It’s the megamax edition y’all. Twins are apparently in, and we’re seeing double. We had so many WWIB? options this week, we couldn’t just pick one. They’re too good!
Will the real Anne Wilson please stand up?
We’ve been big fans of Miss Pop Nails for a while but we’re having serious envy over this look for Refinery29 in October photographed by David Brandon Geeting. Time to upgrade our look from last summer photographed by Heaven Gallery’s Alma Wieser.
She sells sea shells by the… you know the rest.
Was super interested to learn that Robert Chase Heishman’s new body of photographic work is based on still life paintings by Guantanamo Bay inmates. Learn more about the paintings here and see the paintings at LVL3 where Heishman is exhibiting alongside another triply named artist, Adam Parker Smith, through December 14th.
Hand in Leopard Hand.
How cute are snow leopard homies Kristina Daignault and Edra Soto?
Are you my boyfriend?
No? How about you?
Header features a detail from Dan Gunn’s piece To fan No. 2, 2014, Dye and polyurethane on plywood, 22 x 88 inches in his exhibition at Impromptu Airs on view at Monique Meloche Gallery until January 3rd, 2015.
Please don’t let this be the last time we see you until Spring!
Can’t get enough of this new work by Aron Gent at Devening Projects. Recommend that you see this work before the show closes on December 6th.
Performance shot from The Conviction of Pearl Dakota. We were pleasantly surprised by the return of J. Soto to Chicago for their choreographic debut at the Cultural Center. Part of “SPINOFF 2014: Contemporary Dance Made in the Midwest,” Soto’s piece was inspired by trips to the Cook County Clerk in 2012-13. Modern dance with line stanchions? Unlikely combo, but we’re into it.
Who’s that annoying person taking photos during the Hybrid Theory screening by Theo Darst and Jennifer Chan? Oh, that’d be me. At least the artists didn’t go through with their plan to play the entire Linkin’ Park album by the same name throughout the entire screening.
Work by New York based artist Jacques Louis Vidal on view at The Hills Esthetic Center on view through December 14th.
Friend’s of WTT?, artist Eric Fleischauer and AFC’s Corinna Kirsch showing the world how it’s done at The Hills opening for Jacques Louis Vidal’s Nothing is Possible In There is No Future.
Check out the show and look out for the hidden painting by Alivia Zivich in her exhibition Bottomless on view at Night Club through December 5th.
Super sweet new mural outside of the Violet Hour by Jenny Kendler through her residency at the NRDC. We wish that we could show you Kendler’s killer beehive drive fit for the Queen B that she wore at the launch, but the bar was far too dark. Hopefully Chicago Looks got a shot! Instead, you can scan the pollinators on the piece for a free seed packet! Just gotta hold out until Spring.
The Inside/Within auction last Saturday made us wish we had more disposable income. WTT> is taking donations!
This sweet new Paul Erschen’s piece was hotly bid on throughout the auction.
Cutie patrol at the Inside/ Within auction on Saturday, November 15th.
Get your Miami on, Chicago.
This post is click bait if we’ve ever seen it. Get even more hot and bothered than you already are about Miami with McCaughan’s analysis of Muecke’s design. Warning: Not cute if you’re colorblind.
DfbrL8r’s new space on Chicago Ave. via the gallery’s Facebook.
Performance venue returns with 2015 edition of Rapid Pulse Festival
Open Calls for All
Defibrillator is back with a new space, new curatorial fellows and a new call for artists. On the tails of their announcement that the gallery will reopen at 1463 W Chicago Avenue with an exhibition by German artist Veronika Merklein in February 2015, the gallery has launched a call for the fourth annual Rapid Pulse Festival.
The well-timed announcement pairs nicely with Stephen Bridges Notes on Rapid Pulse 2014 on the MCA Blog. This year the RPF cocurator will be joined by new curatorial fellows Jennifer Mefford and Teresa Silva in addition to Founder, Joseph Ravens, curator Julie Laffin and Assistant Festival Director, Giana Gambino. The deadline for proposals is December 30th at midnight.
If you don’t know what Chances Dances is get out from under your rock and watch this video! There’s no arguing with their mission to be the bangingest queer dance party and DJ collective dedicated to building safer spaces and fostering creative expression in and out of the club. If you do know what Chances is and have been to their parties we don’t need to justify why this is a great organization to support. They give us all so much, give a little bit back to them. Oh, and while you’re at it, check out their super cute 10 year exhibition at Lula organized by Aay Preston-Myint.
The anticipation is killing us, so stop it. Seriously. Just donate now and we’ll celebrate together at the 10 year anniversary.
Theatrical sets allow for the real world to be transformed into the internal world. Against complete darkness, imagine a stage light illuminating one room within a house. Walls, hallways and exterior walls of the house are constructed out of the absence of light, while the walls of the living room are constructed out of illumination. The darkness hides the coming scenes from view, while the illumination presents furnishings in the current act – a sofa, table and chairs, a domestic preparation. This fabrication of a living room provides a model for the following stagings.
