Kansas City: Seasonal Transition

April 3, 2013 · Print This Article

Guest post by Jamilee Polson Lacy


Mauser, Nicole. Untitled, 2012. Acrylic and collage on paper.

Mauser, Nicole. Untitled, 2012. Acrylic and collage on paper.


Kansas City is in the midst of a seasonal transition. It isn’t spring—the city got eight inches of snow last weekend—but it’s not winter either since everyone wore sleeveless shirts in the 80-degree sunshine less than a month ago. Instead, this transitional time of year is foggy, both literally and figuratively. Literally in that there are fogs and mists and long-lasting dawns and dusks; figuratively in that one can’t quite figure out what time of day/ month / year it is, how to dress for the bi-polar temperatures, and whether or not to wear a sundress or take off the snow tires. What’s more is the fact that the city is gorgeous and lush with new growth on some days, while on others there is dirty, melting snow and unearthed trash everywhere. (People here seem to recycle only when it’s warm out.) Fortunately, when the fog roles in, a kind of limbo takes over for a bit to create a little mystery while we wait out this seasonal transition.


Paul, Steve, ed. kansas city noir, 2012.

kansas city noir, 2012.


This transition, with the fogginess it ushers in, makes the perfect ambience to read a book like kansas city noir. Edited by local celebrity Steve Paul, senior writer and arts editor for the acclaimed Kansas City Star newspaper, this collection of short stories penned by Kansas City-based fiction writers presents crime literature featuring tough, cynical characters and bleak, foggy settings. My favorite story, Yesterdays by Andrés Rodríguez, remembers Milton’s Tap Room, a once iconic Jazz bar which transitioned over the years into to a laidback dive where folks of all stripes could hang before it closed in the late 80s. Garcia uses “smoke and mirrors” to give a fictionalized yet fantastic account of the Easter weekend that the bar’s owner Milton Morris mysteriously disappeared. Though the disappearance is an assumed death, Rodríguez writes it as a transition from one season of life to another. The reader never knows Morris in the flesh, but with blurry combinations of stark color, dark shadows and violent gestures, Rodríguez renders Morris and his Tap Room with a dangerous, foggy haze appropriate for this seedy local legend.

Along these same descriptive lines, Yesterdays has a great quote that gets at the essence of the seasonal transition that happens in Kansas City this time of year:

It was nearly Easter. There had been a torrent of rain for two nights, knocking all the blossoms of dogwood and catalpa to the sidewalk in splurges of color that soon turned black and globby. And in the storm sewers, the spring damage and leftover winter leaves lay together seeping like an undrinkable tea. (175)


Near/Far, 2013. Installation view courtesy of Sherry Leedy Contemporary Art and Misha Kligman

Near/Far, 2013. Installation view courtesy of Sherry Leedy Contemporary Art and Misha Kligman


As indicated in the quote, transitions—seasonal or otherwise—are unruly. Kansas City artists Nicole Mauser and Caleb Taylor make paintings and collages which illuminate the wild, sometimes dark, often whimsical transitions that happen in the studio. Taylor, who currently has a show up at Sherry Leedy Gallery, presents a series of paintings that, like spring’s arrival, struggle to emerge through the dense fog of the artist’s heavy black brush strokes. But with the collages, Taylor is able to clear out the fog where necessary in order to contrast harsh lines and geometries with soft shadows and dazzling light. Indeed, these compositions read like atmospheric interludes designed for scene transitions in Film Noir flicks like Panique and Kiss Me Deadly.


Taylor, Caleb. From left to right: C. R. Series #7 - Transitions, 2013. Collage on found book page; C. R. Series #13 - Untitled, 2013. Collage on found book page; C. R. Series #5 - Window and Windows, 2013. Collage on found book page.

Taylor, Caleb. From left to right: C. R. Series #7 – Transitions, 2013. Collage on found book page; C. R. Series #13 – Untitled, 2013. Collage on found book page; C. R. Series #5 – Window and Windows, 2013. Collage on found book page.


