EDITION #26

March 19, 2014 · Print This Article

March Goes in Like a Lion and Out Like a 501(c)3

Nothing says Spring like “Gala,” WTT? couldn’t be more excited to see the ice finally THAW. Speaking of, have you bought tickets for the Links Halls annual spring fling? It’s on April 4th, and really more like a three-storey drunk performance art odyssey than a party. Last year I got an sickening sparkly free mani from Aiden Simon at the Girl Don’t be Dumb salon, went inside of a space photo booth, saw Hope Esser ice skate on soap and watched more burlesque than I’d like to admit. For performance art, it’s not too weird, it’s really fun and it’s not that expensive for how open the bar is, what more could you ask from a Thursday night? And the inclusion of DJ CQQCHIFruit and La Spacer this year? Too much.

Enough gushing. Clearly, this benefit season is going to be huge, but don’t worry, WTT?s got you. Here are some notes on the best auctions and charity bashes around, in my not-so humble opinion. Can not wait to see what everyone looks like without a coat on!

Spotted: Todd King getting his feet did at THAW in 2013. Andrew Mausert-Mooney does his best Jesus in the front.

THAW

You already know the scoop, tickets can be purchased through their website.

hArts for Art 5 : LVL3

LVL3’s annual benefit auction is known to bring great names at reasonable prices with all works starting at $30. Past years auctions have featured Jon Rafman and Israel Lund amongst others. This years is no exception. We also love the LVL3 auction because the raffle prizes are copious and always awesome and it doesn’t hurt that each year the event benefits local non-profit, Arts of Life. Learn more about the auction and the organization here on the LVL3 website. Full disclosure: I take no prisoners on the auction floor. The event takes place on March 29th from 6 to 10PM at 1542 N. Milwaukee Ave. Last bid is accepted at 9:30PM so be on time!

Summer Forum : Hosted by TUSK

Sandwiched comfortably in-between the LVL3 and R&C auction is the Summer Forum fundraiser and art auction at everyones favorite bite-sized boutique, TUSK. There are quite a few repeats from both LVL3 and the R&C auction, though it doesn’t look like anyone got the hat trick. E-Dogz will be on hand, serving some serious benefit crossover and unlimited food with the purchase of a ticket ($25 presale or $35 ATD). Advance online bidding begins March 31, and the IRL event starts at 7pm on Saturday, April 5th at TUSK, 3205 W. Armitage Ave.

Roots & Culture 8th Annual Spring Gala

You don’t have to be Hamza Walker to know that Roots & Culture’s Eric May throws some of the best events in Chicago. Did someone say sangria and tapas? The lineup for the auction is pretty impressive too. Britton Bertran wasn’t kidding when he called the night’s auction list an Who’s Who. The List features some of my favorite Chicago art luminaries and at least one Whitney Biennial-er.

I’d tell you who I’m excited about seeing at the auction, but I want the art all for myself! Find out yourself, the auction takes place May 3, from 7-11PM at 1034 N. Milwaukee Ave.

Threewalls

Spring benefit season is bookended by major heavy hitters with Threewalls rounding out the season. Another reliably good time, this year’s gala is being held in the spacious digs down south at Mana Contemporary. The full lineup hasn’t been revealed but, I’m jazzed on the news that DJ Earl (who you might have read about in the last edition of the T) will be there. The details might still be a little fuzzy but you can already buy tickets on their site. Looking forward to finding out what a Gunnatowski “wearable” looks like.

FLASHBACK! Trending artist Jesse Malmed (right) with Trunk Show co-director, Raven Munsell (left) and artist Jason Lazarus (center) at Salvage One last year for Threewalls Spring Gala.

The Weatherman Report

Charles Ephraim Burchfield, Early Spring, 1917, Watercolor and graphite on paper, 21 × 28 1/4 inches. James Goodman Gallery.

Bad at Sports finally trending.

What’s the TRENDING?

Pillows: After being relegated to cameos in the backgrounds of painting and photographic portraits for centuries, pillows are finally stepping out on their own. Last week during the Whitney Biennial/ New Yawk City hullabaloo the internet was plastered with images of the biennial and various fairs, but nothing stood out more than the freaky pillows of Bjarne Melgaard at the #WhiBi. With the help of NY based artist and collaborator Amanda Browder, Bad at Spots finally reached the cutting edge with their Volta bed-in installation and recording booth. As if the original Richard and Duncan aren’t creepy enough on their own, Browder created life-size pillow versions for the Volta booth. Good work, team!

