Guest post by Damien James
In the brief Chicago Humanities Festival preview posted a couple of weeks ago, I listed what I hoped would be some highlights, and I wanted to take a moment now that the festival is about halfway through its run to tell you about two events I recently attended so you get a picture—maybe fleeting—of how this years programming is meeting my admittedly high expectations.
In the near future I’ll share more about specific events as well as thoughts on the festival theme—laughter—with the intention of communicating how important the Humanities Festival has been for me, maybe how important it is to the city itself, and possibly beyond. It’s also my hope that it will become important to you, if it isn’t already. After all, each of us is a part of the greater festival of humanities as it plays out in our own lives every day, in the choices we make which not only effect ourselves, but everyone in our local and even global community.
And if this happens to be your city, the excellence of CHF earns you some bragging rights. Privatized parking meters, bogus mayoral claims of how green Chicago is, Land of the Lost-sized pot holes and shitty CTA service, our former governor’s “reality” TV career, and our failure (thank Jesus) to win the Olympic bid are not the only things we have going for us… [Read more]
Walker Arts Center October 31, 2009- January 24, 2010
The Show was also at the Whitney and the MOCA
Opening Lecture Saturday October 31st with the curators from all three galleries as well as the band Japanther.
Last weekend I made a pilgrimage to see Dan Graham’s first retrospective in the United States, in its third and final destination, the Walker Arts Center. The Walker is in Minneapolis, and if you’re from Chicago and you haven’t been, you really should make the trip. Dan Graham’s exhibition Beyond earlier this year was shown at the Whitney in New York (June 25 – October 11, 2009) and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles (February 15 – May 25, 2009) and was co-curated by Chrissie Iles (Whitney) and Bennett Simpson (MOCA). Beyond traces Graham’s influential body of work highlighting his mirror and video installations as well as his conceptual work. Graham’s work, though over time has changed in its physical product, or the method of his conceptual delivery is tweaked, the work consistently deals with subject-hood, identity, duration/distance and the interconnectivity of environment/subject/object relationships. Graham’s discussion that took place at the Walker last weekend with the co-curators of the exhibition as well as the band Japanther was a fantastic one. In this instance it was a rare example of three discordant aspects of the art world making the sweet, sweet music of politely agreeable disagreement. Each with their own agenda, the curators, Dan Graham, and Japanther, these separate entities all contributed their perspective on Graham’s work, though certainly Dan Graham got the final word. It is after all, his, that’s only fair. Check out the link to view this discussion, Dan Graham is absolutely a legend and shouldn’t be missed. I highly recommend the journey before the show comes down in January.
Guest post by Jen Gillespie
I am headed out of town for the Halloween weekend, a trip you will undoubtedly hear about next week. I am headed to Minneapolis to see Dan Graham speak at the Walker Art Center. Though I am extremely excited about this mini-break holiday weekend I am experiencing some pangs of regret, or perhaps just longing for the things I will be missing out on in Chicago. There are, as always far more things going on this weekend than any one person could hope to do, see, or experience. Though Halloween is often a time for mischief, costumes, and toying with fear, my suggestions are all to do with participating, since Halloween is also a time to get out and be part of the community.
Chicago Critical Mass If you have never been part of their monthly ride its likely you’ve at least seen them, the hundreds of cyclists clogging the streets that have come together to ride into the night… hard to miss. The last Friday of every month bicyclists meet at daily plaza and ride throughout Chicago. Critical Mass happens all over the world and Chicago’s turnout, especially for the ride this weekend, is definitely one to be a part of. The Mass always has a tinge of a political presence that reminds the public to be aware of cyclists by presenting an army of bicyclists coming together in their shared passion and support for biking in whatever role it takes in individual lives and greater civic culture. This ride, the Halloween ride, each year though it is festive with the spirit of Halloween throughout the crowd, it is also a memorial to those that have been injured and killed in bicycle related accidents. Everyone is welcome, costumes are encouraged, and the only thing you need is your bike.
5:30pm Friday, October 30
Chicago Critical Mass bike rides start from Daley Plaza, Dearborn & Washington at 5:30 pm on the last Friday of each month, regardless of season or weather. They are free and fun.
For more info:
Neo-Futurarium- An Andersonville safe-haven for a unique experimental theater project that has been around Chicago for nearly 20 years. Built on such platforms as “just when you thought we couldn’t neuter anymore dogma” and “theater that signs your yearbook with a puffy silver pen and promises never to seduce your brother again.”