Mauser, Nicole. Untitled, 2012. Acrylic and collage on paper.

Mauser, Nicole. Untitled, 2012. Acrylic and collage on paper.


Mauser mounted two shows this spring: Pressure, Speed, Hesitation, and Drag at Western Missouri State University and Viscosity at the Gladstone Community Arts Center. These two new bodies of work have each been mangled up in a battle between the history of abstraction and the future of materiality. As is evident in the Yesterdays quote above, it’s what is left on the battlefield that’s so interesting. And these beautifully bad paintings on canvas and collaged works on papers, with their “splurges of color that soon turned black and globby,” show just how exhilarating it is to be in transition.


Mauser, Nicole. From left to right: Vicissitudes, 2012. Oil and acrylic on panel; Presque vu, 2013. Oil and acrylic on panel.

Mauser, Nicole. From left to right: Vicissitudes, 2012. Oil and acrylic on panel; Presque vu, 2013. Oil and acrylic on panel.


ContentImage-5232-72885-JPLbiopic_webJamilee Polson Lacy is an artist, curator and writer based in Chicago. For 2012-2013, Lacy is the Inaugural Curator-In-Residence for Charlotte Street Foundation in Kansas City, where she organizes exhibitions, educational programming and publications for Charlotte Street’s Crossroads District gallery, la Esquina. In Chicago, Lacy additionally operates as the founding director of Twelve Galleries Project, a transitory, collaborative exhibition experiment. She has engaged in solo and collaborative projects with many creatives and institutions, including A+D Gallery at Columbia College Chicago, The Black Visual Archive, Chicago Artists’ Coalition & Hatch Projects, Hyde Park Art Center, Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, Western Exhibitions, Quite Strong, and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, among others. In addition to writing for Bad at Sports and numerous catalogue and exhibition essays, interviews, and articles, Lacy has published Color: Fully Engaged, a book of interviews and essays, and written series for Art 21, Flash Art’s Umelec Magazine, and most recently Outpost Journal. Lacy holds two undergraduate degrees in studio arts and art history and a Masters of Comparative Literature and Arts from Northwestern University. 

An Interview with La Ribot

March 19, 2013 · Print This Article

La Ribot – a performer, choreographer and visual artist – developed her first choreographic works in Madrid in the 80s, later becoming known for her solo work.  By the late 90s, she had become a figurehead in the Live Art scene in London, where she was based between 1997-2004.  In the mid 90s, she produced “Distinguished Pieces” – short solos presented in a series that were put on sale and purchased by art collectors.  In 2003, she presented a meta-performance of these 34 solos produced until then under the title “Panoramix,” at the Tate Modern in London, at the Museo Reina Sofia in Madrid, and at the Centre Pompidou in Paris, among others.  More recently, she has produced work with her company including “40 espontaneos” (2004) a piece for 40 extras, “Laughing Hole” (2006) a 6-hour performance for three performers and one musician, “Gustavia” (2008) a duet created and performed with Mathilde Monnier, as well as “llamame mariachi” (2009).  Her work has appeared in various theatres and numerous museums, passing from Théâtre de la Ville and Festival d’Automne in Paris, from Queen Elizabeth Hall in London and from Festival Montpellier Danse to Art Unlimited / Art Basel in Switzerland, Museo Serralves in Porto, S.M.A.K. in Gent, Nam Jun Paik Art Centre in Seoul, Aichi Triennale in Japan, Galeria Soledad Lorenzo in Madrid, and the Haus der Kunst in Munich, among many others. In 2004, she relocated to Switzerland where she taught at the Haute Ecole d’Art et de Design in Geneva. In collaboration with her colleagues she founded a new Department for the live arts – Art/Action – and taught there until 2008.


