn’t have the 25 bucks! (Next time I’m going to take R up on his press pass). I tried again on Saturday, knowing it was free day, but not knowing it ended at 7:00. I was at the Mart, (and quite drunk, but thats another story) at 7:45.

    My alcoholism and failure to correctly read the schedule caused our two ships to pass.

    Sounds like things are progressing for Chi town art fairs year to year. Hopefully, next year will be so kick ass Mr. Brandl will come over the sea again, and I’ll be able to meet my hero face to face!


  64. Lynne, Dave Roth, Brandl, and of course yours truly…its a goddamned feeding frenzy!

  65. Bad at Sports Says:


    You and Meg should have a conversation about this on mic, it would be awesome.

    Richard and the BAS gang

  66. Lynne Warren Says:

    If I can remember the comments in regards to the C6 symp accurately (which is difficult because the raucous Critical Mass/Mart-Grosses-Honchos-being-beheaded-in-effigy segment that followed [sorry to mix languages there…]) Meg was the voice of reason. I’m intrigued. Sounds like private e-mail time…or maybe it’s Miller Time. God, I’m so confused.

  67. Richard Says:

    It’s always Miller Time at Bad at Sports

  68. Richard Says:

    Idea: Largely for WK but to throw it out there.

    The indie art media here which is sizable, should find some way to centralize their efforts more, create a conglommerate and pool resources. We are all on the same relative team, and with the bloggers, Sharkforum.org, BAS, and kinfolk like Lumpen it would be nice to consolidate and expand the level of coverage instead of walking the same path.

    Just an idea.

  69. Richard -this is exactly what I have been advocating for sometime-……between BAS and Sharkforum and several other ezine constructs (note, I omit brown nose specialist artist-ordinaire over at artoridiocy -as its just too kiss-butt lame and collegiate)- we are finally offering up some infrastucture for the Chicago art world that has been lacking since Kathryn Hixon and fellow Kirchner clones took over New Art Examiner and turned it into a partisan rag/UIC mouthpiece-

    (I remember when the late Donald McFadyen and I did a piece for New Art Examiner in the early nineties -I was not allowed to use the term ‘department head’ -as that would be construed as my referencing Judith Kirchner………I wish I was kidding -but its all too true, unbelievable as it must seem to others- particularly now, that we have the democracy of the internet…..

    This is where I would like to see the Mart step up -with political activists in the mix like David Rosen -people who are very forward looking and cyberspace aware,…….why not have them spend the money to create a hub/ a site that leads to all others, that creates infrastructure/ promotes and informs all things cultural for the scene here -and makes the fair MORE than all other fairs in that it helps create the first truly cyber infrastructure for an entire cities cultural community- at the same time, promoting their fair in an entirely new way…….

    Why not have a trade show that empowers a philospohical construct? Isn’t this the kind of green thinking we are all beginning to embrace? What if Art Chicago promoted aesthetics along with the trade show aspect…an epicureanism/ an enlightened hedonism -as opposed to the decadence and disarray promoted at Art Basil Miami among others…….

    -more latter-

  70. -later-…..sheeeeeeesh!……will I ever write a typo free entry? The Shark is, oddly enough, somewhat finicky…..

  71. Even though I agree with the concept of collaboration, I’ve gotta say that I think there’s greater strength in an approach similar to what we’ve currently got.

    We’ve talked about this before – you guys are doing your thing, we’re doing ours, Iconoduel continues to provide excellent offerings. Like we kept saying at the Cultural Center presentation we gave together – others can do it and they should.

    The Mart can (and I think will) provide something which will help to bring these elements together, which would be hugely beneficial. And having them advance a “philosophical construct” is precisely what’s needed, provided it doesn’t become an esthetic doctrine.

  72. aesthetic doctrine? slim to no chance at all of that happening- we just need a clearing site – an imaginative directory and, promoter of whats going on -in all disciplines -theater/music/ visual arts/ dance -kind of an online museum directing people to analog events and other sites providing infrastructure……..

