EDITION #28

April 14, 2014 · Print This Article

Changes Rock Chicago Art World

Big announcements were totally trending this past week. We’ve all heard about Colbert’s leaving his seat at Comedy Central for Letterman’s coattails and George Lucas’s ridiculous plans for a museum in Chicago. In a Tribune article, Lucas called Chicago his “second home,” and his second choice for a museum location. WTT? hopes that if Rahm saw the website for the first go-around in San Fransisco he might not be so enthused on the prospect. We’re stoked that Lucas has decided to open his purse in Chicago, but why not have him take a look at the freaking Cultural Plan, Emmanuel?!

Anyway, WTT? is all about what’s going on on the ground and it’s a big game of musical chairs over here. After approximately 13 years as a producer for WBEZ, Alison Cuddy shocked the twitterverse last week with the announcement that she will be leaving the radio station on the pier for the post of Programming Director of Chicago Humanities Festival. Artistic director, Matti Bunzl, called Cuddy a “game changer” for CHF in a statement released last Thursday.

Other Chicago area shakeups include the appointment of Allison Glenn, former Program Manager of the Arts Incubator at the University of Chicago, as the new director of Monique Meloche. The gallery released the announcement via Facebook last Wednesday to much fanfare and many likes.

Carolina Jayaram

Jayaram speaking at the Cultural Center on April 3rd. Photo: Dan Rest.

Unless you just got back from a residency in Antarctica, you should already know former CAC director, Carolina Jayaram, is leaving the organization she brought back from the dead for the confusingly named United States Artists, a mega-fund for artist fellowships founded by the Big Four foundations (Ford, Rockefeller, Prudential and Rasmuson). What is news though, is that @USAforART is leaving Los Angeles for the new CEO’s chosen home of Chicago. Just when everyone seems to be moving towards the coasts, Chicago scores a big one against LA!

Local supporters of the organization were on hand for Jayaram’s announcement at the Cultural Center April 3rd, including USA Fellow David Hartt and Board Member, Jack Guthman. In her speech Jayaram gave a shout out to the women presidents who came before and lauded Chicago as the perfect place for USA to express it’s mission of elevating artists through generous annual fellowships. Jayaram also made some significant announcements regarding Chicago hiring and the parties that usually surround the USA award ceremony, hear it for yourself on the WTT? soundcloud.

USA Fellows David Hartt, Ella Jenkins, and USA CEO Carolina Jayaram. Photo: Dan Rest.

One last thing: Did you hear Tony Fitzpatrick is leaving?! Talk amongst yourselves.

Reading is Fundamental

  • The Real Portlandia Curious about how to get your art from the auction haus to your home in California tax free? The NYT offers this informational guide that will make your blood boil. Even the schmancy business collectors using the tax loophole think the code should be “tightened.” Oye vey.
  • Feed the Selfie Feed. Do your-self a favor and zone out to the torrential downpour of #selfies created by artists Tyler Madsen, Erik Carter, & Jillian Mayer. Paging Alicia Eler.
  • Oh no she didn’t! Did you catch this NYT Art Beat where William Grimes apparently called renowned poet Mary Ruefle a “local”!?! Too much! Check the correction at the bottom for the T. Not to mention that other Poetry organizations can’t hold a couplet to the O, Miami Poetry Festival. Scratch off cards?! Words cannot express how much we totally love the idea.
  • O Miami

    Is this suppose to be sexy? Poetry takes on a whole new meaning in Miami. Via O, Miami Instagram.
  • Can you eat attention currency? Is that like bit coin or something? While art collectors are busy evading taxes, the “avant-garde” are apparently duking it out for “likes”. Think it’s asinine? I’ll let Brad Tromel explain in his essay posted on Josh Abelow’s art blog (art blog). Talk amongst yourselves.
  • “Can I ask you a gossipy question?” Erik Wenzel is giving us all the gossip we could ever want but still leaves us wanting more in this vivid profile on the life and times of Rene Ricard. Wenzel recounts his meeting with the recently deceased and little known, but highly visible member of Warhol’s rat pack. Ricard dishes on The Radiant Child and why Julian Schnabel is a little bitch.

T around Town

I don’t know if it’s the weather or the addition of the Spring benefits and auctions but things have been really heating up around Chicago. Here are some of WTT?‘s top picks from the past two weeks.

Friday, April 4th, marked the introduction of the Drapes of Wrath, a new unisex jewelry line by Ashley Scott (aka Drapes). Scott’s Wrath debut followed the impressive look book for the collection, shot by Foto by Mateo and styled by Mister Wallace. It was just the spark we needed to set off the Spring.

Scott with her Wrath Pack.

The champaign filled affair took place in a east side loft that, like the line itself, was equal parts swanky and gritty. During the presentation Scott led members of her “Wrath Pack” (Mateo, Wallace, Impolite Society’s Elee Ecks, sound engineer Westly Parker and budding politician Derek Elliott Bagley) to a platform where she proceeded to “drape” them with her black fringed masterworks. The crowds eyes got progressively bigger as Scott plied her pack with distinctive square chains, ornate black fringe bolero tie/ brooches and what could only be described as the only hot boutineer we’ve ever laid eyes on. Big s/o and thank you to Drapes for inviting us to preview her lovely line and especially for rescuing my lost earing!

