Episode 98: Escultura Social: A New Generation of Art from Mexico City

July 15, 2007 · Print This Article

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This week Duncan and Richard talk to Julie Rodrigues Widholm and a number of the artists from the hot hot hot new show at the MCA – Escultura Social: A New Generation of Art from Mexico City.

Duncan talks to Packard Jennings about his residency at ThreeWalls.

Richard is turning into Ed Anger.

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Call to Arms, an open letter from Paul Klein

June 4, 2007 · Print This Article

Art Protest

The City Council is on the verge of passing an ordinance that is bad for Chicago, bad for its citizens and particularly bad for the art community.

We have proposed an alternative ordinance that will not be considered unless you act.  We are the following groups: Bad at Sports, the Chicago Artists Coalition, Lumpen, Sharkforum, ArtLetter and others to be named soon.

Short Story:

Mayor Daley and the Department of Cultural Affairs (DCA) have proposed a terrible ordinance to modify the Public Art Program.  The stated reason makes no sense: that the meetings were open to the public was cumbersome and unnecessary in their judgment.  That the previous ordinance existed for 25 years and that the City has an exemplary art collection they deemed irrelevant.

  • It “privatizes” the the selection of public art by eliminating all Open Meetings.
  • It means the DCA does not have to post thorough information on their website about upcoming commissions.
  • It will remove transparency and accessibility from the Public Art program and  art commissions.
  • It eliminates voting, democracy and public recourse.

Unless the art community acts the City Council will approve their proposed ordinanceon the 13th of June.  The best way to prevent this from happening is for artists to

stage a large rally at 5:30 PM Monday, June 11th at the Picasso Sculpture

and a letter writing campaign to make the Mayor and the Aldermen aware of what Chicago artists think and want.

Full Story:

  • Visualize 100’s of Chicago artists rallying around a single cause – Artists’ Rights.
  • Have you ever read about a large group of artists speaking out publicly with one voice?
  • Think about the media coverage.
  • To a large extent the events of the next ten days stand to significantly affect the future of Chicago artists (and Chicago galleries that care about their
    Chicago artists).

Here’s the deal:

In mid-May at the request of the Commissioner of Cultural Affairs (Lois Weisberg), Mayor Daley proposed an ordinance to revamp the Public Art Program. 
This proposed ordinance is bad government, bad for Chicagoans and particularly bad for the Chicago art community and artists.

Shortly after the ordinance sailed through committee (despite us “winning” the discussion) a few of us succeeded in having the measure postponed by the City
Council.

WELL, the issue is coming back up for a City Council vote on June 13th.  We’ve spoken to a number of aldermen.  Most aldermen think: If the artists don’t care, we don’t care.

It is possible to change the system and it is not going to be easy. 

It is time to step up or get stepped on.

As an artist or a member of the art community in Chicago, or elsewhere, if you ever want to able to apply for a commission, or give a damn about your peers
being able to, now is the time to act:

  • Appear at a RALLY FOR ARTISTS’ RIGHTS on the Monday the 11th at 5:30 at the Picasso
    – 2 days before the City Council meets to vote on the 13th.
  • Write letters to the Tribune & Sun Times editorial page.
  • Write a letter to the Mayor
  • Write a letter to your alderman. Speak to your alderman.
  • Speak in favor of Our New (alternative) Ordinance supporting Artist’s Rights
  • Send an email to me or a member of our team telling us what you think. We’ll count them, print them and share them where they’ll hopefully make a difference.
  • Under the pretense of streamlining the selection process, the DCA’s proposed ordinance means the DCA does not have to have “open meetings” to give or get any information to artists about upcoming commissions, nor answer to anyone about selected commissions.
  • They do not have to put information on their website anymore (they’ve been doing a horrible job putting out information so far.)
  • They do not have to allow artists to apply for specific projects.
  • They do not have to respond to the community.
  • They do not have to be responsible for their actions.
  • They do get to keep their inbred selection process whereby they dip into their archaic database, pick whoever they want, sometimes repeatedly, and not have to tell artists why or how they chose or choose.
    If you are going to write a letter, here are some key points.
  • No fair, honest or open consideration of Chicago artists
  • No Open Meetings.
  • No useful listings of commission possibilities
  • No applying for a specific commission
  • No knowing why you weren’t considered
  • Under their proposed new ordinance, the finger-pointing will shift from the DCA to the aldermen because alderman will be asked to have ward forums to discuss art commissions in their ward. This will be an added logistical and financial responsibility for the alderman they may not want.  The aldermen will be responsible to post notice of the forums (many don’t have web sites). They will have to pay for postage out of their own pockets. They will have to host and attend art meetings in their wards. They will have to put up with the potential for dividing their community over art issues. These selfish reasons may be sufficient reason aldermen will defeat this ordinance June 13th – if they are informed.
  • If the aldermen think you care, you will be heard.
  • If the aldermen don’t think you care they will automatically vote with the Mayor and pass this ordinance assuring a closed doors, patronage system where those who are favored will get the most commissions.  It will not be based on quality, or a competent committee considering your work.  Instead of a democracy we’ll have the Department of Cultural Affairs acting like a country club, picking who they want, why they want, without opening up the selection process and broadening the amount of art they can consider.
  • The artists suffer.  The City suffers. The community suffers. The DCA gets a free ride.
  • Think about Chicago’s reputation in the rest of the country.
  • We are already being discussed by National Public Art Administrators
    • We will be a topic of discussion at the National Public Art Conference in Las Vegas.
    • Is this going to look good for Chicago in the rest of the country?
  • How about internationally?
  • How about the Olympics?
    • Every Olympics has a large Cultural Olympics held concurrently.
    • Do you think the Olympic Committee is going to be favorably impressed with this ordinance?
  • You and the Olympics
    • Hidden in the bowels of their ordinance is a distinction between Percent for Art and Public Art. The DCA has succeeded in keeping this totally vague. All Percent for Art (a specific term) is part of Public Art (a general term).  Only the Percent for Art must have public forums.(Percent for Art applies to money spent in City government buildings and land.  But Public Art also includes money for art not for city property yet still administered by DCA – like housing to be constructed for Olympic athletes – which could be billions of dollars.) Can you say cronyism?
    • Well get this: According to their proposed ordinance they only have to have forums (namby-pamby discussions with not binding authority and no vote) with Percent for Art. Okay, but for Public Art they don’t even have to have any forums at all.
  • Who do you think they are trying to take care of?
  • Actions speak louder than words.

Paul KleinDo
you understand why the Mayor doesn’t care about you – the Chicago artist? Or why the Alderman don’t, or the rest of the world for that matter?  Because you haven’t made yourself seen and you haven’t made yourself heard enough.

It is time again to assume responsibility for your career, to take a stance.

Can you visualize the impact just 500 artists showing up at a rally could have globally?

Do you realize the publicity Chicago artists can get?

Do you grasp the impact the discussion of this ordinance will have?

You can either shape your future constructively or get screwed.

It is up to you.
Paul Klein




Episode 88: Art Fair Part Deux!

May 6, 2007 · Print This Article

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This week Art Fair Part Deux. In response to blog comments I am attempting something
new, and listing the times of the bits. Which I must say is one more damn task
to complete for the show, but I’ll try it and see if it drives me insane.

0:00-11:25 Intro, overall recap and lots of snotty commentary by Duncan, Amanda,
and Richard.

11:40-22:10 Team Browder (Amanda and Dolly Browder) with Susan Hobbs on the
Susan Hobbs Gallery.