  73. Kennedy’s speech early on Sat morning (along with the armory announcement) mentioned considerable build out at the Mart building to create spaces, or floors? bigger, taller etc. to accomodate larger work in all media. I bet they do this to an extent which impresses all. This year was a litmus test, so maybe next year is the acid test, Dave. These are people with considerable reputations which they will protect. Obviously if there is a concern they can just throw money at it. Sounds like they’re going to do that all the way until this time next year.

  74. what you describe sounds like Sharkforum…with funding!

    kidding aside, the de-centralization of the web ends up meaning strength in numbers. Sites like Flavorpill and Gapers Block are attempting to do precisely what Richard’s suggesting, if I get his point.

    But do we really want to become a conglomerate? I dunno… Seems to be working pretty well now. I do think that the changes we’ve discussed r.e.; the Mart’s site, could accomplish this. I’m a strong advocate for our sites remaining unique and distinct – I think it makes us all stronger.

    I also think we could do more at SF to accomplish these local promotional goals. Once we get the re-design up and start selling ads we’ll be able to offer wider coverage of local creative scenes. There’s also no reason why we can’t offer feeds from BAS and Iconoduel, for instance.

    The way I see it the Mart can do something way more powerful. Yes, they can and should make “artropolis” (a name which still makes me a bit queazy) a robust on-line entity which is dynamic and alive 24-7-365. For a wide variety of reasons this will be hugely beneficial to the Chicago art world. And I do think they can provide an invaluable service as an aggregator of pre-existing media, thus pointing others to us.

    I just wouldn’t be so quick to throw in together at this point. We can certainly support one another, as we have…

    As far as pooling resources goes – what resources? Have you guys got some? I’m headed to the couch cushions now…

  75. Right on, Jeff – sounds good to me.

    Incremental success is where it’s at. What impreses me about the Mart is that they’ve done so much more than just throw money at the problem. Whether you agree with their choices or not they did make choices based on research.

    If they devote the same effort to improving the show I think we’re all in for some good years ahead art fair-wise. Time will tell.

  76. I think there already is a strong relationship between BAS and the Sharks. The Sharks have had a link to BAS for a while now, and I’m assuming in the future incarnations of the BAS website there will be some reciprocity.

    I’m not sure Richard is talking about a full scale consolidation, but some more connectivity would be fun, and create strength in voices. MSBrandl and I are toying around with come collaboration in our commentaries. I’d like to see a BAS/Shark currated show somewhere…


  77. Lekrunk Says:

    If there were serious collaboration between BAS and Sharkforum, I think I’d probably stop contributing.

  78. As a Shark and a BAStard, I’m with Richard and Wesley. Some kind of strong open networking would be very good. Not merging but many crioss-overs, joining for events, shows, overlapping press allowing different takes on matters, etc.

    Any concrete ideas? i think the basic notion is EXACTLY what is The Shark has been mentioning to me for quite some time and needed and why I threw in with Klein, Wesley and then BAS.

    Let’s go!

  79. P.S. Steve is right — it would be FUN and we could arrange ways to keep our quirky independence out in the open.

    Death to the Consensoriat.

  80. Lekrunk -since there already is serious collaboration between BAS and Sharkforum -you’d better stop contributing- besides, as we all seem so naive to a mental giant such as yourself why waste your precious time? Or ours for that matter?

  81. “Death to the Consensoriat.”

    exactly. I also think we offer more persuasive punch this way. There’s nothing to stop us from collaborating in all the ways you mention. But the sites are already networked and co-supporting. I think that’s way stronger than a merger.

    The upshot is that we’re doing exactly what we ought to – remember all the whining over at Artletter about community? This is it! This is how it’s done! Now is when things can really get cookin’.

    Last month alone Sharkforum got over 1.8 million hits – that’s some eyeballs! There’s also good reason to believe that there’s a fairly distinct demographic involved.

    Spring is here…

  82. “If there were serious collaboration between BAS and Sharkforum, I think I’d probably stop contributing.”

    o….k. I’ll take the bait – why?

  83. shark, where is this serious collaboration between you and the BASers? i have yet to hear you contribute to the podcast, except a time they visited your studio and you badmouthed people, just like you do on the blog. so, until i see you actually contributing relevant information to BAS, maybe you should take a break. and as for the rock show at the MCA not showing chicago artists, i would suggest you look seriously at who is making work here that would work in that show.