The Vision: Scott with Foto by Mateo & Mister Wallace at the premiere.

After the Drapes preview we had to sprint to Greg Ito and Jonah Susskind’s opening at the Hills Esthetic Center. Hailing from Northern California, the artists used their exhibition at The Hills as in experiment in working collaboratively. Something Other Than explores the potential of their collaboration and, with a huge stage-like platform in the middle, the art in the gallery itself. If this exhibition is any indication, they should definitely be working together more often. All the pink you could want and a curtain covered in pearls? Yes, please.

Ito & Susskind in front of Air Jordan Sailor Moon and the draped curtain.

Home Improvement at the Hills.

Curious about the gay mafia? You probably should have been at the Tony Green opening last Saturday at Iceberg Projects in Rogers Park. Curated by John Neff and featuring a swath of great Chicago artists, did someone say queer mafia?

Iceberg Projects

Talk amongst yourselves.

Iceberg Projects

A handkerchief embroidered with beard hair by Miller & Shellabarger.

Now you only have to go all the way to Rogers Park instead of NY to see #WhiBi artists.

Iceberg Projects

Oli Rodriguez points out some mafia action to Jason Foumberg at the opening.

Iceberg Projects

Surprising work by Tony Greene.

Iceberg Projects

Latham Zearfoss with his curtain and work by Tony Greene.

We could have stayed at Iceberg forever, but we had tickets to the Summer Forum Fundraiser at TUSK. At 9PM the bidding was just getting serious. We witnessed a few bidding wars over work by Paul Cowan, Andrew Holmquist, Joel Dean and Kate Ruggeri. Art was purchased, friendships were severed, all in the name of fun-raising and supporting so much more than a residency. Missed the auction? You can still donate to the kickstarter.

Summer Forum

Robert Chase Heishman trying to get the crowds attention for a raffle.

Summer Forum

Karolina Gnatowski REALLY enjoying a walking taco made by Mr. EZ-Livin, Eric May, for the event.

Summer Forum

The Summer Forum Posse featuring the return of Sarah Knox Hunter from Richmond!

Sarah and Joseph Belknap brought their cosmic energy and their moon rocks to the lux downtown Arts Club last Monday, April 7th. The evening featured a conversation with the artists and plenty of wine and cheese to go around. We unfortunately missed the First Friday featuring more Belknap rocks, but we heard a rumor that the duo will be exhibiting at the MCA BMO Harris Bank space soon.

Belknap at Arts Club
Never before seen shots of the Arts Club sweet upstairs lounge!

Belknap at Arts Club
SAIC Curatorial Fellow Ross Jordan with ACRE Director Emily Green at the event.
Belknap at Arts Club
Sarah & Joseph ready for their close up.

Their garden installation, Afterglow, will be on view at the Arts Club until May 20th.

The Collection of Richard Hull & Madeline Nusser on view at ADDS DONNA

Last up for the T around Town is the show 858, works from the collection of Richard Hull & Madeline Nusser which opened yesterday at ADDS DONNA. Hull & Nusser’s collection is a splendid sampling of Chicago artists and various other odds & ends, situating the collection squarely within the legacy of Imagist greats included in the collection, Roger Brown and Ray Yoshida. Nusser and Hull were on hand, providing precious context. What a way to end the weekend!

Hull & Nusser at ADDS DONNA Sunday.

This small collage by Ray Yoshia was revealed to have been a birthday gift to Hull.

Litho on chiffon by William T. Wiley.

An assortment of objects and artworks in 858.

Header image features work in 858, The Collection of Richard Hull and Madeline Nusser on view at ADDS DONNA in Garfield Park until May 18th (the same day the Logan Square Farmers Market opens for the season!).

Got any T? email me!
(or get @ me on twitter)


EDITION #27

March 31, 2014 · Print This Article

T of the Town

Once Chicago’s gets a glimpse of the sun, it’s on. What’s the T? has been all over the place in the last two weeks– openings, screenings, weddings, auctions, limos, basements, you name it. We even hit the courts yesterday with the Club Nutz basketball league. I see you Chicago, & you look gorgeous dahling.

In the words of my Bad at Sports cohort, Steve Ruiz, here’s some stuff you probably should have noticed in March.

Strangers unite to celebrate Wedding to Unknown.

The Unknown Couple with Edra Soto and pineapple upside down cake at the wedding.

The entire week leading up to Alberto Aguilar’s Wedding to Unknown at Columbia College on March 21st, when people asked me what I was doing Friday night I’d reply “going to a wedding.” The conversation would immediately turn weird when they’d inevitably discover that I had no idea who was getting married.

Ross Jordan and Morgan Walsh on the dance floor.

