Rogers Park was the place to be Saturday night with killer back to back openings taking place within blocks of one another. The weather couldn’t have been better and both shows had robust turn outs. Unioned Labors at the aptly named Bike Room featured not one but three different collaborative projects from duos. Small and whimsical, this show packed a big punch. Alberto Aguilar & Alex Bradley Cohen filled the space’s hallway with a mural pieced together with delightfully bold and colorful paintings on cardboard and complimented by a playful soundtrack. Inside the gallery itself a video of Aguliar’s & Cohen workin’ it out in the Bike Room’s backyard that shared a similar soundtrack. Amanda Ross-Ho and her father, Ruyell, used one of his playful abstractions that reads “Less is Not More” to adorn one of Ross-Ho’s signature oversized t-shirts. The most somber offering, Frank Piyatec & Judith Geitchman‘s rhythmic black and white text and abstractions were arranged into a giant checkerboard.
Oren Pinhassi, Untitled, 2013.
Naama Arad, Marfa, 2013.
Rhoades Scholar, curated by New Capital‘s Chelsea Culp and Ben Foch at Iceburg Projects, was similarly sparse yet arresting featuring one piece each from young guns Murat Adash, Naama Arad, Marie Alice BrandNer-Wolfszahn, and Oren Pinhassi. Adash also staged a performance where sightseers focused attention on various objects and people in the Iceberg space during the opening. Particularly mind blowing were Arad’s and Pinhassi’s work. Pinhassi’s backpack looked like it was dipped in papier-mâché and wrapped in a chalk-covered blackboard. The mutant backpack was placed open and empty on the floor revealing that crappy red nylon that’s suppose to be water proof but never really keeps anything safe. Despite all this there was definitely something magnetic about this unassuming backpack combining school daze nostalgia with the sculptural sensibility of Rachel Harrison and Kate Ruggeri. Naama’s sumptuous oil pastel drawing also pulled on our heartstrings by pairing a technique learned in grade school with stunning use of color and line. This rug inspired work was not your grandma’s tapestry.
Work by the family Ho.
Definitely recommend going to the ends of the Red Line to check out these shows. Also recommended: beef patties from the Caribbean American Bakery on the way.
Caribbean American Bakery located at 1539 W Howard Street.
The Weatherman Report
For Chicago IL
Max Ernst, Humboldt Current, 1951-52. Oil on canvas, 36 x 61 cm. Photo: Foundation Beyeler.
The scene at Iceberg Projects Saturday.
Better Luck Next Time leads to Hilarity, Danger
Game show pilot debuts in Steuben, WI
Fed up with the lack of cable television at the Steuben Lodge, ACRE residents and staff took matters into their own hands last weekend recording live the first ever episode of “Better Luck Next Time,” a newlyweds-style game show for artistic duos. Hosted by Carlos Danger and Vanna Ruffino, collaborators were pitted against each other to see who’s vibin’ the hardest.
Hosts Carlos Danger and Vanna Ruffino.
Carlos Danger valiantly and hilariously lead the unwilling contestants to reveal some of their deepest gripes with one another. Points were awarded on a somewhat unconventional basis after the audience mutinied against the show and its producers, demanding sympathetic half-points for weary contestants. Danger and Ruffino were ultimately able to win over the unruly mob and the pilot was a huge live success.
Live from the Chalet Studio.
Lucky to see this early preview, WWT? has heard that there are plans to put the show into syndication in Chicago.
On the podcast this week, Bad at Sports celebrates 8 years, wrapping up the latest season with the Artist as Arbiter panel from CAA 2013. Featuring moderators: Duncan Mackenzie and Shannon R. Stratton, along with panelists: Anthea Black, Laurie Beth Clark & Michael Peterson, E. G. Crichton, Reni Gower, and Philip Von Zweck. That’s all right here.
