Big announcements were totally trending this past week. We’ve all heard about Colbert’s leaving his seat at Comedy Central for Letterman’s coattails and George Lucas’s ridiculous plans for a museum in Chicago. In a Tribune article, Lucas called Chicago his “second home,” and his second choice for a museum location. WTT? hopes that if Rahm saw the website for the first go-around in San Fransisco he might not be so enthused on the prospect. We’re stoked that Lucas has decided to open his purse in Chicago, but why not have him take a look at the freaking Cultural Plan, Emmanuel?!
Anyway, WTT? is all about what’s going on on the ground and it’s a big game of musical chairs over here. After approximately 13 years as a producer for WBEZ, Alison Cuddy shocked the twitterverse last week with the announcement that she will be leaving the radio station on the pier for the post of Programming Director of Chicago Humanities Festival. Artistic director, Matti Bunzl, called Cuddy a “game changer” for CHF in a statement released last Thursday.
Other Chicago area shakeups include the appointment of Allison Glenn, former Program Manager of the Arts Incubator at the University of Chicago, as the new director of Monique Meloche. The gallery released the announcement via Facebook last Wednesday to much fanfare and many likes.
Jayaram speaking at the Cultural Center on April 3rd. Photo: Dan Rest.
Unless you just got back from a residency in Antarctica, you should already know former CAC director, Carolina Jayaram, is leaving the organization she brought back from the dead for the confusingly named United States Artists, a mega-fund for artist fellowships founded by the Big Four foundations (Ford, Rockefeller, Prudential and Rasmuson). What is news though, is that @USAforART is leaving Los Angeles for the new CEO’s chosen home of Chicago. Just when everyone seems to be moving towards the coasts, Chicago scores a big one against LA!
Local supporters of the organization were on hand for Jayaram’s announcement at the Cultural Center April 3rd, including USA Fellow David Hartt and Board Member, Jack Guthman. In her speech Jayaram gave a shout out to the women presidents who came before and lauded Chicago as the perfect place for USA to express it’s mission of elevating artists through generous annual fellowships. Jayaram also made some significant announcements regarding Chicago hiring and the parties that usually surround the USA award ceremony, hear it for yourself on the WTT? soundcloud.
USA Fellows David Hartt, Ella Jenkins, and USA CEO Carolina Jayaram. Photo: Dan Rest.
The Real Portlandia Curious about how to get your art from the auction haus to your home in California tax free? The NYT offers this informational guide that will make your blood boil. Even the schmancy business collectors using the tax loophole think the code should be “tightened.” Oye vey.
Can you eat attention currency? Is that like bit coin or something? While art collectors are busy evading taxes, the “avant-garde” are apparently duking it out for “likes”. Think it’s asinine? I’ll let Brad Tromel explain in his essay posted on Josh Abelow’s art blog (art blog). Talk amongst yourselves.
“Can I ask you a gossipy question?” Erik Wenzel is giving us all the gossip we could ever want but still leaves us wanting more in this vivid profile on the life and times of Rene Ricard. Wenzel recounts his meeting with the recently deceased and little known, but highly visible member of Warhol’s rat pack. Ricard dishes on The Radiant Child and why Julian Schnabel is a little bitch.
T around Town
There’s enough to go around.
I don’t know if it’s the weather or the addition of the Spring benefits and auctions but things have been really heating up around Chicago. Here are some of WTT?‘s top picks from the past two weeks.
Friday, April 4th, marked the introduction of the Drapes of Wrath, a new unisex jewelry line by Ashley Scott (aka Drapes). Scott’s Wrath debut followed the impressive look book for the collection, shot by Foto by Mateo and styled by Mister Wallace. It was just the spark we needed to set off the Spring.
Scott with her Wrath Pack.