The maestro, Aguilar, serving dinner to wedding guests.

Arriving (late), I was relieved to run into Ross Jordan, outside waiting for his date to arrive. Ross assured me that the scene inside was a regular wedding except that everyone I’d want to party with was there. He wasn’t kidding.

Good vibes abounded and the gusts flocked to the dance floor after dinner & performances.

Sabina Ott rivals dancing queen Vincent Uribe on the dance floor. This photo is everything. Werk it girl! (Photo by David Ettinger Photography.)

Choice guests like Edra Soto, Daviel Shy and Hope Esser, Sabina Ott, Tricia Van Eck, Eric May and tons more rejoiced in honor of the couple. That night they were revealed to be Aguilar’s step-sister-in-law, Nina Young and her husband, Charenzo. The Young family stepped in to renew their vows after the original unknowns backed out weeks before the ceremony was set to take place.

Something like a phenomena.

We were lucky to catch the tail end of TRANSCEND A LIL’ BIT, billed as “An evening of video, performance, and pasta with Tony Balko & A.E. Paterra” at the Nightingale last Wednesday, March 26th.

Transcendent full house at the Nightingale.

Arriving just in time for the duos live A/V performance, SAUDADE, we were bewitched by Balko’s colorful flashing shapes combined with Paterra’s hypnotic rhythms.

Tony Paterra and Tony Balko answering questions after their screening and live performance. They discussed their live performance and past collaborations.

Love to Love You @ Roots & Culture.

Work by Sara Condo at Roots and Culture.

Sara Condo & Oli Rodriguez are like French fries and ice cream, it might not be an obvious pairing but it tastes oh-so-sweet. Or, at least that’s how Love to Love You, their exhibition that opened at Roots and Culture last Friday made me feel. Everyone else must feel the same way because R&C was totally packed. Despite the crowded gallery I was totally blown away by Condo’s image sampling and Rodriguez’s craigslist ad’s mounted on the gallery walls.

CALLING ALL EMERGING ARTISTS!

Don’t miss this unique opportunity to spend part of your summer in idyllic rural Wisconsin making art and engaging with fellow artists from all over the world.

Don’t mention it, but a little birdie told us that the application deadline is extended until April 4th, so you really have no excuse not to.

The Weatherman Report

Henry Callahan, Eleanor, Chicago, 1949, Gelatin silver print, 19.4 × 24.3 cm. Charles A. Hartman Fine Arts..

Lots of love going on in the R&C kitchen. Guests were treated to vegetarian dumplings and encouraged to recycle their beer cans by Mr. EZ Livin, Eric May.

Definitely a show that I think would benefit from a second look.

Work by Oil Rodriguez.

The exhibition is on view until April 26th.

Love Lingered at Kissy World Concert

After the brimming Roots opening we were pleased to see a healthy crowd at the basement show that took place later that night at Kissy World (formerly the Pilsen gallery Plaines Project).

“It was ephemeral, I mean, ethereal.” Vehicle Blues opening the night with some gazey shoegaze muzak.

This video isn’t blurry, that’s just how Vehicle Blues makes you feel.

Another packed house. Fog machine working overtime.

Brett Naucke with Gabe Holocombe (Vehicle Blues).

The crowd getting down during the Dim Past set. Photo by Davitt Terrell.

COIN performing through the fog.

Thanks to Kissy World, this show was exactly what last Friday night needed. Terrell also got some sweet footage, including my boy Dim Past playing my fav new song and COIN doing some heavy layering.

Charity Report: hArts for Art 5 at LVL3.

Spring Benefit is officially in full swing. First up in our ongoing benefit coverage, the 5th Annual hArts for Art at LVL3.

Paul Kenneth with his scary monster Abraham Lincoln-esque painting up for auction.

One of the many awesome raffle prizes: a siq new tote designed for LVL3 by Clay Hickson.

LVL3′s Anna Mort and Vincent Uribe working in unison with the Leslie Baum piece up for auction.

Anxious attendees mill around the raffle prizes.

On hand at the auction were Dave Kruger, Caitlin Law and Liz Longo from the night’s featured arts non-profit Arts of Life. Kruger and Longo started off the night by interpreting some of the works up for auction. The two below are so spot on! The auction and raffle ultimately raised over $800 for Arts of Life.

Kruger and Longo interpreting a piece up for auction by Evan Robarts.

K & L totally working that fold in front of a print by Clay Hickson.

Basketball. Sunday 1PM. Hamlin Park.

“We gotta use every day of this summer to the fullest”. Tyson Reeder isn’t f-ing around this summer, every above 50 degree day is precious. Meet him on the court for Basketball Bizness.

Artists emerging for daytime activities? This photos got us dreaming of more time in the park, summer residencies, Tastee Freeze, tans and long bike rides on the Lakefront Trail. Is The 606 done yet? Bring on the sunshine!

