Thank You, Kathryn.

November 9, 2010 · Print This Article

Kathryn Hixson

It is tough to say goodbye to my teacher and my friend, Kathryn Hixson. I’m sure that it is tough for a lot of us here, whether we were friends of Kathryn’s, former or current students, or one of the thousands who have been impacted by her work as a critic, curator or editor.

I can’t measure the impact she has had on this corner of the art world, although it is nothing short of profound, but of course it would feel that way because her impact on me was profound.

Without a doubt this week’s episode will be dedicated to her, but it is more correct to say, that for me, Bad at Sports is dedicated to Kathryn. She was the one who planted the seeds for me. She was the one who taught me that there was a lot to be learned from interrogating the world around us. She was the one who taught me that sometime the answers were not in the studio, but in your community. She was also the one that talked me out of becoming an architect.

Years after I had finished my Masters degree, I bought her dinner, in the hopes that she would write me a letter of recommendation. I planning on going back to school to become an architect. She said “No,” and it shocked the heck out of me. She said she would write me as many letters, for as many teaching jobs as I would ever want to apply for, but that she would never write a letter to help me move out of being an artist.

Beyond the countless hours she spent in my studio when I was a high-maintenance grad student, and the hundreds more she spent with me as a friend in the years that followed, I remember the day she told me “No.” She was like that: tough enough to say “no” to a friend and do it with love. It was the same ethic she manifested in decades of pushing emerging Chicago art out into a world that has more reasons not to care, than care. She was strong enough to fight for what she believed in, even if what she believed in was you at a time when you had given up all hope.

Good bye Kathryn. We love you and thank you.

Time Out Chicago
Adobe Airstream

UPDATE: Hamish Fulton walks with you and Bernard Williams gets re-instated

October 27, 2010 · Print This Article

Two things are happening that you need to be aware of and that should not be missed.

First thing first…

On Thursday, October 28, at 12 pm, Hamish Fulton will conduct an artist walk in Chicago. Open to any and all individuals interested in participating, this walk will illuminate the importance of a local community’s involvement in Fulton’s artistic practice as a walking artist. We ask interested participants to meet at Jackson & Michigan Avenue in the Loop by the bust of Sir George Solti (located exactly East of S. Michigan Avenue, south of E. Jackson Drive, near the Art Institute of Chicago). The walk will last approximately one hour and fifteen minutes. Those who arrive after noon are welcome to observe the walk in progress but will not be able to participate. We also recommend that participants bring a watch or a mobile phone which has a timer.

Update from Rhona Hoffman Gallery…

Hamish Fulton Artist Walk in Chicago


Today, October 28, at 12 pm, Hamish Fulton will conduct an artist walk in Chicago. Open to any and all individuals interested in participating, this walk will illuminate the importance of a local community’s involvement in Fulton’s artistic practice as a walking artist. We ask interested participants to meet at the NEW location: Jackson & Michigan Avenue in the Loop by the bust of Sir George Solti (located exactly East of S. Michigan Avenue, south of E. Jackson Drive, near the Art Institute of Chicago). The walk will last approximately one hour and fifteen minutes. Those who arrive after Noon are welcome to observe the walk in progress but will not be able to participate. We also recommend that participants bring a watch or a mobile phone which has a timer.

The rumor is that it is to be an unusual, amazing, and atypical walk. I for one will be there.


Bernard Williams could use your votes. By now you all know that Williams is back into the Art Loop Open (for more information check out Abraham’s post) but he has lost a few voting days and will surly be at a disadvantage. We at Bad at Sports are totally biased towards our own Steve Hamann but Williams also could use some voting love. If he is your guy get on it, if not, go STEVE!

Art Loop Open? WTF is with your voting policy?

October 24, 2010 · Print This Article

Admittedly, I have been only slightly interested in the Art Loop Open. That changed Friday when they became the center of local controversy (and when our friend Steve Hamann made the top ten.) A friend of the show sent us these two emails detailing the controversy…


email 1. Friday.