The champaign filled affair took place in a east side loft that, like the line itself, was equal parts swanky and gritty. During the presentation Scott led members of her “Wrath Pack” (Mateo, Wallace, Impolite Society’s Elee Ecks, sound engineer Westly Parker and budding politician Derek Elliott Bagley) to a platform where she proceeded to “drape” them with her black fringed masterworks. The crowds eyes got progressively bigger as Scott plied her pack with distinctive square chains, ornate black fringe bolero tie/ brooches and what could only be described as the only hot boutineer we’ve ever laid eyes on. Big s/o and thank you to Drapes for inviting us to preview her lovely line and especially for rescuing my lost earing!
The Vision: Scott with Foto by Mateo & Mister Wallace at the premiere.
After the Drapes preview we had to sprint to Greg Ito and Jonah Susskind’s opening at the Hills Esthetic Center. Hailing from Northern California, the artists used their exhibition at The Hills as in experiment in working collaboratively. Something Other Than explores the potential of their collaboration and, with a huge stage-like platform in the middle, the art in the gallery itself. If this exhibition is any indication, they should definitely be working together more often. All the pink you could want and a curtain covered in pearls? Yes, please.
Ito & Susskind in front of Air Jordan Sailor Moon and the draped curtain.
Home Improvement at the Hills.
Curious about the gay mafia? You probably should have been at the Tony Green opening last Saturday at Iceberg Projects in Rogers Park. Curated by John Neff and featuring a swath of great Chicago artists, did someone say queer mafia?
Talk amongst yourselves.
A handkerchief embroidered with beard hair by Miller & Shellabarger.
Now you only have to go all the way to Rogers Park instead of NY to see #WhiBi artists.
Oli Rodriguez points out some mafia action to Jason Foumberg at the opening.
Surprising work by Tony Greene.
Latham Zearfoss with his curtain and work by Tony Greene.
We could have stayed at Iceberg forever, but we had tickets to the Summer Forum Fundraiser at TUSK. At 9PM the bidding was just getting serious. We witnessed a few bidding wars over work by Paul Cowan, Andrew Holmquist, Joel Dean and Kate Ruggeri. Art was purchased, friendships were severed, all in the name of fun-raising and supporting so much more than a residency. Missed the auction? You can still donate to the kickstarter.
Robert Chase Heishman trying to get the crowds attention for a raffle.
Karolina Gnatowski REALLY enjoying a walking taco made by Mr. EZ-Livin, Eric May, for the event.
The Summer Forum Posse featuring the return of Sarah Knox Hunter from Richmond!
Sarah and Joseph Belknap brought their cosmic energy and their moon rocks to the lux downtown Arts Club last Monday, April 7th. The evening featured a conversation with the artists and plenty of wine and cheese to go around. We unfortunately missed the First Friday featuring more Belknap rocks, but we heard a rumor that the duo will be exhibiting at the MCA BMO Harris Bank space soon.
Never before seen shots of the Arts Club sweet upstairs lounge!
Even more “T of the Town”!
SAIC Curatorial Fellow Ross Jordan with ACRE Director Emily Green at the event.
Sarah & Joseph ready for their close up.
Their garden installation, Afterglow, will be on view at the Arts Club until May 20th.
The Collection of Richard Hull & Madeline Nusser on view at ADDS DONNA
Last up for the T around Town is the show 858, works from the collection of Richard Hull & Madeline Nusser which opened yesterday at ADDS DONNA. Hull & Nusser’s collection is a splendid sampling of Chicago artists and various other odds & ends, situating the collection squarely within the legacy of Imagist greats included in the collection, Roger Brown and Ray Yoshida. Nusser and Hull were on hand, providing precious context. What a way to end the weekend!
Hull & Nusser at ADDS DONNA Sunday.
This small collage by Ray Yoshia was revealed to have been a birthday gift to Hull.
Litho on chiffon by William T. Wiley.
An assortment of objects and artworks in 858.
Header image features work in 858, The Collection of Richard Hull and Madeline Nusseron view at ADDS DONNA in Garfield Park until May 18th (the same day the Logan Square Farmers Market opens for the season!).