Whitney Artist Tells It Like It Is


EDITION #26

March 19, 2014 · Print This Article

March Goes in Like a Lion and Out Like a 501(c)3

Nothing says Spring like “Gala,” WTT? couldn’t be more excited to see the ice finally THAW. Speaking of, have you bought tickets for the Links Halls annual spring fling? It’s on April 4th, and really more like a three-storey drunk performance art odyssey than a party. Last year I got an sickening sparkly free mani from Aiden Simon at the Girl Don’t be Dumb salon, went inside of a space photo booth, saw Hope Esser ice skate on soap and watched more burlesque than I’d like to admit. For performance art, it’s not too weird, it’s really fun and it’s not that expensive for how open the bar is, what more could you ask from a Thursday night? And the inclusion of DJ CQQCHIFruit and La Spacer this year? Too much.

Enough gushing. Clearly, this benefit season is going to be huge, but don’t worry, WTT?s got you. Here are some notes on the best auctions and charity bashes around, in my not-so humble opinion. Can not wait to see what everyone looks like without a coat on!

Spotted: Todd King getting his feet did at THAW in 2013. Andrew Mausert-Mooney does his best Jesus in the front.

THAW

You already know the scoop, tickets can be purchased through their website.

hArts for Art 5 : LVL3

LVL3′s annual benefit auction is known to bring great names at reasonable prices with all works starting at $30. Past years auctions have featured Jon Rafman and Israel Lund amongst others. This years is no exception. We also love the LVL3 auction because the raffle prizes are copious and always awesome and it doesn’t hurt that each year the event benefits local non-profit, Arts of Life. Learn more about the auction and the organization here on the LVL3 website. Full disclosure: I take no prisoners on the auction floor. The event takes place on March 29th from 6 to 10PM at 1542 N. Milwaukee Ave. Last bid is accepted at 9:30PM so be on time!

Summer Forum : Hosted by TUSK

Sandwiched comfortably in-between the LVL3 and R&C auction is the Summer Forum fundraiser and art auction at everyones favorite bite-sized boutique, TUSK. There are quite a few repeats from both LVL3 and the R&C auction, though it doesn’t look like anyone got the hat trick. E-Dogz will be on hand, serving some serious benefit crossover and unlimited food with the purchase of a ticket ($25 presale or $35 ATD). Advance online bidding begins March 31, and the IRL event starts at 7pm on Saturday, April 5th at TUSK, 3205 W. Armitage Ave.

Roots & Culture 8th Annual Spring Gala

You don’t have to be Hamza Walker to know that Roots & Culture’s Eric May throws some of the best events in Chicago. Did someone say sangria and tapas? The lineup for the auction is pretty impressive too. Britton Bertran wasn’t kidding when he called the night’s auction list an Who’s Who. The List features some of my favorite Chicago art luminaries and at least one Whitney Biennial-er.

I’d tell you who I’m excited about seeing at the auction, but I want the art all for myself! Find out yourself, the auction takes place May 3, from 7-11PM at 1034 N. Milwaukee Ave.

Threewalls

Spring benefit season is bookended by major heavy hitters with Threewalls rounding out the season. Another reliably good time, this year’s gala is being held in the spacious digs down south at Mana Contemporary. The full lineup hasn’t been revealed but, I’m jazzed on the news that DJ Earl (who you might have read about in the last edition of the T) will be there. The details might still be a little fuzzy but you can already buy tickets on their site. Looking forward to finding out what a Gunnatowski “wearable” looks like.

FLASHBACK! Trending artist Jesse Malmed (right) with Trunk Show co-director, Raven Munsell (left) and artist Jason Lazarus (center) at Salvage One last year for Threewalls Spring Gala.

The Weatherman Report

Charles Ephraim Burchfield, Early Spring, 1917, Watercolor and graphite on paper, 21 × 28 1/4 inches. James Goodman Gallery.

Bad at Sports finally trending.

What’s the TRENDING?

Pillows: After being relegated to cameos in the backgrounds of painting and photographic portraits for centuries, pillows are finally stepping out on their own. Last week during the Whitney Biennial/ New Yawk City hullabaloo the internet was plastered with images of the biennial and various fairs, but nothing stood out more than the freaky pillows of Bjarne Melgaard at the #WhiBi. With the help of NY based artist and collaborator Amanda Browder, Bad at Spots finally reached the cutting edge with their Volta bed-in installation and recording booth. As if the original Richard and Duncan aren’t creepy enough on their own, Browder created life-size pillow versions for the Volta booth. Good work, team!

Detail of Norwegian American artist Bjarne Melgaard’s cracked out living room installation. Image by Hyperallergic.

Browder with pillows only a mother could love.

Jesse Malmed: Usually it’s difficult for individual artists to be in enough places at once to qualify as a trend, by that’s no problem for trending artist, Malmed. The co-director of Trunk Show and UIC grad student must not sleep. This past weekend Malmed did double duty at the MCA, as one of The Nightingale programmers on Friday night and then again on Saturday for his own presentation of selections from The Body Electronic: What Television Taught Me about Art, a live televisual lecture performance. Trunk Show also hosted an opening/ 5-act play by artist Brandon Alvendia outside the Multiples fair on Sunday and whatever HALLWALLS2 is had an opening on Monday afternoon. And that’s just over four consecutive days. If you’re interested in getting in on the Malmed Madness, and you clearly should be, the artists’ MFA show at UIC is opening on April 18th. If you feel like waking with the sun tomorrow, he’s also hosting a dawn equinox performance, more info here.

