At the risk of trying to tie up a week too simply in one bow, I felt like each post had an underlying vision of Utopia, whether the artist residency in the woods, the dream of fashionistas, the work of uncovering and discussing gender dynamics, the performance of queer migration, or simply the project of a single book â€” each of this week’s articles strive toward something, something idyllic and often just out of reach.
“Ox-Bow is like Hogwarts for adults,” obviously. Or so says Duncan MacKenzie who is planning to teach a course there this summer.
“Chicagoâ€™s â€œart worldâ€ is in no way distinct from fashionâ€“especially as itâ€™s located within SAICâ€“but rather itâ€™s intimately connected to it,” or so says Paul Germanos who posted an incredible assortment of images from SAIC’s annual fashion show.Â
I wrote a piece about James Turrell’s darkness inÂ Pleiades, and how I confused a jpeg of the elevator landing at The Mattress Factory for Turrell’s lighted dark space. I’m not sure that it fits into the Utopia idea, but maybe my effort to muddle through an idea of darkness serves as an adequate counter point:
I went there first as a Sophomore in college with a group of friends. One friend in particular was an upper classman and seemed to have a better handle on contemporary culture. As such we deferred to his authority; to do so was pleasant; he rattled on about various rumors (and possibly fictions) that seemed to walk a tightrope between gossip, mysticism and art history. As someone with very little contact to contemporary art at the time, I relied on the banter of my peers to overcome whatever sense of alienation I might carry into unfamiliar situations. Standing in a pitch black room for an indefinite period of seemed both provocative and confusing. If I thought about it too much I wouldnâ€™t know what I was doing there. Still the narrative of the artist had me intrigued. Stories about Turrellâ€™s alleged arrest for helping young men dodge the draft. His Quaker background. His life in California that yielded an interest in minimalism, light, and science. Â As I prepared myself to walk down this very dark corridor in the year 2000, I was told that at the end, in the pitch black (and if I waited long enough) I would begin to see light, like stars (I thought), or a halo. My friend suggested it was the result of a primordial and biological fear of nothingness.
Juliana Driever posted an incredible interview with artist Andrea Washko, discussing feminism today â€” it’s place in American culture at large, how that compares with the art world we live in and what how discussions about feminism play out in the massively multi-player on-line role playing game, World of Warcraft:
WoW is geographically, economically, politically, socially, and racially diverse. Discussing feminism in WoW is like going to a virtual (but still very physical) city and having access to people who are also inhabiting many, many disparate places but simultaneously inhabiting the same virtual space.
2. WoW is an environment in which people talk a lot in a variety of different channels. You can access thousands of people on a server at once.Â Granted, not all 1,000 will want to discuss feminism with meâ€¦.but itâ€™s still a better, bigger, and more diverse sampling than I can get on a city street corner. I want to hear from rural + urban attitudes, â€œconservativeâ€ + â€œliberal,â€ worldly + isolated, antisocial + popular, blue collar + white collar + the unemployed + freelancers + students, etcâ€¦WoW is great because the anonymity of the space allows for a frankness that is both frightening and also impressive, because no one is held accountable for what they say.Â This could mean that people can lie, but more often it means that they can be as extreme as they like in their beliefs and not be judged for it (and are actually generally rewarded for it socially).
A new post from sweet sweet Atlanta via Meredith Kooi who has been posting consistently around and about the subject of performance. This week she wrote about John Q:
Atlanta-based idea collectiveÂ John QÂ premiered its workÂ The Campaign for Atlanta: an essay on queer migrationÂ at the Atlanta Cyclorama on Friday, May 17, 2013 and Saturday, May 18, 2013. The performance, an essay as John Q calls it, insists on exploring the phenomenon of queer migration into urban spaces, Atlanta being one of them. Using the space, movement, and pictorial qualities of the Cyclorama along with archival materials of queer filmmaker Crawford Barton, native to Resaca (about an hour north of Atlanta), later based in San Francisco, John Q essays (used here as a verb) a narrative of history, creative production, queerness, and geography.
Maintenance #3 features a collection of reviews from Mairead Case that discuss the following worksâ€”
+Â Triumph of the Ape: StoriesÂ by Todd Dills (THE2NDHAND, print edition 2013)
+Â nodsÂ by Carrie Lorig (Magic Helicopter Press, 2013)
+Â Madness, Rack, and Honey: Collected LecturesÂ by Mary Ruefle (WAVE Books, 2012)
+Â Tracyâ€™s TigerÂ by William Saroyan (Doubleday, 1951; out of print)
+Â The Mere FutureÂ by Sarah Schulman (Arsenal Pulp Press, 2009)
+Â ViolenceÂ by Vanessa Veselka and Lidia Yuknavitch (Guillotine Press, 2012)
Monica Westin interviewed Julia Klein about Soberscove Press and their latest book byÂ Robert Goodnough,Â Â Subject Matter of the Artist, a bookÂ ”comprised of interviews [Goodnough] Â undertook with many artists,Â from Rothko to Pollock, about abstraction.” About this book, Klein says:
The mythology around Abstract Expressionism is complicated and weâ€™ve definitely received a flattened and manageable version of what was going on then, which was of course more complicated and not as neat. Iâ€™m glad you got this from the book. Thereâ€™s an art historian writing about this now and Iâ€™m really into her stuffâ€“ Valerie Hellstein. From her 2010 dissertation: â€œWhile Abstract Expressionism has come to signify heroic individuality and Cold War patriarchy, I want to suggest that it signifies the very obverseâ€”radical community that recognized separate-togetherness.â€
Goodnoughâ€™sÂ project isÂ appealing to me for its curiosity and humbleness- he was involved in the problem of non-representational subject matter and he wanted to talk about it with the leading artists of his time in order to understand it better himself, as well as to help art students and non-artists understand itÂ better; itÂ was weird and off-putting to a lot of people thenÂ (probably still). As Helen Harrisonâ€™s introduction points out, itâ€™s odd that this document isnâ€™t wider known and that is especially interesting toÂ meâ€¦. IÂ am pleased to be able to make it available through the publication of the book. Iâ€™mÂ also very pleased and proud to be able to publish Goodnoughâ€™s writings (though this isnâ€™t all of themâ€¦thereÂ are others that werenâ€™t in the purview of this book, which is focused on exactly what the title describes).