An opening like no other took place on the last day of July at the freshly minted $250 million dollar Fashion Outlets of Chicago in Rosemont. Featuring 11 artists curated by miami based Primary Projects, the Fashion Outlet and newly formed collective, The Arts Initiative, did it up luxury outlet mall style at the preview of the various murals and installations throughout the mall. With work by Jen Stark, Jim Drain, Cody Hudson, Daniel Arsham and Bhakti Baxter, the art contained within might make this the edgiest mall ever.
Sam Vinz, Claire Warner and Aron Gent under the Friend’s With You inflatables installation at the Chicago Fashion Outlet.
A collision of Chicago’s and Miami’s most noteworthy in the arts, attendees danced the night away under the deft entertainment of DJ Sinatra and many many top shelf bars.
Friend’s With You’s Sam Borkson and fellow artist, Jim Drain, lovingly embrace at the reception.
Curious what was in the gift bag? A hat from Roxy, an iPhone 5 case from Coach (too bad I’m still only on that 4), a “The Arts Initiative” water bottle, a leather cuff from Ports, a security neck pouch from Samsonite, a “Fashion Outlets” pen and even a scarf from The Limited. Totally killer.
Drain’s completed mural.
Definitely recommend (even sans the gift bag).
Reading is Fundamental
Wait, I thought it was 2013!? If you like your iPhone and the internet, you would probably enjoy this sweet little read from the Summer 2013 issues of Artforum, 2011: Michael Sanchez on Art and Transmission. This recommendation comes from a bar, but is better than that makes it seem.
Trends Totally Trending: Not often is a gossip column the subject of gossip, but What’s the T? was recently featured in Art Info’s “In the Air: Art News and Gossip” spot for EXPO CHICAGO’s partners and special exhibitions. That’s right! WTT? is going IRL. We hope you’re as excited for The Expo Register as we are. Stay tuned y’all.
Total badass gets her due: Who knew that Ileana Sonnabend was so completely rad? She asked for a Matisse instead of a wedding ring. I mean, really. Thankfully, this piece by Kelly Crow for the Wall Street Journal sheds light on the major gallerist and collectors fascinating past. Sonnabend fans will be pleased to know that the MoMA just released plans for “Ileana Sonnabend: Ambassador for the New,” an exhibition which will feature some of Sonnabend’s most noteable discoveries and longtime friends.
Time to Slip at Gallery 400
Get back to the future at film screening
We heard a rumomr that the upcoming TIMESLIP film screening is not to be missed. Featuring 11 films by 10 makers, the screening is curated by Jesse Malmed and includes work by Jillian Mayer and Lucas Leyva, J.J. Murphy and Hollis Frampton.
From the horses mouth: This is going to be great. Time travel in the expanded field. Time-based media in the multiverse. Dream baby, trypp central, 2 Live Crew (seri), ducks, Adam and Eve, Judy Garland, hella headies, the first computer film, time tunnels, and on. And, like your mind, this is FREE. Surprises guaranteed.
A Miami Techno Transplantâ€™s take on the Demdike Stare Concert last Saturday
Iâ€™m here reporting from the Empty Bottle, celebrating my Chicago lifeâ€™s one week anniversary the way I prefer to spend all mildly festive occasions, by melting my brain with whiskey and dark techno. Tonight Iâ€™m all excited because I get to see one of my favorite bands live for the first time: DEMDIKE STARE. The duo is well known for merging occult, black magic vibes with droning electronics and sparse, off kilter beats. Demdike Stare have evolved their sound throughout the years from super dark horror movie vibes to dark worldly ragas and, finally, their latest releases reflect maturation of all these sounds with a bit of straight forward dark techno tastefully sprinkled in.
Needless to say, Iâ€™m fucking pumped.
I arrive at the venue â€œMiami timeâ€ which turns out to be just when shit starts everywhere. My circadian rhythm must be super on point today and I show up just as the first act, Stave, is going on. The set is some heavy industrial tech vibes. I am feeling it. A cigarette. Duane Pitre is up next delivering on some soothing melodious drone incorporating guitar loops and electronics. Lots of people are talking and not really listening but the vibe is right and everyoneâ€™s sonic palette is cleansed.
Iâ€™m in the ally evening out my buzz and the walls start to pulse. Demdike-fucking-Stare. I run inside. They spend the beginning of the set evolving drones, feeling out the crowd, reacting. What does the spirit of the crowd say? Probably something like, â€œTECHNO!â€ The bass kicks into 4/4 and as the crescendo of the track â€œDysologyâ€ hits everyone knows its getting serious. The visuals that accompany their live set become more frantic. The main themes of the video include babes and esoteric rituals, everyone approves. Just as my mind is about to transform into pure jelly, the set ends abruptly, like all good things in life. And everyone goes home to dream about robots and witches. The End.
The view inside of Praire Production.
Medium Cool and Partly Cloudy.
Despite cloudy weather, New Art Fair Shines.