Eric Fleischauer’s official Alvendia for Trunk Show Vine. More official documentation can be found on Fleischauer’s “vine box”.

I’ll take all of it! Images from Drapes by Ashley Scott.

Drapes: Thank god standing out and looking good are finally back in style. The Ashley Scott designed brand has already been getting some much deserved exposure for her tremendous style, but the recently released images for the Chicago designers ‘Drapes of Wrath’ Collection, styled by Mister Wallace and shot by Foto by Mateo, are to die for. Not only are the boys beautiful, the accessories are killer (see what I did there?) and SO MANY TASSELS. The collection debuts April 1st, check out the rest of the images and prepare for the wrath on the the Drapes website.

Foto by Mateo gets Draped.

Chicago CD Showcase Back for 2nd Edition at The Mutiny

What? Did you really think we’d spend out St. Patty’s day anywhere else? Sorry Charlemagne Palestine. If you missed last year’s showcase, here’s a little refresher. Don’t do it again!

Despite reports that Thorne Brandt would never play, he softened a tough crowd with his flashing lights and “worst samples ever.”

After last year’s majorly lazery blow out, Free the Universe was resurrected as Apocalypse Forever. Their “children of the corn” performance was a seriously trippy affair.

The love child of Chicago CD Showcase.

This years showcase saw the merger of two of last years performers. Pajama band made their jammy debut featuring members of Fish, Phish, Ghosts and My Bad at The Mutiny on Monday night.

EDITION #25

March 3, 2014 · Print This Article

Behind the scenes photos from Pedro Vélez‘s Instagram.

City Vacant as Artists Depart for Chicago Edition of Whitney Biennal

Did some big movie thingy happen last night? Whatever. The real thing we’ve been waiting for is finally here: The Whitney Biennial plus Armory double punch. Chicago is about to be quieter than a John Cage performance and emptier than Detriot as the Midwesterners gear up for their big moment at the WB this week. Nevermind this list of 21 art events in March, the action’s happening in NYC.

In the tradition of William Siertua’s 2012 Whitney Houston Biennial at Murdertown in Logan Square, another posthumous tribute biennial is set to take place at Julius Caesar in Chicago. Painter and pedagog, Molly Zuckerman-Hartung is the only artist to appear in both the 2014 Whitney and 2012 Whitney Houston Biennials, but MZH and co-2014 “participant” Diego Leclery are absent from the 2014 WHB at the space they formerly ran together. Opening March 16th, the Julius Caesar edition of the Whitney Houston Biennial features those artists who assist and collaborate with Whitney Biennial artists.

Not to be one-uped by Chicago, NYC is countering with their own “everywoman” Whitney Houston Biennial in Dumbo, and raises with the last ever Brucennial, which we hear is also a ladies only exhibition. Looks like women, or at least nods to them, are big in the forecast in 2014.

At least those of us back home in Chicago can take some solace in the fact that the VIP opening is shaping up to be the equivalent of a really good Ren opening. No shade though, WTT? couldn’t be more stoked for the 17 or so Chiagoans in the Biennal. We’re especially curious to see what cool dad Diego Leclery cooks up, and who doesn’t love a good Elijah Burgher occult dropcloth? Oh and did we mention that you should also totes go gawk at B@S’s own Duncan MacKenzie and Richard Holland doing interviews at Volta?

We’ll be here waiting on the couch until y’all get back.

Sassy Fleischauer takes on Hollywood Sign Meme

Hollywood Sign Gif

“Here’s how to use that hollywood sign generator,” asserted Fleischauer last week on Facebook.

NY artists bring “Borough” to Chicago

The West Loop felt anything but “regional” at Deanna Lawson’s and Derrick Adams’ opening at RHG last Friday night. Hour d’erves were passed and the galleries were filled with well suited-up New York banker looking cats. Posh attendees, including artist Mickalene Thomas (both artists first appeared at Hoffman’s in Thomas’ exhibition tête-à-tête in 2012) and Bomb Mag editor, Betsy Sussler, (who both flew in for the affair) swirled around the charasmatic and stylish Lawson and Adams, who were just as striking as the work. Blurring the lines between the two, Adams showed up to the exhibition in a herringbone suit and camoflague print button-up that matched the patterns in the trees of his large scale collage works.

Photo by Deanna Lawson

Bad Mickey!

The main gallery was devoted to Deanna Lawson’s nothing if not sumptuous large format photographs. The most arresting piece in the show is arguably Mickey & Friends <3, 2013, a commanding horizontal photograph of unclad women embracing in front of a Mickey Mouse mural. Mickey licentiously glances over at them. The three nude ladies posing in unison in front of a red velvet curtain was a close second. Lawson even manages to make a simple pink blanket on a red bench look steamy.