1. Today, Art Loop Open announced the top ten finalists in the first year of their competition. A couple hours, later, Bernard Williams was disqualified because someone else (without his knowledge) distributed the number of his artwork around Columbia College.

2. There were 4 venues that contributed no artists to the top ten (Allegro, Palmer, Merch Mart, Hard Rock) though they represented 35% of the artists in the competition. By contrast, 5 other venues (Metra, Burnham, Macy’s, Wit, and W) represented only 19% of the artists, but contributed exactly half of the top 10 artists. Further, it’s interesting to note that 70% of the top ten were located within one block of Block 37, although only 50% of the total artworks were located in this area. All of the venues without winners are located farther than 1/5 mile from Block 37.

This begs the question: does the choice of where the artwork is placed affect the outcome of the voting? Taking note of the poor exhibition conditions of the Hard Rock Cafe, Palmer House, and other venues, the answer would seem to be affirmative. Block 37, as the center of the activities surrounding ALO, clearly was also the center of activity for public voting. Artists not positioned in or near this location, in my opinion, were put at a severe disadvantage.

email 2. Sunday morning

I did a little research and found that Bernard Williams’ number was not the only number “published” during the first round of Art Loop Open voting. This begs the question: why were the other artists not disqualified, especially the other 3 artists who are in the top ten and who’s numbers appear in the following video.

In this first video, at least 40 artist’s numbers were published online on Thursday October 21st, and they may need to be disqualified.

Three of the artists have been listed in the top ten:
1. #6 geo (aka giovanni arce), whose number and wall text appear very clearly around 1min 46sec into the video
2. #82 Catherine Jacobi appears within the first 4 seconds of the video
3. #22 Lauren Brescia appears within the first 4 seconds of the video

In the first four seconds of the video, the following artist’s numbers appear along with the photos of their artworks: 4, 25, 50, 61, 32, 53, 63, 73, 82, 109, 10, 33, 55, 65, 74, 80, 110, 22, 41, 56, 66, 76, 90, 112, 23, 46, 58, 68, 77, 95, 113, 23, 47, 60, 69, 78, 98, and 114

Artits 119’s number as well as artwork also appears at 1min 13 seconds into the video.

Artist 140 appears at 25 sec.

Artist 90 appears very clearly at 33sec.

The video can be found here:

In this video, dated October 15th, another 5 artists numbers appear: 138, 66, 185, 119, 161.


Why bother eliminating Bernard Williams when you know that every artist in the open emailed their friends to have them vote for them? With real money at stake you have to expect that every artist is going to do what they can to get in to the finals (not to mention their friends and frequent collaborators, GO STEVE!) Then they changed the final voting rules which seem to say, in essence… Hey have your friends vote but just have them vote once. Doesn’t that leave Bernard out in the cold for no reason? The Loop Open doesn’t even know that he is personally responsible for the perceived infraction. Sounds like someone over reacted and cost one artist their shot at the money and that seems kinda shitty. So ALO wtf is with your voting policies?

Here is a link to their voting policies

And Bernard’s work (which is pretty kick ass)

and the controversy

LIVE at NADA 2009 with TShirts

December 3, 2009 · Print This Article

Yes, it is true, we have done a pretty lame job of getting the word out but Amanda Browder and Duncan MacKenzie will live at the NADA fair in Miami Florida! They will be recording all day for an upcoming series of interviews and episodes from the fair and they will be selling limited edition Bad at Sports TShirts. Come check it out and chat with them if you like. The days interviews will include Chris Duncan, Ruba Katrib, Heather Hubbs, Brendan Fowler, Atsushi Kaga, Paul Gabrielli, Scott Hug, Valerie Blass, Nicole Awai and several others…

check it out.

