This week Duncan and Christian check in from the Banff Centre for the Arts.
They sit down with the Director of Visual Arts, Kitty Scott to discuss what the Banff Centre is and does.
Then they hijack a moment of performance art to “guerrilla” style interview Jan Verwoert, a contributing editor to Frieze magazine, a regular writer for Afterall and Metropolis M, and the leader of their summer residency. Read more
When I first moved to Chicago, shortly after the initial shock and depression wore off (KIDDING…just kidding…mostly), I set about exploring what Chicago’s gallery scene had to offer. Because so much exists off the proverbial beaten track, and I moved here with nary an art friend to show me around, there was a short time during which I thought River North was it when it came to art galleries in Chicago. Now, to be sure, there is much to love in River North, but we all know there is far more to Chicago art than one neighborhood’s offerings.
But there’s never been a book or newspaper or website that clearly maps it all out for you. Until now. Chicago Art Map is the brainchild of local artist/writers/fellow BaS team members Kathryn Born and Stephanie Burke, who’ve been slaving away under cover of night for months and months getting this extraordinary tool ready for public beta launch. Not only is the interactive Art Map literally a map that enables you to see what’s happening art-wise in Chicago by searching according to venue type (i.e. alternative or apartment gallery vs. commercial spaces, along with museums and art centers), neighborhood, and even genre (like 20th Century masters, outsider art, painting or furniture/decorative), it’s a magazine too.
A magazine that already has numerous feature articles online and a boatload of reviews, many of which first appeared on Art Talk Chicago. It’s an exciting new development on a number of levels, and as with all new launches they could use your help with working out the bugs. Go on over, click around, use the map to help plan your art weekend, and send Kathryn and Stephanie your kudos and constructive feedback; I know they’ll appreciate it. Have a great weekend everybody.
Bad at Sports is pleased to present our second guest blogger this week, Jen Gillespie. Jen is a local Chicago artist. She enjoys a thirsty mind with a taste for critical theory, diagrammatic oversimplification of narrative, heartstrings, and the uses for Lacanian psychoanalysis in explaining identity relationships. She also likes how the harmonium sounds like the accordion in such a way as to cause a physical experience of the synonym in the root terms: accord and harmony. If you have yet to check out guest blogger Damien James be sure to see his preview of the Chicago Humanities Festival.
With Halloween nearly upon us, I am often thinking of costumes and lately most disruptively of clowns. I’ve been surprised how readily my mind keeps returning to clowns. How they have figure into costumes for hundreds of years that we know of and are still a prominent if somewhat nostalgic theme in entertainment and fantasy. Clowns have been on my mind since coming across an installation of clowns in an unlikely shop window. Though I don’t suffer to any degree from coulrophobia, I can’t seem to shake the image of terrible clowns in torn-up designer clothing.
The Marc Jacobs Halloween window display is haunting my thoughts. I first saw this window display on a recent walk down Damen Ave., in the Bucktown neighborhood, where Marc Jacobs Chicago is located. Occupying the whole front corner of the store are 7 of the most decrepit yet best dressed clowns I’ve ever seen seeming to mill about a dilapidated carnival ground, a partial Ferris wheel painting completes the setting. None of the clowns in the display are friendly or silly or even sweetly sad, these clowns are the scary kind the ones we make horror films about and read biographies of John Wayne Gacy to better understand. They are truly creepy. Choosing to dress-up mannequins to seem as people dressing up as designer clad clowns is a fantastic, seemingly self-conscious, nod to self-reflexivity from a place of authority in fashion and retail capitalism. Though window displays don’t usually rank in my visual and intellectual experience this one sparked a little curiosity into some of the examples of artists using clowns in their work.
Though the place for clowns in art is often right next to the velvet paintings and kitsch collectibles. Clown Torture a video installation by Bruce Nauman, in the Art Institute of Chicago’s Modern Wing, where the clown is not something that comforts or entertains but berates himself from all angles at loud volume obsessively repeating and correcting jokes. In 2003 Cindy Sherman started using clowns in her portraits, they are eerie images with extremely saturated colors. Sherman posing as an elaborate clown in each image, it is much the same as her other work with portraiture and in many ways a surprising continuation of her previous themes rather than the startling change it at first seems when, as the viewer I was first confronted with these antagonizing yet bright, almost playful images. That same year, 2003, the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh devoted an entire exhibition to clown paintings from the collections of Diane Keaton and Robert Berman. Between them they have amassed thousands of clown paintings that typify this genre. The show met with mixed reviews and I have not been able to find an instance of its duplication. Since 2003 there are fewer major instance of clowns being used in contemporary art, but to my mind the Marc Jacobs window installation supplies a fantastically creepy visual experience. If you have not been past the Marc Jacobs window I highly suggest the field-trip.
Don’t forget that tonight is the opening for Zombies: A Mindless Affair at Antena Gallery.
And get there early, because from 6:30 – 7:00pm there’ll be a discussion between author Scott Kenemore, artist Mindy Rose Schuartz and collaborators Teena McClelland and Michelle Maynard from Death by Design Co. about “the darkness that enlightens their work” moderated by exhibition curator Edra Soto.
There will also be a screening of the film “Throb” made by Death by Design Co. immediately after the conversation.