La Ribot recently came to Chicago to present the US premiere of “Laughing Hole” and the video “mariachi 17″ as part of the IN>TIME 13 Festival .  Appearing for six hours at the Chicago Cultural Center, “Laughing Hole” traveled to Los Angeles where it appeared at LACMA in early March.  Prior to the “Laughing Hole” performance, La Ribot sat down with local artists Hannah Verrill and Jane Jerardi to talk about her work.  The video interview captures excerpts of her conversation with Hannah, with Jane behind the camera.

Hannah Verrill is a performance maker currently working towards her MFA from the School of The Art Institute of Chicago. She was grateful for this opportunity to sit and speak with La Ribot.



For more information on La Ribot: http://www.laribot.com/
And the IN>TIME 13 Festival: http://www.in-time-performance.org/


Chicago Art in Pictures: February 2013

March 18, 2013 · Print This Article

A graphic, editorial overview of art, artists, and visual art events, found in and around Chicago over the course of the preceding month. All artwork copyright original artists; all photography copyright Paul Germanos.

Mothergirl @ Happy Collaborationists / ACRE Residency

Mothergirl @ Happy Collaborationists

Above: Mothergirl, a performance art duo featuring Sophia Hamilton, foreground, and Katy Albert, background, working within wooden boxes.

Anna Trier and Meredith Weber @ Happy Collaborationists

Above: The Happy Collaborationists, Meredith Weber, left, and Anna Trier, right, hosting Mothergirl’s “Two Women Do Three Things,” on February 9, 2013.

“Two Women Do Three Things”
February 9, 2013
Happy Collaborationists, in partnership with ACRE Residency
1254 N. Noble
Chicago, IL 60642

Martin Creed @ MCA Chicago

Martin Creed Work No. 1092, Work No. 1357 (MOTHERS) @ MCA Chicago

Above: A 10 second exposure, hand-held, indicating the kinetic potential of Martin Creed’s popular piece “MOTHERS.”

Martin Creed Work No. 1092, Work No. 1357 (MOTHERS) @ MCA Chicago

Above: Visible in the museum lobby, background, are the geometric architectural paintings Work No. 798 (2007) and Work No. 1349 (2012).

Martin Creed
Work No. 1092, Work No. 1357 (MOTHERS)
Museum of Contemporary Art
MVDR Plaza – till May
220 E. Chicago Ave.
Chicago, IL 60611

Chris Smith @ The Franklin

Visitation Rites @ The Franklin

Above: Chris Smith’s “Visitation Rites” art burn in progress on Februrary 9, 2013.

Christopher Smith @ The Franklin

Above: Chelsea Culp and Ben Foch view Chris Smith’s “The Visitor’s Hours” within The Franklin, opening night.


Above: A gallery patron embraced by a neighborhood resident during the opening reception.

Christopher Smith
“The Visitor’s Hours” and “Visitation Rites”
February 9 – 24, 2013
The Franklin
3522 W. Franklin Blvd
Chicago, IL


Leslie Baum in Drawer’s Drawing @ PEREGRINEPROGRAM

Leslie Baum in Drawer’s Drawing @ PEREGRINEPROGRAM

Above: Leslie Baum’s “In the Forest,” 2012, full work and detail.

“Drawer’s Drawing”
February 3 – March 3, 2013
Julius Caesar and Peregrine Program
3311 W. Carroll Ave.
Chicago, IL 60624
Curated by Carrie Gundersdorf and Eric Lebofsky
Artwork by Leslie Baum, Avantika Bawa, Elijah Burgher, Lilli Carré, Chris Edwards, Anthony Elms, Richard Rezac, and Paul Schuette

Peculiar Poetics @ Design Cloud

Kayl Parker in Peculiar Poetics @ Design Cloud

Above: Kayl Parker’s 60″ x 75″ photographic print on vinyl

Alysia Alex in Peculiar Poetics @ Design Cloud

Above: “Peculiar Poetics” curator Alysia Alex, opening night.