Work by Derrick Adams in “Borough”

Karthik Pandian and Derrick Adams

Dapper Dudes: Karthik Pandian and Derrick Adams in front of Adams’ work.

Gallery girls and Rakowitz

Gallery Girls: Claire Flannery, Anastasia Karpova Tinari and Cara Lewis with The Breakup artist Michael Rakowitz.

In the front two rooms of RGH, Derrick Adams’ large collages merged the architectural with the psychological. Adams constructed his own “Borough” of homes from elementary school fence decorations, Restoration Hardware catalog furniture, and camoflague pattern trees. Figures are incorporated into the doll houses through fashion mag cutouts, sewing patterns and art historical fragments. Further underscording the metaphorical dimension of the homes are the miniature versions of portraits from Adams’ Deconstruction Worker series hanging on the walls of his own doll houses. The exhibiton is capped by an actual doll house in the front gallery window construced from silhouettes in Adams’ distinctive style.

Adams' dollhouse

Adams’ doll head house.

Rhona’s been killing it on the freshness tip lately. The Lawson and Adams exhibitions are on view until April 5th.

Rhona Hoffman Gallery is located at 118 N Peoria St #1A.

Who wore it better? Mexican Andrew or Chicago Andrew? Did you hear there’s a California Andrew version as well? Rafacz just went public with a gallery he’s opening in L.A. called Loudhailer.

Cultural Center Legitmately Cultural

DJ Earl

Lunch party time with Deejay Earl.

If you work anywhere near the Cultural Center you owe it to yourself to visit for Wired Fridays. We caught footwork master Deejay Earl two Fridays ago and it was pretty much life changing. The “study room” area on the first floor turns into a club with most eclectic midday crowd you’ve ever seen. Best people watching ever, old ladies, footworkers, tourists, you name it. Earl took the bizarre scene in stride and his set was on point.

Every first and third Friday of the month at the Chicago Cultural Center, Randolph Square, 1st Floor North. 78 E. Washington St.

Reading is Fundamental

Case of the Vase. Art never makes the headlines unless it’s something bogus like that whole Ai Wei Wei fiasco at the Perez Art Museum in Miami. Be still my Facebook stream. At least this one thoughtful meditation by Ben Mauk on the medias overblown reaction to the case almost makes up for it. Mauk’s mention of Damien Hirst’s hundred million dollar monstrosity also reminds us of Rachel Cohen’s fascinating piece for Believer Magazine on the relationship between bankers and artists throughout the ages. Overlap much?

Really though? If you do happen to find yourself in big ol’ New York City trying to fit in at Whitney Biennial Fashion Week, you might want to stock up on ADIDAS pants and slip on sandals with socks. Just remember one thing: no one out-normals Chicago. We’re not even really gonna get into it but this article pretty much sums up our feelings on the norm-non-matter.

[Social] Practice makes perfect at CAA. Obvi must read Jason Foumberg’s Scene + Herd for Artforum. That Dieter Roelstraete photo is beyond.

#Your an idiot. Can’t help it, I really feel that “really annoying—while at the same time making you kind of half smile every time you read it” thing.

EDITION #24 – MEXICO, DF

February 17, 2014 · Print This Article

Good times in Mexico City.

WTT? Goes SoTB

MEXICO, D.F.– Last week art world snowbirds descended upon Mexico City for the biggest Latin American art fair outside of Art Basel Miami Beach. While ZONA Maco, now in it’s 11th year, is obviously the big fish, 2014 also saw the launch of MACO’s first satellite, the ambitious Material Art Fair. We couldn’t stand the idea of missing out, so WTT? headed down to Mexico City to experience the fair scene in DF first hand. Armed with recording equipment and having just watched an Anthony Bourdain program on Mexico City, we were off.

The colonia we stayed in, Condesa, was just west of the center of the city and felt like a way cooler Logan Square. Nice apartments, lots of cute cafes, tons of bars and restaurants. Everyone, including Bourdain, told us that tacos al pastor were the best. We ate like a million immediately at a place closest to our airbnb. We briefly made it to the opening of Material Art Fair and after a comically unsuccessful attempt to go to the after party we ended the night at a dank little bar with heavy red curtains for doors called Bósforo.

First up. MACO, the monolith, was just that. It featured all of the usual bells and whistles: a massive convention center, an artsy partnership, a myriad of sponsors and all of the regulars. MACO also wins the award for worst branding and website possibly ever.

Fancy seeing you here.

Finally, something that even I couldn’t kill in the design section at MACO.

To be fair to the fair, we did discover a couple of sweet Mexican galleries: O.M.R., Kurimanzutto, LABOR and House of Gaga. Apart from the local galleries, Nuevas Propuestas, the smaller single artist booths were the most interesting. Featuring younger artists and more comprehensive views, we spotted work by one of our fav Miamians, Leyden Rodriguez-Casanova, at Alejandra von Hartz’s booth. Rodriguez-Cassanova’s precise assemblages of screens, 2×4′s and vertical blinds felt oddly appropriate in the setting of the hastily constructed booth partitions.