Detail of Norwegian American artist Bjarne Melgaard’s cracked out living room installation. Image by Hyperallergic.

Browder with pillows only a mother could love.

Jesse Malmed: Usually it’s difficult for individual artists to be in enough places at once to qualify as a trend, by that’s no problem for trending artist, Malmed. The co-director of Trunk Show and UIC grad student must not sleep. This past weekend Malmed did double duty at the MCA, as one of The Nightingale programmers on Friday night and then again on Saturday for his own presentation of selections from The Body Electronic: What Television Taught Me about Art, a live televisual lecture performance. Trunk Show also hosted an opening/ 5-act play by artist Brandon Alvendia outside the Multiples fair on Sunday and whatever HALLWALLS2 is had an opening on Monday afternoon. And that’s just over four consecutive days. If you’re interested in getting in on the Malmed Madness, and you clearly should be, the artists’ MFA show at UIC is opening on April 18th. If you feel like waking with the sun tomorrow, he’s also hosting a dawn equinox performance, more info here.

Eric Fleischauer’s official Alvendia for Trunk Show Vine. More official documentation can be found on Fleischauer’s “vine box”.

I’ll take all of it! Images from Drapes by Ashley Scott.

Drapes: Thank god standing out and looking good are finally back in style. The Ashley Scott designed brand has already been getting some much deserved exposure for her tremendous style, but the recently released images for the Chicago designers ‘Drapes of Wrath’ Collection, styled by Mister Wallace and shot by Foto by Mateo, are to die for. Not only are the boys beautiful, the accessories are killer (see what I did there?) and SO MANY TASSELS. The collection debuts April 1st, check out the rest of the images and prepare for the wrath on the the Drapes website.

Foto by Mateo gets Draped.

Chicago CD Showcase Back for 2nd Edition at The Mutiny

What? Did you really think we’d spend out St. Patty’s day anywhere else? Sorry Charlemagne Palestine. If you missed last year’s showcase, here’s a little refresher. Don’t do it again!

Despite reports that Thorne Brandt would never play, he softened a tough crowd with his flashing lights and “worst samples ever.”

After last year’s majorly lazery blow out, Free the Universe was resurrected as Apocalypse Forever. Their “children of the corn” performance was a seriously trippy affair.

The love child of Chicago CD Showcase.

This years showcase saw the merger of two of last years performers. Pajama band made their jammy debut featuring members of Fish, Phish, Ghosts and My Bad at The Mutiny on Monday night.




EDITION #7

April 15, 2013 · Print This Article

Super pro-fesh and stylin’ rope jumper, artist, Miami native and three-time SAIC freshman, Walter Latimer after his mind blowing performance at this year’s Art Bash.

Say what!?

News broke this weekend that artist, Walter Latimer, is a former Junior Olympics jump rope record holder! Check out the soon to be viral video of his performance at the SAIC Art Bash.

Video courtesy of Jack Schneider.

T of the Town

Spotted: Matt Austin at the opening for Todd Diederich’s Luminous Flux opening at Johalla Projects with a proof of Diederich’s forthcoming book printed by LATITUDE and available through The Perch.

Spotted at the Katelyn Farstad opening: Julius Ceasar throwing shade at The Propeller Fund in their half-hearted donation appeal.

  • We heard there’s going to be a secret (not anymore!) extension of ACRE Residency’s April 15th Application deadline. So there’s really no excuse, APPLY TODAY! You won’t regret it. (Disclaimer: I didn’t.)
  • In a characteristic move, Pedro Velez calls out an unsuspecting Ryan Coffey on twitter. #RUDE
  • Chicago closet-cum-gallery, Queer Thoughts, holds successful benefit auction, city continues to wonder why?
  • Spotted: Independent Art Champion and Champion of the Arts, Anthony Stepter at the opening of Has the World Already Been Made? x4 by Daniel G. Baird & Haseeb Ahmed at Roots & Culture.

