Episode 158: Hello Chicago

September 7, 2008 · Print This Article

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

2008 Opening Season

Here we stand, at the beginning of the most exciting part of our Art Year: opening night. So, what do we do? We return to past form, act like idiots, and debate the state of the Chicago Art World and Art Chicago with Michael Workman.

Also, a sober and sick Duncan MacKenzie can’t handle a rowdy and drunken Bad at Sports crew and totally melts down, then screams repeatedly at Richard Holland? Could the band be breaking up? Speculation ensues.
Fred Sasaki
Poetry Magazine
The Poetry Foundation
Patrick Lundeen
Material Exchange
Western Exhibitions
Stan Shellabarger
Dutes Miller
John Opera
Matt Stolle
Andrew Rafacz Gallery
Carrie Secrist Gallery
Joy Episalla
Diana Guerrero-Macia
Tony Wight Gallery
Rhona Hoffman Gallery
Terry R. Myers
Kavi Gupta Gallery
Marc LeBlanc
Donald Young Gallery
Josiah McElheny
The Merchandise Mart
Neighborhood Public Radio
Rashid Johnson
Monique Meloche
Garden Fresh
Tom Burtonwood
Matthew Barney

Let your hate mail begin.
Direct download: Bad_at_Sports_Episode_158__Hello_Chicago.mp3

52 Responses to “Episode 158: Hello Chicago”

  1. My relationship with this show and Duncan is like Thunderdome, two men enter, one man leaves. Duncan is still looking for “blaster” sadly.

  2. Photography is still strong in River North. Catherine Edelman and Stephen Daiter put up good shows: Joel-Peter Witkin @ Edelman, and Alec Soth @ Daiter.

    True: The work is fairly small in scale, framed, and under glass. And, too, the artists in question are excellent technicians. The cumulative effect being: it [the work] looks safe. But upon closer inspection the political content of the photography reveals itself to be more “biting” than anything else on display in the City.

    Edelman in particular hangs a good show. I mean to say that the people working in that space take care when mounting and lighting the art. Fancy that.

    The large, colorful, naive objects that are said to be cutting-edge did indeed migrate from the [River North] neighborhood post-80’s; some, like Neraldo de la Paz, blooming in other places.

    Speaking of Peoria Street: I think that Richard is right to say that the crowd was smaller. Too, with each passing year the public behavior declines. And altogether too few young people are challenging themselves — physically — to make things. The attitudes are bad; the work is crap.

    So that while there are many small space in town, the “careerism” that has supplanted both craft and also the liberal arts in many/most BFA/MFA programs has encouraged young artists to “flip” such spaces, and neighborhoods, and cities even, like Yuppies in the real estate market — prior to the crash.

    Quote, from Issue Number Two [the new issue] of Proximity, page 120: “You can have a lot of quick easy shows and push your work in the public realm. People go to these small spaces to see risky work. The track I’m talking is: those spaces, then spaces like Gallery 400 and Three Walls, then hopefully get noticed by the MCA, get a 12×12, hope to get noticed by Rhona Hoffman and on…”

    So, Chicago is earning a reputation as a stepping stone? How do you build a “community” with that? Schmucks. Basically.

    Ed and Rachael had a lot of really good, thoughtful, and labor-intensive art on display @ the Co-Prosperity Sphere.

    40000, Medicine Park, Lisa Boyle, NavtaSchulz, Gescheidle, et al are missed.

  3. Paul,

    Who was the quote from?

    Also, for those of you with a “hair trigger” on the book banning issue (like me) check this link…



  4. come on duncan
    not everybody loves harry potter…

  5. WHAT. LIES.

    Twilight on the other hand sucks.

  6. There are many other reasons to loathe Ms. Palin besides the book burning myth. I mean there’s the time she rolled tanks into Poland. The time she killed Kirk’s Son. The time she killed Cedric Diggory. The time she said that she’d get you, and your little dog Toto too.

