September 1, 2016, 7-9PM
Participating Artists Include: Alberto Aguilar, Brit Barton, Mara Baker, Kevin Blake, Zippora Elders, Rami George, David Hall, Josh Rios and Anthony Romero, Michal Samana, Naqeeb Stevens, Tina Tahir, Anna Martine Whitehead; writers: Lise Haller Baggessen, Daniel Borzutzky, Isaiah Dufort, Patrick Durgin, Tricia van Eck, Jane Lewty, Jill Magi, Nam Chi Nguyen, Rowland Saifi, Suzanne Scanlon, Mia You and Maarten van der Graaf with Fiep van Bodegom and Obe Alkema; & curators: David Ayala-Alfonso, Britton Bertran, Rashayla Marie Brown, Every house has a door, Lucia Fabio, João Florêncio, Stevie Greco, Jeanine Hofland, Renan Laru-an, La Keisha Leek, Sofia Lemos and Vincent van Velsen. Online Exhibition Design: Pouya Ahmadi.
Sector 2337: 2337 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago, IL, 60647
September 3, 2016, 6-9PM
Work by: Lindsey Dezman
Roman Susan: 1224 W. Loyola Avenue, Chicago, IL 60626
September 1, 2016, 6-7:30PM
The Art Institute of Chicago, Rubloff Auditorium: 230 S Columbus Dr, Chicago, IL 60603
September 3, 2016, 6-9PM
Work by: Matt Nichols
free range: 3257 W Lawrence Ave, Chicago, IL 60625
Hey Chicago, submit your events to the Visualist here: http://www.thevisualist.org
Work by Jeremy Bolen
Andrew Rafacz Gallery is located at 835 W. Washington Blvd. Reception 6-9pm.
Work by Chanel Von Habsburg-Lothringen
Boyfriends is lcoated at 3114 w. Carroll St. Reception 7-11pm.
Work by James Kinser and Niki Grangruth
C33 Gallery is located at 33 E. Congress Pkwy. Reception 5-9pm.
Curated by Britton Bertran
Carrie Secrist Gallery is located at 835 W. Washington St. Reception 5-8pm.
Work by Lesley Dill
Center for Book & Paper Arts is located at 1104 S. Wabash Ave. Reception 5-9pm.
Work by Amanda Williams, Emmanuel Pratt and Andres L. Hernandez
Glass Curtain Gallery is located at 1104 S. Wabash Ave. Reception 5-9pm.
Work by Shana Moulton.
Julius Caesar is located at 3311 W. Carroll Ave. Reception 7-10pm.
Work by Autumn Ramsey
Night Club is located at 3325 N. Pulaski Rd. Reception 6:30-9:30pm.
Work by Daniel G. Baird, Kadar Brock, Alex Chitty, Mika Horibuchi, Samuel Levi Jones, Mtthew Metzger, Bryan Savitz, Nick van Woert, Kristen VanDeventer, JPW 3 and Liat Yossifor
PATRON is located at 673 N. Milwaukee Ave. Reception 6-9pm.
Curated by Raquel Iglesias and Jacelyn Keework with work by Bobby Gonzales, Allyson Packer, Linda Tegg, Derrick Woods-Morrow, and Guanyu Xu
SAIC Sullivan Galleries is located at 33 S. State St. Reception 6-9pm.
Work by Paula Nacif, Violet Systems, Nanae Shimazu, Christine Janokowicz, Kevin Carey, Lisa Claire Green, Ursula Andreeff, Rebecca Elliot, Maggie Harrington, Julia Kriegel, Coco Menk, Anja Morel, Sawako Okayasu, Vettii, Aaron Von Krupp, Allison Zuckerman, Shawné Michaelain Holloway, Bryan Peterson, Alp Seyrekbasan & Adrien Stein, Reina Taniuchi and Saya Yamauchi
TCC is located at 2547 W. North Ave.; Archer Beach Haus is located at 3012 S. Archer Ave. Reception 6pm-12am.
Guest Post by Britton Bertran
I didnâ€™t get out to see a lot art in Chicago this year as I was too happily busy being a Dad to the best little boy in the world. Â Nonetheless, here are some lists of what I did see, what I didnâ€™t, some predictions and some things Iâ€™m anticipating.Â I know we all have a love/hate with these kinds of lists, but this should be pretty easy to digest.Â Click on those links.