The Weatherman Report

Joan Mitchell, Minnesota, 1980 Oil on canvas (four panels), 102 1/2 x 243 inches (260.4 x 617.2 cm). Collection of the Joan Mitchell Foundation, New York.

Now on view at The Poetry Foundation.

Reading is Fundamental

  • SAIC Secret Admirers. Looks like SAIC has a crush on Prof. Fleischauer and butts. Also, this is probably the best work from the BFA show. (Courtesy of Sofia Leiby.)
  • You down with OPP? Chicago’s own artist-turned-entreprenuer, Jenny Kendler, is quoted in this fluffy piece about artist’s websites being not websites, but “constructing a narrative”. At least the photo of Kendler is cute.
  • Performing Audiences and Choreographing Coughs. Finally, some real journalism. NPR’s Alva Noë tackles the long-standing question of why audiences cough so damn much during live performances. “They are uncomfortable. They are uncertain. They are, very often, bored out of their minds.” What a surprise. In related news, Rapid Pulse is back for a 2013 installment.

AAM calls out Obama Budget

In an unusual turn of events, everyone is talking about the Obama Administration Budget Proposal for the 2014 Fiscal Year.

The American Alliance of Museums analysis of Obama’s proposed budget is less sexy than a big schmoozy gala, but actually worth reading. As is CultureGrrls somewhat-matter-of-fact budget post.

The AAM calls the proposed limit on charitable deductions “harmful,” but Bloomington’s Michael Ruston disagrees. Notable is his alternative suggestion of an equitable tax credit that would apply across donors, begging the question: should people in higher tax brackers really recieve more credit than those in a lower tax bracket if they are donating the same amount of money?

Ed Ruscha, We the People, 2 color lithograph, 14 x 14”, Courtesy of Gemini G.E.L. and “Artists for Obama.”

Surprisngly absent from the AAM document is a mention of the $59 million dollar increase to the Smithsonian Institution to fund, amongst many other initatives, The National Museum of African American History and Culture.

We’re most excited about the $500,000 proposed for building a telescope in Greenland to scope some black holes, but with a riveting 230 pages of FY14 Budget Proposal, there’s bound to be something for everyone. Right?

Artist Creates Black Hole in Roger’s Park

Abigal Deville’s opening at Iceberg Projects this weekend was TO DIE FOR. Iceberg’s normally crisp gallery was lost to a literal whirlwind of materials collected from Roger’s Avenue and transformed by the artist. More than worth the trip to Roger’s Park.

See XXXXXX now so you can say you knew Deville’s work before it was in Venice.

April 27th, 11am– 9pm. At Roots & Cul­ture 1034 N Mil­wau­kee Ave.

Serv­ing a menu of brunch, lunch all day, and dinner.Brunch 11am-2pm. Din­ner 6pm-8pm. Kitchen closes at 8. 10 seats avail­able at a time. First come, first serve. BYOB. Veg­e­tar­i­ans, of course, are welcome!




Jerry Saltz: Superstar

January 12, 2011 · Print This Article

(This one’s for Dmitry).

Okay, yeah, I know — to describe Jerry Saltz as a “superstar” as I just did is to engage in more than a bit of hyperbole. But when it comes to Jerry (since everyone seems to feel like they’re on a first-name basis with him, I guess I can be, too), “superstar” doesn’t seem all that off-the-mark, given Saltz’s relative media fame versus the utter obscurity within which most art writers/critics labor. This has always been the case, even in the days when art critics actually played a hand in shaping the discourse–and they haven’t done that in quite awhile. So, you know, we should be happy that there is at least one art critic famous enough to hobnob with Sarah Jessica Parker and her ilk. Jerry seems like a genial guy and a kind enough spirit and so personally, I don’t begrudge him his fame.

I was surprised, however, that Ben Davis (newly of Artinfo) didn’t mention Saltz at all in his column on the state of art criticism. Asserting that “art criticism isn’t dead, it’s just in eclipse,” Davis argued that

“If you had to name the major development in art discourse during the 2000s, it would undoubtedly be the ascent of “art news,” which has definitely replaced “art criticism” at the center of discussion. There’s been an enormous proliferation of writing about the art scene. Artforum.com’s “Scene and Herd” was founded in 2004. Artinfo.com, the publication I write for, was founded in 2005. And of course, there is the tremendous excitement generated by the art blogosphere, which draws its strength from attitude and outrage.”