Samantha Bittman, The Longest Distance Between Two Points, 2011, Acrylic on hand-woven textile
The week began with a great essay by Robert Burnier on the subject of bodies in space, beginning with minimalism, reflecting on Hesse, Samantha Bittman and more as a way to reflect on Burnier’s own artistic practice:
I always think of San Francisco as a place built on idealistic fancy. With its identity still fixed to the 60s, combined with the more recent influence of dotcom entrepreneurs make it a specific site with a specific history. But also, it is simply as far west as one can get before crossing a sea. News from San Francisco via Jeffrey Songco who walks and talks the Mission neighborhood, covering a variety of exhibits currently on view:
I didn’t get a chance to post this yesterday, as I was sitting in the Music Box at their Noir Festival which I’d highly recommend if you feel like checking out some hard crime adventure during the last gasp of summer…More to the point, however — here are some opportunities that I came across, with special thanks to The Chicago Artist Resource where I found many of the following calls:
1. Media fellowships available for Brooklyn Based media artists:
Each year, the BRIC Media Education and Contemporary Art programs sponsor the BRIC Media Arts Fellowship. The Fellowship makes BRIC Media Education courses and facilities available to professional Brooklyn-affiliated visual artists (born, live, or work in Brooklyn) at no charge. We provide training programs and technical assistance in video and digital production and in post-production technologies. Our classes include both BRIC Media Arts Fellows as well as members of the general public interested in television production, creating a unique mix of interests in the classroom. Learn more here.
2. The annual HATCH artist residency deadline is coming up on October 6th.
HATCH Projects is a yearlong, juried incubator for contemporary Chicago artists and curators that strives to support an ecology of curatorial and artistic practice. A pioneering initiative of Chicago Artists’ Coalition (CAC), HATCH Projects fosters shared experimentation, exchange and creativity to produce ground-breaking exhibitions and programs. Twenty-four Artist Residents are accepted into HATCH Projects based on an application evaluated by the program’s four selected Curator Residents. Artist Residents are divided into groups of six to work with one Curator Resident throughout the year. Selected artists will participate in two exhibitions curated by the group’s assigned Curator Resident. Each Artist Resident receives professional development through dynamic exhibitions, one-on-one studio visits, public programs, and community building to develop a sustainable creative practice. More here.
3. Seeking Submissions for “Research Project #2″ – The Space Movement Project Deadline: Monday, September 30, 2013
Research Project is a low-tech works-in-progress performance series which brings performing artists together amidst their creative processes to show work, share process, give and receive feedback, start conversations and chew the fat. This opportunity provides a community forum for experimentation, emerging ideas and artist-to-peer support. Check out details here.
4. For artists interested in public/participatory performance for exhibition at MCA Chicago:
A House Unbuilt (HUB) is seeking artists who have experience with participatory performance and/or performance in public spaces for a one-day exhibition at the MCA Chicago. The exhibition will take place on October 1, 2013, and will feature a site-specific adaptation of HUB’s program DINNER DANCE, the choreographed meal. DINNER DANCE is a improvisational performance structured around the social choreography of mealtime. Toward a goal of public engagement for the MCA adaptation, HUB has devised a number of participatory “stations” to be facilitated by volunteer performers throughout the museum. These facilitators should have a sense of customer service, an ability for keen observation, and a performance presence in their own right. There will be 1-2 meetings/workshops in the weeks prior to the performances. Artists must be available for the day of October 1st. For more information, send resume, work sample/portfolio, recent photograph, and a letter of interest (containing brief description of similar past experience) to email@example.com.
9. There is a job opening for a Professional Development Associate at Mid-America Arts Alliance in Kansas City. Apply by Sept. 21, 2013.
