TOP V. WEEKEND PICKS (6/16-6/22)

June 16, 2016 · Print This Article

1. PDF/Objects


June 18, 2016, 7-10PM
Work by: Alberto Aguilar, Basma Alsharif, Robert Burnier, Alex Chitty, Katy Cowan, Assaf Evron, Danny Giles, Gordon Hall, Sofia Leiby, Jose Lerma, Shana Lutker, Matt Morris, Gina Osterloh, Claire Pentecost, Tim Portlock, Josh Reames, Amanda Ross-Ho, Sanaz Sohrabi, Stephanie Syjuco, Tony Tasset, and Lori Waxman, among many others.
Mana Contemporary: 2233 S Throop St, Chicago, Illinois 60608


2. House Shoes
June 18, 2016, 7-10PM
Work by: Mariam Ezzat, Viki Hicky, Emily Kostrzewa, and Matthew Luther (Curated by Crystal Palmer)
cornerstore:1903 S Allport #3F, Chicago, IL 60608


3. Ever Young


June 22, 2016, 6-8PM
Work by: James Barnor (Curated by Renée Mussai)
Stony Island Arts Bank: 6760 S Stony Island Ave, Chicago, Illinois 60649


4. How Much Land

June 17, 2016, 5-8PM
Work by: Jessica Caponigro, Diane Christiansen, Deborah Handler, Anna Kunz, Zoe Nelson, Josue Pellot, Josh Reames, Allison Reimus, Ryan Richey, Philip von Zweck, Erin Washington, and Amanda Williams (Curated by Jessica Cochran)
McCormick Gallery: 835 West Washington Blvd, Chicago, IL 60607


5. Yollocalli Youth Graffiti Battle


June 18, 2016, 2-5PM
Yollocalli Arts Reach: Barrett Park 2022 W Cermak Rd, Chicago, IL 60608


The Visualist will occasionally feature an additional project that happens to be situated away from Chicago.

 Special Mention: HOMOCCULT 2.0 – S+S PROJECT in MEXICO CITY
On view through Sunday, June 19th
Work by: Adam Rose + April Lynn, Asher Asher, Gio Black Peter, Erika Bulle, Elijah Burgher, Tania Chavez, Jos Demme Howard, Cristian Diaz, Felix d’Eon, Clothilde Double, Orlando Estrada, Rosé Hernandez, Serena Jara, Vycktorya Letal, Armando Lozano, Meg McCarville, Daniel McKernan, David Nasca, Mipanocha Rurru, Keijaun Thomas, Tsade Trigo, Lechedevirgen Trimegisto, Caleb Yono, and Sara Zalek
@ Los Insurgentes, Fundación del Centro Cultural del México Contemporáneo, ArtSpace Mexico, and Museu de la Ciudad

TOP V. WEEKEND PICKS (6/10-6/14)

June 9, 2016 · Print This Article

1. In the beginning sometimes I left messages in the street

June 12, 2016, 10AM-6PM
Work by: Carris Adams, Derrick Adams, Lisa Alvarado, Assaf Evron, Becky Grajeda, Faheem Majeed, Ayanah Moor, The Black Athena Collective, Nazafarian Lotfi, Martine Syms, Cheryl Pope, and Amanda Williams
Tour Starts at 2313 W. Grand Ave, Chicago, IL, Chicago, IL 60622

2. Braids at Africa International House

Shani Crowe
June 10, 2016, 5-8PM
Work by: Shani Crowe
Africa International House: 6200 S. Drexel Ave Chicago, IL 60637

3. No Diving! at Roman Susan

June 12, 2016 4-7pm
Work by: Allison Lacher and Jeff Robinson
Roman Susan: 1224 W. Loyola Ave, Chicago, IL 60626

4. A Wonderful Dream at Monique Meloche Gallery

Amy Sherald
June 11, 2016, 4-7PM
Work by: Amy Sherald
Monique Meloche Gallery: 2154 W. Division St, Chicago, IL 60622

5. Schimpfluch Gruppe at Elastic Arts

June 14, 2016, 9PM-12AM
Elastic Arts: 3429 W. Diversey Ave, #208, Chicago, IL 60647
Work by: Rudolf, Dave Phillips, and Joke Lanz + Andy Ortmann + Fred Lonberg-Holm/Paul Giallorenzo/Ben Baker Billington

The top five things (we’re going to check out this weekend) – Tomorrow, Today

June 8, 2016 · Print This Article

As we all know change is a constant in our Chicago artworld. Today, Bad at Sports marks a massive change for us.

As longtime readers/listeners know, Stephanie Burke has long been the author of our “top five things we’re going to check out this weekend” list. For the last eight years she has been banging around seeing everything there was to see in Chicago, all the while guiding many of us with her wit and insight as to what should not be missed.

Portrait by Hunter Cole

This last year has seen many changes for both Stephanie and B@S as an organization and it is time for her role with us to evolve. Her brilliance will continue to inform our collaborative efforts and thinking, but her new role will be revealed this fall. For the moment, she can be found gallivanting across this country reconnecting with her camera and her art.