Kontakhof, Pina Bausch, performed at Brooklyn Academy of Music, 2014, photo credit: Oliver Look
“Is there anything deeper than surface?” I wondered, looking at one silken dressed dancer adjusting her dress, facing the audience as if they were her mirror. Having gotten herself together, she approaches with her dance partner, a suited suitor, whose arm she twists. The pair of dancers appear to be a couple, and the actions public humiliations, in as much as one dancer pulls the hair of the other, pokes the partner in the nose, bites the other’s shoulder. In Pina Bausch’s Kontakthof, dancers perform in a stage set as an empty hall with a window and door and row of chairs against three walls and small inset stage along the back wall facing the audience. Theatrically, the set is all that it needs to be, as minimally decorated as to provide a room inside of which action takes place.
On the other hand, it is a grand room.
The twenty-five dancers approach the audience from the back wall of the set, walking forward as a large mass, dressed as if attending a cocktail party. Sometimes a few dancers approach from within the mass – movements are directed towards the audience. And dancers perform acts on and for one another. They converse through tests of body language, as happens when a group of men surround a woman, patting, rubbing and pulling her limbs. As the dancers meet the edge of the stage, they run backward to the set’s furthest wall again, forming a machine in rotation from front to back.
Stop Crying: A Performance, Ida Applebroog, 1981, staple-bound book
Kontakthof‘s starkness invigorated me to look through the illustrated books of Ida Applebroog, printed in the late 70s and early 80s, each book subtitled “A Performance” on the cover.
The performances inside consist of a single set and only rarely a set change, and a script of no more than two lines. The pages of each book are a repeated photograph of a monochromatic drawing of a scene. They have a cartoon look. For example, one print shows a woman sitting contemplatively alone, her shadow cast on the wall behind, the entire scene viewed through a box frame. The first of a three line script reads, “Stop crying.”
Think of this as a theater, a small third floor affair. Operations are run by a single person, gamely but silently playing the parts of the director, lighting technician, actor and set designer.
Envision of the surface of a building. One might have a beige plaster front, another made from sedimentary rock, and a third obscured in a malaise of vines. These surfaces can be monologues as much as a slew of words can be: letters of discontent directed at the art world, for example, filling the lobby walls of the Institute of Contemporary Art in Philadelphia in the Readykulous by Ridykeulous installation called This is What Liberation Feels Like. Both commissioned correspondences and pre-existing letters of outcry from an exclamatory world fill the lobby. Letter writing appears just as what it is and in works of art as trope, both as a promise of a space for correspondence, and as the unfolding of particular resistance to an addressee.
I want a President, Zoe Leonard, 1992, xerox, 14 x 8.5 inches, included in Readykeulous by Ridykeulous exhibition This is What Liberation Feels Like
A facade, like a one-sided conversation, is the staging of interiority. Currently on view in Aliza Nisenbaum’s first solo New York exhibition at White Columns, among portraits of immigrants from Mexico and Central America, there is a painting of a letter, a pile of letters really, a bent paper pile. The writing is not identifiable, but the addresses of the correspondents appear, and drawings within the letters surface. Next to the letters, the flat, bent body parts of the sitters still manage to look solid, weighted. The bent ankles and limbs take the form of bent letters. Subjects look otherwise engaged, detached from being painted, but still. The two women of the painting Stephanie and Christina appear self-contained, as if entering this stage by having emanated from this fabric; henna-covered hands look woven from the thread of the pillows setting the scene.
Tinker Bell, Aliza Nisenbaum, 2014, oil in linen, 20 x 16 inches
Stephanie and Christina, Aliza Nisenbaum, 2014, oil on linen, 51 x 33 inches
At the end of September, Richard D. James released his first album as Aphex Twin in 13 years. The resulting work, Syro, makes up for the long wait between albums. It is rich and complex, as every past album of his has been. But where Drukqs and previous albums have pummelled the listeners ear, Syro allows for listening at the passive level (something that had become completely absent in his work) and easily allows for intensive listening at the same time. Each track stands alone as a complete work, yet effortlessly bleeds into the next. It is nothing short of a masterpiece.
A masterpiece is proof of one’s ability and rank within a creative system. It is a career benchmark, so one should suppose each subsequent masterpiece produced by a person must be of equal or greater value to the one before it. By definition, masterpieces are selective while contingent upon factors both fluctuating and rigid (an artist’s personal navigation of a media, rules, techniques, history, etc.). The masterpiece is a defining moment, and defining moments are encapsulations of the past and a clear break with the present. Information moves at such speeds that while defining moments are there they can easily get lost in a sea of lesser moments, all of which are digitally archived before most of them can be absorbed. We are constantly scrolling downward in news feeds, seeing the more recent posting mixing with that of a few days before. Anything else is unearthed through keyword searches. Time is not experienced in the same way as it once was. According to Boris Groys “The archive is the site where past and future become reversible.” 1
Haynes Riley, Homie Sapiens
Consider a cell phone video posted on instagram as a legitimate artwork: it likely favors one specific idea or thought as opposed to consideration of everything available (how the shot is composed, camera angle, what is in the background, etc.) The lack of multiple edits means that it is one moment frozen in time, infinitely repeatable, and as in a gif, the format is the infinite repetition. It is a defined moment, but one that was chosen, specifically plucked out of the waves of information and content and chosen to become something new or reconfigured, sent out again into the sea of information.