“Out of the Mouths of Artists” is a new bi-monthly series on the Bad at Sports blog. The series presents a space for guest artist bloggers– of varying career statuses– to write, to reflect, to pontificate on their current situations, failures and/or successes, and ideas on what it means to be an artist. “Out of the Mouths of Artists” also gives readers a glimpse into artists’ portfolios and studios.
3D Tortoise, 2014
Guest Post by Daniel G. Baird
I have been thinking a lot about tortoises lately. Or, rather, I’ve recently realized that they’ve been on my mind for some time without my knowing. I don’t mean the literal animal, but rather the idea of it as both carrying an exterior ‘world’ upon its back and also having an interior world (its home) affixed to the structure of its body. I see the tortoise relating to other structures in the world and it has recently emerged as a signifier in my own work.
In Hindu, Chinese and Native American mythology, the tortoise is a familiar character that holds the weight of an entire cosmology. It is like a little world. Underside as the surface, interior as the experienced world and shell as the enclosed sky. Because it is seen as containing a depiction of the world in its entirety, it necessarily enters into the question of origins; If the tortoise has the world on its back, then what world is it standing on? Its not the origin-mythology aspects of the tortoise that interest me however. I see the shell of a tortoise as a type of memory-object, something that in its form holds a reference to its own function. Tools also do this. Like the way a child-proof medicine bottle contains the idea of an eventual arrival at a mature understanding of objects in the world.
The tortoise lives a long life and through its endurance and longevity feels almost timeless. With a lifespan similar to ours, the tortoise carries the passage of time on its shell. Some sea-turtles have entire micro-habitats of barnacles and algae attached to their back.
At the present moment, floating 230 miles above our heads, a global research laboratory called the International Space Station is conducting experiments in biology, physics, astronomy, meteorology and other fields in a state of microgravity. For me, it is like the tortoise shell because it carries a world within itself. The ISS is a machine thats working to create conditions for life to exist in zero gravity. With all the knowledge it collects, we can imagine that it might have the capability to make the conditions of another earth within the harshness of space.
Another allusion to the metaphor of the tortoise that is on my mind relates to something more graspable and familiar to us. It can be found within the flat surfaces of computer screens and ‘smart’ phones. These things that transfer information via a representation share a direct affinity to the ancient cave-paintings that are at the root of the history of image-making.
Every device with access to the internet is a TARDIS-like object. In the popular Dr. Who television show the TARDIS is a time machine and spacecraft in an unassuming British police box (vessel) that has the peculiar attribute of containing an infinite space in its interior. It has a close relationship to the dichotomy of the physical and virtual. It is a vessel that carries an interior world.
At present Google is providing the platform for an accurate pictorial representation of the world accessible from the internet. With GoogleEarth we are presented with the Earth as an object to be navigated at will. Through this program, we can pseudo-experience and access locations in the world that are beyond our physical capabilities. Navigating within the Street-View option is a personalized endeavor. After you find your house, which is almost the first thing anyone does, you can transport yourself over vast distances and meander through unfamiliar streets, and never physically move an inch. I’m entertained by the idea that the devices in our pockets are like little tortoises that contain infinite worlds; when you look into the screen you are actually peering into its shell.
Google Earth image
The collating of diverse materials, processes and objects that have specific embedded ideas is one facet that could characterize the process in my work. I do not feel the materials and ideas emerge from a research-based practice but rather from a jogging around, and through, interests that have become accumulated and built upon from earlier pieces.
I try to engage in both the macro/micro and physical/virtual worlds of signification. For me, a gradation of earth tone colors has the possibility of pointing towards the structure of geological sediment, a 3d scan of an architectural detail contains the entirety of the building it came from or a used ejection seat has wrapped within it the narrative possibility of terror and release from the technological marvel of flying through the sky. The interest in the tortoise I feel comes from a desire I have towards creating an entire cosmology in a piece. Its use in recent work nods to this impulse.