  84. Richard Says:

    I wasn’t suggesting anything specific, I do think it would be nice if there was a greater dialog and sharing of resources above and beyond the occasional posting on each others blogs. There have been no formal plans, i don think there are lots of people out there reporting on the Midwest art world and it would be neat-o to find ways to work together.

    I like community, grass roots, DIY kinda stuff.

    If nothing else my idle comment generated some interesting commentary.

  85. Networks are made strong by the connectivity of their nodes. So I am definitely in favor of all sorts of collaborative enterprises. Conglomeration to me means homogenization and usually is only good for a few and bland for everyone else. I vote we work together more but keep doing our own things well.

    I would add that the Shark’s utopian vision combined with his aggressive social judgments makes me nervous. It seems to be a slippery slope to a hypocritical cliquishness that he rightly advocates against in others. Networks are inherently chaotic and often contradictory- to their benefit- so policing who can be “in” or not based of of personal criteria is quite destructive.

  86. Good points Brian. Richard – I’m with ya. Now that we’re all rolling we might end up rolling in the same direction. I happen to enjoy the fact that there’s something going on that I’m not directly involved with – it keeps me on my toes a little, and gives me something to consider other than my own shtuff.

    Are there any other Elephant 6 fans here? I think they provide an interesting model for collaboration.

    And Rachel – just an FYI. Sharkforum is much more than any one of it’s members. Mark Staff Brandl, one of SF’s primary contributors, is a correspondant for BAS (unless I’ve got the title wrong).

  87. Richard Says:

    Too true. Mark is our central europe bureau chief.

    Elephant 6 produced some kickass records.

  88. No doubt. In the Aeroplane Over The Sea is still one of my all time faves. I wish those Neutral Milkers would get back together.

    What I take away from their thing is that they make it easy for themselves to collaborate – it’s really a no-heavy-lifting sort of vibe. I may have it wrong but that’s what comes across.

  89. Rachel -I have done two podcasts now with BAS: the first discussing the reality of the Chicago art world, the second talking about Sharkstock -where and number of visual artists and musicians collaborated on an event last weekend.

    -if you think that my discussing the politics that have has such a ruinous effect on the art world here -politics that any working artist, not to mention major figures in the museum and educational institutions acknowledge and agree totally with me upon, issues that critics, bloggers and major artists here in Chicago – at least those who are in possession of half a brain understand and discuss, -if you ‘think’ and I use the term loosely, that I am simply ‘badmouthing’ the poor innocent victims I discuss, then you are truly a simpleton and as such, considering that that ultimately the people who do succeed in being relevant in the art world are usually fairly intelligent -this all might give you pause as to what you are doing with your life.

    As for the rock show…..why am I even bothering to answer this idiotic drivel?………Tony Fitzpatrick -the last ten cd covers for the hugely influential alt country rocker Steve Earl -Tony and Steve have also collaborated on performances together at Steppenwolf Theater here and abroad -John Langford -of The Mekons, The Waco Brothers, -an acknowledged and celebrated visual artist. Sam Prekof, Archer Prewitt!…..lets see, I have done two covers for the band Greg Kot always decribes as Chicago’s best rock band -Eleventh Dream Day -several covers for Nick Tremulis -and am currently in the midst of doing paintings for my second cd project with the great Alejandro Escovedo -I did Alejandro’s last cd that was produced by John Cale of The Velvet Underground -the next one will be produced by Glyn Johns -of Who’s Next -Beggars Banquet fame -along with the cd art I will probably be painting backdrops for Alejandro -who after he finishes this recording is filming the story of his musical career with Jonathan Demme…………

    shall I continue? because what I mention here hardly scratches the surface……..a survey of rock music that focuses on Cologne instead of Chicago?- the birthplace of urban rhythm and blues? are you kidding me? People all over town are reeling over the stupidity of this -narrow minded misbegotten show -do we really need to see Mike Kelly or Raymond Pettibone or the rest of the Sonic Youth crowd yet again?