This position is responsible for completing the administrative and support functions for the Professional Development (PD) division of Mid-America Arts Alliance (M-AAA). This includes, but is not limited to research, development, implementation, and evaluation of all professional development programs. This is accomplished by setting up/maintaining files, records and reports; processing paperwork and invoices; managing all details related to scheduling and the fulfillment of all program events. This individual may travel to coordinate event management and/or to represent MAAA as needed. On a day-to-day basis, this person answers questions and assists program participants to fully utilize program services. In addition, this person will be responsible for collecting, analyzing and preparing/presenting summaries of project evaluations and activities for publication and/or presentation as required. More here.
5. Want to make work in Hungary? Residency applications for HMC International Artist Residency Program due September 15, 2013.
HMC International Artist Residency Program, a not-for-profit arts organization based in Dallas, TX / Budapest, Hungary – provides national and international artists with the opportunity to produce new work while engaging with the arts community in Budapest, Hungary. “Artist residencies allow the time for dialogue and create connections that contribute to the future..” More info on their website here.
6. Garfield Park Conservatory seeks proposals from Chicago-based artists for creative interpretations of wind chimes for an exhibition in the exterior Conservatory gardens during October 2013. The deadline is August 30th.Read more about that here.
7. Submit exhibition proposals to The Comfort Station, a turn of the century structure turned multidisciplinary art space, by Saturday, August 31st, midnight:
We are currently accepting proposals from artists, emerging curators and organizations for our 2014-2015 calendar. It is our goal to connect artists and arts advocates through Comfort Station. Final 2014 schedule will be announced September 15th. To apply, please email firstname.lastname@example.org with the following information:
• An artist statement or curatorial concept supporting your proposed exhibition
• A link where we can view examples of artwork
• If no site is available, then please attach images to email (just please be conscious of file size)
• Bio, resume and/or CV
• Any special display considerations Comfort Station is open to proposals of artwork of all media; performance, sound art, installations are all highly encouraged.
Tracy Marie Taylor coming up at the Sub-Mission Sep 13 – Oct 26, 2013
8. The Sub-Mission deadline for artist proposals is August 30th. Read more about that here.
“I think I could turn and live with animals, they are so placid and self-contain’d,
I stand and look at them long and long…
No one is dissatisfied, no one is demented with the mania of owning things…”
- Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass
Two weeks isn’t time to make much work. While I was at ACRE this summer as one of several residents, I quickly realized how short, yet how important the time was. I left my life behind with great expectations, all of which were just shy of fulfilled, but what I gained was so much more than what I had hoped. Two weeks, I found, is just enough time to figure out where you are, how you are going to communicate with the people of the life you suddenly left, introduce yourself to 50 strangers, start making work and realize you never what to leave, and then, its over. Its just enough time to take a chance on something, knowing that the end is right around the corner, but that you’ve still made a commitment. Its enough and not enough — in our real lives, two weeks rarely means anything, because it never has a beginning or end, just bleeds from the past and into the future. At a residency, it is a liminal space and time, where all constants are upended without chaos. Any residency worth its salt can make your head spin with new ideas, old ideas seen new, new connections, blown minds, failed pasts and energetic futures yet to fuck up, and ACRE was no different — I am still reeling from the conversations and influence of the people I met there. But no where else is there a way of life that is not separate from art (at least not until the modern day Commercial Gallery gurgled and choked its way out of the murky banks of the Galapagos Island communal bathroom, where hundreds of exotic species of semi aquatic animals did their business). ACRE was about art, as a real and true way of life, that life could not exist without feeling your bare feet in the dirt and sand, your junk in muddy water and your mind in a swirl of whiskey, beer and camp fire, back again early the next morning, up with the rooster, a cup of coffee and a new book from the library to start fresh.
Photo by Lisa Walcott. Used with permission.
