Top 5 (8/28-8/30)

August 28, 2009 · Print This Article

Bloody freaking hell! I have been loosing my shit lately. Sorry for the delay of the Top 5, I know ya’ll were standing around with baited breath to get the word from on high. Well, you weirdos, here you go, my Top 5 for this week:

1. Open House at Argonne National Laboratory!

WTF? That’s not art you say? Shut up. The laboratory is open to the public for one day only, and since it seems like psudo-science is all the rage in art these days, go over and get some inspiration. Or just head for the nanotech department and pretend like your living in The Diamond Age.

Saturday 9-4:30. Argonne National Laboratory is located at 9700 South Cass Ave. Lemont, IL. 

2. Open House at…Open House?

Everyone likes new apartment galleries, right? Well, if not, move on to #3. If you do, check out this place. I cannot guarentee the quality of the show, or the quality of the place, but apartment galleries are always a crapshoot. Take a chance, you may be rewarded. The show (is it also titled Open House? Who knows?) is curated by Evan Lenox, Andre Lenox, and Lynnette Miranda, and features to work of a bunch of people I’m not going to name because I’d have to transcribe ’em all. 

Friday 5:30-9pm. Open House is located at 3106 W. Fullerton Ave. #1.

3. Not Feeling Like Yourself? Head to Barbara and Barbara (they love you by the way).

This show seems like a crazy clusterfuck somehow involving Barbara & Barbara, The Post Family, and the (I quote) “man/beast continuum.” How could you not be curious? A full Chicago crew to dazzle you, including Ben Speckmann, Timothy Pigott, Brian Yates & Tony Francesconi. Oh, and the show is called Pardon me, I am just not feeling like myself today, thus my silly title. Just thought you’d like to know. 

Saturday 6-10pm. Barbara and Barbara is located at 1021 N. Western Ave.

4. Everybody’s Got (More) Money Issues With InCUBATE

InCUBATE is closing down Everybody’s Got (More) Money Issues at Mess Hall with one final meet-up kaBLAMO event. If you haven’t kicked it with InCUBATE yet, you’re missing out. They are the awesome crew that brought you Sunday Soup. Go and enjoy the final iteration of Everybody’s Got (More) Money Issues and discuss how the hell were going to (financially) survive these days. 

Sunday 6-9pm. Mess Hall is located at 6932 N Glenwood Ave.

5. Zummer Tapez at Roots & Culture

Yes, you get their banner as the photo. Why? No photo relating to Zummer Tapez on their site. Don’t like it? Oh well. This seems like a fun way to spend an hour or two on Sunday night. The show consists of a video mixed tape by Kent Lambert. It has a “suggested donation” of $5, you know what that means, so if you want to cough up the cash, go see the show. 

Sunday 8pm. Roots and Culture is located at 1034 N Milwaukee Ave. 

Friday’s Twitter Roundup

August 28, 2009 · Print This Article

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On this weeks roundup we look at some really bad art of Obama, Paul McCarthy speaks with the people over at BOMBSITE, and Art Observed checks in to see the love Steve Powers is spreading. Have a good weekend everyone.

Paul McCarthy interviewed by Benjamin Weissman on BOMBSITE.

Preservationists attempt to save Chicago’s Gropius architecture threatened by Olympic planning. 

Jerry Saltz’s picks for Fall shows in NYC. 

Tribune covers what Chicago galleries are doing to get by.

I know it doesn’t say “Best New Websites of 2009” but Time’s picks feel unbelievably obvious.

NoCoast will be hosting a silkscreen workshop this Saturday and Sunday.

Watching the trailer for The Mockumentary.

Bad Obama Art: RT @methomp pure internet magic. i was looking for something totally unrelated: 

Chicago Printers Guild is currently offering a mystery pack of prints. via The Post Family

Art Observed discusses the “Love Letter Project” with Steve Powers.

Artists Attempt to Explain Their Art to Their Parents

August 28, 2009 · Print This Article

How to explain my parents from lernert Engelberts on Vimeo.

I saw this over on Try Harder this morning and couldn’t resist posting it. If only we all had the time and patience to explain to our parents what we actually did.

via Utne

“Somebody teach me Dutch now! The formula for a fabulous new Dutch internet series is simple: a visual artist is seated at a table with a work of his or her art, joined at the other end of the table by a parent. There is a brief explanation of the piece (with constant parental interruption) which leads into a sometimes rambling, sometimes heated conversation. There is just one problem: the producers of this brilliant experiment only inserted English subtitles into the first episode. Still, I keep watching. The universal language of a parent attempting to understand their spawn is universal and mostly consists of some variation of: “huh,” “okay,” or “nah.” Enjoy!”