    There: I have humoured your ignorance with a response -more than it deserves………

  90. And Dave, I’m also sure that anyone who reads Sharkforum or listens to or reads BAS is fully aware that Sharkforum is not just me:

    just go to the site -Simone Muench, Ursual Sokowloska, Kim Christoff, Lynne Warren, yourself -Mark Staff Brandl -who is indeed a contributing editor to BAS- to name a few -you really don’t need to keep reiterating this fact -its self evident.

  91. And I’m doing stuff with The Handcuffs, and have done others, and Dolan’s done award winning album covers, and and and

    I seem to be the WHOLE bureau here in central Europe. I like that about BAS, though, we all get to be chiefs.

    Collaborating with Sharks is an anarchic thing anyway, so nobody gets over organized, believe me. And Collaborating with BAS is a humorous give and take. I fear no beige much in these folks, esp. now that i have spent time with them all.

    Hell, I LIVED at Wesley’s place and he never once tried to tell me what to do. Not that such a thing would work with me anyway. He and I and David and others all disagree CONSTANTLY and still find areas to work on together.

    Stop fearing working together! Each can do it in her or his own fashion. NOT doing so is what always limited Chicago ion the eyes of the world (I contend the artists were NEVER limited, only the powerbrokers and the image elsewhere) and allowed for juntas by small cliques (of the aestetically challenged yet klein-politik, kissassly talented). It worked for London, it is working for Berlin, it worked for LA. Get on the g-d ball! It has started rolling!

  92. It worked for London, it is working for Berlin, it worked for LA. Get on the g-d ball! It has started rolling!

    and hopefully will keep rolling and not come to a screeching halt -that is, if we can keep the idiots at bay..sheeeeeeesh!

  93. “And Dave, I’m also sure that anyone who reads Sharkforum or listens to or reads BAS is fully aware that Sharkforum is not just me:”

    No shit. I’m just giving Mark his due – setting the record straight. Point that gattlin’ gun somewhere else Hoss.

  94. “Dolan’s done award winning album covers”

    no doubt – it won a frickin’ GRAMMY.

  95. for the record, here’s part of the blurb from the MCA web site about the R ‘n’ R show. Cologne? What am I missing? I know “Exile on Main Street” was made in France… I must have slept through that class.

    “This exhibition is the most serious and comprehensive look at the intimate and inspired relationship between the visual arts and rock-and-roll culture to date, charting their intersection through works of art, album covers, music videos, and other materials. The exhibition addresses the importance of specific cities such as London, New York, Los Angeles, and Cologne; rock and roll’s style, celebrity, and identity politics in art; the experience, energy, and sense of devotion rock music inspires; and the dual role that many individuals play in both the sonic and visual realms. This exhibition is curated by Pamela Alper Associate Curator Dominic Molon.”

  96. I don’t need a gattlin’ gun to take things apart Dave…… -but seriously -do we need another show of the usual suspects? ……….Cologne -how about Minneapolis -I know its not as glamorous but uhh Prince, Morris Day and The Time, -and as far as punk/ alternative two huge seminal bands -Husker Du -The Replacements……..what about Seattle? ..what about San Francisco?……. HELLO!!@!!#@!…..having been around the rock and roll and the art world world almost my entire life -I’m fed up with the Sonic Youth/Pathetic Aesthetic to the exclusion of everything else view that the art world takes -(for some weird reason )-I mean they are ok -they certainly aren’t Tom Verlaine/Television for instance…..

    -but the main point is -this stuff has already been shown countless times -even here -Pettibone= ‘Ren’ certified…….of course

    -this isn’t apparently a show about the rock world as much as it is -what celebrity artists have done work in the rock world…..so we get another show of the usual suspects…….its unfortunate -because this is an opportunity to delve a little deeper and write a richer history -using some of the treasures at our door steps…..but no, we will all file into the MCA and see local NYC artists and local LA artists…….and apparently Dominic will be able to ingratiate himself futher with the powers that be -by continuing a policy of business as usual/ don’t rock (pun intended) the boat….

  97. We’re getting off-topic, so I’ll try to get the train back on the rails: anyone like to weigh-in on the Artist Project? How you thought it went, what needs changing, etc?

  98. I disagree -I think this is very important, and the beginning of a huge dialog in Chicago about this the pending exhibition at the MCA- there are going to be fireworks about this -you heard it here first.