Exhibitions I saw:
- Amalia Pica at the MCA
- Fragment: Sampling the Modern at the Elmhurst Art Museum
- Wendy White at Andrew Rafacz
- Andrew Holmquist at Carrie Secrist Gallery
- David Salle: Ghost Paintings at The Arts Club of Chicago
- Vivian Maier
- EXPO Chicago
- AICâ€™s Modern Wingâ€™s closed 3rd floor
- The Way of the Shovel at the MCA
- Chicago Sculpture Internationalâ€™s Sculpture on the Boulevards
Exhibitions/Events I didnâ€™t see:
- RH Quaytman at the Renaissance Society
- Medium Cool
- Steve McQueen at the AIC
- Matt Nichols at Corbett vs. Dempsey
- Mike Andrews at The Suburban
Anticipating in 2014:
- The Whitney Biennial
- William J. Oâ€™Brien at the MCA
- Christopher Wool at the AIC
- Christopher Williams at the AIC
- A new permanent space for Threewalls
- The Whitney Biennial fails in the eyes of critics
- A major commercial gallery in Chicago will close, another will open
- A storied institution will lose itâ€™s curator
- A galvanizing work of public art will really piss people off
- A better year than 2013
Bio: Britton Bertran ran 40000 from 2005 to 2008. He currently is an Instructor at SAIC in the Arts Administration and Policy department and the Educational Programs Manager at Urban Gateways. An occasional guest-curator, he has organized exhibitions for the Hyde Park Art Center, the Loyola Museum of Art and several galleries. You can find him trying to be less cranky about the art world on twitter @br_tton. Â
December 3, 2013 · Print This Article
Guest Post by Britton Bertran
The art economy in Chicago â€“ specific to the visual art market â€“ is busted.Â It doesnâ€™t work and hasnâ€™t worked for a long time.Â Yes, this a provincial observation as we are in a global society, but ask any commercial gallery owner in Chicago thatâ€™s not one of the Mighty 5, and theyâ€™ll tell you the same. Â Yes, more and more people who arenâ€™t in Chicago are paying attention to us as a viable location.Â Chicago is a place that has artists who make (and made) great work and some non-Chicagoans are even buying art from here (good luck in Miami yâ€™all!).Â But when it comes to a localized presence, we are somewhere near the bottom of the attention totem pole.Â Where would you place visual art on the Chicago matrix of culture that includes Theater, Music, Dance, and yes, Food?
There are several ingredients that make up this pie: artists (check-plus), galleries (check), arts administrators (check), art critics (check-minus) and collectors (check-minus-minus).Â One could also add art schools, art jobs and art conversation to this pie.Â As well, we have venues in which to look at art which is obviously important for this mixture: fancy/academic/contemporary museums, commercial galleries with varying levels of artist representation, medium-sized and smaller not-for-profits, artist-run apartments/storefronts/garages, city-sanctioned public spaces and galleries AND, lest we forget, our computers. Â These are all parts of this economy and much of its success is reliant on the flow if information that reaches non-art world people and what happens when those people react to what they see.Â The trouble is that most of those non-artworlders are either taking what they see for granted. Â In general, they are not really looking, seeing or reacting.
Chicago has a landscape and art is very much in it. Â So whatâ€™s missing? Â Why is it broke and how can we fix it?
Money helps. Â Money helps a lot. Â Yes, I know itâ€™s gauche to talk about especially in the realm of aesthetics, but the majority of artworlders here are sadly not flush for reasons beyond their control. Â And yes, I also realize that many artists choose to ignore the money part of their equation as it interferes with the thinking about their work and its discourse.Â But it still needs to be discussed as itâ€™s a part of the system we live within.
I place much of the blame of a lot of the troubles the Chicago art world has on the lack of collectors. Â There are collectors in Chicago – both with a little c and a big C â€“ but there are just not enough.Â Iâ€™m going to ignore the Collector portion of this equation and focus on the Lilâ€™ câ€™s, with the knowledge that one often becomes the other due to the pure pleasure they receive from the act itself.
Who are they? Where are they? Why wonâ€™t they come out and play? I know theyâ€™re here: they sit on non-profit auxiliary Boards, they go to First Friday, they eat out three nights a week, they buy condos in the West Loop, they have scooters as alternative transportation devices, they bring their visiting parents to the Art Institute and they could probably tell you at least ten contemporary artists they’ve heard of.
Since they are here, we have solved part of the problem and this is important because the Lilâ€™ câ€™s need to be localized in order for this to work. Â Next is the hard part: they need to understand that collecting art is a good thing, itâ€™s healthy, itâ€™s fun and itâ€™s really addictive. Â They need to understand that they donâ€™t need to spend a lot of money. Â They would be helping out this economy from a small business point of view, for both artists and gallerists. Â They could say, â€œHey Iâ€™m young, why donâ€™t I collect some emerging artists that are the same age as me and we could grow together!â€ Or they could say, â€œHey, if a New York Giants linebacker collects art, why shouldnâ€™t I?â€ Or â€œI heard that Leo DiCaprio was lurking in the corner of the some art auction last week?â€ Â This is a thing that people do!Â This is something that you, oâ€™ Lilâ€™ c, would be great at!
