Episode 196: Artists Run Chicago

May 31, 2009 · Print This Article

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Chicago Artworld Skyline
This week: Duncan talks to Britton Bertran and Allison Peters Quinn about Artists Run Chicago which is currently up at the Hyde Park Art Center.

Artists Run Chicago is an exhibition showcasing the energy and audacity of some of the most noteworthy artist-run spaces that have influenced the Chicago contemporary art scene over the past decade. Chicago has long been known for cultivating a strong entrepreneurial/Do-It-Yourself spirit in business and the arts. The participating artist-run venues have transformed storefronts, sheds, apartments, lofts, industrial warehouses, garages and roving spaces into contemporary art galleries testing the notion of “exhibition” while complicating the definition of art. Coinciding with the Hyde Park Art Center’s 70th anniversary, Artists Run Chicago reconnects the Art Center to its beginnings as an artist-run space by showcasing spaces that continue the legacy. Read more




Episode 195: InCUBATE

May 24, 2009 · Print This Article

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This week: Duncan and guest host Randall Szott talk to the fine folks from InCubate. After that interesting interview we flush the whole effing thing down the toilet by reviewing Harry Potter the Exhibition, where porno and Matthew Barney are discussed.

About InCUBATE (from their website):

In ways that have only become possible in the past few years, artist collectives and experimental institutions have begun to actively re-imagine alternate art worlds and alternative forms of curatorial practice in an attempt to disengage from the more traditional strategies governing today’s art market.

InCUBATE is a research institute dedicated to challenging current infrastructures, specifically how they affect artistic production. As art historians and arts administrators, our goal is to explore the possibility of developing financial models that could be relevant to contemporary art institutions, as well as collective or individual artist projects working outside an institution. Particularly, we are exploring financial models which are less constrained by external controls and market concerns and which are more effective, more realistic, and more relevant to both art and the everyday. Our goal is to continue to conceptualize new possible situations, document these innovations, and make this information available to everyone.

InCUBATE does not have non-profit status, instead we see our role as exploring new possibilities outside of the traditional models of 501c3 tax exempt status. We are interested in creating a network of opportunities and creative discussions, as well as sharing resources for creative urban and community planning and self-sustaining situations for art production. These activities include investigating current practices in public/private sponsorships for arts organizations, debating the pros and cons of incorporating as a non-profit, alternative means for financing ‘under-the-radar’ arts projects, and hosting exhibitions and symposiums to spark public discussion.

Centered in a storefront space adjacent to Chicago’s historic Congress Theater, we consider our location to be an integral part of our activities and mission. We are interviewing local artists, curators, organizers, and collectives whose thinking extends beyond traditional modes of production and distribution. These discussions will be made public in order to start an open source of information-sharing about processes and strategies. While exploring our own process of becoming a research institute, we will also become a resource for others, which will manifest in various on-going projects.

One of these projects aims to assist the production of future projects. Through using the open source software MediaWiki, InCUBATE plans to create a wiki that will function to collect information for projects, collect historical and contemporary data about discursive art making, as well as information directed by the wiki users. Read more




When Commercial Galleries “Flatline,” Apartment Galleries Give Hugs

March 6, 2009 · Print This Article

Deanna Isaacs reports in The Reader this week that Flatfile Galleries will close their doors on March 27. This comes on the heels of Rowland Contemporary’s demise last December. Are these the first of many deaths to come? Most likely. But there’s a bright side to this undeniably sad news, and it lies in Chicago’s thriving apartment and alternative gallery scene. Although I haven’t been living in these parts for long, and I’m definitely still feeling my way around,  it seems to me that Chicago’s art world is uniquely primed not only to weather these disastrous economic times but to thrive in the midst of them. Now, I’m not trying to get all Holland Carter on your asses (see Carter’s Feb. 15th essay in the New York Times for what I’m referring to; earlier this week New York magazine writer Alexandra Peers offered a gloomier rebuttal of Carter’s sunny outlook for recession-era art). My point is that Chicago’s artists, indie curators and writers have been doing their own thing for a long time: running tiny galleries and think-tank type workshops out of spare rooms in their homes and apartments, creating flexible art and cultural storefront spaces whose content isn’t solely object- or market-driven–eh, you’re all BAS listeners, you don’t need me to tell you this.  I’m not denying that a crap art market has seriously bad ripple effects on everyone; but in these times the Chicago art world–especially the one that’s a bit harder to find and is usually only open on Saturdays, Sundays, or by appointment–offers a powerful and creative model of how to carry on with the business of art when the art business is going down the tubes. I, for one, am glad I’m here right now.