Paddy Johnson of Art Fag City, who’s a pretty good examplar of the developments Davis is describing, didn’t seem to think much of Davis’ analysis. Responding to his post on her own blog, Johnson wrote,

“I feel like I’ve been reading about the problems of the 24 hour news cycle for fifteen years or more, and the problems are the same. Davis’s piece doesn’t bring much new to the table past what we already know: news is a large component of many blogs and websites — particularly the ones he’s worked for — and criticism isn’t doing that well.The trouble has less to do with news per se than the reality of publishing: it’s a volume industry and professionals need more time than we’re given to produce good work. But there are some ups to these downs, so I don’t believe it’s been as eclipsed as Davis thinks — it’s just not where he’s looking. Some of the best criticism on this blog appears in the comments section, and it’s no different for other blogs or even Facebook pages like that of Jerry Saltz.”

Johnson made good points. Like Saltz or hate Saltz–or rather, like/hate the style of critical engagement Saltz represents–you cannot ignore the behemoth that is the Saltz/Facebook/Social Media machine. His Facebook groupies, his TV stint as a judge on Work of Art, his “Ask a Critic” column for New York magazine–all of these represent fairly radical shifts in the relation between critic and audience. One that is more open, more “radically vulnerable,” as Saltz himself has so memorably put it, and one where, to some greater degree than before, the art critic must answer (and answer and answer and answer) to the statements he puts out there via his reviews and other published pieces.

The problem is that all of these radical shifts in the critic/audience relationship apply only to Jerry Saltz. Saltz hasn’t changed the state of art criticism one bit – he’s just upped his own name-recognition value within it. To be fair, Saltz has argued repeatedly that his own experiments with open-ended interactions with his readers, “friends,” and “fans” is something that can and should be duplicated by others. And that’s certainly true. It’s just that most art critics are way more boring than Saltz is and nobody really cares enough about what they have to say to want to have an ongoing conversation with them, virtual or otherwise.

James Panero, writing in the New Criterion, has described his own “Jerry Saltz problem.” To my mind, Panero’s critique is the most persuasive I’ve yet read, though I could have done without some of his prose, which seemed to border on jealous personal attack. I think this is the strongest section of Panero’s argument:

Another problem with Saltz’s “accidental criticism” is that he has not leveled the playing field at all. He has instead flipped the traditional critic’s role from peripheral character to central actor. His comment writers, many of them wayward artists, are now the critics, while he has become the new art star around which they circulate. Jerry Saltz has become “Jerry Saltz,” a socially networked performance piece of art criticism. His online work is not unlike the performance art of Tino Sehgal, who took over the objectless Guggenheim rotunda earlier this year to ask questions like “What is progress?”

The lure of interactive performance art is that it shares the stage equally with the viewer. Marina Abramovic’s staring contest at moma became a sensation because it felt like we were the art, just as online comments make us all feel like we are the writers, or through Facebook we have 5,000 “Friends.” Following Andy Warhol’s dictum that “in the future, everyone will be famous for fifteen minutes,” and Joseph Beuys’s pronouncement that “everyone is an artist,” Saltz has wondered “if all of our interconnectivity and social networking also made everyone a critic.” But this fame game can become a pyramid scheme. In exchange for the brief rush of recognition that you might feel sitting across from Abramovic or posting to Saltz’s Facebook page, you grant them much more than their fifteen minutes. You end up ultimately diminished—another brick in a 250,000-word wall—while adding to their cumulative luster. You “need to partake of the blood of others to grow,” Saltz writes. And he should know.

(Oof! That last line had to hurt, didn’t it?).

I find the notion of the critic-as-performer to be a really interesting one. I’ve always been an advocate for a criticism that incorporates the subjectivity of the writer into the form and content of the critique, in certain appropriate contexts. Jerry Saltz now does this in every context, and that’s no doubt why many observers have grown weary of him. It’s too much Jerry. In the same way that Julia Roberts and Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt and, ugh, even Sarah Jessica Parker can’t  be considered real actors anymore–they’re merely celebrities, whose every new role offers a new format in which to play themselves–Jerry Saltz has become a celebrity critic who’s finding it difficult to talk about anything but himself, even when he truly does want to be talking only about art.