Top 5 Weekend Picks! (8/2-8/4)

August 2, 2013 · Print This Article

1. Parallels // Part 2 at The Mission

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Work by Joshua Albers and Yhelena Hall.

The Mission is located at 1431 W. Chicago Ave. Reception Friday, 5-7pm.

2. Swimming With a Kite at The Franklin

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Work by Silvia Malagrino, Joshua Albers, and Jesus Duran.

The Franklin is located at 3522 W. Franklin Blvd. Reception Saturday, 8-11pm.

3. Pedestrian at Roman Susan

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Work by Madhuri Shukla.

Roman Susan is located at 1224 W. Loyola Ave. Reception Saturday, 7-10pm.

4. Much Much More Lecture Series at Humboldt Park Branch, Chicago Public Library

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Presentation by Claudine Isé.

Humboldt Park Branch, Chicago Public Library is located 1605 N. Troy St. Reception Saturday, 3-4pm.

5. The Economics of Art 2013 at Vertical Gallery

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Work by Dave Pressler.

Vertical Gallery is located at 1016 N. Western Ave. Reception Saturday, 6-10pm.




Much Much More Lecture Series presents: Claudine Isé

July 31, 2013 · Print This Article

Claudine Isé will be giving a talk this  Saturday at the Humboldt Park library as part of Philip von Zweck’s Much Much More lecture series. I’ve been to one of these thus far and  loved it — something about going to a library on a Saturday afternoon to hear an artist/writer talk about his or her work outside the context of an exhibition, or even an art institution. Isé has contributed to Bad at Sports extensively in the past, often behind the scenes. Like many, I have benefitted tremendously from her insight about this blog in the past, and continue to admire her critical writing. To that end, I’m especially looking forward to hearing her present her own work, off the page and in person. This event was also included on Bassett’s What’s the T this week.

Image: Tom Marioni, “Café Society," San Francisco, 1979

Image: Tom Marioni, “Café Society,” San Francisco, 1979

@ Humboldt Park branch, Chicago Public Library

1605 N. Troy Street

August 3, from 3PM – 4PM

Notes on the Art of Conversation
Claudine Isé will share notes from her in-progress research on the history of conversation as an artistic medium and an art form—from Tom Marioni’s 1970 “The Act of Drinking Beer With Friends is the Highest Form of Art,” and William Furlong’sAudio Arts series of taped conversations with artists conducted from 1973-1984, to Hans Ulrich Obrist’s The Interview Project, Jeremy Deller’s It is What it Is: Conversations about Iraq held at the MCA Chicago and other institutions, Jason Lazarus’ installation The Search,Ted Efremoff and Rebecca Parker’s 24 Hour Conversation project, the ongoing series of podcast conversations conducted by the collective Bad at Sports, and more.  
Claudine Isé is a freelance arts writer, educator, and former editor of the Art21 Blog who is a regular contributor to the Chicago Tribune, the Chicago Reader, and Artforum.com. She has also written for Art Papers, Chicago magazine, Art Ltd., Bad at Sports (www.badatsports.com) and the Art21 Blog. Isé is an adjunct assistant professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago, where she teaches graduate courses in the Art History and Art Departments on writing for exhibitions as well as on the history of artists’ writings. Prior to moving to Chicago in 2008, she was the associate curator of exhibitions at the Wexner Center in Columbus, OH and before that, the Assistant Curator of Contemporary Art at the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles, where she curated numerous Hammer Projects exhibitions. Isé has Ph.D. in Film, Literature and Culture from the University of Southern California.
 
Image: Tom Marioni, “Café Society,” San Francisco, 1979



EDITION #14

July 29, 2013 · Print This Article

Hope Esser performing “Telegraph Progress” at The Watermill Center’s 20th Annual Summer Benefit.

Celebrites fawn over Chicago artist at Watermill

Reportings coming in this evening from sources from Facebook to Bloomberg indicate that Chicago performance artist and occasional What’s the T? correspondent, Hope Esser, painted The Watermill red at the art center’s celebrity studded annual summer benefit. Esser could be viewed from on high, performing in a red dress with flag sleeves from atop the performance lab’s building. Her figure was made more striking by the red fabric draped rapunzel-like directly under her.

Bloomberg.com revealed celebrities from Abromavic to Gaga to bankers no one care about were seen at the event. The article smartly shouts out Esser as well. Watch out for Esser’s performance in the next Lady Gaga video, featuring Marina Abromavic.

Real collaboration at The Hills.