Kayl Parker
“Peculiar Poetics”
February 1 – 23, 2013
Design Cloud
118 N. Peoria, Suite 2N
Chicago, IL 60607
Curated by Alysia Alex
Artwork by Kayl Parker, Brea Souders, Stephanie Gonot, Bridget Collins, Mate Moro, Aron Filkey, Marthe Elise Stramrud, Sasha Kurmaz, and Sol Hashemi

Plant Life @ Western Exhibitions

Plant Life @ Western Exhibitions

Above: Front to back, artwork by Heidi Norton, Scott Wolniak, and Tyson Reeder.

Geoffrey Todd Smith in Plant Life @ Western Exhibitions

Above: “Plant Life” curator Geoffrey Todd Smith, opening night.

“Plant Life”
February 1 – March 9, 2013
Western Exhibitions
845 W. Washington Blvd.
Chicago, IL 60607
Curated by Geoffrey Todd Smith
Artwork by Chinatsu Ikeda, Eric Wert, Heidi Norton, Jonathan Gardener, Mindy Rose Schwartz, Scott Wolniak, and Tyson Reeder

Shit is Real @ devening projects + editions

Cody Hudson @ devening projects + editions

Above: “You Can’t Win Them All” by Cody Hudson.

Aron Gent @ devening projects + editions

Above: Artwork by Aron Gent, as photographed during the opening reception at devening projects + editions, on February 3, 2013.

Aron Gent @ Document

Above: Aron Gent at his own gallery, Document, photographed on February 1, 2013.

“Shit is Real”
February 3 – March 9, 2013
devening projects + editions
3039 W. Carroll,
Chicago, IL 60612
Artwork by Aron Gent, Carrie Gundersdorf, Cody Hudson, Sofia Leiby, Josh Reames and Cody Tumblin

Judith Geichman @ Carrie Secrist

Judith Geichman @ Carrie Secrist

Above: Gallery patrons view Judith Geichman’s installation during the opening reception.

Erik Wenzel

Above: Chicago writer and artist Erik Wenzel, bon vivant in the shadow of existential doubt, at Judith Geichman’s opening reception on February 9, 2013.

Judith Geichman
“New Paintings and Works on Paper”
February 9 – March 30, 2013
Carrie Secrist Gallery
835 W. Washington Blvd.
Chicago, IL 60607

Color Bind @ MCA

Color Bind: The MCA Collection in Black and White

Above: Rudolf Stingel’s oil painting “Untitled (after Sam),” 2006.

Color Bind: The MCA Collection in Black and White

Above: Joel Shapiro, Untitled, 1971, foreground; Glenn Lingon “White #11,” 1994, and Imi Knoebel, “Untitled (Black Painting),” 1990, background.

“Color Bind: The MCA Collection in Black and White,”
Organized by MCA Curator Naomi Beckwith
November 10, 2012 – April 28, 2013
The Museum of Contemporary Art of Chicago
220 E. Chicago Avenue (MVDR Drive)
Chicago, IL 60611

Mary Patten @ threewalls

Mary Patten's "Schizo-Culture" performance live in "PANEL" @ threewalls

Above: Mary Patten’s “Schizo-Culture” performance live, February 9, 2013

Dr. Darrell Moore as Michel Foucault live in Mary Patten's "PANEL" @ threewalls

Above: Dr. Darrell Moore as Michel Foucault in “Schizo-Culture” at threewalls.

Mary Patten: “PANEL”
January 11 – February 23, 2013
119 N. Peoria #2c
Chicago, IL 60607

Sarah Hicks @ Thomas Robertello

Sarah Hicks @ Thomas Robertello

Above: Ceramic artist Sarah Hicks greeting a guest at her opening reception on Friday, February 22, 2013.

Sarah Hicks @ Thomas Robertello

Sarah Hicks
“Pop Garden!”
February 22 – April 6, 2013
Thomas Robertello Gallery
27 N. Morgan St.
Chicago, IL 60607

Goshka Macuga @ MCA Chicago

Goshka Macuga @ MCA Chicago

Above: Goshka Macuga’s “The Nature of the Beast” booked for a meeting, social dimension evident, on February 12, 2013.

