Gagosian’s Upcoming Ed Paschke Exhibition Is Not About Jeff Koons.

March 17, 2010 · Print This Article

Ed Paschke, Pink Lady, 1970. Oil on canvas.

Meg emailed me about this forthcoming Ed Paschke exhibition, curated by Jeff Koons, a few months ago. I can’t remember if WTF?? was actually stated in the email or just implied, but we both kind of rolled our eyes and thought, whatever. I replied that the Koons curation part maybe wasn’t so bad — Koons was Paschke’s assistant, after all, and Koons has often expressed his admiration for Paschke, who died in 2004 (see the MCA Chicago’s 2008 exhibition “Everything’s Here” for one example).  But this morning I noticed the following Tweet: “Jeff Koons gets a second chance: his show of former employer Paschke’s work @Gagosian opens Thursday.” Ugh. It more than sucks that this exhibition of Paschke’s work, which no doubt will rock the house, is already being framed as some kind of Jeff Koons extravaganza. Or even worse, as Koons’ chance at redemption, a way to show that he does, indeed, have some fragment of a soul.

Luckily, the Gagosian Gallery itself has thus far refused to improperly hype this show (other than by having Jeff Koons curate it in the first place, some might argue). But the gallery’s press release is comprehensive and focused. At the top, the text notes that Koons worked as Paschke’s studio assistant in Chicago in the mid-1970s while the former was attending the School of the Art Institute. A line or two follows about Koons’ admiration for Paschke. But the rest of the two-page text is devoted to Paschke himself, as it should be. It’s a very well-written  release, so I don’t feel the need to paraphrase. A couple of excerpts:

“Born in Chicago in 1939, Paschke studied at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago during the
height of the Imagist movement in the late fifties, while supporting himself as a commercial
artist. He avidly collected photograph-related visual media in all its forms, from newspapers,
magazines, and posters to film, television, and video, with a preference for imagery that tended
toward the risqué and the marginal. Through this he studied the ways in which these media
transformed and stylized the experience of reality, which in turn impacted on his consideration
of formal and philosophical questions concerning veracity and invention in his own painting. At
the same time, he sought living and working situations — from factory hand to psychiatric aide –
– that would connect him with Chicago’s diverse ethnic communities as well as feed his
fascination for gritty urban life and human abnormality. Thus he developed a distinctive oeuvre
that oscillated between personal and aesthetic introspection and confronting social and cultural


“Unlike most of his Pop predecessors with their unthreatening embrace of popular culture,
Paschke gravitated towards the images that exemplified the underside of American values —
fame, violence, sex, and money – a preference that he shared with Andy Warhol, who was one
of his foremost inspirations. Although long considered to be an artist of his own time and place,
his explorations of the archetypes and clichés of media identity prefigured the appropriative
gestures of the “Pictures Generation,” and for a new generation of global artists his totemic,
eye-popping paintings have come to embody the essence of cosmopolitan art.”

A fully illustrated catalogue is being published in conjunction with the exhibition, with essays by Koons (natch), Dave Hickey, and reprints of significant texts on the artist by Richard Flood and Dennis Adrian. And presented concurrently here in Chicago will be a survey show titlted “Ed Paschke’s Women” from March 26 through May 22, 2010, at Russell Bowman Art Advisory.

Paschke is a well-known figure to art historians in Chicago and the Midwest, but he certainly never attained star status by anyone’s measure. No doubt it’ll be tempting for NY critics to try and frame Paschke’s work in terms of Koons, or better yet, to frame the latter’s work in terms of the former. But I hope those who see Paschke’s Gagosian show will resist this temptation and instead take his work at face value, as it were, without politicizing it or using it as an opportunity to disguise the fact that the artist they really want to write about is Jeff Koons (again….yawn.). It’s a shame that this show risks being framed via the hand that Jeff Koons has played in “presenting” it, but make no mistake: this is an Ed Paschke show, and from its outlines, at least, it promises to be a fairly significant one.

Ed Paschke, Cocco, 2002 Ink and colored pencil on paper. Russell Bowman Art Advisory

Ed Paschke, Au Voleur, 1991 Oil on linen. Russell Bowman Art Advisory.

Help Amanda Browder and North Brooklyn Public Art Coalition Make ‘Future Phenomena’!