Drain & Reeder Create “On The Spot” Art Exhibition

This past Monday (yes, an opening on a Monday) evening at The Hills Esthetic Center “Jyson Deeder and Tim Rain” debuted “A Nerdier Red”, “community organized” by Josh Reames, at everyone’s “favorite” Garfield Park “gallery”, The Hills. The collaborative exhibition came together as it opened with Reeder & Drain turning the notoriously useless loft above the gallery into the command center from which the art was generated and then incorporated into the official gallery space.

Reeder & Drain tell it like it is.

Down in the gallery, visitors feed off the artists’ frenzied energy and joined in, painting a huge canvas, random hats and eventually joining in on a “drum circle.”

Visitor’s in various states of gallery attendance.

We highly recommend checking out the fallout from last Monday. Email The Hills Esthetic Center to make an appointment.

The Weatherman Report

Walter De Maria, The Lightning Field, 1977. Long-term installation in
Western New Mexico. Photo: The New York Times.

Reading is Fundamental

  • Some Unrequired Reading: As Jerry Saltz opens his piece on Deitch’s depature from LA MoCA, “It was always only a question of when, never if.” That being said, the internet is ablaze with opinions on the development. If you’re into that sort of thing, more here, here, and here.
  • Gay Marriage is Trending and TotallyFab-u-lous: The Gossip is that The Gossip’s Beth Ditto recently married her partner, Kristin Ogata, in Maui. Ditto and Ogata has my dream wedding: Ditto wore a Gaultier gown and it looks like they made all their guests coordinate. To. Die. For.

    Don’t worry beaus, Buxom babes aren’t the only one getting hitched. Recently, our personal fav queen Latrice Royal made news by becoming ordained in order to officiate over a good friend’s wedding ceremony. Catch this great interview on Latrice’s killer outfit and her controversial opinions on gay marriage on Dragofficial.com.

  • Thought hyperallergic.com was just #selfie fluff? No longer. Recently some seriously drama erupted on the site where I most frequently read “news stories” about emojis and cats. Soon after Peter Schjeldahl posted his Jonathan Swift-esque piece for the New Yorker about cannabalizing the Detroit Institute of the Arts a hyperallergic writer, Hrag Vartanian, shook Schjeldahl to his knees. Ending the article with the terse but powerful, “Peter Schjeldahl should be fired” the T? is sure that Vartanian was no small part of what eventually led the tenured art critic to rescind his opinion on the matter.
  • Notes on the Art of Conversation: We’re really excited about what Claudine Isé has to say about all things art conversational during her Much Much More lecture hosted by the Humboldt Park branch of the Chicago Public Library and Philip von Zweck. Even more educational than reading, this event is not to be missed.

Printer’s congregate to prove printing not dead

This past Saturday the Printer’s Ball, hosted by Spudnik Press with the support of the Poetry Foundation, took over the Hubbard Street lofts, once again proving print media’s vitality with displays, demonstrations, lectures, conversations and empanadas. WTT? was especially impressed with the Riso demonstrations provided by SPARE residency in the Post Family space.

Tony Fitzpatrick in conversation with Printer’s Ball founder, Fred Sasaki. Fitzpatrick regaled the audience with tales of Studs Terkel, Lou Reed, Haiti and Cuban cigars.

Spotted at the Printer’s Ball: Momentarily back from Ox-Bow, Lauren Anderson checks out photos and posters at Johalla Projects.




Mantras for Plants | Crowds, Chants, Religion and Plants with Rob Carter

November 3, 2011 · Print This Article

GUEST POST BY HEIDI NORTON

Rob Carter, Culte, 2010, Video Still

I live in Humboldt Park and as of lately I am way into observing, assessing, and mentally noting changes in the trees. The seasons have me thinking about cycles– nostalgia is creeping in. As the lush green turns to yellow, and the yellow to red, my mind wanders back to Rob Carter’s stop motion video and installation of the Nest. Rob’s solo exhibition Culte was recently on view at EBERSMOORE (relocating to 350 N Ogden, Suite 100,  January 6, 2012) earlier this fall.  I was mesmerized by Rob’s show so much, I saw it twice (see why below). He was gracious enough to give me some of his time to talk plants, architecture, and crowds among other things.

Heidi Norton: Architecture seems to be an important focus within your practice. Within “Culte,” you create an architectural hybrid of the tennis stadium in Queens, Flushing Meadows, the site of the US open and the facade of a Gothic cathedral. Talk about the significance of the actual space – the interior architectural and exterior architecture – that these pieces reference. Why this particular stadium? Does the ground around the stadium play a role? Does it have a historical reference? Why Gothic architecture?