[Read more]

Chicago Gallery Review: October 08′

October 29, 2008 · Print This Article

Carrie Schneider @ Monique Meloche; Lora Fosberg @ Linda Warren; Amy Mayfield @ threewalls

Artwork copyright the original artists; text and documentation copyright Paul Germanos.

Friday, October 17, 2008, Chicago:

Carrie Schneider @ Monique Meloche

“ognuno vede” — Niccolo Machiavelli:

As I ride east, the sky fades to red behind me.
And according to no particular rhythm, drops of rain infrequently appear on the visor of my helmet.
Bike parked, block walked, I cross the threshold of Monique Meloche Gallery and find the photography of Carrie Schneider.

Schneider’s prints are large — an easy meter on any given side — and in full color.
The subjects are human figures, and products of human artifice, as found in landscapes of great natural beauty.

Meloche’s exhibition program has seemed at once gutsy and cerebral, demonstrating a sustained interest not only in the sensual human experience of the world, but also favoring a cool, museum-like intellectual framing of contemporary issues.
And so I suppose there’s something here in addition to pretty scenery and clever portraits.
Clue: the consistently idiosyncratic aspect of Schneider’s photography is the focus upon some type of covering.

Carrie Schneider @ Monique Meloche

The human figure in the piece entitled We, and the canoe in Dazzle Camouflage, are draped with a Riley-like, black-and-white canvas.
But “dazzle” is a reference not to Op Art, rather a battlefield technique that disrupts an opponent’s perception through the use of striking, high-contrast patterns wholly unrelated to the object so treated.[1]

Carrie Schneider @ Monique Meloche

Certain of that, conscious of the fact that Carrie Schneider’s work has, for several years, evidenced an artistic strategy concerned with ambiguity,[2]
it seems likely that her first solo show is in large part an exploration of the tactics of camouflage.

Continuing to view the work, continuing to think about camouflage, the self-portrait beneath a mask of juniper boughs in Queen of This Island seems not unlike a ghillie suit:
that covering of organic materials drawn from the environment into which one desires to blend,
most familiar in the form of a rude crown of grass and twigs ringing the helmet of military snipers.[3]

Carrie Schneider @ Monique Meloche

The application of such substances to the human figure is a familiar process in Chicago:
A photograph of one of Nick Cave’s “suits” hung on the same gallery wall a few short months ago;
and while not “wearable,” and more distant (ten to twenty years prior) historically, there is also the example of Tom Czarnopys’ cast figures encased in bark.

Maybe most notable in their exploitation of camouflage have been local artists Tom Burtonwood & Holly Holmes.
In their piece Price War!, as see at the Consuming War exhibition, B & H applied a non-threatening commercial pattern to threatening, military shapes.
Later reversing that figure/ground relationship at artXposium 2.0, B & H applied a threatening military pattern to a non-threatening commercial shape in their piece Urban Camo Santa.

That Burtonwood and Holmes examine the relationship between commerce and war is writ large for all to read.[4]

Coyly, Schneider looks out from her work: young, beautiful and self-satisfied.
She’s not really hiding.
What is Schneider’s interest in camouflage?
In both her projected and also in her printed films, the message, the revelation, is delivered by means of the obscurement.
What is she attempting to communicate?

Lora Fosberg @ Linda Warren


There are times when the clarity and simplicity of an artist’s message, amplified by the means of delivery,
overwhelm and even stupify the viewer.

In the past, Barbara Kruger’s bold font has seemed to shout at me;
Jenny Holzer’s animation and projections have quite literally circled menacingly, and towered ominously above me.[5]
I’ve been told that this confrontational mode of delivery was carefully chosen for the purpose of forcing certain issues into the public consciousness.

But, fighting — and the work of Kruger and Holzer alluded to above is combative — with the weapons and armor
of the enemy, they, at times, appear to belong to his camp…to be propagandists.