March 17, 2010 · Print This Article

Hey all, Bad at Sportswoman and Brooklyn-based artist Amanda Browder, along with the North Brooklyn Public Art Coalition (NbPac) are in the process of constructing Future Phenomena, Browder’s temporary public art project sponsored by NbPac and the Brooklyn Arts Council. The goal is to create a fabric public art sculpture on the facade of a building in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, NY. In her description of the project, Amanda notes that “Greenpoint and Williamsburg are at the center of the current transformation of our economic life from mass consumption, with its end product of ever more degraded earth, water, and air, to one based on feedback, reuse, recycling…mass re-consumption. Greenpoint (bordered on the north by a waterway so polluted that it has rendered state and local governments catatonic) and Williamsburg are century-long experiments in the sustainability of urban life.

“The public display of art is a critical element in generating and focusing neighborhood responses of the realities of gentrification, ancient toxic waterways, and urban migration.  Public art can bring life and awareness to static architectural objects but the “Future Phenomena” will be not only a spectacle of bright colors and flowing shapes, but also a social space for pedestrians, participants and residents.  Into this space will flow work, materials, comments, all manner of human energy, to be recycled until the project vanishes, leaving behind a memory of the power of art to transform the mundane.”

If you live in the NYC area, you can help bring this immense, sewn artwork to life at three NbPac-hosted COMMUNITY SEWING DAYS. All of the details provided directly from the source can be found below….

Saturday, March 27th

St. Cecilia’s Convent (with Round Robin)

21 Monitor Street, Greenpoint, Brooklyn


Sunday, April 18th

Lutheran Church of the Messiah

129 Russell Street, Greenpoint, Brooklyn


Saturday, May 1st

St. Ann and Holy Trinity Church

157 Montague Street, Bushwick, Brooklyn


DONATE -  Contribute your unused fabric to help make the piece! We are covering a building and we need a lot of materials! Looking for cotton, sheets, pants, and non-stretchy fabric, and sewing tools such as needles, thread, and scissors. We are also seeking to borrow sewing machines for just one day or donations of machines for the project. For questions or to arrange donations, send an email to with ”NbPac” in the subject header.

CUT – Help cut fabric to form the chevron shape which will make a true spectacle!

SEW -  Help sew with easy straight stiches on a sewing machine (tutoring available!) to physically bind the donated fabrics into it’s awesome shape.

CONVERSE – Help cheer on people working, make new friends and meet other community members, learn and collaborate

It will be a fun day of volunteerism and artmaking!  Bring your craft-loving family members and friends!

Future Phenomena will be installed in Greenpoint, Brooklyn in Spring 2010.  To learn more about this project, visit:

Project sketch for "Future Phenonemon"

Amanda politely demands the shirt off this fella's back.

Tuesday’s Video Pick | Artist’s Soap Box Derby

March 16, 2010 · Print This Article

The Incredible San Fancisco Artists’ Soapbox Derby, 1975. from Mike Haeg on Vimeo. (via Swissmiss)

VAP at SAIC | Doris Salcedo

March 15, 2010 · Print This Article

PhotobucketTonight the Visiting Artist Program at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago will be hosting a lecture by Colombia-based artist Doris Salcedo. I know where I am going to be tonight!

via VAP:

Monday, March 15, 6:00 p.m.
SAIC Columbus Auditorium, 280 S. Columbus Dr.

Colombia-based artist Doris Salcedo explores the significance of everyday objects and their power to implicate history. Her sculptures and installations infuse domestic materials with gestures of political and psychological archeology, and their sense of absence hovers in the space between the empowered and voiceless. Salcedo’s work has appeared in major exhibitions at Tate Modern, London; Castello de Rivoli, Turin; and Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam, among others. She has participated in the T1 Triennial of Contemporary Art, Turin; Documenta; 8th International Istanbul Biennial; and the Liverpool Biennial of Contemporary Art. This lecture is co-presented by the William Bronson and Grayce Slovet Mitchell Lectureship in Fiber and Material Studies at SAIC and is part of the Common Languages lecture series.

$5 per person for the general public; $3 per person for SAIC alumni, non-SAIC students, and seniors; and FREE for students, faculty, and staff of the Art Institute of Chicago.

For more information on this event and other lectures from the VAP please check out their website

Video | Stefania Rotolo

March 12, 2010 · Print This Article

Michael Czerepak who sent me the French Star Wars video a couple of months ago just sent me this Stefania Rotolo classic. Italian disco, Star Wars, and sparklers that never run out?! I know where my morning will be wasted. Check out more videos after the jump [Read more]