Rob Carter: Frequently my work begins with an architectural juxtaposition and this video has several. The stadium seating is indeed composed of a series of shots I took from each quadrant of the Arthur Ashe Stadium in Flushing, Queens. However there is little significance to that fact as I have made the playing surface, and therefore the game, very ambiguous: it is an elongated octagon of perfectly mown grass or perhaps Astroturf. The idea is that this is a fairly universal stadium for a universal unspecified sport – the video’s audio track uses the sounds of chanting fans from all over the world representing the theatre and community of sport. Likewise, the outside architecture is made up of Gothic architecture from a variety of European cathedrals, though most are from England and France. All the elements are photographic prints that have been resized to fit on one architectural model structure – they form a building that is fractured (sometimes the outside is made of interior images) and complete – almost believable. To some extent it represents the mega-churches that have formed a significant part of the development of Christianity in North America. These buildings and their ‘organizations’ naturally draw interesting comparisons with the entertainment, fervor, and ritual of sports stadium events. I have been interested in these overlapping cultural themes for several years – how the need for sport and religion divide and unite our cities, both architecturally and as a communal experience.

I chose to unify the exterior of my stadium with one style of architecture. Gothic architecture is not specifically religious architecture, but it has become most closely associated with Christianity through the Gothic cathedral masterpieces of the 12th–15th century. I have a longstanding relationship with these types of buildings – family summer holidays always included multiple visits to cathedrals and churches all over the UK and Northern France, so I have a strong personal connection with it and despite all those church visits I also still love it. Plants and the natural world have many associations with Gothic architecture and carving which makes a coherent juxtaposition with the plants that surround this particular building in my video. Simplistically the representation of nature in Gothic architecture, as it evolves over the centuries, shows the natural world in all its detail formed in solid stone, as well as an emerging order and purity that attempts to stand above the baseness of nature. Though the style evolves into the more rectilinear forms of the Perpendicular style, the association with nature, with plants, flowers, trees and foliage is always imbedded and celebrated within the buildings. The ground around the stadium did have other incarnations but I felt it worked best as a void or barren earth that isolated the building from the reality of urbanism (no roads or car parks), but that also tied the architecture to the ground. After all soil is essentially broken up particles of stone.

Rob Carter, Culte, 2010, Video Still

Heidi Norton: In graduate school, I made a piece about spectatorship and crowd power. I was very interested in the idea of absorption and the spectacle–the crowds and the event and/or the thing being consumed. I investigated groups of people of varying sizes within sporting events, church congregations, cheer leading competitions, etc. Please talk about the parallels between this type of absorption and the plants growth mediated through the camera and stop motion. Are these people chanting “mantras” or life to the plants?

Rob Carter: The plants are literally absorbing and consuming in order to survive and grow (the audio track also suggests this), so I am interested in this parallel with spectatorship. The subconscious need to belong – to engage, worship or be entertained en masse is a fascinating  and important part of our societies. Your Graduate School piece sounds like an interesting project – I am most interested in ideas of the power of the crowd especially in connection with architecture and urban planning. To me the seedlings in “Culte” might refer more to the homogeneity that the crowd creates – how we lose our individual identity in the mass of a stadium crowd, and how despite their uniqueness the seedlings never have individual identity in our eyes. They are simply ‘programmed’ to absorb, nourish themselves and grow. In the circumstances of sport or religion the experience of singing, chanting or just shouting becomes an empowering experience but also one that, like plant growth, relies on order and timing. The voices are chanting many things in different languages, for varying sports and religions, but the auditory sensation is supposed to be something like a series of mantras – one that suggests physical and spiritual transformation – perhaps asking for the plants to burgeon.

Rob Carter, The Nest, installation view, EBERSMOORE, 2011

Heidi Norton: Why zucchini? Was it important that the plant be a producer of something edible?