Neo- Futurists- A local theater collective best known for their production of Too Much Light Makes The Baby Go Blind: 30 Plays in 60 Minutes. This fall they present their Halloween performance:
Last shows- Friday October 30th and Saturday October 31st 7:30 pm
Conceived and curated by Noelle Krimm. The Neo-Futurists call this performance art tour “a thinking man’s haunted house.” Comprised of vignettes including, but not limited to, one with a creepy serial killer about fetishes and violent impulses, to do with Edgar Allen Poe and all things terrifying. As with all Neo-Futurist performances the ‘now’ is not evaded or ignored, they don’t go for the ‘suspension of disbelief’ gimmick. The Neo-Futurists’ ‘Fear’ should not be missed. At the Neo-Futurarium, 5153 N. Ashland Ave. $15; T: 773-275-5255
For more information about this show or others by the Neo-Futurists:
National Museum of Mexican Art
Day of the Dead is this Monday November 2nd; every year this museum puts together a solid exhibition with a cultural education bent that is lovely. I’ve been several times over the years, if you haven’t been, you should visit this year.
Camino a casa: Day of the Dead
Exhibition runs through December 13, 2009
Museum Hours 10 AM – 5 PM Tuesday – Sunday
The National Museum of Mexican Art’s 23rd annual Día de Muertos exhibition, the largest annual Day of the Dead exhibition in the Nation, featuring more than 20 artists from Mexico and the U.S., a special ofrenda (offering, usually made on or of an altar) created for Arturo Velasquez Sr. (1915-2009) and an ofrenda created by the acclaimed author Sandra Cisneros as a tribute to her parents. The National Museum of Mexican Art is the largest Latino cultural organization in the country and the only Latino museum accredited by the American Association of Museums. The Museum is located at 1852 West 19th Street, Chicago, IL 60608 in the Pilsen neighborhood, adjacent to Little Village. Closed Mondays. Admission is FREE for exhibitions. Performing Art events are subject to ticketing. Donations are graciously accepted. Contact Phone 312.738.1503 Museum Hours 10 AM – 5 PM Tuesday – Sunday
For information on this exhibit:
I hope you have the very best Halloween, and if you can, try to support a local arts organization or participate in an event in your community in the process!
Guest Post by Jen Gillespie
Last week I visited the Museum of Contemporary Art to see Liam Gillick’s near retrospective, which the MCA is calling a survey and is really sort of a sample, of Liam’s work. Titled Liam Gillick: Three perspectives and a short scenario. This work typifies his interest in social idealism, the interplay of architectural constraint on psychological conditions and playful imagery or colors to punctuate and sustain an exaggerated tension throughout the space of the installation. The exhibit is up from October 10, 2009 – January 10, 2010. Though it is now old news, to an uncertain extent, Gillick’s project for the German Pavilion for the Venice Biennale is what I really wanted to share. I am in love with this talking cat project. Titled, How Are You Going to Behave? A Kitchen Cat Speaks the installation of a cat atop a maze of cabinetry with audio of Gillick’s voice speaking as the cat. The audio narrates a story of the speaking cat as the only one of its kind, it is both novel and wise. It is a thing unlike anything else and so is able to cause a new social interaction, though that newness is both guiding and constrained the speaking cat is therefore limited and doomed to loose its first blush of novelty within the narrative of the hypothetical interplay of cat and society. Gillick’s reference to hybridity and fragment as well as the banal loneliness inherent to being the only of a kind and to serve no purpose other than as a cultural or social fulcrum reminds me of Kafka’s A Crossbreed (A Sport) a very short story starring a lambcat, its owner and some children. I am intrigued by the similarities of the narratives so very relevant in their times of authorship yet separated by nearly a century. I am struck by the repetition. Check out Liam Gillick’s show at the MCA, this audio image of a Kitchen Cat that speaks and this very short story by Franz Kafka
Liam Gillick: Three perspectives and a short scenario
October 10, 2009 – January 10, 2010
www.deutscher-pavillon.org image and audio
A Crossbreed (A Sport)- Franz Kafka
GUEST POST BY DAMIEN JAMES
The Yes Men, hoaxsters who have elevated civil disobedience to an art form by taking on the biggest, most socially irresponsible corporations and the government that allows those corporations to screw the people, will be making appearances in Chicago this week for the local premier of their new film, The Yes Men Fix the World.
On Thursday, October 29th at 7:30pm, they’ll be hosted by Lumpen Magazine at Co-Prosperity Sphere, where The Yes Men will present their recent projects and hold a workshop to plan an action for Friday, October 30th, after the premier of their new film at the Music Box Theater.
If you haven’t seen their work, you should. If you have, you probably understand how important it is. The Yes Men might just have the right amount of courage, conviction, and insanity (think Ralph Nader meets Philippe Petit) to truly enact some kind of positive social change, but they can’t continue to do it without public support. In fact, they can barely afford to pull off their stunts, much less share them with us through their films.
The Yes Men recently posted a project on kickstarter.com to raise $30,000 for prints of their new film, which is in danger of not being seen by enough people. Through kickstarter, anyone can pledge from $30 to thousands, and pledges are only collected if the project gets completely funded. If not, no one loses a cent. If you can only pledge $10, convince two of your friends to do the same. If you can pledge more, you might just win a Survivaball! The project ends December 31st at 4:39pm EST.