Chicago Artist? Roundtable

January 8, 2009 · Print This Article


I just received an email about The Renaissance Society’s roundtable “Chicago Artist?”. It will take place on Sunday, January 11th, at 2:00pm. Looks like something that is worth checking out.

via the Renaissance Society:
“Location: Swift Hall, Room 310, University of Chicago (Swift Hall is directly East of the gallery)
Admission: free

As this question warrants, this roundtable will feature an all-star cast including Elizabeth Chodos, Director of Three Walls; Paul Klein, critic; Chuck Thurow, Director of The Hyde Park Art Center; Philip von Zweck, artist, and many more waiting in the wings.”

11 thoughts on “Chicago Artist? Roundtable”

  1. Sports News says:

    Awesome rountable photo there. It looks like a scene taken from The Lord of The Rings – The Fellowship of the Ring.

  2. duncan. says:

    How was this? Did anyone get a chance to go and what was talked about? We in London are very curious.


  3. The event was scheduled early Sunday afternoon; the temperature was low; snow was falling; and the UC campus is considered to be a “good hike” by much of the population.

    Nevertheless, some ~100 people were in attendance.

    Sadly, I’m going to suggest the the attendees’ time was wasted. Wasted potential? Ironic — and appropriate — given the topic?

    Even as a good number of “arts enthusiasts” made the effort to listen, the [five] panelists too made a good effort to speak. Everyone should be recognized, and thanked, for caring enough to contribute.

    So what was the problem?

    There was no discussion. Reading their prepared statements, the presenters wandered off [in speech] in their own directions. There was no structure. There was no moderation — no rallying cry to marshal the forces. Contrary assertions were made, but not challenged. No specific examples were presented; no direct questions put to the panelists e.g., “Given that Chicago has been associated with a rough-hewn but serious approach to the craft of making, is there an H. C. Westermann working in the City today? If not, why?”

    Having written that, what was right?

    1) C. Thurow’s observation that Chicago lacked a “big and rough” exhibition space.

    2) L. Warren’s recognition of age-based perceptions; she put the number at “45” years.

    3) If I disagree with P. Klein about the fact that Chicago “IS NOW” a blue-collar city, certainly I do agree that it [Chicago] is haunted by the ghosts of its blue-collar past.

    Maybe, 5-7 questions were taken from the audience? Two of the questions came from Shannon Stratton. No microphone was provided to audience members.

    Awkward. Slow. Dry. Reinforcing the notion that the scene is fragmented: divided into ghettos of race, gender, sexual orientation, politics, etc.

  4. duncan. says:

    ah, but it will be awesome.

  5. Paul Klein says:

    the entire conversation was video recorded and is available online:

  6. I just watched the whole thing last night. It was a GREAT discussion (with some aspects left out, but nonetheless..). In particular, Paul was fabulous — direct, clear, critical.

  7. That being said, — I must add, oddly enough, that I agree with Paul Germanos above! I was expecting a very boring, cliched Consensus Correct affaire, and was thrilled to hear indiviual, very intriguing insights and ideas — but it would have been better if what Paulo suggests (reading between the lines as well) had happened. Thus — I enjoyed it in spite of itself. Wesley and I hope to get a dialogue/argument betweeen us two about it up over on Sharkforum soon.

  8. Chicago is an international laughingstock. We, the people of Illinois, are broadly caricatured as fat morons — readily agreeing to empower cruel oppressors of an equally moronic nature.

    Politics: Controlling the composition of the UC panel, and structuring the manner in which panel members interacted, the host made likely a certain outcome.

    Find a certain point of view disagreeable? Then don’t acknowledge the existence of its proponent. That’s fixing. That’s Chicago.

    Five panel members reading prepared statements consumed 30-60 minutes [?] on the front end; shutting down audience members wasted the back end.

    Mark, you would think that “the Chicago artist” was a mythical creature — like the unicorn — and they just couldn’t find one to trot out onto the stage…

    MacKenzie did a better job with Waxman, Yood, and Hixson here:

    [Roundtable-roundtable; star-star; Chicago-Chicago]

  9. As you imply, Paul it would have been much more interesting to have had a real excahange — amybe even open arguement.

    I Love your description:” Find a certain point of view disagreeable? Then don’t acknowledge the existence of its proponent.” That, to me, is most of the artworld right now. Perhaps, especially Chicago, but most of it world-wide.

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