Sadly, the majority of the Lilâ€™ câ€™s also need to be told what to buy, at least in the beginning. Â As such, they need the lecture about aesthetics vs. investments, to buy with your eyes and not your ears, that itâ€™s more than filling in the space over your couch in that new condo and, if they so desire, art collecting brings with it a whole new set of social structures that can be horrifyingly awesome. Â An additional secret: Lilâ€™ câ€™s donâ€™t need Leo money to buy art they just need to be educated.
Is there anyone out there thatâ€™s taking up this challenge and whisper in the ears of these Lilâ€™ câ€™s? Â There are, but there arenâ€™t enough and there arenâ€™t enough that are doing it right. Â Two examples that are doing it right: The Chicago Artist Coalition and Threewalls.Â The CACâ€™s tagline is â€œBuilding a Creative Marketplaceâ€. Â Theyâ€™ve re-booted the organization in the last couple of years and are making real strides to make connections between artists and collectors. Â Threewalls has their CSA Initiative (Community Supported Art) that makes a kind of implied statement on the relationship between non-profit-ness, artists, art-making and the joy of owning artwork.Â These are also sustainable examples. Â One-off events (aka Art Fairs) may provide convenience and atmosphere but do little for long term development of collecting as a functionary system beyond good and services.Â Relationships need to be built which is also part of the fun.
Beyond the money â€“ there is relevance. Â These are two concepts inextricably associated with each other.Â In the context of Chicago, with its persistent inferiority complex, relevance especially applies in ways that will always be in flux.Â Some choose to ignore it, others choose to whole-heartedly embrace it and there are others whose mission in life is to better it.
There used to be individuals who developed a way of thinking and talking about art in Chicago that directly translated into success for a number of artists, both critically and monetarily.Â Two that come to mind are Don Baum (circa Monster Roster in the late 1960â€™s) and Judith Russi Kirshner (circa Chicago-neo-conceptualism of the late 1980â€™s). Â The artists that they worked with are well represented in our local art institutions as well as the collections of many Collectors. Â This is artwork that was disseminated in a way that clever, deft and meaningful within Chicago and then beyond.
This is still happening today in a way that could amount to something bigger.Â The current Whitney Biennial may provide a stopgap for this situation with near 1/5th of its artists currently working in Chicago, or at least with very close ties.Â Hopefully, the deserved exposure for those lucky artists will translate into more than a sentence or two in a reputable purveyor of art criticism.Â There is also a handful of local curators ensconced at our museums who do their part by creating scholarly looks at the recent art history of Chicago artists as well as develop vehicles for showcasing some of our emerging and mid-career artists.Â But is this enough?Â When the #WhiBi is over, how many of those artists will have some sort of local gallery representation?Â How many times will we see the same Tony Tasset/Robert Smithson photo at the MCA?
A surefire way of gaining some sort of relevance in the art world used to be simply having someone write about your work.Â In Chicago this used to be a little harder than other cities, but it was still there.Â I used to think that a certain level of professional art criticality and good old fashion art journalism was a part of this puzzle, and I still think it is, but when it comes to creating a sense of relevance â€“ itâ€™s a downward spiral. Â This is something I have no idea how to fix.Â The state of journalism (online or offline or whatever) is a sad state at this point because there simply isnâ€™t enough of it happening on a higher level.Â At the same time, if someone where to start consistently writing about Art in Chicago in a serious and engaging way, who would be there to read it? Â Is there anybody reading this that isnâ€™t already in some way trying to make a living within the local art scene, or at least attempting to become more relevant in some meaningful way?Â Writing about art, critically or journalistically, needs an infusion that is less about navel gazing and more about starting a conversation that is extroverted.
Thankfully, there arenâ€™t anymore â€œChicago schoolsâ€.Â Or at least no one (thatâ€™s not a gallery developing a marketing ploy) has decided to wrangle our artists into any sort of synthesized concrete definition in order to look at them easier.Â And, if someone where to, what would it look like?Â Would it be too transparent an attempt at selling? Â Or does that simply not matter anymore?Â Being an artist in Chicago might just have to be enough, but it canâ€™t be because there is too much at stake.Â I donâ€™t think there is room for another Don Baum in Chicago, but there is room to recognize that there are more questions than answers in this essay.
Bio: Britton Bertran ran 40000 from 2005 to 2008. He currently is an Instructor at SAIC in the Arts Administration and Policy department and the Educational Programs Manager at Urban Gateways. An occasional guest-curator, he has organized exhibitions for the Hyde Park Art Center, the Loyola Museum of Art and several galleries. You can find him trying to be less cranky about the art world on twitter @br_tton.Â Stay tuned for another guest post about looking forward to 2014 (and maybe a top 10 list of sorts too.)