Rob Carter: There are a variety of species used, but the soil was predominantly sown with zucchini and pumpkin seeds. When I embarked on this 8-month process I was unsure what I was going to get but the idea was that the vegetables should simply symbolize two architectural motifs – the column and the dome. In my wildest dreams I hoped that a pumpkin might emerge and put a dome on my stadium and probably crush it (the seedlings growing through “The Nest” are mostly pumpkins for this some association). Given the very restricted growing area it was not surprising that this did not happen and as it turns out the zucchinis totally overwhelmed the pumpkin seedlings – so I created a kind of vegetable survival of the fittest arena. It was, as you suggest, important to have something edible produced because the video is partly about sustenance and human needs – about our desire to connect with others and to be ‘nourished’ spiritually. It also attempts to make reference to the religion of food as I see it today – the evolvement of food ‘movements’ (Locavorism, Organic, Slow Food etc) and their influence on the way we live and the fanaticism that often goes along with them. For some, it has become a quasi-religious basis for the way they live their lives, affecting the choices for daily life in ever more complex and sometimes contradictory ways.

Rob Carter, Detail of Culte, 2010

Heidi Norton: “The Nest” was also on display at EbersMoore. My perception and understanding of the space was completely displaced when I saw the scale of the actual plants and model. I enjoyed this experience very much. Discuss the importance of exhibiting “the nest” and the significance of the camera’s point-of-view.

Rob Carter:In the course of making “Culte” I transformed my studio into some kind of bio-lab. It quickly became apparent that the apparatus of constructing the work was interesting and did something quite different from the video. This in itself has led me to a new work which will open in New York next year that will have all the apparatus of such a production in the gallery space including a larger scale seed-bed with plants growing and being photographed throughout the course of the exhibit. “The Nest” is something of a mini pre-curser to this. It is a remnant of the process of making the video – a relic of all those hours of growth; it also relocates the scale of the video for the viewer. What especially interested me in the remains of my studio garden was the way the plants had fused with this miniature piece of architecture – they now form a tangled web of plant matter that is both sinister and protective of the little paper sculpture. The new growth in “The Nest” represents both the beginning and end of the evolution described by the video. New pumpkin seedlings replace the evergreen playing surface and they are set-up to grow throughout the course of the exhibit. Here the seedlings grow in real time, but if you were to revisit the show the sculpture would have evolved and the architecture would be a little further obscured than on a previous visit. The sculpture asks the viewer to consider the camera’s point-of-view, and interpret how they have perceived the video. Having been seduced by the movement and sound, it should be something of a mental leap to then look at this pile of dead leaves, observe what is in it and consider the frustrating difference in the sense of time it suggests. The seedlings may feel even more static than they might otherwise – as ‘dead’ in time at the yellowed leaves that surround them.

Rob Carter, The Nest (regrowth), Installation view, EBERSMOORE, 2011

Heidi Norton: Does nostalgia play a role in these works?  Is the idea of youth, memory, and lived experience of relevance? The longing for life? The POV of the camera, the stop motion, talk about all of the things in relation to the work.

Rob Carter: I don’t think I had considered it as nostalgic. That said, there are many personal ways it connects to me and my ‘lived experience’. Stop motion and time-lapse photography has the ability to make the mundane uncanny and often wondrous. Many experience this (first) as children so the adult experience of viewing work using such techniques can be mediated by such memories. My videos tend to use stop motion/time-lapse in a fairly ‘pure’ form – “Culte” uses the techniques of the nature program, but shows more than the highlights – we never see the flower open, but we see everything else.

Culte [installation version] from Rob Carter on Vimeo.

Heidi Norton: Was the nest a self-sustaining system? Why was it important to add an irrigation feature? How does the space and idea of the stadium change when the plant dies? For me, in the beginning the exterior appeared overgrown and at the end it was barren.

Rob Carter: I don’t think that the lushness is unattainable but it is fleeting. “The Nest” has a very basic irrigation system that required a simple collaboration between artist and gallery – they had to keep my sculpture alive for the course of the show. The surrounding dead plants reinforce how temporary and futile this is; the new seedlings are exposed as an effect and a symbol of potential without the possibility of reward. They themselves represent the true narrative – the story that none of us can escape from.  However, I tend to look at this work in terms of cycles of life… cycles and overlappings of culture, community and tradition too.

****

Heidi Norton received her MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2002. She lives and works in Chicago. Norton has presented solo exhibitions in Chicago and San Francisco. Group exhibitions include How Do I Look at Monique Meloche Gallery, The World as Text at the Center for Book and Paper Arts, Snapshot at Contemporary Art Museum in Baltimore, and the Knitting Factory in New York. Norton was published in My Green City (Gestalten) in 2011 and her spring show Not to See the Sun, at EbersMoore was reviewed in Frieze, September 2011. Currently she is collaborating with writer Claudine Ise in a seasonal column for Bad At Sports called Mantras for Plants. Norton is represented by EBERSMOORE gallery in Chicago. She is faculty in the photography department at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.