Goshka Macuga @ MCA Chicago

Above: “Of what is, that it is; of what is not, that it is not,” (panel 1).

“Goshka Macuga: Exhibit, A”
December 15, 2012 – April 7, 2013
Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago
220 E. Chicago Ave.
Chicago, IL 60611

Luc Dratwa @ Kasia Kay

Luc Dratwa @ Kasia Kay

Luc Dratwa @ Kasia Kay

Above: Exterior window, looking in gallery from sidewalk, at night.

Luc Dratwa
“NY Tales”
February 22 – March 30
Kasia Kay Projects
215 N. Aberdeen St.
Chicago, IL 60607

Tom Costa and Christina McClelland @ Roxaboxen / ACRE Projects

Tom Costa and Christina McClelland @ Roxaboxen

Above: Christina McClelland, foreground, and Tom Costa, background.

Christina McClelland @ Roxaboxen Exhibitions

Above: Christina McClelland at the opening reception on February, 10, 2013.

Tom Costa & Christina McClelland
“After the After Party”
February 10, 2013
Roxaboxen Exhibitions in partnership with ACRE Projects
2130 W. 21st St.
Chicago, IL

Gabriel Vormstein @ moniquemeloche

Gabriel Vormstein @ moniquemeloche

Gabriel Vormstein
“Tempus fungit – amor mannet”
February 1 – March 30, 2013
moniquemeloche gallery
2154 W Division St.
Chicago, IL 60622

Johanna Billing @ Kavi Gupta

Johanna Billing @ Kavi Gupta

Johanna Billing
“I’m gonna live anyhow until I die”
February 9 – March 30, 2013
Kavi Gupta Gallery
835 W. Washington Blvd.
Chicago IL 60607

Robert Burnier @ Andrew Rafacz

Robert Burnier @ Andrew Rafacz

Above: Robert Burnier at his opening reception on February 9, 2013.

Robert Burnier
“The Horseless Carriage”
February 9 – March 30, 2013
Andrew Rafacz Gallery
835 W. Washington Blvd.
Chicago IL 60607

Matt Nichols & Kristina Paabus @ ACRE Projects

Matt Nichols & Kristina Paabus @ ACRE Projects

Matt Nichols & Kristina Paabus
“The Jerks”
February 10 – 25, 2013
ACRE Projects
1913 W. 17th St.
Chicago, IL 60608

Xavier Cha @ Aspect Ratio

Xavier Cha @ Aspect Ratio

Xavier Cha
February 9 – March 8, 2013
Aspect Ratio
119 N. Peoria St., Unit 3D
Chicago IL 60607

Paul Germanos: Born November 30, 1967, Cook County, Illinois. Immigrant grandparents, NYC. High school cross country numerals and track letter. Certified by the State of Illinois as a peace officer. Licensed by the City of Chicago as a taxi driver. Attended the School of the Art Institute 1987-1989. Studied the history of political philosophy with the students of Leo Strauss from 2000-2005. Phi Theta Kappa and Phi Kappa Phi. Motorcyclist.

“Feeling and Emotion in Everyday Life” / Collecting and Collecting Collections

March 17, 2013 · Print This Article

Public Collectors is a self-proclaimed paper blog, as well as a website and Tumblr feed, that seeks to archive and make freely available material that may have no other venue: lists, conversations, collages, notes, fliers, temporary tattoos, classified ads, etc. “Public Collectors” is library, museum, zine, reference center, and studio simultaneously (and probably – necessarily – it is more then that as well).

I may have been largely attracted by the gold sparkly cover when I picked up a copy of “Public Collectors” at Zine Fest a few weeks ago. The glittery paper is wonderfully complemented by the diagram of a fragmented and grimacing human face – shown both frontally and in profile, and topped by the caption “FEELING AND EMOTION IN EVERYDAY LIFE” (the image is scanned from “Psychology: The Fundamentals of Human Adjustment,” published 1946).