  7. A fine point Mr. Holland.

  8. You want a reason to not like Palin that has some semblance of fact and has been vetted read this

  9. More on Palin:


  10. hi BAS—

    i like when burtonwood gets on the mic. he sounds like he just woke up and is having coffee and says “did you go to the shows?—did everything suck?”

    this is old school BAS at its finest. i checked out all the shows via the www and it looks like tony’s, scott’s and andrew’s look great. and the ab painting show at rhona’s. and i also like spiderman. you bitter bastards!

    oh and you all sound drunk. except duncan.

    viva BAS!

  11. Duncan: Pages 50 through 128 [of Proximity Magazine, Issue Two] contain profiles of, “under represented cultural metropoles.” Speaking on behalf of Chicago, on pages 118 through 120, are Chelsea Knight and Mat Jinks.

    They may be lovely people. But their responses read like a statement of mercenary intent: gallery A will be used to get to gallery B; B to C; etc. And at the end of the alphabet it’s off to Berlin.

    “Chelsea Knight and Mat Jinks have their exit plan.”

    “They’re savvy about museum politics, are articulate and photogenic…”

    “Chelsea and Mat are hungrily stalking the citadel of success, mobilizing to climb…”

    You know, various factions have argued that Chicago needs: (a) a new art fair; (b) a new art museum; (c) a new gallery system; (d) etc. And in order to support those claims, said factions have had to enumerate the flaws in the current structure.

    I haven’t yet seen the wonderful new fair, museum, etc. But the campaign to tear down the city has gone smashingly.

    Even abroad — as Knight and Jinks are said to have emigrated from Scotland — the message that Chicago sucks has been heard, and given heed. Go for school; pad the resume at “DIY” spaces; and then leave.

    Indeed. Later this evening I’ll be hanging my dirty underwear on a stick @ Smelly Apartment Gallery. It’s something-or-other about the Bush Administration. And tomorrow my performance entitled “Urination” will be executed @ Dead End Alley Gallery.

    But don’t think that you can keep me here. When the underwear is smelly enough, and the urine stream strong enough, I’ll be off…


  12. Hey Everyone!
    So I am silently reporting on the LA opening night in the Los Angeles area. Being without a car I decided to rent one hoping to get to three of the main gallery areas: Bergemont Station in Santa Monica, Culver City and Chinatown.
    First stop was Mark Moore Gallery. Living in the Raid Projects space for last 3 months I have become friendly with the director of Raid and Mark Moore gallery: Max Presneill. Ultrasonic International III collectively displayed contemporary themes of dj culture, chunky/thick oil paintings and found object sculpture. I was totally to the max excited about artists Villeroy & Boch (Netherlands)who recreated a life-like sculpture of Villeroy, making it a perfect photo-op to snap a shot of the artist and sculpture as one. I don’t know if Charles Ray was present but I think if he and Tony Matelli had a baby it would be Villeroy and Boch. One of the more tense moments was when a five year old girl pulled the Christine Gray piece down, oooh yikes! I think the mom was more devastated that the kid, the girl seemed pretty happy with her work.
    Sadly, I missed the after-party sponsored by Beautiful/Decay Magazine because my two best pals from NYC were featured. Holla! Tom Sandford and Barnaby Whitfield…also thanks Marc LeBlanc for writing the article on Barnaby! We all know how much we love images of Lincoln naked!
    Later I motored over to Culver City. Kim Lightbox, Blum and Poe, Koplin Del Rio, and Taylor De Cordoba…to name a few. At Kim Lightbox, Case Simmons and Andrew Burke showed a collection of large scale photoshop collage drawings. What could have been a snore at first glance turned into a where’s Waldo of objects placed in tall landscapes that disregarded the laws of perspective. I missed the video, but the drawings reminded me of Justin Faunce’s work, but without the labor of paint.
    Blum and Poe featured sculptures and paintings by Julian Hoeber. After having just watched The Dark Knight in the theater, it was hard to not feel queasy looking at a dozen decapitated heads displaying shot wounds in different locations for each person. The heads paralleled how if shot wounds could be frozen, what the skin and face would look like. Made me want to barf and keep looking at the same time.
    One of the more quiet drawing shows that I enjoyed was the Kyle Field show at Taylor De Cordoba. In comparison to the big showing at Blum and Poe it was great to see some intimate pattern drawing that reminded me of California. The last stop was Koplin Del Rio where Kerry James Marshall featured some new paintings that were as usual awesome…! Go Chicago!
    My last stop was Chinatown! With only 20 min til everyone turned the lights out, I peeked my head in at the China Art Objects show showing some of Pae White’s work. The best piece was the elegant chandelier made of paper and rusty metal. A simple gesture, and installed at eye height for easy viewing!
    At this point…it’s all a blur. Someone decided to buy me a few whiskeys and I tried not to make a fool of myself. Dancing was for sure involved as well as running into a ton of people who I haven’t seen in ages, and all from Chicago!!! It was a great night and I am so glad I rented that car…and left it on the street as I took a cab home. ok …over and out from LA! next time it will be audio!