Today we welcome a new monitor of what must be seen and Stephanie passes her gifted eye and foresight to no less a seer… Tomorrow, THE VISUALIST will begin their tenure as the governor of what must be experienced. All witness and be aware, it is the “Bad At Sports top V by the Visualist” and all shall be emboldened by its wisdom.


Screen Shot 2016-06-08 at 11.19.40 AM

***Potentially, there is a second change – I worry I must also give up reading 80’s fantasy novels, for I fear they are affecting my written voice, and with some true dread, I fright and may be felled by this new affliction.

Support our Favorites this Friday!

June 3, 2016 · Print This Article

We might be bad at sports, but we’re good at supports!

Today we bring you two noble causes from the artists and organizations that keep Chicago’s Art heart beating:

    • In order to keep Pro-Choice alive in Illinois, Weinberg/Newton Gallery is raising money through a Paddle8 in tandem with their exhibition Your body is a battleground in support of Personal PAC, an Illinois women’s rights Super PAC. Check out the auction and bid on work here. Auction and exhibition both close on June 9th.
    • The lovely people at ACRE are currently fundraising to replace their broken van. These folks do so much for the arts community in Chicago and emerging artists everywhere. If you can throw a few clams their way (and you should) there are great rewards.Donate here via their Kickstarter and watch the hilariously sweet eulogy for the ACRE van by Trunky (of Trunk Show) below.


Happy Friday y’all! Get out there & support the arts (since Illinois can’t seem to)!

Interview with Michael Kaufmann: The Museum of Psychphonics

June 1, 2016 · Print This Article

Photo by Tad Fruits.

Photo by Tad Fruits.

Guest post by Michael Milano.

Located inside the Joyful Noise Record Store in Indianapolis, The Museum of Psychphonics is billed as “the spiritual sibling of the 24-Hour Church of Elvis, the Museum of Jurassic Technology, Marvin Johnson’s Gourd Museum, House on the Rock, and of course the ever persistent siren desert song of The Thing.” Packed into a 10’ x 10’ room, the Museum is a collection of objects, artifacts, histories, and competing narratives, that have emerged from musical, magical, mystical and mundane sources.


Photo by Tad Fruits.

Photo by Tad Fruits.


Michael Milano: Let’s start with a basic description of the Museum of Psychphonics, or even a mission statement. What is the Museum and what is its aim?

Michael Kaufmann: The Museum of Psychphonics hopes to disrupt dominant cultural narratives, not necessarily by replacing them outright, but by problematizing them through the recovery and amplification of the psychphonic activity timeline. The Museum is modeled after a cabinet of wonders, with an emphasis on the intersections of science fiction, race, music and Indianapolis. The Museum has always existed, this is just the first time the objects and stories have been gathered into the same room.

MM: Okay, let’s unpack that a bit. What is the psychphonic activity timeline? Or, for that matter, what are psychphonics?

MK: Psychponics is the glue for the universe. Whether you embrace an origin story of the voice of the Creator speaking the universe into being, and/or the Big Bang exploding and resounding across the expanse of nothing/everything/never, now and always…our existence, our realities, our universe are built from the resounding echo of this ancient and eternal sound. Psych from the Latin psych?, from Ancient Greek ???? ?(psukh?, “soul, breath”) and phonic from from the Greek phon– (alternate form of phono-), from Ancient Greek ???? ?(ph?n?, “sound, voice”). The sound of breath.

MM: So how does the sound of breath disrupt dominant cultural narratives?

MK: It isn’t just the sound of breath, but the fullness of breath, in all of its possibilities and complexities. As a society we have built systems that continue to limit, edit, and narrow our experience by algorithmically feeding back to us that which we feed into this machine of mediated awareness––our subscriptions, our channels, our likes. Many of us thought the new Information Age would be a telescope or microscope, or even a window at best. Instead, this black mirror, as it has been called, is like a funhouse mirror that presents an exaggerated version of self. We come to believe in that version of self. The Museum of Psychphonics offers a kaleidoscope and a kaleidophone of light and sound to expand our definitions and experiences by creating juxtapositions and calling attention to those things that too often only exist at the periphery.

MM: Let’s turn our attention to some of the objects in the Museum’s collection. Can you give us an example of some of the things that we will encounter when we visit the Museum? And perhaps the way that these objects encourage us to have experiences outside of the “black mirror,” the self-referential/self-affirming echo chamber of our algorithmically-mediated online life?

MK: With every new medium (audio recording technologies, photography, film, video, the Internet) we see the emergence of new mythology. It is like a collective unconscious allergy to the dominant narratives. The stories that survive form our histories and, in turn, our shared cultural systems. But there are other stories, and these are critical to capture and tell as well. We sense when they are missing and sometimes we replace them with new myths. Whether they are true or not isn’t important. What is important is that they are purposefully being told or not told. The Museum tells some of these stories through the objects that are charged with meaning because of their past proximity to the subjects of the stories. An ashtray from a Burger King in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Dirt from sacred sites, deemed sacred by different groups and cosmologies. Parliament Funkadelic’s Baby Mothership. The soul of Indianapolis. And now the objects’ proximity to one another attempt to tell new stories, to create new myths.

