Last September, DePaul Art Museum hosted an epic group exhibition, featuring Imagist artist work on the first floor and a contemporary generation of artists on the second. While those contemporaries have in many respects plotted their own independent and respective courses, there was something refreshing about co-curators,’ Dahlia Tulett-Gross and Thea Liberty Nichols, ability to highlight the visual and theoretical connection between generations. The resulting exhibition, Afterimage, illustrated a visual legacy, reinvigorating the past while demonstrating it’s transformation into the present.
Caroline Picard: Often collaborative curatorial projects come from on-going conversations — how did you two conceive of the Afterimage show?
Thea Liberty Nichols: You’re right on target in thinking that the show evolved through a series of ongoing conversations, but ultimately, Dahlia came up with the idea. She’s connected to a lot of local galleries and has built relationships with dozens of artists. Recognizing a renewed interest in the Imagists among contemporary artists who, rather than obscure or reject their connection to them, prized it, she isolated a certain look or feel that many of those artists shared with the Imagists. She approached me about co-curating with her partly because I had written my thesis on the Imagists. Ultimately, our commitment to showcasing the work of every artist as an individual within the larger context of our show led to the publication of an exhibition catalog, which we were so pleased to include you in!
CP: What was so important about platforming art with writing in the catalogue?
TLN: We were dedicated to creating some enduring historical record since, like Imagism itself, there’s a lot of historical background noise about art writing in Chicago — both its quality and its outlets, or lack there of. In both instances, rather then engage distant and stale debates, we wanted to have a new conversation featuring new voices. We were lucky to work with a whole host of arts writers, including arts journalists, critics, curators and even some visual artists who also write for our publication. go here to read more.
February 16, 2012 · Print This Article
The latest episode of “Fielding Practice,” the Chicago-centric podcast/gabfest featuring Duncan MacKenzie, Dan Gunn and me has just been posted on the Art21 Blog as part of Bad at Sports’ ongoing Centerfield column. This week, regular panelists Duncan MacKenzie, Dan Gunn and I discuss the demise of Next/Art Chicago–which up until last week had been the US’ longest-running art fair –and the subsequent rise of Expo, a new Chicago-based art fair slated to debut on Navy Pier in September 2012. We also review current exhibitions by Laura Letinsky at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, and Molly Zuckerman-Hartung, whose show Negative Joy is on view at Corbett vs. Dempsey gallery, plus we offer some “best bet” picks for the coming month in Chicago. As an added bonus, this week we keep the conversation blissfully short, at a running time of approximately 38 minutes — as always, thank you so much for tuning in!
This week on Centerfield, our twice-monthly column for Art:21 blog, we introduce a new regular segment: a special, (mostly) Chicago-centric podcast focusing on current issues and events in the contemporary art world called “Fielding Practice with Bad at Sports.” We’re really excited about bringing an audio dimension to our “Centerfield” column, since talking about art is, at heart, what Bad at Sports is all about. To this end, we’ve brought Chicago artist and arts writer Dan Gunn on board for our regular discussions, with Duncan MacKenzie leading our conversations and Richard Holland introducing each show and weaving a fantastic soundtrack into its contents.
This week, Dan, Duncan and I talk about the implications of Americans for the Arts’ newly issued National Art Index, an attempt to report on the health of the arts sector in a manner not unlike the Gross Domestic Product’s tracking of the Global National Economy. We also discuss Los Angeles’ desire to host a major art fair, perhaps under the auspices of Merchandise Mart Properties, Inc. (MMPI), the group that runs the Armory Show and Art Chicago; and we consider two painting shows by Michelle Grabner (at Shane Campbell Gallery) and Pamela Fraser (at the Gahlberg Gallery, College of DuPage) that are currently on view. We end the segment with brief plugs for upcoming (or just-opened) Chicago exhibitions that we’re especially looking forward to seeing.
In future episodes we’ll feature guest panelists from the Chicago art community to keep things lively and add new angles to the conversations. So, click on over to art:21 blog and give it a listen…we hope you like it!
December 14, 2010 · Print This Article
In his artist statement for a recent exhibition at the Institute of Visual Arts, John Riepenhoff used Colby cheese to make a comment on regionalism. His bio describes him as an “artist, curator, gallery director, art fair co-organizer and inventor of artistic platforms for the expression on others.” Although it may sound like hyperbole, all of those titles accurately define the multifaceted practice of the Milwaukee-based creative. I first encountered John at the 2006 Milwaukee International Art Fair, where I had the honor of working the Ooga Booga booth. I was stunned that John and his collaborators had managed to gather The Suburban, Gavin Brown’s enterprise, White Columns, CANADA, Karma International, and more in the community center/bar/bowling alley of the Polish Falcons Beer Hall. I distinctly remember the after party: Spencer Sweeney was DJ-ing and I was dancing on a spaceship with artists from Oslo, New York, and Iowa City. It remains my most favorable art fair experience. Since 2004, John has run The Green Gallery, which offers an innovative program of fun, rigorous artwork. I’ve exhibited alongside John, worked with him at The Green Gallery, constructed booths with him for 12+ hours at the Swiss Institute, and long admired his work. As he’s simultaneously winding down from participation in the NADA Art Fair in Miami and gearing up for his forthcoming exhibition at Peregrine Program in Chicago, I thought it would be fitting to talk with John about being an artist/curator/gallery director/art fair co-organizer/inventor in the Midwest (and beyond).
October 26, 2010 · Print This Article
Our latest post for our Center Field column on art:21 blog is up! This week, Martine Syms talks to Derek Chan, whose 12 x 12 exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago opens on November 6th. A brief excerpt:
Derek Chan and I have been friends for a little over four years. We both moved from Los Angeles to Chicago in the Fall of 2005. We had several mutual friends and emailed back and forth a few times but never met up. I spent that summer in Los Angeles and unknowingly started talking to Derek at a party. Inevitably, our conversation turned to Chicago and I laughed when I realized that this was the guy I’d had so much trouble making time for. Since then we’ve stayed close, meeting often to check in with each other, share food, and hang out.
One of Derek’s large abstract landscapes, Eclipse, was stored at my house for a year. I was happy to look at it every day. While works like Eclipse captured autobiographical moments with grand gestures, Derek has since focused his attention on the quotidian. During his residency at Theaster Gates’ Dorchester Project in South Chicago, Derek began making daily ink drawings to document his thoughts and share them with his fellow residents. All 260 images are available for download on Derek’s website. As part of the Whitney Biennial, Derek presented Being/Becoming, a durational performance that included ink drawings and temporary interventions to the Whitney’s courtyard. Derek developed a system of marks, influenced by Tibetan rituals, to record the passage of time and his interactions with museum visitors.
Cries and Whispers from the Salt Song Trail is a continuation of this practice. This forthcoming book chronicles his recent journey to the Four Corners region of Arizona through drawings and writings about the sacred places he visited. Golden Age, the project space I run in Chicago, is publishing Cries and Whispers in conjunction with Derek’s upcoming exhibition Derek Chan: A Way of Life at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago (November 6 – 28, 2010). Continue reading.