Baird’s “Capsule (the Tortoise),” 2014
Daniel G. Baird (b. 1984) received a BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and a MFA from the University of Illinois at Chicago. Recent Solo exhibitions include ‘Strata’ at Andrew Rafacz gallery, Chicago; ‘Vestige’ at the Institute of Jamais Vu, London; ‘Has the World Already Been Made? X4? at both Roots and Culture, Chicago, and Hedah, Maastricht; ‘Meridian’ at Robert Bills Contemporary, Chicago; ‘This New Ocean,’ at Appendix Project Space, Portland. Recent Group exhibitions include Bowling Alone, Andrew Rafacz Gallery; Merge Visible, Prairie Productions, Chicago, and Panoptic Measures, Elizabeth Foundation, NY. He will present work at LVL3 this spring and at Leeds College of Art and Design in 2015. See more of Baird’s work at www.danielgbaird.com.
I have always been intimidated by poetry. When I think of poetry, I recall an elementary classroom–a noiseless space scattered with uniformed children and indistinct faces neatly arranged in square sections of four desks. I recall a voice that I do not hear in my memory but I know it had existed. The voice reads the poetry–line by line–and reveals the invisible intentions and underlying meaning of each word. In my recollection, I stare hopelessly at an unknowable arrangement of words, desperately yearning to know how the voice could infer all of this meaning from this senseless pattern of chaos.
I still feel this twitch when I am faced with poetry, especially colloquially brilliant poetry–the type of verse that belittles my ability to comprehend my native tongue. There is always a good chance that I won’t get it–that I won’t understand the cadence or the meaning and I will leave yet another encounter with the genre unfulfilled and feeling inadequate. In Phillip Hanson’s latest show at Corbett vs. Dempsey, “I Am A Child Of The Light, Student Of The Dark,” I had respite from my deficiencies.
I’m Nobody! Who Are You? (Dickinson) 2014 oil on canvas 60″ x 48″
Phillip Hanson is a crafty veteran who has never rested on his laurels or let institutional attachments limit his range. Alluding to the Chicago Imagists as a way of situating his paintings within the context of the establishment seems a disservice to Hanson’s evolution as an artist and painter whose work has grown exponentially since that historical waypoint, but there are certain aesthetic tendencies that exist as a reminder of Hanson’s beginnings.
Such a reminder might be Hanson’s palette–a saturated and at times electric color that refers to the 1960’s underground comic culture that is known to have influenced the Imagist’s work. Though in this grouping of work–as the title of the show suggests–Hanson puts this electric palette to work. He utilizes light to draw his audience into his paintings–just as a bug would be drawn to the streetlight. However, the zap you get when you arrive within inches of these paintings doesn’t kill you–it is more of a pulsing energy that continuously reverberates in Hanson’s color schematics.
He who binds to himself a joy (Blake) 2014 oil on canvas 50″ x 42″
This forced proximity Hanson achieves is an essential element to the success of these paintings, which deploy the words of William Blake, Emily Dickinson, and William Shakespeare in a reticulation of architectural space that seems to exist without consequence. As the eye and brain attempt to follow a line of poetry unto the next line, Hanson breaks that continuity with form–he denies that structure to forge anew the way poetry is consumed and thus, understood. It is in the visual language that this text is articulated and this strategy undermines our rationale–or what we have built (in the English language) as our methodology for creating images within our imagination through text by reading left to right and top to bottom. In this way, the poems become more accessible to a deficient reader, such as myself, and the paint speaks in no definite servitude to text.
While the large paintings in the main portion of the space are luminaries that are difficult to pull away from, there are a few smaller gems toward the rear of the gallery that recall the work that Hanson has included in the 2014 Whitney Biennial. As in the Whitney show, these works offer a moment of intimacy with the artist–a magnification of Hanson’s deft hand as well as a reprieve from the noise in the surrounding space. In both shows, these small works are precisely placed and welcomed juxtapositions to their environments.