    The Artist Project: -they need to keep the 10% good artists the had, lose the CAC riffraff, turn it into a juried show with serious artists- and make it into an exhibition about esthetics.

  99. And the Rock show sounds rather white and anti-Chicago — I eman, come on, what about CHESS RECORDS fur Christ’s sake?

    I was hoping Dominic would come see my John Lennon and Superman painting, by email he said he would, but I didn’t personally see him. Hi DM! Where were you! I’m far better than Raymond P anyway (although he’s an okay guy).

    I will have my post on my experience in the Artist Project and Art Chicago in general up on Sharkforum late tonight — so in the afternoon for you people. I hope we can continue some of the discussion of all this there too. Especially about how to SPREAD the idea of Artist Project and how to improve it.

    If we can all collaborate to pump up Chicago, I know one thing we are NOT in danger of —- writing without typos! Sheesh. My past posts sometimes read half illiterate.

  100. Lekrunk Says:

    David – I think the past few of The Sharks posts will answer questions as to why I would hesitate to want to further a BAS and Sharkforum collaboration. The posts are mean-spirited, aggressive to the point of the being verbally abusive to people, and with criticism often based in ad hominem attacks. How do you engage in a dialog with a poster like that?

  101. malarky -my points are specific, matter of fact, and to the point -and, even though I use ‘The Shark’ -I actually have the huevos to be sure everyone knows exactly who that is -try it sometime Lekrunk -screw up the ounce of courage it takes to post using your own name -so people will know who its is who considers all of the posts here naive for instance -its actually quite invigorating- you know, having enough intestinal fortitude to stand up for what you believe and think -without having to hide and skulk behind anonymity-

  102. lekrunk is close enough to my real name?

  103. WebSharkDR: Thanks for giving us our due Dave Roth!

    Mr Lekrunk: Yeah, Wesley’s style is abrasive. So get over it and pay attention to his CONTENT once. We’ve all been through these complaints a lot and it’s time to concentrate on the matters at hand and stop wishing everyone was sweet and paper-trained. This ain’t nicey-nice land.

    Hamann: so now lets start trading/collab cartoons by email?!!!

    102 Comments. Wow. BAS rules.

  104. Look Mark -don’t bother apologizing for me- we live in this time of complete obsequiousness -and cowardice- where people are so afraid they might say something that might hurt their ‘career’ in the art world -and so afraid to get out of their conformity and think for themselves -that you get what we’ve had here in Chicago for the last two decades -where a small group of people have been able to self appoint themselves as the authority on what is relevant here and promote that to the exclusion of almost everyone and everything else. And where two generations of artists have tried playing smoochie smooch with these peoples behinds -both socially and worse yet, aesthetically -in the hope I guess of forwarding themselves ( for those who have’t please forgive my inclusiveness and, I salute you-) Politeness in this climate borders upon complicity,complacency and just flat out evil -in a platonic sense of the word evil.

    I don’t have the time of day for it -and besides -the whole anonymous/ finger wagging, thing is so cowardly – its simply a waste of time trying to humor, let alone address someone so lacking in basic character-

    I don’t know why you bother.

  105. The Artist Project was juried … I suspect not by those who are referred to as the “self-appointed” “aesthetically” challenged small group of people referred to. If only 10% of the artists were “good” by someone’s definition, the problem (or disagreement perhaps) lies in the jurors’ selection of artists and the independent/unrepresented artists who chose not to have their work considered. The idea of giving as yet unrepresented artists or artists who have chosen not to affiliate with a dealer/agent the opportunity to show in a forum that draws a national and international audience done right allows for the emergence of artists.