September 24, 2013 · Print This Article
Guest Post by Britton Bertran
I was there in 2005 at the beginning of Bad at Sports (Episode 4!) and I hope Iâ€™m not there at the end. Â It was the year I opened my gallery, 40000. It was a good idea at the time. I was fed up with not seeing what I wanted to see and equally mesmerized by controlling my own destiny in a commercial sort of way. There were plenty of other interesting things happening and I figured â€“ why the hell not.
The years 2005 and 2006 were ok years for Chicago Art. It seemed to be an upswing couple of years when apartment galleries and art interest were peaking. (These things come in waves â€“ Iâ€™d put us in a upward motion now after reaching the bottom in 2011.) The MCA was showing interesting work (a Dan Flavin Retrospective, Deb Sokolow and William J. Oâ€™Brien had 12 x 12â€™s), blogs were percolating with critical activity (anyone remember panel-house.com or iconoduel.org?) and this new fandangled thing called a podcast had people sitting with their bulky desktops and REALLY listening.
I took a leap of art faith and quit my job, borrowed some money from my mom and with the help of a couple close friends including a now-deceased bartender from Phyllisâ€™, rocked out a storefront space on Winchester and Augusta. A year and a half later, some guy bought the building and wanted to turn it in to a really small Italian restaurant. I moved the gallery in the summer of 2006 to the bustling 119 N. Peoria building (soon to be home to only one gallery in 2014.)
Like-minded nice folks like Corbett vs. Dempsey, The Green Lantern, 65GRAND, Fraction Workspace, Western Exhibitions, Lisa Boyle Gallery, Duchess and a couple of more spaces, were all blazing fiery paths outside the West Loop in WestTown (does anyone even know where this is now?). We even organized, set up a network, handed out flyer/maps and coordinated openings. It worked for the most part. I think.
There was no social media except for Friendster and then that thing called Myspace. My digital camera had something like 3 megapixels and took incredibly shitty pictures. It took a solid hour to update my clunky website. It was rough out there in a walking up the hill backwards in a snowstorm kind of way. But it was great. Lots of visitors – mostly artists – came, drank and stole beer during openings, I sold art here and there, got a few reviews in national art magazines, was invited to fancy pants museum openings, met not-so-nice individuals who essentially run the art world, shook hands with some artist heroes and even did the occasional art fair in and outside Chicago.
But mostly, having this gallery gave me some pretty solid insight into how artists work, what they think about and what really matters the most to them career-wise. Surprisingly, and thankfully for me, it wasnâ€™t money. 40000 was definitely a failure in that regard and the main reason I closed in 2009. I was also unable, and did not want to, secure a sugar daddy/momma, which I slowly realized was the only way to sustainability. [A little secret â€“ there is less than a handful of galleries in Chicago that donâ€™t have one of these.]
I think itâ€™s pretty telling that almost half of the original West Town Gallery Network is still in effect.Â Corbett vs. Dempsey just got admitted to the Main Fair of Art Basel Miami Beach (a big damn deal). Western Exhibitions is still cranking out shows with aplomb and has incredible dedication to itâ€™s artists. 65GRAND (all caps no gaps, please) is run by one of the smartest and nicest gallerists in Chicago. Only one of these galleries is still in West Town â€“ though itâ€™s stretching it a bit. All of these spaces work so damn hard itâ€™s difficult for me to even comprehend how theyâ€™re possibly doing it. Most of us are still here in Chicago, I think. Whether or not we are running galleries, we are all getting old, raising families, have â€œrealâ€ jobs, etcetera. I hope you wonâ€™t forget us.
The artists I worked with are for the most part pretty successful in their careers. One or two I never hear from, a couple of others I never want to hear from. Nonetheless, it gives me great pleasure to know that I have a place in Chicago art history. Itâ€™s funny though, I seriously often wonder what would have happened if I had at least a 10 megapixel camera back then.
A little addendum here: I was often asked, â€œWhat the hell does 40000 mean?â€Â In fact a couple of months ago a collector emailed me out of the blue and straight up asked.Â So I told him.Â I named the gallery after Joe “40,000” Murphy. Â â€œ40,000â€ was a Chicago outsider artist and events usher in the 1950â€™s who either knew 40,000 famous people, or was renowned for saying â€œaboutâ€¦. 40,000 empty seats!â€ when asked how many people where coming to that dayâ€™s event.Â When people asked me, I made them guess. NobodyÂ got it right.
Britton Bertran ran 40000 from 2005 to 2008. He currently is an Instructor at SAIC in the Arts Administration and Policy department and the Educational Programs Manager at Urban Gateways. An occasional guest-curator, he has organized exhibitions for the Hyde Park Art Center, the Loyola Museum of Art and several galleries. You can find him trying to be less cranky about the art world on twitter @br_tton. Stay tuned for a couple more guest posts where Britton will be discussing his tumblr-famous tumblr â€œInstallatorâ€ and his take on whatâ€™s wrong with the Chicago art world circa 2013 – while thinking out loud about how to fix it.Â