A disparate and well curated collection of images and ephemera, it includes such gems as a handmade flier for a lost hat, and a photo of a sign featuring an image of the drag queen Divine.

public_collectors003 public_collectors004

The project is run by Marc Fischer of Temporary Services. The material included is gleaned from Fischer’s own collections, but also is donated for public accessibility. The website version of “Public Collectors” is an amazing reference for – well, probably things that you didn’t know you had to be referred to yet but maybe, somehow, you always wanted to be. It has links to a woman’s blog on which she has posted PDFs of all her notes from college, a link to a fantastic video of Danzig discussing his book collection, a link to photos someone posted somewhere on the internet of the inside of their mother’s house (she’s a hoarder). There is a list of links to web documented collections, including cigarette lighters, “do not  disturb” signs, hip hop party fliers, the sound of cats purring (a personal favorite of mine), pictures of celebrities playing tennis, and creatively designed periodic tables. The world is a wonderful place.

I don’t know what Fischer’s curatorial restraints are – perhaps it’s purely intuitive – but the general trend is towards subcultural ephemera, such as the poster for an Alice Cooper tribute band or the page from “New Dominant,” a British publication of dominatrix classifieds.


What strikes me most about “Public Collectors” is the nurturing formation of alternative collections – collections based on, formed and informed by a unique and maybe not coherently logical set of interests or constraints. I don’t know if I entirely agree with Fischer’s assertion in his curatorial statement that the material in “Public Collectors” is passed over by libraries and museums. I myself work in a library where one of my responsibilities is to file additions to our collection of ephemera related to the history of printing. This includes finely printed broadsides and prospectuses, but also just a lot of what would generally be classified as junk mail. Additionally, several collections from CPLs Harold Washington Library are referenced; the cover of the collection of non-musical recordings in included in the issue I own.


Also, an interview with the former curator of Harold Washington’s picture collection is included on the website in a download-able PDF booklet.

I think more to the point is the culling of these materials from their disparate locales into new aggregate collections. It is this method of collecting – both a relic of the victorian era and/or a focused re-interpretation of the image overload received daily from the internet and digital media – that is not fostered by many institutions. It is D.I.Y. collecting at it’s finest and most articulate. In scanning these images and re-blogging them, I guess I am adding “Public Collectors” to my own collection, and to the collection that is Bad at Sports.

Bailey Romaine is a printmaker and bibliophile (and maybe a collector of sorts) currently living in Chicago.


Process, Here and There: One View of Twin Cities

March 14, 2013 · Print This Article

Guest Post by Eric Asboe

In a time of increasingly conceptually-based, historically-located, over-explained art practices, it can be refreshing to enter galleries devoid of writing, white but for the objects on the walls and spilling across the floors. In contrast to the recent sprawling Cindy Sherman retrospective and the forthcoming Art(ists) on the Verge exhibition that explores interactive or participatory networked based practices, Painter Painter at The Walker Art Center and R.U.R. at The Soap Factory appear to be spare, quiet returns to formalism.

Sarah Crowner, Ciseaux Rideaux, Courtesy of the artist and Nicelle Beauchene Gallery

Sarah Crowner, Ciseaux Rideaux, Courtesy of the artist and Nicelle Beauchene Gallery

Sarah Crowner’s eye-grabbing Ciseaux Rideaux and Judith Hoffman’s immense Rebuilt and Torn Down (The Soap Factory) draw visitors into the galleries. Works deeper in the exhibitions begin displaying the time and effort of their creation. Colin Lyons’s The Conservator displays hundreds of corroded copper and zinc plates, while suspending others in the act of powering the large chemical battery. The paint of Alex Olson’s Proposal 9 and Proposal 10 is marked by her visceral brushstrokes and knife pulls. Nadine Anderson’s video work presents a less physical, but clearly felt digital manipulation. The multiplied, blended, superimposed video elements draw the viewer into the process of their creation.