  106. Dee, this was the one area I found myself differing with the Mart on -and as I said publicly when we had the presentation at my studio for The Artist Project, I disagreed with the premise of only non-affiliated artists being considered -though, it was not a hill I was willing to die on -as I think the Mart did such an amazing, bang-up job on the show as a whole……

    The Artist Project was hamstrung due to the fact that only non-affiliated artists were allowed -sure there were a few young emerging artists – like Marianna Levant for instance -but there was also a lot of street fair level junk. Sure there are a few non-affiliated artist here in Chicago that are good -neither Tony Fitz for instance nor myself have representation here -primarily because we don’t need a local art dealer to sell our work here or, take 50% of the proceeds -but the simple fact is in todays market, if you can’t get a decent gallery to represent you, maybe the work just isn’t there…… I consider it a missed opportunity and am hopeful that The Mart will revisit the idea of allowing ALL artists to submit for The Artist Project with the idea that it can be an aesthetically challenging show rather than an aesthetically challenged exhibition-

  107. Dee Fox Says:


    I can see that the view that pool of good artists to choose from would improve without limiting eligible artists to unaffiliated artists (though “unaffiliated” does not mean that the artist has not once been affiliated in some context or has not been shown by gallerists/dealers, etc). The process of getting representation in the least is one level of vetting, though more marketplace vetting than vetting of aesthetics.

    I’d say in 8/10 or 9/10 cases, you’re right — the work is not “there”. I see an effort like the “Artist Project” allowing for the 1/10 to 2/10 in which this is not the case and the issue really becomes one of finding the fit between the art and the audience, or the artist has chosen to remain independent/unaffiliated. Even admitting some variations in what galleries show, a good deal of it runs together, in my opinion. Represented artists can show in the art fair forum through their galleries, and I’d worry about the “Artist Project” becoming simply another outlet for the galleries (whether this happened would depend on the jurors and the level of “blindness” in the jury process) to show work they do not otherwise choose to show in the fair themselves. Of course, I could be self-rationalizing; while I have enough confidence in my work to say it’s good, the Artist Project elected to waitlist me.

    Debate aside on whether it makes sense otherwise, I suspect in the end, the limitation to “independent” or “unrepresented” artists was a way to market the project as “different” in the context of the larger event.

  108. How about a juried exhibition of all interested artists regardless of affiliation or non, with an awareness towards unrepresented artists who merited being shown-

  109. Dee Fox Says:

    Shark, on its face, that sounds nice, but how — and who — does one delineate an awareness towards unrepresented artists who merit being shown. If the goal is to make the fact of “affiliation” irrelevant to putting together an “aesthetically challenging” exhibition, eligibility should not be limited by affiliation or non-affiliation, and aesthetic challenge should be a explicit criteria. If the goal is at the same time to help undiscovered talent emerge, or put differently, to define the marketplace by helping collectors and the market find undiscovered talent before it emerges widely, then lack of affiliation becomes relevant, with a definitional problem: what level of “affiliation” constitutes “discovery” as the two are not the same thing. I’d favor an open show (affiliation irrelevant) and say in the end it comes down to the who is selected to serve as jurors and the jury process. Defining the criteria as you have is less amenable to marketing sound byte, but I think successful marketing could focus on the show being aesthetically challenging (if it is) and direct from the artist (no intermediary – I would keep that, even if the artist is affiliated, the artist needs to be present) and on the presence of the artists to discuss the work.

  110. I think the show should be for practicing artists out of school -perhaps a 5 year moratorium from any bfa or mfa program -much like I feel the MCA should do with the 12X12 show……l- this should not be about emerging artist -there is WAY too much empasis on ‘new institutional product’ as it is. I suggest a jury of a curator or two and perhaps several artists…….I think the show should be about featuring good artists -giving them a chance to have an entire booth devoted to their work -at a lower price per booth- the agenda being, the work being seen, and sold. I see it as a win win for both gallery and affiliated artists -and the same for non- I think it is unhealthy to have emerging shows/mfa shows at art fairs -for all the obvious reasons-

  111. Look -we don’t have to reinvent the wheel here -the artist project is still part of the trade show -as it should be -and the best artists should have the opportunity to show there……the trade show is what is is -and we want it to be as strong as possible -all the other very cool possibilities can happen outside and around the fair -like Sharkstock does……people should be creative with HOW they are artists in the world -like I am, and create their own situations rather than waiting around for someone to do it for them-

  112. Dee Fox Says:

    “practicing artists out of school -perhaps a 5 year moratorium from any bfa or mfa program” … close to the base eligibility criteria Creative Capital uses for their grants: their definition is 5 or more years of being a professional artist (more or less defined by a history of showing/selling) and not currently in school (theoretically allows overlap — the possibility that one was professionally showing their work while in school — which your definition would exclude) and a fair criteria as at a minimum it shows the artist is serious about their artwork. I still think of those fitting this criteria as “emerging.” I agree with you about mfa shows at art fairs and avoiding institutional product.

