Top 5 Picks (11/20-11/22)

November 20, 2009 · Print This Article

Hey ya’ll. There are quite a few shows I’m interested in the weekend, not all of which are getting dropped into the Top 5, but which still bear a mention: Bob Jones at 65 Grand, Ann and Maria Ponce at Packer Schopf, Joe Hardesty at Western Exhibitions, Creator/Curator at HungryMAN Gallery, and New Blood 3 at the Chicago Cultural Center. Unfortunately, I won’t be able to make it to everything, but you’ll be happy with any of the above mentioned selections along side any or all the shows listed in the Top 5 (which, by the way, are listed in no particular order). That’s it for now, get your ass out there and see some art!

Top 5 for 11/20-11/22:

1. Technically, It’s Art at Abryant Gallery


Abryant Gallery, run by Angela Bryant, is one of those spaces that Chicago is so good at producing, a space run by people just out of school, showing people just out of school, but actually doing it relatively well. For this round, Bryant is featuring the work of Eric Ashcraft, Madeleine Bailey, Mark Beasley, Rebecca Berman, GROUP CABIN, Andy Cahill, Lauren Gregory, Maxon Higbee, Aaron Hoffman, Nadia Hotait, Mik Kastner, Lisa MAjer, Gary Pennock, Sarah Perez, Micah Schippa, Briana Schweizer, Alan Strathmann and Synica Whitney in Technically, It’s Art.

Opening Reception: Friday 7-10pm. Abryant Gallery is located at 1842 N. Damen Ave., 4th Fl.

2. IN(DI)VISIBLE at Noble & Superior Projects


For their second exhibition, Noble & Superior Projects, a new apartment gallery space, is putting up the work of TW Li’ and Whitney Faile called IN(DI)VISIBLE. I am really impressed by N&S P, the couple who run it are damn professional, and though the work isn’t the best thing I’ve ever seen in Chicago (a bit of a tall order), they show some goos stuff for an apartment gallery. I am particularly interested int TW Li’s work (have a look at his website), but I’m a fan of their paring strategy, so I bet the dialog between Li and Faile’s work will be worth seeing.

Opening Reception: Friday 6-10pm. Noble & Superior Projects is located at 1418 W Superior St. #2R

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e-flux/journal #10

November 20, 2009 · Print This Article

The new issue of e-flux/journal is up online and I am giddy over it.  This is their tenth episode as the journal, which makes it nearly a year old, as they publish monthly. Though the journal is a relatively new application of the e-flux program, has been around since January 1999 beginning with an email announcement about a small exhibition in a e-flux/journal #10Chinatown Holiday Inn hotel room.  A decade later e-flux is still based out of New York with far reaching out posts in Berlin, and the corneal receptors at the far end of the yawning, immeasurable distance that is the internet.  Today this network includes over 50,000 visual art professionals.  E-flux is one of my favorite contemporary art journals, it is edited by Julieta Aranda, Brian Kuan Wood and Anton Vidokle if you are at all unfamiliar with it I urge you to take some time to get to know their project. Whether the journal or one of their many educational and collaborative projects there’s bound to be something that moves you, it changed my life.  Testimonials aside, e-flux/journal #10 this month discusses the limits to which the democratization of image production can become a tool for making versus being at home in the world.  With essays from Sherif El-Azma The Psychogeography of Loose Associations, Luis Camnitzer, ALPHABETIZATION, Part Two: Hegemonic Language and Arbitrary Order, Paul Chan What Art Is and Where it Belongs, Céline Condorelli Life Always Escapes, Peter Friedl Secret Modernity, Hans Ulrich Obrist Ever Spero, and Hito Steyerl In Defense of the Poor Image. E-flux/journal #10, hot off the presses!

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Review: “Spirit” by Henry Roy

November 19, 2009 · Print This Article

© Henry Roy / Gottlund Verlag

© Henry Roy / Gottlund Verlag

Henry Roy’s Spirit seems to live even as it lay open on my kitchen table. The cover image depicts a sleeping man in breathtaking color. The man’s rich, dark skin and the green of a plant in the background pop against the amorphous beige interior that surrounds the scene.

Spanning the past ten years of his career, Spirit collects nearly 50 photographs and 6 short stories that capture a mystical energy. With the eye of a portraitist, Roy skillfully isolates his subjects and obscures their circumstance. Working in a “very intuitive, almost mediumnic way,” Roy manages to express a poetic tension between reverie and the mundane in his images.

My favorites stories in the book are Paris In October and A Night In Africa. The former is a brief ode to the Parisian autumn, while the latter tells of a half-drunken protagonist urinating on a bathroom wall. Both stories are narrated by an urbane young man suffering from a bout of ennui. The ordinary settings of the narratives provide a nice counterpoint to the dreamy images, and make me a little less jealous of Henry Roy’s life.

Spirit was released in October by Gottlund Verlag, a small publishing house based in Kutztown, Pennsylvania. Available at Gottlund Verlag online and Golden Age in Chicago.

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Obituary | Jeanne-Claude

November 19, 2009 · Print This Article

Photobucket Jeanne-Claude of the artistic team Jeanne Claude and Christo suddenly passed away yesterday, November 18th. According to the Associated Press, Jeanne-Claude’s death was due to complications from a ruptured brain aneurysm. Our thoughts go out to her family and friends.

If you have not seen 5 Films About Christo and Jeanne-Claude I would highly recommend it. Directed by David and Albert Maysles the documentary follows the pair as they conceive and produce their sculptures. Totally unscripted, and spanning three decades the film gives an intimate look into their relationship and the fiery personality that was Jeanne-Claude.

via Christo and Jeane-Claude’s site:

The family statement said Christo was deeply saddened by his wife’s death but was “committed to honor the promise they made to each other many years ago: that the art of Christo and Jeanne-Claude would continue.” That included completing their current installation, “Over The River, Project for the Arkansas River, State of Colorado” and “The Mastaba” a project in the United Arab Emirates.

The Colorado project — which they had done parts of on and off for decades — involves spanning miles of the river with woven fabric. They chose the location near Canon City because of its river rapids and access to roads and footpaths. Their other projects include wrapping the Reichstag in Germany.

To view the life and work of Jeane-Claude please visit her and Christo’s site.

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Is the $100,000 Ordway Prize Too Much?

November 18, 2009 · Print This Article

I’d never heard of the Ordway Prize until a few weeks ago, when two highly respected Chicago-based arts professionals (artist Tania Bruguera, who also lives in Havana, Cuba, and Hamza Walker, curator at the Renaissance Society at the University of Chicago) were included on this year’s list of finalists. The Ordway Prize is a relatively new award, established in 2005 as a joint effort by Creative Link for the Arts and the New Museum. The selection process for the Ordway Prize is outlined on the New Museum’s website as follows (excerpt):

The prize acknowledges the contributions of a Curator/Arts Writer and an Artist whose work has had significant impact on the field of contemporary art, but who has yet to receive broad public recognition. Finalists for the Ordway Prize are midcareer talents between the ages of forty and sixty-five, with a developed body of work extending over a minimum of fifteen years.

Now, it’s always great to see behind-the-scenes culture professionals get recognized for their outstanding work. This goes double for curators, who get paid relatively little and yet play such a critical role in bringing art to the public.  So if a little cash gets thrown at said curators while recognizing their contributions to the field, that’s nice too. I’m not of the view that culture workers need to be poor to have integrity. That said, however, I think that $100,000  is an inordinate amount of money given the fact that a) the prize is unrestricted and b) this year’s nominees, as well as past Ordway Prize winners, are institutionally-affiliated curators as opposed to those working independently and earning income on a project-by-project basis. [Read more]