Colin Lyons, The Conservator

Colin Lyons, The Conservator

Alex Olson, Proposal 9, Courtesy of the artist, Shane Campbell Gallery, Chicago, and Lisa Cooley Fine Art, New York

Alex Olson, Proposal 9, Courtesy of the artist, Shane Campbell Gallery, Chicago, and Lisa Cooley Fine Art, New York

These glimpses into the processes of the artists point to the larger concerns of both exhibitions generally. As static and formal as the works appear to be, the exhibitions are truly invitations to move beyond the walls of the gallery, to delve into the process of art making, to begin exploring the artists’ bodies of work and their relations to contemporary art practices.

Eric Crosby and Bartholomew Ryan, the Painter Painter co-curators, write in their “Notes for an Exhibition” that through extensive research, studio visits, and conversations they have come to understand painting today “as a means, not an end,” that for the artists presented in the exhibition, “painting is a generative process”  Similarly, Ben Haywood, the R.U.R. curator and Executive Director of The Soap Factory, states that the site-specific works of R.U.R., all explore the role of “direct work in the creation of the art object.”

Kimberly Ellen Green, Untitled, Courtesy Sarah Nienaber

Kimberly Ellen Green, Untitled, Courtesy Sarah Nienaber

How that “process,” “work,” extended conversations, and deeper understandings manifest themselves in the art objects is not immediately apparent in the exhibitions. Fergus Feehily’s three paintings speak directly to one another, but they do not necessarily demonstrate the “personal formal play that the artist has called on his materials to negotiate,” that Ryan writes of witnessing in Feehily’s studio. Similarly, Kimberly Ellen Green’s untitled ceramic works fill The Soap Factory with their interlocking, architectural curves, but their connections to what Haywood sees as the “reproducible industrial atom” are abstracted.

In addition to the statements prepared by the curators, The Walker is presenting talks and interviews with artists from Painter Painter as well as releasing blog posts and video interviews from all fifteen artists throughout the duration of the exhibition. The Soap Factory’s supplementary materials include artist talks and audio and video interviews with Haywood and artists. These types of additional views of the artists and artwork of the exhibitions are certainly not new, but, as curators point away from the gallery, away from the observable work of the artists, for deeper and maybe truer understanding of those artists’ work, the curators play just as large a role in creating the materiality of the exhibition as the artists.

Judith Hoffman, Rebuilt and Torn Down (The Soap Factory), Courtesy Sarah Nienaber

Judith Hoffman, Rebuilt and Torn Down (The Soap Factory), Courtesy Sarah Nienaber

Both Painter Painter and R.U.R. demonstrate the wonderful complexity and formal delight of contemporary artistic practices, and, similarly, the supplementary material provides deep insight into the practices and processes of the artists. The balance between the exhibitions and supplements, however, demonstrates the difficulty inherent in multiply-sited, art-object-as-documentation exhibitions. Olson writes in an interview with Crosby, that painting’s “greatest asset is that is has no function other than as an art object. It isn’t fooling anyone: it’s extremely clear about what it consists of and what it’s offering.” With that simplicity and surface in mind, how, then, can we navigate the slippery slope between the very present “art objects” of both Painter Painter and R.U.R. and the processes that they purport to exemplify? How do we balance our engagement with the work of the artists and the work of the curators?

Painter Painter is on view at The Walker Art Center until October 27. R.U.R. is on view at The Soap Factory until April 21.

Eric Asboe is an artist, writer, and cultural worker. As Art Director of Public Space One gallery and performance space in Iowa City, Iowa, Asboe helped shape its nationally-engaged exhibitions and programming, including the microgranting meal SOUP and the award-winning Free @rt School. Asboe’s creative works prioritize process over product and explore the boundary between practice as improvement and practice as way of life. Forthcoming projects include ubuwebtopten.com. He currently lives and works in Minneapolis.