Alex Tsocanos, Crimson Tide Towels (Feminist towels that allow you to celebrate sun time and moon time at the same time! Bask in your inner Shark, Wolf, Beaver, Bitch or Pussy Cat glory any time of the month!)
More often, the works that may have only lived in the artist’s studio in the past are coming out to the gallery — physical or virtual. Sometimes they gnaw at us, as we try to understand why we are so attracted to their roughness or incompleteness. Like any content on the internet, hierarchies in the art can be made, but are open to interpretation, as for everything seen there are at least three things missed. There is always more, and the more we see the more aware we are of how much we miss. Smaller artworks in this way will still define moments, but as the moments get smaller, or more compressed, they begin to reach the actuality of the present. In this way, artworks become possibilities for the future, not just manifestos. As possibilities have a more approachable conversational tone to them, a more casual art going experience that also allows for more works, more choice emerges and is less prohibitive because there is more available. Art becomes more democratic this way, while still remaining part of a market structure, playing at a more inclusive level.
Stephanie Norberg, Untitled
So with more content being produced and disseminated, more masterpieces are being produced as well. Some of them we won’t realize thats what they are for a few months or years. We are likely to look back at many of these more intuitive and immediate works and one day see them as masterpieces in their own right. So often, they are more arresting than the planned works that undergo revision after revision.
Kari Cholnoky, Harmless
Earlier this week, Richard D. James released 30 modular synth tracks and unreleased material for free on soundcloud, calling it “a fucking racket”. It is more noise than defined compositions, but what results are fragments, and reinterpretations of Syro’s tracks, spontaneous recordings and serendipity. They are a small part of the whole of James’ work, and more than providing an insight into his process, inform the whole by isolating individual ideas that have carried on throughout his career, as well as providing gems we would have never knew existed otherwise. Sometimes, a masterpiece can only happen through the seemngly cast off, the incremental, the undefined, the immediate or the unfinished.
Groys, Boris, “The Loneliness of the Project”, New York Magazine of Contemporary Art and Theory, Issue 1.1, 2002
Many thanks to the artists who generously provided images for this essay, and apologies to those that I could not include. Thanks also to Haynes Riley via Ron Ewert for bringing the Groys article to my attention.
In the popular imagination, bookshops in Notting Hill may be where bumbling Englishmen meet Hollywood filmstars. Last night it was where a bumbling art writer, played by myself, got to meet some of the UK’s most successful bloggers.
The venue was Book and Kitchen, who deserve props for the bohemian setting, mean jazzsoundtrack and fantastic three course meal. Since there’s no such thing as a free meal, we bloggers were encouraged, between mouthfuls, to discuss our medium of choice.
You can check out the results on @blog10, an enterprising venture by a PR agency called Marmalade. There was a lot of talent and success in the room: from a book blogger who’s landed a UK and US publishing deal (Ann Morgan) to a young vlogger who has the brands queueing up to feature on her profit-making lifestyle blog (Abisole Amole).
Thankfully, eclectic London blogger Katie Antoniou had plenty to say, recalling the time when blogs first emerged as the honest antidote to “bullshit” editorial. (Integrity, it seems, is still a blogger’s best friend, even in the current climate of bribery and gifting.) “I don’t have the ego for journalism,” she explained, which seemed to resonate around the table.
Rona Wheeldon has a niche even more obscure than contemporary art. She is a flower blogger, who waxed lyrical about the potential for filming posts and hosting a YouTube channel. “Vlogs can show emotion!” she insisted, even though last time I checked, the written word can sometimes do the same.
Things turned comic when book bloggers Morgan and Kim Forrester revealed statistical spikes from wayward web users who stumble upon their sites in search of resources forsex tourism. We laughed about it, but it was a reminder that despite its academic origins, the web is still not the best place for serious discussions. Nevertheless, with their literate audiences, both bloggers have built readership and communities within their crowded field.
Indeed it was widely reported that finding an audience and a network of peers could still be the number one reason for starting a blog. Even if in recent years comments are very hard to come by (“Who’s got time to comment?” we asked). Time is an increasing issue, as one faces the introduction of a two speed internet where large web corporations choke smaller players. Morgan raised fears of losing the level playing field bloggers now enjoy.
Several of us bemoaned the encroachment of social media ads and promoted posts. The latest platform to introduce ads appears to be Instagram. Starbucks and UK supermarket Waitrose had reached out to a couple of the photobloggers among us. Although to be fair, their presence wasn’t totally unwelcome. Amole revealed a thriving existence of the coffee giants’ #redcups hashtag. She is relaxed about it.
As the meal drew to a close we took questions about blogging from twitter. One eager user requested three tips from each of us in turn. Find a niche. Use social media. Build a brand. The wisdom was flowing by this point. But perhaps interiors blogger Kate Baxter had the last word. Don’t get into blogging to get free stuff or money. It probably won’t happen. You may however one day be invited to a West London blogging salon. Things could be worse.