  113. When I say ‘I’, I should say we -look at all of the stuff BAS people are doing -and the same with The Sharkpack -and yes we are very aware of each other and the people at BAS and the sharks have become friendly and do work together at times- we’ve accomplished much, we are just at the beginning.

  114. I finally finished posting my whole darn report of my experiences — at the fair, with BAS, at Wesley’s, at the Artist Project and so on. Please go check it out!


  115. Holy Crap Mark!!!

    Amazing article. Puts us to shame.

  116. “the problem (or disagreement perhaps) lies in the jurors’ selection of artists and the independent/unrepresented artists who chose not to have their work considered.”

    Just for the record (and as an aside), I submitted my work and the submission was lost in the sausage maker. This happen to a few other artists as well.

  117. ONe more thing, and I tried to address this at the meeting held at Wesley’s – the whole issue of affiliation is moot, as there’s no codified understanding of what this means. Are we talkinga bout artists who have seen their work hang on the wall of a gallery in the last year, or will in the next year? If so it’s pretty easy to check them off the list, even though I think they should still be eligible.

    The whole point of limiting eligibility was that the Mart was selling the show to dealers who’d just simply had enough, and they were walking a fine line. In order to placate the gallerists they assured them that they would0n’t be competing with themselves.

    It’s the same in the music game, where venues attempt to prohibit you from playing a gig in the same town within 2 or 3 weeks.

    I’m with Wes on this one – open it up and let it all hang out. I’d also favor the following approach, because I just find it hard to believe that there are 70 high-quality artists in Chicago who haven’t shown in a legit gallery in a 24 month period (my arbitrary time frame):

    – If the objective is to “balance the playing field for artists” as Tony Fitz has advocated, then how about picking 5 really good artists and giving them some MONEY? Award the money at the fair, and give them 1 year to produce a show for the following year.

    I give the Mart folk a ton of credit – they put a lot of miles between this year and last year. But I think the Artist’s Project, at least in it’s current state, isn’t helping much. Someone who exhibited there can prove me wrong of course.

  118. David, I may be wrong, but I think most if not all of the independent artists shown in the Artist Project have affiliations that would match what you describe – had their work on a gallery wall. You’d have a really hard, make that impossible, time finding quality artists if you excluded such artists from participating, and the project was not meant to be a first show/exhibition for the artists.

    I think of affiliation as currently represented and backed by a gallery as part of the gallery’s regular stable of artists. I don’t think I’d go so far as to say affiliation equals exclusive relationship, although one could, at least exclusive to a territory. As I noted, having a relationship, even a solid relationship, with a gallery is a far cry from being discovered or available to curators/collectors for discovery, not just because of the looseness of the term affiliation but because not all galleries or gallery relationships really give that kind of exposure. One could address the Mart’s concern by only excluding artists who are contractually represented by the galleries showing in Art Chicago, although if affiliation were irrelevant, I’d have to think the galleries would not mind another venue for their artists to show in as long as they still got their 50% of any sales.

    I suppose we’ll see in due course what benefits/fruits of exposure the Project had for the artists who invested their time and money showing in it. To the extent that the work is shown in a venue that curators/collectors attend, there is at least exposure to that audience that the unrepresented artist might not otherwise get. I think the idea you propose of selecting an artist(s) for a solo show is an interesting one, but perhaps too close to treading on the galleries’ territory for the Mart to want to go there. One thing that is nice is the Mart’s willingness to consider ideas like the Artist Project.

  119. The Artist Project is in danger of becoming an indoor version of the Old Town Art Fair, which is to say work that is kind of general, maybe pleasing to look at, but not very inspiring or inspired. I agree that there should be a set of criteria for the artists — a certain distance in years from school, track record of professional exhibitions, etc., but at some point it could become a tangled mess. In the end much of the responsibility lies with the jurors, as they are the gatekeepers. They should be able to discern between work that is more fitted to a show such as One of a Kind, or an “aesthetically challenging show,” worthy of being a satellite exhibition to one of the most important international art fairs in the world.