    from your good pal,
    amanda browder..of the amanda browder show

  13. Hey Browder
    i am glad to hear that you are having so much fun in glamourous LA. Now hurry home to gloomy old NYC – the New York office is in a shambles without you!!

  14. holy kee-rap, nice things from the BAS crew?!?!? might this be a new era of bipartisan cooperation?

    Can’t decide though, if this is a good thing or bad thing….always thought it was a badge of honor when you guys shit-canned me and called me a douchebag….my brain hurts, and Richard, you still owe me a drink….

  15. eeps…I wrote the above comments before hearing Duncan refer to Western as, I quote, “another hipster douchebag moment in my life”

    thanks Duncan — is this really what we are to you? A bunch of hipster douchebags?

  16. Scott, I think this is a perfect excuse for you to square up with Duncan at the forthcoming fight night!!!

    I loved the show BTW, great stuff, and the space looks great.

  17. Look Scott, “Hipster” is something you do well. I, myself, often do “jerk” or “Asshat” well. Embrace your strengths. I meant no disrespect but what was “Paintallica” if not “Hipster Douchebag” at its finest? I didn’t intend it as slight. I intended it as category of thing.

    Not that that is the only thing your gallery does very well, but it has often done “Esoteric Hipster Douche” well and that is why I love it.

    Paul that sort of depresses me.


  18. Paul,

    Are you implying that the “quality work” done by the walmartized art chicago/next/artist project isn’t raising the level of dialog, collector, or gallery here in Chicago.

    I, sir, am shocked.

    Chicago’s art community has always been their own worst enemy.

    We need to stop whining about what we aren’t and start working together to make the best of things. Chicago will never be New York, LA, hell we’d be lucky to have Berlin’s energy.

    To all of you who bitch about the lack of a collector base, when is the last time you bought something. You don’t need a pile of money to buy art. Look at the 119 galleries, lots of that work is quite reasonably priced.

    has anyone noticed what the Mart has done to the artist project? They have killed it without calling it off, scheduling it in the vicinity of the Miami fairs, why? BAS should do a story on that!

    Ramblingly yours,

    Honoré de Balzac

  19. god bless you sir.


  20. Tony Fitzpatrick Says:

    Well said Balz– in the last week I’ve bought 3 pieces of art by Chicago artists– which is what i collect– and I feel like the best collectors are other artists….

  21. Balzac’s point is well taken and Tony you are clearly the greatest of the boosters of the Chicago scene. I would like to buy more artwork, money is tight, but I have laid down cash in the past, and plan to again in the future.

    I agree, artists need to collect from each other, but we also need to educate and encourage people outside the community to participate. How many poster shops in this town sell $1000 framed fancy posters to the neuvo condo set, they can take that money and buy some amazing work by a local artist.

    Admittedly the price point varies wildly, but I have seen amazing things, recently at GardenFresh for example for a couple hundred dollars.

    What has been done to encourage people outside our usual audience to come and see shows? I don’t have the answer but it is something worth discussing.

    The opening extravaganzas seemed much more populated and exciting back in the day, I recall when RiverNorth was so crowded they’d shut the streets down, and that happened regularly, not just on opening weekend. The art community needs to band together to make it exciting to come and see these things.