George Clinton visits Museum of Psychphonics. Photo by Tad Fruits.

George Clinton visits Museum of Psychphonics. Photo by Tad Fruits.

MM: Speaking of myth in relation to objects reminds me of political philosopher Hannah Arendt. In the Human Condition, she says, roughly, that action––doing deeds and telling stories––creates meaning for the human artifice; without being talked about and acted with/in, the world is merely a heap of unrelated things. In other words, it is narrative that makes meaning out of the world of objects.

To my mind, many of the objects in the Museum require a similar reliance on narrative in order to take on a patina of significance, and become relics and artifacts. Is this what you mean by mythology? Or do you mean something more spiritual and/or mystical? Do you believe that the objects are imbued with their own significance, or that they take on significance because of the stories we tell about them?

Are these even the kinds of questions that the Museum is interested in taking up?

MK: That is an excellent question, and perhaps at the heart of the Museum. I don’t think it is an either/or but rather a both/and. Let’s take the sacred dirt for example. Robert Smithson’s Mirror Displacements are a good parallel. I do believe there is a spiritual/mystical component to Smithson’s work by disrupting the “natural” landscape both through his interventions, but also through his physical collection of material from these sites and later placement in the gallery. I don’t see such a divide between conceptual, physical, spiritual, and mystical. These are all different ways of interpreting our humanity within time and space. Our decision to select and place these items within the Museum gives them a heightened energy/significance/meaning. That is the dangerous accountability that comes with curation. Curators are storytellers. Museums are libraries for these stories.

Photo by Tad Fruits.

Photo by Tad Fruits.


MM: Nice. I like the idea that curators are storytellers, and that museums are merely libraries for these stories. I was going to ask why call the collection a museum.

So, how does the Museum fit within a broader context? Geographically, it’s a small room within Joyful Noise, within the Murphy Building, within Fountain Square, within Indianapolis, within Indiana, within the Midwest, etc. How is this an appropriate site for the Museum?
Could you also contextualize it in relation to other alternative museums, cabinets of curiosities, roadside attractions, etc.?

MK: The context is both thematic and strategic. I will discuss these in concentric circles. Joyful Noise Recordings is at the forefront of asking questions about music and materiality. Their limited edition products and digital dissemination understand the paradox of today’s consumer. This longing for instant and universal access in tension with wanting to be part of a community, something smaller, and to be a collector of the unique and handmade is what is defining how we move forward into the future of cultural consumption. And Joyful Noise also celebrates the weird and the wild of music, so, stylistically, they are an extension, or branch, of the larger tree of psychphonically significant cultural movements.

What is strategic about the location is the ability to set up a museum that requires no staffing or board of directors. It is housed behind the counter of their record store, providing convenient staffing for the Museum without extra cost or hassle. The Murphy Building and Fountain Square have served as the city’s ground zero for experimental art and music for over a decade. Therefore, this felt like a natural fit as well.

And to your question about Indianapolis, Indiana. It is no coincidence that this is where the Baby Mothership has landed. Indiana is an approximation of the rest of America, and Indianapolis is the prototypical American city. Now, I don’t mean to say that Indy is not unique or differentiated from other mid-sized cities in the U.S., but if something doesn’t work in Indy, it won’t work anywhere. This city is a laboratory. It is a battleground for ideas. It is truly the crossroads and, from these crossroads, ideas and movements can permeate outwards to the rest of our country.

Now, as far as other museums and attractions are concerned, in our press materials we have called reference to contemporaries such as the Museum of Jurassic Technology, House on the Rock, 24 Hour Church of Elvis, etc. But we are really drawing from a deeper tradition of individuals such as Charles Wilson Peale and P.T. Barnum. Regardless, the common theme is a curatorial philosophy that leans more towards speculation and open-interpretation than overly oppressive taxonomic and didactic assumptions.

Photo by Tad Fruits.

Photo by Tad Fruits.

MM: The Museum has already released a Didactic, designed by the wonderful folks at PRINTtEXT, as well as the Dreamer’s Oracle, produced by Yonder Bound. I know that the Museum only just opened on March 4, 2016, but could you speak to its future? What else is on the horizon?

MK: The Museum is in the on-going curatorial care of artist/archivist Kipp Normand. It will continue to evolve under his direction. We are also in the planning stages of putting on performances and other programming, like any responsible museum should be doing. We have a long-term agreement in place with Joyful Noise, so we will stay put for the next couple years and wait and see what the future will bring.
The Museum of Psychphonics
Joyful Noise Recordings
1043 Virginia Ave, Ste 208, Indianapolis, Indiana 46203

Michael Kaufmann is an artistic manager and cultural entrepreneur, working at the intersection of cultural, economic and community development. He has worked for over a decade as label manager for Asthmatic Kitty Records (Sufjan Stevens, My Brightest Diamond, etc.), and in addition to his current full-time position with the public hospital system in Indianapolis he manages Son Lux, Oliver Blank and Hanna Benn. He is also the founder and curator for Sound Expeditions, a project that is soundtracking the city of Indianapolis.

Michael Milano is an artist and writer, currently based in Indianapolis, IN.