Work by Rodriguez-Casanova in the Alejandra von Hartz booth.

We also loved seeing new work by Leonor Antunes on view in the “curated” section, Zona MACO Sur, with Marc Foxx gallery. Attracting our attention through the labyrinth of drywall, her bronze hanging work based on Anni Albers’ textiles were just the right amounts delicate and gold. Bonus points for having the most impressive rigging in the fair. The scaffolding supporting the works were tied with thick black ropes around the convention center’s ceiling vents.

Work by Antunes in the Marc Foxx booth.

The Vázquez at Odabashian.

On the way out we met the charming father and son team at Odabashian, who were only the millionth people that day to advise us to visit the Museo Nacional de Antropología. One of their rugs was even designed by Pedro Ramírez Vázquez, the architect of the museum. In retrospect, you can totally see the repetitive polygonal facade of the museum in the gold and silver geometric pattern of the rug.

Before leaving Condesa for downtown on Saturday morning we walked to House of Gaga in Condesa and then O.M.R. in La Roma just to the east. On the way we grabbed the most amazing cornbread I’ve ever eaten from a bakery/cafe called Maque. It was my favorite breakfast in DF and really cemented our love for our temporary home of Condesa. Over at House of Gaga, Emily Sunblad’s en plein air paintings of elephants and jaguars at the Santa Barbara Zoo were just as delightful as the cornbread. Less delightful were the various cuts of meat placed throughout the gallery, but I was really feeling the dresses and the casual floral still lifes in the back. We also heard that musician Matt Sweeney performed with her at the gallery and was spotted at Bósforo during the fair. If you’re interested, the performance audio (which was avaiable on USB’s throughout the gallery) is also on the gallery’s website. The exhibition was House of Gaga’s first in their new space, the paint was still fresh and made our head buzz.

Work by Sundblad at the House of Gaga gallery.

A wall of happiness at Maque.

Facing the Plaza de Rio de Janiero and a gigantic bronze David replica, O.M.R. is easily the most grandiose gallery space I’ve ever been inside. Mexico City is terraformed and like many of the old buildings in DF, the luxurious old house is sinking back into the swamp. From the moment you open the iron gate into the ornate white staircase it’s on. I’m convinced that the gigantic marble slabs rigged up by Jose Davila for his exhibition only enhanced the effect of the sloping floors and vise versa. Also on display were some wild old James Turrell work from his Mendota Hotel period in the early 1970s.

Can I just live here already!?

Cristobal Riestra in front of work by Jose Davila in the O.M.R. gallery.

The main galleries were impressive but I was most partial to Pia Camill‘s work in the project space adjoining the main gallery. Her bright abstract curtains with sumptuous blues hanging in front of windows and throughout the gallery were complemented by the large shapely ceramic works and painted walls. Despite the massive population of the city, the art world in Mexico DF feels roughly Chicago-sized, so we weren’t too surprised to discover that Francisco Cordero-Oceguera, the artist behind Lodos Contemporáneo also has a gig as Camill’s assistant. The bookstore downstairs was pretty cute too. We found a kids book designed by Niki de Saint Phalle called Malo Malo that I only wish I had as a toddler.

Pia Camill at O.M.R.

Our final stop before returning to Material was the oft recommended Museo Nacional de Antropología. Totes worth it. From the Vázquez building to the Sone of the Sun and the countless artifacts and displays, you could spent an entire vacation in the museum. It was all pretty spectacular, even if we could only decipher about half of the label text. After drooling over the elaborate marble and molar sacrificial jewelry we took a walk through Chapultepec Park where the Museo Rufino Tamayo is also located.

Antique artists pallets and tools.

Just some morning yoga at the museo.

Sacraficial teeth necklace!

Recreation of a mural inside of the pre-Colombian wing.

Bone instruments at the Museo Nacional de Antropología.

For the slightly more adventurous and internet savvy art enthusiast, Material Fair at the Hilton Reforma in El Centro was the place. The marked difference between the two fairs was palpable as soon as you made it to the entrance on the fourth floor. Far from a chore, Material felt like a hip family reunion with newly discovered extended cousins. Their signage was also way more to my liking. By invitation only, the fair was a tightly curated selection of 40 art galleries and alternative spaces from Mexico, the States and Europe. I like to think that this fair would have been Bourdain’s preference.

While some familiar veterans like Andrew Rafacz (Chicago), Kinman (London), Clifton Benevento (New York), Michael Jon (Miami) and Green Gallery (Milwaukee) were present, the inclusion of project spaces (aka alternative spaces, apartment galleries, pick your favorite) such as Queer Thoughts (Chicago), Regina Rex (Queens) and Important Projects (Oakland) galvanized fairgoers and established fraternal bonds amongst the visiting artists and galleries. The anchors of Material were absolutely the Mexican project spaces (Yautepec, Otras Obras, NO Space, Neter, Lodos Contemporáneo, and more) who also acted as generous hosts and guides for the artists and gallerists visiting from abroad.