  22. And when is the Speh/McKenzie bout scheduled?

    Tony, I need to contact you to start my training regiment. I need to get to fighting shape.

  23. I will not fight Scott. I consider him a dear friend and bare him no ill will.


    PS. I will happily call Richard’s fights though.

  24. For fight night I call out Meg Onli since she can dish it out like no one I know. i am surprised that we are 23 comments in and no one has yet to mention her line in the episode :)

  25. As one of those “DIY” spaces in town (although everything starts as a DIY space, they don’t just fall off trees fully formed), I’d like to just say in all of our collective defense, that many of us work hard to try and stick it out past flash-in-pandom. Threewalls is a 501(c)3 organization, celebrated its 5th anniversary, has brought Whitney Bienniel artists to town, has a senior and junior board and an exhibitions committee as well as support from the MacArthur and Warhol Foundations. And we’re tiny, and can’t buy a building or make ourselves any shinier than we have (so far) to encourage folks to stay or make them believe that we, among many many other people, are in town and working hard for this art community. Proximity and Prompt magazines are exciting new additions for example – wasn’t there moaning just a few years ago about our lacking a publication?

    I have to agree with Balzac (whoever he is) that Chicago is its worst enemy, but there are a few people here who actually don’t see it completely in shades of shit brown. There are, after all, ACTUAL cultural sink holes in the world, and this city is far from that.

  26. “was so crowded they’d shut the streets down” — not only that, but there was a tent party & benefit for the MCA for a few years in a row. I noticed the crowds were smaller as well this year. I agree that it should be like last Friday for most of the year.

    I also agree with Richard’s comment about a lot of video being just bad filmmaking. There are plenty of video projects on YouTube that are better than a lot of the stuff I’ve seen in galleries masquerading as art.

  27. total aside from my last comment –
    the show at tony’s was diana guerrero-macia, who has been showing with him since 2002.

  28. scratch my last comment since
    duncan revisits diana’s show eventually… god, i shouldn’t write letters to the editor WHILE listening, but afterwards…sorry.

    thanks for the props richard.

    (ps. my 1st comment above was meant in context of the proximity/chicago complains about chicago part deux conversation that had started and not for bas- who knows plenty about the alternative or diy or whatever you want to call them spaces in town)

  29. I like Tony’s boosterism as well as collecting idea. I have a small, pretty small, collection of work by other artists (mostly Euros now), but I don’t really have the money to do it much. Most of my sales-funds etc. goes to pay the mortgage and eating and so on.

    Howabout “upstart spaces” instead of DIY or alternative? I like the connotations.

    I think Proximity could be very very exciting, it’s why I’m also helping a wee bit.

    With what they did to it, and with ideas such as Tony’s that they ignored, the AP died a necessary death. Going out with a whimper.

    See you all in about 5 weeks!


  31. Richard,

    Exhorting the virtues of being “adult” in the artworld?

    Donating $100 bucks to a major political party?


    you are so elitist.

    remember where you came from, baby!!!


  32. We all grow to forsake our pasts.

    You know where all the bodies are buried.

  33. Duncan was really off this show. Duncan seemed so angry.

  34. I was sick, tired, pressured, sober and I was actually was trying to stay on topic. So, yes. I was angry. You were drunk, in a rush, belligerent, having whole conversations off the side, talking off mic… it was very frustrating.

    But whatever, why not be the ringmaster of anarchy? Sorry I was just sick. I still can’t hear out of one of my ears.


  35. um yeah…

    speaking of those bodies, you need to come over soon and help me get them out here…I caught my 3 year old poking around in the garage the other day.