Shame on you if you didn’t make it out to Sunday’s Medium Cool Art Book Fair, we know you heard about it. Rising like a pheonix, the fair was organized by Ria Roberts and brought out the most delicious coffee-table eye-candy ever seen in the West Loop.
These button’s were seriously trending.
Limited edition poster by Carson Fisk-Vittori
Fashionistas, Chelsea Clup and Ben Foch modeling the necklaces by Vincent Uribe and NoÃ«l Morical they picked up at LVL3’s booth.
Medium Cool Continued.
Trendsetter, Hamza Walker, models sunglasses (obviously) by Josh Reames from the LVL3 booth.
Issue Press‘s booth featuring a “Book Box” vending machine, manned by George Wietor.
Sofia Leiby‘s SCRAP HEAP booth featured scraps and ephemera from Chicago artists’ studios.
Header image features a detail of work by Justin Schmitz on display at Medium Cool.
Right now Iâ€™m taking a class with some paintersâ€”mostly we read, and talkâ€”and the other day, we were talking about endings. For painters, Iâ€™m learning endings mean say, photography, and intubated paint, and Rodchenko. Iâ€™m a writer so I started thinking about Samuel Beckett, the Independent Press Association, Kathy Ackerâ€™s parrots and pirates, her red/read. But more generally, meditating to â€œThis body will be a corpse,â€ and to be fair that really just used to crack me up. It is very hard for ex-Sad Teenage Girls like myself to meditate to that, because for so long we were like â€œYes I know, hurry up already.â€ Read more
A week or so before the recent NY Art Book FairÂ at PS1, Nicholas Gottlund of independent publisher Gottlund Verlag posted a ten-second clip from Seinfeld to his blog.Â “What is this obsession people have with books?” Jerry asks George, “They put them in their houses like they’re trophies. What do you need it for after youÂ readÂ it?”
George’s responseâ€””They’re myÂ books!”â€”is typical of George and probably plenty of other bibliophiles out there. But, even as many people (including my own parents) do the lion’s share of their reading on a Kindle these days, there are plenty of other less selfish reasons to go on clinging to the printed page. At the NY Art Book Fair, the profusion of independent publishers made a fine case for clearing out space on the shelves for books, whether they’re destined to be trophies or not.
Established in 2007, Gottlund Verlag is one of them. “Verlag” is the German word for “publisher,” and although Gottlund isn’t based in Germany (he works out of studios in Baltimore, MD and Kutztown, PA) the Teutonic flavoring is no mere affectation. The studio is housed in a picturesque nineteenth century Pennsylvania Dutch barn. There’s even hex signs painted on the walls. From this enchanting space, Gottlund collaborates with artists like photographers Coley Brown and Ed Panar on every step of the book’s design before producing them by hand in the studio. He and many of the other publishers were on hand at the fair to sell their wares and talk shop.
The entire fair was ripe with confabbing. I tripped into it myself in a corner room of PS1 given over to Werkplaats Typografie, a graduate design program in Arnhem, The Netherlands. The room had been turned into the “Mary Shelley Facsimile Library” of print media scanned and reproduced by current students in the program. As one of the students, Laure Giletti, explained to me, each student compiled a list of sources they’re interested in and wrote a text stringing them together. These “Frankensteined” annotated bibliographies were bound into nifty booklets and sold for three bucks each. Unlike Frankenstein’s monster, the booklets are held together by glue, notÂ stitching. The room was outfitted with coffee and cookies to encourage fellow bookworms to hang out and swap more references. Giletti reminded me of Abbie Hoffman’s Steal This BookÂ andÂ I went on and on about the Whole Earth CatalogÂ I had pored over earlier in the day.
Other folks were sharing their reference points too. Golden Age was also at the fair with their book Reference Work, published during a recent exhibition at the MCA Chicago. In it,Â proprietorsÂ Martine Syms and Marco Kane Braunschweiler share their favorite business books, self-help resources, a business course syllabus, andÂ personal notes on operating their store in Chicago. As they note, there’s no clear roadmap for running a successful art book shop. This makes searching out business aids that do existâ€”think of that aisle in any chain bookstore with the cringe-inducing coversâ€”aÂ necessity. The unapologetically commercial world of business self-help publishing might seem like the last place artists might look to for value, but Syms and Braunschweiler make the case that, if properly distilled, the references gathered in their book might actually prove helpful. It seems to me that this is the most any bibliophile could ask of the shelves sagging under the weight of his or her books. Rather than becoming trophies, one might hope that some volatile drops of wisdom might seep out from the shelves and, pooling together, set off sparks that bring the monster to life.
This week: Patrica, Brian, and Duncan chat with one-of-a-kind private art dealer and fountain of knowledge Steven Leiber. Steven Leiber is most commonly known for operating Steven Leiber’s Basement which specializes in the sale of contemporary art and contemporary art documentation: artist’s books, artist’s ephemera, multiples, works on paper and reference materials. The conversation delves in to the history of Steven’s artist ephemera collections and the unique catalogs his endeavors produce. This episode is part of the series recorded this fall at Baer Ridgeway Exhibitions.