Guest Hosting Cindy Sherman

August 26, 2009 · Print This Article

John Grande, an artist and former printer for Annie Liebovitz and Jack Pierson, among other well-known photographers, has made a series of paintings based on Cindy Sherman’s Untitled Film Stills. Actually, they’re more than just “based on,” from what I can tell — they’re painted versions of Sherman’s photographs that seem to exist solely under the auspices of posing these questions (which I’ve lifted from a blurb on his gallery’s website):

“What if Sherman had been a male painter producing the same images on large scale canvasses from the beginning? How would this have affected her acceptance in the art world and the market value of her work? And what happens when a third party intervenes in self portraiture? Is there something of the third party that brings an “otherness” to the work? How does the dialogue about “the male gaze” shift now that a male is producing the work? Does the fact that these images were initially produced as editions and now they are one of a kind objects have any relevance to the ongoing dialogue between painting and photography? And if photography was supposed to bring about the death of painting, and most paintings end up being viewed as photographs anyway, does a painting of a famous photograph champion photography or painting?”

Wow, them’s a whole lot of questions that the paintings themselves appear in no way to address, other than by mere fact of their existence. There’s a strange, sci-fi esque alternate history thingee going on there with the gallery’s breathless series of “what if” queries that makes me giggle, I can’t help it. What if Cindy Sherman was really Robert Longo posing as an elderly woman masquerading as a downtown artist ALL ALONG, how would that have affected the notion of the “male gaze,” along with the art world’s acceptance of Sherman’s work? What if the death of painting was really the death of photography posing as the death of the Other? What then, by God, what then??

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(Via Art21 blog).

All the Naked Spelunking You Can Handle

August 26, 2009 · Print This Article

Ryan McGinley, Moonmilk

Ryan McGinley, Moonmilk

Ryan McGinley will exhibit a new series of photographs titled Moonmilk next month at Alison Jacques Gallery in London. McGinley and a group of models/friends/collaborators went cave exploring aka spelunking in the nude (nudity is an essential aspect of McGinley’s approach to picture-making, so there’s nothing unusual about this aspect of the work).  The resulting images are breathtakingly beautiful–Edenic, even, despite the underground setting–each of them classic McGinley in their portrayal of timeless youth, freedom and, importantly, in their emphasis on adventure. Indeed, when McGinley was interviewed by Bad At Sports, he spoke of the enduring influence of children’s books on his work, particularly those that feature brave young kids setting out to explore the unknown. (I’ve always loved those types of books, too; the Wizard of Oz series by L. Frank Baum being my all-time favorites–I still read them before going to sleep when I’m going through a particularly stressful time in my life).

Images from the Moonmilk series have been ping ponging around the Internet lately, and when I  saw them I was immediately reminded of Miru Kim’s ongoing forays into various subterranian systems, including the Paris catacombs and the New York city subway. Kim’s images feature her own nude body as the lone figure in these landscapes. Usually, though not always, Kim goes into these places entirely on her own, without the use of an assistant.

McGinley’s photographs are more artfully composed than Kim’s are, more mysterious and more expansive in their evocation of a hidden world waiting to be explored. Overall, they’re just more “More.” Kim portrays little about these cryptic worlds as being magical, even when she’s posing in front of a modern-day “cave painting” of a starry night sky (one that’s most likely been painted by an otherwise homeless underground denizen). Instead, she’s interested in physically exploring an urban unconscious whose decrepit inhabitants and landscape have been “deleted,” as she’s put it, or otherwise repressed, like the scary monsters of childhood.  Kim herself looks like a frightened animal in a lot of her shots: body crouched, clinging awkwardly against the wall as she painstakingly navigates these treacherous spaces.

The reasons why McGinley chooses to photograph his models nude is fairly obvious, given his overarching areas of interest; but Kim’s choice to represent herself this way is more puzzling and problematic. In interviews she’s explained that her use of nudity is an attempt to make her image less time and culture-specific, but that kind of logic doesn’t really hold up given the loaded ways in which we already view the female nude in photography and elsewhere. For me, her decision to pose nude only makes sense when the photographs are viewed as a kind of performative image-making a la the work of Ana Mendieta.

Despite their shortcomings, there is something deeply powerful about Kim’s underground explorations that makes them more provocative and ultimately of greater interest to me than McGinley’s undeniably lovely ones. For one thing, there’s an actual story behind each of Kim’s images to be unearthed in the history of the place she’s temporarily inhabiting. McGinley’s are suggestive in regards to narrative, but their impact is largely mythic and iconic in nature. They’re about FREEDOM, ADVENTURE and BEAUTY as they apply to those slim-limbed caucasian twentysomethings who still have the time to travel around with and participate in McGinley’s undoubtedly life-affirming projects. But even more compelling is the matter of the sheer guts it takes for a woman (or anyone, really) to explore such places on her own, never mind the nude part.

McGinley’s photographs do inspire a certain sense of yearning, but for me, that desire feels uncomfortably similar to the kind that makes me want to go out and buy stuff to make my life (and me) look better. It’s a desire that will always be unfulfilled. Kim’s photographs, despite their sometimes clumsy literalism, make me think about the truly mind-expanding things that can happen when a shy young woman chooses to go out adventuring all on her own, into exactly those types of deep, dark, fairytale-type places that everyone is always telling you not to go into, or else.

Or else what?

Listen to Ryan McGinley interviewed by Brian and Patricia on Episode 141 of the Podcast. Miru Kim gives a talk on her “underground art” on the web video channel TED here.

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Ryan McGinley, Moonmilk

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Ryan McGinley, Moonmilk

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