  36. Drunk my ass. I was disappointingly sober during that recording. Sorry we made you so miserable.

  37. It was what I deserved.


  38. The Chicago art scene is like high school art camp. If you didn’t go, I promise it is! Perhaps you can liken it to an artist residency, but I’ve never been to one. It comes complete with inter-discipline dating, smoking cigs, going on walks, smoking chronz, collaboration, playing “gallery”, pretentiousness, sex, communal living and eating, rivalries, cliques, etc. The big show at the end is at the MCA and then finally your parents can come and pick you up and take you home. But you don’t want to go home. You want to keep playing. My question is – “where are all the hot poetry dudes who used to write me funny poems?”…

  39. That was stupid. What I said was stupid. But do you guys want to come see my performance Tuesday at the Last OutDanced ever at Funky Buddha? Talk about hipsters. Tons of em. Enough to give you an anxiety attack. I’m opening up for Leslie and the Lys. You will probably secretly but only secretly like it.


  40. Boy, that was really old school BaS! I love Meg! Tough Chick. I agree withher to! Michael Workman always has great observations. Richard’s short but amazingly good rant against “hipster art done like an 8 year-old with fine motor difficluties” or whatever you said was worth the price of admission alone! Loved it.

    Well, the podacst has no admission, but you get my drift.

    I don’t think you sounded all that angry Duncan. You DID sound sick. I also listened to some really old BaS podcasts recently (I have a cool mp3 car radio now so when I have to drive long distances I can OD on BaS and Little Steven’s Underground Garage and Comic Talk radio. No shit.) You guys were sometimes MUCH bitchier back at the start!

  41. Hey Chris — artworld news and scuttlebutt:

  42. boring episode, whenever you guys complain like cry babies about Chi and the market is a bore, at least next time say something new…you are starting to sound like old grandmas on rocking chairs.

    and something tells me, takin from these complains, that you guys don’t really know much about the market.

    anyway, the thing about being drunk, too drunk to have an opinion is not cool either…it could be “high school” cool amongst you guys, but not cool for listeners.

  43. Hey thanks Mark for the news update I have linked to your post!

    And Pedrovel I understand completely what your saying and really only have one thing I disagree with.

    It’s “Jr High” cool not “Senior High” with us and as much as I agree that it was not the most substantive or focused work it is also on time, on budget and both encouraging and critical.

    What is really honest is I think about 2/3rds of the people on that recording are stone sober but admitting that goes against the too cool for school image that I am trying so very hard to cultivate.

    We’ll get you with the next episode Pedrovel.

  44. Tony Fitzpatrick Says:

    I have much love for Richard and Duncan– but I must admit — the ‘drunk’ thing makes me go away pretty fast….

    I don’t want to moralize — but Pedro is right — you are both amazing intellects– don’t belittle your talent by doing this drunk.

  45. That movie was Awesome! Great job Chris! Being a visual learner, not an auditory learner, I dug it big time! More please!

  46. I was sober as a judge, well, some judges. Duncan was being flip. I may have had a drink or two, but at my size, it’ll take more than that.

    In terms of not knowing anything about the Market, I know more than I wish I did. Pedro you are certainly welcome to send in something and enlighten us with your wisdom.

  47. If anything, I think they should raise the level of intoxication. The early days of the show were more entertaining and silly, AND had more alcohol, therefore BAS after a few = more entertaining.


  48. I don’t know about that. Those early shows where Duncan had the “two drink maximum” imposed, were ugly. Listen to the Chris Cook interview I had to cut half of that show out, I thought those two were going to fight.

  49. Michael Workman Says:

    Intoxicants play an important role in most rituals, the Maypole-like start of the commercial art season being no exception. Being a huge Twain fan myself, I’ll take his line on it: “Sometimes too much to drink is barely enough.” Then again, in the end, he thought humanity was pretty much damned.

  50. And he was right, as usual.

  51. To be fair Richard, that was the first time we had ever tried anything like this. Also, I had nine beers and 3 glasses of whiskey in the hour and a half we recorded on that stupidly hot night in the Bad at Sports cave. I’m lucky I didn’t die. It was a terrible error that I never really repeated. I wish you would stop bringing it up.

    Pedro, on a strange note I have, “never ‘too drunk’ to have an opinion” tattooed on my back in the bauhaus font. Which is pretty much why I quit drinking after Art Chicago last year.


  52. That and the intervention “Staff meeting” we had for you.

Point of Origin

  • No results yet!