After great pain (Dickinson) 2011-2014 oil on canvas 50″ x 46″
Hanson’s iterations of these poems seem to pronounce a very personal reading of the originals–an emotive response that has generated an impetus to paint. Through his paintings, Hanson releases these emotions in the imagined forms produced through the words and rearranges the words as formal considerations for the paintings.
In this very telling title, “I Am a Child of the Light, Student Of The Dark,” Phillip Hanson alludes to a surrender–an annunciation of his humanity and a loss of control. The words may be someone else’s, but the arrangements are Hanson’s and his understanding of the grand narratives that ground these poems are the swinging doors through which all of us can pass.
Because you, our loyal listeners and readers, bring so much awesome to this site, we have here a whole lotta something to help you grow and maintain your awesomeness. Yes, for a monthly post of opportunities, we’ve partnered up with the experts: Chicago Artists Resource, the city and the Midwest’s central platform for listings of opportunities that include jobs, calls, residencies, awards, and other opportunities galore. Each month, the CAR folks will put together a list of quality local and international opportunities that you should know about. Plus, you can continue on to their site to see more. And of course, if you have any questions or want to add an opportunity, you can get in touch with CAR directly by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Public Art League (PAL) in Champaign-Urbana, Illinois is seeking artists to display sculptures in our community. Selected sculptures will be installed in the community metro area and will serve as major visual anchor points, community identity and a statement that creativity and art are of vital importance to our existence in Central Illinois. The Public Art League (PAL) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that advances public art in the Champaign-Urbana urban areas.
Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me! is seeking a whipsmart writer/producer to join our small production team. Our ideal candidate is someone who loves knowing what’s going on in the world and has something creative and funny to say about it. We want a strong editorial voice that compliments the tone and voice of the show. A comedy writing background is preferred. We prize flexibility and agility. As a small, collaborative group, we rely on each other to assist on all aspects of production as needed.
Along with writing jokes and researching material, you will also serve as a kind of ambassador for the show. One of the primary responsibilities is developing and overseeing Wait Wait’s social media presence. You will also be interacting every day with listeners, interviewing and selecting contestants.
Calling all Artists, Designers, Craftpersons and Innovators! The first annual BLUE Bazaar is an indoor one-day market festival held in Pilsen neighborhood. Artists of all kinds are invited to apply to present and sell their work to the public and community members of BLUE1647.
The festival is a fundraiser for an entrepreneurial incubator space, BLUE1647. The table fee goes directly to BLUE1647, but your sales on the day of the event are yours to keep. The fair will be held on Saturday May 17, 2014 from 10 am – 6 pm in the Pilsen neighborhood. The market will be held indoors at BLUE1647 located at 1647 South Blue Island Ave.
The Aaron Siskind Foundation is offering a limited number of Individual Photographer’s Fellowship grants of up to $10,000 each, for artists working in photography and photo-based art. Recipients will be determined by a panel of distinguished guest judges on the basis of artistic excellence, accomplishment to date, and the promise of future achievement in the medium in its widest sense. The Foundation seeks to support artists/photographers who demonstrate a serious commitment to the field, who are professionally active or employed in the field. The entry fee for this grant is $10USD.
Fall Artists in Residence at Ox-Bow are given the time, solitude, and focus often unavailable to so many working artists. The application is open to all persons who are not currently full-time students. At Ox-Bow, artists can enjoy 24-hour access to their studios, and an inspirational setting, free from the expectations of commercial and academic demands.
During the fall season, Artists in Residence have the opportunity to work in studios not available during the summer session. They also enjoy a more intimate community of like-minded, and diverse professionals. The fall season is also an ideal time to propose group or collaborative work.
Celeste Prize 2014 is an international contemporary arts prize which supports quality work by emerging artists in a worldwide, talent scouting environment. Every year thousands of artists use the prize to promote their works and their careers.