    I think that the show was a good start, though. I met some really great people, got my work out there, sold a piece and made a commission. For me, it was a great success and well worth it.

    As a side note, the Mart had someone from Toronto checking it out. They hope to do something similar there next year.

  120. Hey Dee Fox,

    I know you’re right, and for the record I’m an advocate for eliminating the “representation” prohibition altogether.

    My point is that it would be pretty easy to figure out something clear and fair – as it is there were defintitely “represented” artists there, as you’ve said.

    Had the community as a whole known that ahead of time I’m willing to bet that many more and better artists would have submitted their work.

    The upshot was a varying non-standard standard. I can see how this happened, and I don’t think it’s a big deal, but it could be avoided next year.

  121. Its part of the trade show! -let people like Tony Fitzpatrick -myself and others in. Have the most competitive best artist project possible – (actually I could have applied this year but really am not so interested due mostly to the scale I prefer to work at-)….just open it up to everyone, choose the best art period -its not that subjective nor that hard to ascertain-

  122. Just watch WHO is on the jury! I’ve seen such promising ideas get handed over lock, stock and barrel to the Consensus Clique.

    I think I would like to be on the jury rather than in the show next year. I think much of it WAS good this year too, although I believe I was the first to be cited in print and radio as criticizing the quality. If you disagree, come over to Sharkforum and argue with me, as the thread here will probably soon change over to the newest podcast.

  123. Artists -and actual Curators! -no art ‘educators’ or their henchmen/sycophants -nobody from the ‘Ren’

  124. Sounds okay — but Curator R, your fave, also a big NOT,… the curators ARE the problem in Europe, being the biggest “Ren” types. Onyl Curators who have real eyes and intelligence and independence like LW should be allowed. And also somebody like one of us and ABS etc.

    Now on to

  125. The Chicago Art Fair, Artist Project, Sharkstock: A Quasi-Chronological Report in Name-Dropping Fragments…

    My adventures in Artropolis. With far too many pictures of myself.
    I got back Tuesday to Switzerland after my 6 day extravaganza in Chicago, but slept through the rest of the day. I had a fabulous time and will try to extol it in surges, as recollect…

  126. OH! you mean ‘mr curator’ aka curator lite James Rondeau…………not to worry, in The Shark’s world he is not a curator -he is both a matinee idol to the aging suburbanite art mavens,, and most importantly, a glorified fund raiser…..

  127. “Its part of the trade show!”

    Can you help me out here – why are you placing such emphasis on this? I’m missing sumpin’.

  128. Simple Dave -what goes on at the Mart is a trade show -with the emphasis placed -on exhibiting the best work/ artists possible…..its a simple captialist model -and a better one than turning the artist project in to some kind of community outreach program -not that I hear you advocating that -but there is that sense in the air about the project -I think its a mistake.

  129. I would hope the Project is concerned with opening up the marketplace rather than being a community outreach program. It has to rise and fall based on its success in capitalizing on putting the best art work in front of the buying audience.

    It seems like the complaint folks have and want the Artist Project and other efforts to address is not the marketplace, or even necessarily the abstract idea of having gatekeepers (provided they are “independent”, meet one’s standard of excellence, etc.), but rather specific gatekeeper(s); put otherwise, break the hold of a clique of current “behind the scenes” gatekeepers. There’s always a danger to mucking around with criteria apart from the artwork itself (e.g. x years out of school, blah, blah); but I think these criteria are being suggested as means of skirting that set of gatekeepers rather than community outreach.

    The Project, like any other endeavor, whatever machinations are involved in organizing it, will die if jurors make poor selections and very little overall impresses the “market” (lets say that’s the blue chip collectors/audience with real money and interest in art and aquirting art that everyone seems to be trying to reach) and sells. The “market” seems to have engrained the current gatekeepers and also can knock them out if the work they are exposed to outside the picks of the “behind the scenes” gatekeepers wows them.

  130. Hi

    Very interesting information! Thanks!


  131. Our pleasure~!

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