ACRE (Artist Cooperative Residency and Exhibitions) has just completed its fourth year as an artist residency based out of Chicago that occurs for three two week sessions each summer in the heart of the Driftless Region of Wisconsin. (Just a little east of the Mississippi on the bottom part of the state.) Residents utilize a fully staffed Wood shop, Screen printing studio, Recording studio and A/V Cabin while drawing from the sheer open space and beauty of the property. Rotating visiting artists, critics and presenters influence the space along with organic conversations that are a product of an artist bee hive. This model draws from the pedagogy of many graduate programs in art, yet ACRE removes itself from the institution due to its structure. Roughly twenty volunteer artists and musicians organize and run the program, volunteering 6 weeks of their summer (even more while planning the resulting exhibitions of past residents) towards helping others make art. Instead of focusing on their own work they facilitate the work of others. Right here, organization, politics and the board controlled interests typical of an institution are gone out the window, leading into a more natural system where everyone – staff, residents and visiting professionals – are interacting with each other the same. Communal meals, lovingly prepared by a dedicated kitchen staff, are perhaps the keystone of this success. Symbolically, class distinctions of laborer / patron are not just blurred but forgotten.
We started to see that money wasn’t present at ACRE. Yeah, we all paid for the residency and it was understood that it was crucial to everyone getting there. But through generosity and time did everything exist in the space, in an ever growing forgotten area of Wisconsin. At ACRE, money was only needed in the neighboring town of Boscobel, which only sold cheap beer by the 30 pack. (At least, I’m pretty sure that was their major industry.) Creating a space where financial transactions were discouraged helped separate the real world from this special place. Class distinctions, power struggles and money were nearly eliminated at ACRE. With only two weeks, a society cannot be established, and with the staff insisting on doing all the work involved with operating the residency, a utopian model does not completely apply. (Not that utopia is what they are after.)
Utopia as a reality is impossible to sustain, as human drama will eventually overcome and surmount a perfect existence. Some asshole always finds a way to get his agenda to the top of our concerns. Instead, what may be proposed here is a part time utopia: a form that allows a brief exposure to a utopian system in a format that seems possible. Likewise, the temporal nature of the system actually allows it to thrive, as human nature never gets the chance to ruin it. Able to geographically remove ourselves from city life we could fit within a more fulfilling life in this part time utopia; a utopian model which recognizes the inevitable failure of utopias. In the span of a two week residency, utopia can exist. We started to get it. Hammering it home was Ukiah, a six person artist collective from the Bay Area, who leave their day jobs once a week to build a cabin out of fallen timbers and mud on a ranch property. What does it mean to have a part time or temporary utopia in the context of art? Does this mimic how art is often made, in spurts of spare time, extracted from the pressures of the real world? Could a model of a part time utopia be sustained on a personal level? Is the idea of utopia important to the creation of art? Is its manifestation proof that art can create social change, or merely a distraction from art making? Do you really want to live forever? Alphaville lyrics reprinted without permission?
Utopia CAN happen, maybe only once a week, for two weeks at a time or a few moments, which can be nurtured. Maybe with practice, it will be with you always. For me, utopia is drifting down the Kickapoo River on dollar store inflatables mixing warm Pabst with the river water. Its singing Stevie Nicks and Otis Redding songs with everyone around and not caring who hears you, but that you’re heard. Its playing a four string Fender Squire in an empty grain silo that is better than an amplifier. It is eating a meal with 50 other people each night knowing all the ingredients were carefully and lovingly chosen from the immediate region. It is a constant exchange of ideas, and ideas as commodity, where money is replaced by beer or help with a project. Its understanding why Nick and Phil never wore shoes, and wishing you never bothered to pack any. Where dinner is served overlooking the sunset, and each sunset is better than the last. Every night is a celebration of the work done that day. Even the mosquitoes are contributing to your existence, saying: You Are HERE, as the mall map markers of the rural midwest. Fuck yeah, ACRE: You promised me transcendence in an email, and in real physical sweating pissing reality you delivered it.
SINCERE thanks goes to ALL the amazing staff who made this experience possible, and every resident, who, without being wiser, went along with it. Thank you. Thanks also to Lisa Walcott, for lending a photo of her experience.