22:20-29:05 Team Queer Ghetto Bus (Terri, Serena and Meg) talk to folks from
the Thomas Robertello Gallery: guests Thomas Robertello , Adam Ekberg ,Lily
McElroy, Hybinette + Richards

29:10-34:00 TB talks to artist David Opdyke with Roebling Hall Art Gallery
and Dolly gives some of the best insight ever!

34:10-37:38 TQGB talks to the Williamsburg based Eyewash Gallery and Larry
Walczak and Paul Kurman.

37:50-46:05 TB talks to Santiago Cucullu with High Point Press about his work.

46:20-49:55 TQGB talks to the delightful artist Anni Holm with Orleans Street
Gallery and the art scene in St. Charles Illinois.

50:05-58:40 Joel Beck Who runs Roebling Hall Gallery who curated the video
installation spectacle in the lobby along with Steven Levy.

58:45-1:05:35 TQGB talks about Brittany’s va-jay-jay and with the fine folks
from the Capla Kesting Gallery: David Kesting, John Leo, Daniel Edwards, Martina
Kubinyi

1:05:45-1:14:00 TB Talks to Steve Zavvatero and Heather Marx of The Heather
Marx Gallery from San Francisco. Amanda tries to start a knife fight.

1:14:20-1:19:30 The Team Browder wrap up which is a delightful conversation
between Amanda and Dolly recapping Dolly’s first Art Fair experience. This is
my personal favorite moment in the show.

1:19:30-1:22:45 Closing credits and quips, never to be missed.

Whew! That was some serious typing for 6 a.m. on a Sunday.

Lastly, while looking for a picture for this weeks show, I stumbled upon this
link on Anni Holm’s site, check out the story and help if you can. Anni should
e-mail us so we can have them both on to talk about it.

http://work.colum.edu/~aholm/Home/Mei.html
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Episode 87: Art-ver-bridge-opolis part 1

April 29, 2007 · Print This Article

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As we recover from Sharkstock 2007 we diligently post Episode #87 the first installment of our team coverage of Artropolis, Version, Bridge, Sharkstock and a bunch of other cool stuff we went to in the last few days. Also prior to our soiree at Sonotheque we it Tony Fitzpatrick’s kickass opening at Architrove which was so crowded I nearly had a panic attack, I got to meet his Mom, who was utterly delightful. Paul Klein spent most of the fair weekend worried that we were stalking him as we were oddly on the exact same schedule at all times.

This weeks installment consists of a mix of stuff, next week we focus on interviews with gallerists and artists.

To top it all off special guest star Dolly Browder joins in!!!

The intro has a name mysteriously bleeped out. Cast your vote on our blog on who you think it was.

Team Browder reviews New InSight the exhibition of fancy-pants fresh young MFA’s curated by Susanne Ghez who, despite being a perfectly lovely person, steadfastly refuses to be on the show. C’mon Susanne we don’t bite!

Our first team coverage event: Team Queer (Terri, Serena, and Meg the war correspondent) and Team Fat White Guy (Duncan, Richard, Christopher Hudgens) get in the midst of combat with the “Carnival of art on the river” AKA “Art War 2007″. A member of the team is wounded in the line of duty. We intend to sue. Everyone. Edmar you are on notice.

Terri and Meg talk about Symposium C6 The Art World is Flat and how weirdly classist it seemed to be.

Duncan and Richard talk to William Dolan and Mark Staff-Brandl about The Artist Project and Bill makes a sale during our bit with him.

Richard talks to Michael Workman about being guillotined in effigy. Tom Burtonwood mourns the loss of his good friend Michael, but has already planned his ascendancy to the leadership of Bridge.

We wrap it all up with a discussion of Canadians drinking too much.

And this is just week 1. You should be paying us.
“This video is for Chris Sperandio Only”

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This just in: Merchandise Mart to purchase Armory show in New York.

April 28, 2007 · Print This Article


Still too early to tell the details but the talk at Art Chicago today has been circling the possible purchase of the New York Armory Show by the Merchandise Mart. More details to come as they arrive, stay tuned.