Chelsea Culp’s work inside the QT booth.

QT booth on the opening night of Material.

The success was largely due to the personal touch and attention of fair organizers, Daniela Elbahara and Brett W. Schultz, who also run Yautepec in the neighborhood of San Rafael. Drawing on relationships they established through visiting other cities and fairs, and the observation of like-minded spaces on the internet, the fair felt like more of an authentic survey than whatever Hans Ulrich Obrist thought he was doing with 89plus.

I was feeling the crying payaso at NO Space’s booth.

The always easy to spot Birk and Delmar at the fair.

The project spaces, many showing outside of their own closet or living room for the first time, responded in a variety of ways. Some spaces, such as Important Projects, who’s own small residential Oakland space usually exhibits single artists, presented a group show which included DF locals and NO Space proprietors Debora Delmar Corp. and Andrew Birk. They also debuted print editions from Leisure Press, a project of Medium Cool’s Ria Roberts. Regina Rex’s booth was dominated by Black Beach, an impressive clay wall by Hugo Montoya, which was created on-site and continued to dry and crack throughout the duration of the fair. It paired particularly nicely with Michael Merck’s plaster casts of limited run fast food items and Alina Tenser’s jiggling vases in her Hip Openers video.

Schultz participating in a trust exercise at Otras Obras.

La_Compañía’s booth at Material Art Fair.

Other’s took a more experimental approach. Yautepec’s booth featuring Debora Delmar Corp. and Natalia Ibañez-Lario was installed with a mix of curtains, pillows fitted with printed bras, semi-household objects and brightly colored cut out legs that made it feel like the most fucked up living room in the best way. The unofficial faces of the fair, NO Space’s Birk and Delmar decided to show finished garments alongside the raw material of fashion designer Roberto Sanchez. Otras Obra’s use their booth as a studio and filmed many of the artists and attendees over the weekend. The resulting film, Dando y dando: pajarito volando is available to watch here

New blog idea…

The Regina Rex booth at Material.

Michael Hunter’s work at the Important Projects booth.

We would be remiss if we didn’t mention the closing party for Material, a showcase by Mexican label N.A.A.F.I. It more than made up for our first attempt at a Material Party. People were jammed packed into Bahia Bar, the music was good and loud and there was nothing else to do but dance. As you might expect, we spotted Schultz and Elbahara breaking it down right by the stage. The party was so fun we heard Sayre Gomez changed his flight back to the states just so he could stay at Bahia longer.

Yautepec’s booth at Material.

Artists Chelsea Culp, Leonardo Kaplan, Sarah & Michael Hunter and Ben Foch on their way to Bósforo.

Elbabara receives all the flowers on a night out in Plaza Girabaldi.

The Friday night Lodos opening for an exhibition by Important Projects’ Joel Dean and Jason Benson at their space in San Rafael only reinforced the camaraderie. On the corner across from the gallery I fulfilled my dream to eat blue masa tortillas like Anthony Bourdain did and it was divine. Back to the exhibition, it was based loosely on the last line of an Amiri Baraka poem, “Another Name for Liar,” and was crammed with the fanciful arrangements of the duos “post-studio” practice. Dean’s “Poster Boy,” a double sided takeaway featuring Elroy Jetson and Trayvon Martin on the back was the most singular and powerful work in the exhibition. Other arrangements seemed to rely on an inner narrative and possible a speaker set up that wasn’t audible over the din of the crowd. That night we also got a chance to see the NO Space space, located in the dining room of Delmar and Birk’s super sweet apartment on the top floor of a nearby building.

Delmar and Dean at the opening for “Another Name for Liar” at Lodos.

The holy grail.

“Poster Boy” by Dean at Lodos.

Artist Carson Fisk Vittori in front of work by Jason Benson at Lodos.

The point is that Anthony Bordain was right. Going to Material and seeing the impressive programming around the fair was like drinking a refreshing glass bottle of agua mineral. It also doesn’t hurt that Mexico, DF is probably the most captivating city in the Americas. It’s 100% nothing like people described it beforehand, except the water thing– that definitely seems real. Having visited though I’m not surprised to have met so many ex-pat artists living there. People are super nice and interesting, there’s an obscene amount of awesome wrought iron fences, brightly painted buildings, all kinds of old and new stuff smashed together, lots of trees and anything else you could ever want ever, and so much color. We left the way we arrvied, with tacos el pastor. Mexican food in Chicago is never going to be the same again.

So… Next year in Mexico City?


Hey! PS- Watch the podcast for my forthcoming interviews with Daniela Elbahara and Brett W. Schultz, Important Projects and Cristobal Riestra from O.M.R. for more on Material Fair, MACO and why you should move to Mexico City. Hasta luego!

Todos Juntos by Rirkrit Tiravanija at MACO.