20,500 € cash prizes:
Project Prize 4,000 euro
Painting & Drawing Prize 4,000 euro
Photography & Digital Graphics Prize 4,000 euro
Video & Animation Prize 4,000 euro
Installation, Sculpture & Performance Prize 4,000 euro
Visitors Choice Prize 500 euro
Dave Brockie, better known as Oderus Urungus, frontman of the band GWAR, passed away on March 23rd. He was found dead in his Richmond home by a fellow band member. As of this writing, murder and suicide have been ruled out as causes of Brockie’s death,while drugs are still being considered a possibility. Drugs seem likely. Drugs featured prominently in the band’s lyrics (which may not be significant, considering that necrophilia, bestiality, and mass murder were common themes as well) and in Brockie’s autobiographical writing as well. According to police, there was evidence of drug use at the scene. While the official autopsy report is yet to be released, it seems probably that Brockie died of a drug overdose.
Much is often made, in the wake of a celebrity’s death, and especially a premature death to drugs or suicide, of what lesson we might learn, of the pressures of fame, the ills of society, and so on. We are asked what lesson we might learn, and also (often as we are being asked for a contribution to a foundation) what the celebrity would have wanted. Of course, on one level it’s irrelevant: the celebrity is dead, and so their wishes are irrelevant. Funerals are for the living. I never knew Dave personally, but if you ask me what lesson he’d want us to learn from his death, I’d say, “Not a damned thing.” He’d want us to steal his corpse from the medical examiner’s office and have sex with it.
GWAR was started in the 1980s by a group of art students at Virginia Commonwealth University. Hunter Jackson was a VCU student working on a film called Scumdogs of the Universe (later to be used as the title of GWAR’s second album). Brockie was the singer for a punk band called Death Piggy. Jackson (better known to GWAR fans as Techno Destructo) was using an old warehouse to film his movie; Death Piggy rehearsed in the same warehouse. The two got to know each other, and GWAR was born. (Sort of. As is generally the case, the truth is a lot more complicated, but that’s the short version.
I haven’t been able to confirm whether or not Dave Brockie was himself enrolled at VCU, but many of the founding memers of GWAR were, including Jackson, and Chuck Varga (who performs in GWAR as Sexecutioner). In a 1994 interview with Live Wire Magazine, Varga talked about leaving the fine art path to join GWAR: “I went to college, I went the fine art route, and it really turned me off. I was really creative, but at the same time, I wasn’t into fine or commercial art. It seemed like art was really a dead end thing to get into. I was hanging around with Hunter (Jackson, Techno Destructo when he’s around, “a lowly slave” when he’s not) Dave (Brockie, Oderus Urungus, the vocalist), who were totally crazy, much like myself. They totally reviled in comic books and movies, and II kind of looked at myself and said, ‘I’ve always been into that! I don’t need a bunch of goddamned museum bullshit!’ So I had a rebirth in a way, forget everything I learned in college, and I started to learn about a totally different science of special effects and props.” (http://spookykids.net/gwar/gwarpage/Unmasked.html)
He could have gone for general. He went for himself instead.
More than any cautionary tale about drugs and the stereotypes of the rock and roll lifestyle, the lesson to take away from Dave Brockie’s death is to look at his life, and the lives of his bandmates, past and present, living and dead. A nineteen year old punk singer from Canada, Brockie met some art students who were tried of trying to make it in what by 1985 they were already seeing as an overly repressive and stagnated art world. Though they would probably have simultaneously shat and vomited at the language, what they did next was a finer piece of interdisciplinary, collaborative, relational aesthetics than most projects to be so called. They presaged the rough aesthetics of Nathalie Djurburg (http://www.lissongallery.com/artists/nathalie-djurberg-hans-berg/gallery) and the wet, sticky grotesque of Gregory Jacobsen (http://gregoryjacobsen.com/). Under the rotted surface, their work contained a subtle and no-one-is-safe political satire, like an X-rated version of Vermont’s Bread and Puppet. And it all started when a punk singer and some art students decided that instead of banging their heads against the ceilings in their respective fields, they’d strap on some big rubber dicks and go for broke.