Exposed to loud noise, I cover my ears; in the presence of a bright light, I shield my eyes.
But when someone whispers, I draw near and listen.
And seeing something delicate and small, I’m inclined to study it with care.

Lora Fosberg @ Linda Warren

And so it is at 1052 W. Fulton Market: I find myself drawn into Lora Fosberg‘s text-ladden pieces at Linda Warren Gallery.
And I attribute my reaction to her subtle treatment of the material.
Admittedly, I’ve tended to recoil when confronted by large amounts of text in what is nominally visual art.
But Fosberg’s words and phrases are well-integrated with the purely aesthetic elements of her design.

Lora Fosberg @ Linda Warren

Fosberg shows a deft hand when practicing the craft of draftsmanship.
Clean, sure strokes of brush and pen define figures with what appears to be little effort.
I’m caught unaware by the content, having been more-or-less lulled into a receptive state by the combined effect of the subtle tones of her palette, the easy grace of her execution, and the modest scale of the pieces on display.
Fosberg’s made visible dialogues, dialogues that, in her own words,
“suggest the familiar while maintaining ambiguity.”

Lora Fosberg @ Linda Warren

As in Schneider’s show, here there are figures active in a landscape.
But Fosberg’s models aren’t literal representations of herself;
and they aren’t looking out of the frame at me — seeking my attention and approval.
No, the subjects of Fosberg’s ink and gouache caricatures are busily about their given work.

Amy Mayfield @ threewalls

Internal dialogue:

Amy Mayfield @ threewalls

Up the stairs, down the hall, to threewalls I go.
It’s the crazy aunt’s attic in which I’ve found voodoo dolls, horror films, and even whole trees.
Tonight a heavily embroidered curtain hangs between the body of Amy Mayfield‘s installation and the external world of the gallery’s front room.
Passing through that membrane I entered a hot vermillion space.

Amy Mayfield @ threewalls

fornus, fornax, fornix

Mayfield has wholly invested herself in the process of transforming the back room of the gallery:
choosing to place some found objects, fabricate other pieces, and treat the environment as well.
The surfaces — from the tiles beneath my feet to the walls on which framed items are hung —
are well-painted, sometimes thickly, sometimes possessing a glossy sheen.

Amy Mayfield @ threewalls

Rising up from the floor are foam concretions that resemble stalagmites,
the floor having been re-tiled with brightly colored geometric units of her own creation.
It’s the contrast between the line quality of those two things that really strikes me.
There’s a wild, almost schizophrenic, swing from style-to-style, piece-to-piece;
the unifying compositional element being the vivid color that she favors.

Mayfield, like Schneider and Fosberg, I think, is involved in a process that is somewhat autobiographical.
Schneider, as a model, quite literally appears in her own work.
Fosberg presents artifacts of thought processes.
Mayfield manifests externally some internal space, viscerally fusing the physical and psychological.

+ + +

It says something good about the scene in Chicago that it’s now possible
to experience, back-to-back, strong shows by three women at different
points in their lives and careers. Go and compare:

Amy Mayfield @ threewalls through Nov 15, 2008

Lora Fosberg @ Linda Warren through Nov 29, 2008

Carrie Schneider @ Monique Meloche through Dec 6, 2008

[1] See: The “dazzle” cars of Patricia van Lubeck, circa the early 90’s.

[2] See: Comments on Schneider’s Derelict Self series, 2006-2007, made by
Aura Seikkula, curator of the Finnish Museum of Photography.

[3] See: False Colors: Art, Design and Modern Camouflage by
Roy R. Behrens,
Professor, Art and Design, University of Northern Iowa (noting especially the text’s cover art) for more on the relationship between art and camouflage.

[4] See: Camouflage at London Imperial War Museum, 2007;
“The first major exhibition to explore the impact of camouflage on modern warfare and its adoption into popular culture.”

[5] See: Jenny Holzer: Protect Protect @ MCA through February 1, 2009.

Written by Paul Germanos