Sunday Comic: Golden Spike: Rock Shop of the Anthropocene

August 21, 2016 · Print This Article


Anthropocene Rock Shop Comic—forBAS

The first comic-art-review I ever made was inspired by a remarkable 2015 exhibition at The Comfort Station in Chicago’s Logan Square entitled Golden Spike: Rock Shop of the Anthropocene, featuring work by Conrad Bakker, Harry Kuttner, Lee Hunter and Ryan Thompson. It was organized by MK Meador and Stella Brown. The comic was never published, but the show remains vivid in my imagination.  Together artists and organizers installed a cohesive “roadside attraction” that playfully stages evidence of humanity’s influence on geological material, torquing Frontier-fantasy trading posts and Pastoral tourist stopovers with Anthropocenic evidence culled from the the city. The specimens presented are not pure minerals but rather amalgamations of dirt, grit, and human industry. As such each rock reflects a massive network of industrial, economic, national, and political forces within which everyone—humans and nonhumans like—are implicated. The conceit of the exhibit therefore mixes “real” specimens with “authentic” artworks by the aforementioned artists. A far room features a small pile of short rusted strips of iron are “priced by length;” nearby a cardboard box on the floor boasts five pieces of Metra train tracks for a dollar. On a higher shelf above this box, pieces of “Tar Obsidian” in cotton-bedded gold cardboard jewelry boxes are available for sale as well. Information cards are positioned beside every sample, slipping between didactic museum text and sales cards used in fossil shops. On an opposing wall, Harry Kuttner hangs his sculpture some crushed Budweisers: a series of used, crumpled and sun-faded beer cans with smooth palm-size rocks protruding from their centers. In the main room, more rocks are arranged and encased in plastic boxes or wrapped in cellophane Cabrini Green Housing Complex rocks similarly for sale at affordable single digit prices and nearby with an information card that describes not only the location of the original building but also what the specimen contains (a mixture of brick and concrete). Positioned equivalently Conrad Baaker installs a series of painting of hands looking at rocks on shelves. This collection entitled, Untitled Project: The Crystal Land was inspired by a Robert Smithson essay about of the same name. Or Ryan Thompson’s Vogel-Cut Crystal Prototypes of assorted materials: a series of encased rods comprised of different materials which, according to their wall label were designed by an IBM researched who “turned his attention from magnetic disks to another type of information retrieval system—quartz crystals” and thus designed his “Vogel-cut” crystal form. This exhibition was designed like a stage set, and the effect is pleasurably wry and informative, demonstrating how these strange geological specimens encompass the larger mesh of human civilization in inert, everyday materials.

The Comfort Station is currently accepting proposals for artist submissions.

Chicago Art in Pictures: SAIC Fashion 2013

June 25, 2013 · Print This Article

A graphic, editorial overview of art, artists, and visual art events, found in and around Chicago over the course of the preceding month. All artwork copyright original artists; all photography copyright Paul Germanos.

On Friday, May 3, 2013, within a 15,000-square-foot tent erected upon Chase Promenade in Millennium Park, The Fashion Design Department presented The School of the Art Institute of Chicago’s 79th annual fashion show.

And what did it have to do with visual art?

Well, more recently, on June 22, 2013, Cheryl Pope, longtime studio manager for SAIC Fashion’s Nick Cave, enjoyed the public opening of her first solo exhibition, “Just Yell,” at Chicago gallery moniquemeloche. Pope, like Cave, is employed by SAIC’s Fashion Design Department. Meloche served on SAIC’s 2013 Fashion Committee.

A profile of Monique Meloche’s parallel interests in fashion and art was published by Andrea Morris one month ago; Chicago-ish artists Conrad Bakker and Rashid Johnson figured prominently in Morris’ piece. And SAIC Board of Governors member Dr. Daniel S. Berger has been a collector and supporter of Johnson, among other artists, showing with Meloche.

In short: Chicago’s “art world” is in no way distinct from fashion–especially as it’s located within SAIC–but rather it’s intimately connected to it.

What follows is a hint of this year’s production, as experienced on and around the runway at SAIC Fashion 2013. Special thanks to SAIC and Carol Fox and Associates for facilitating Bad at Sports’ access. If you, gentle reader, are able to assist with the identification of any designer or model depicted but not yet named, contact: paulgermanos(at)

SAIC Fashion 2013
Above: Designer Roy Lee’s garment on the runway.

Cheryl Pope @ SAIC Fashion 2013
Above: Cheryl Pope, SAIC Fashion Faculty, at the 2013 show.

SAIC Fashion 2013
Above: Model Marissa Banks/Factor on the runway.

SAIC Fashion 2013
Above: Designer Tosha Sherman’s collection on the runway, model Valerie foreground.

Tosha Sherman @ SAIC Fashion 2013
Above: Designer Tosha Sherman at left; model Valerie at right.

SAIC Fashion 2013

SAIC Fashion 2013
Above: SAIC Fashion 2013 pavillion exterior, Chase Promenade North, Millennium Park, Chicago, Illinois.

SAIC Fashion 2013
Above: Designer Caroline Hougen’s retro collection, seen front and back, on the runway.

Conrad Hamather @ SAIC Fashion 2013
Above: Conrad Hamather, SAIC Fashion Faculty, Graduate Coordinator, producer of the 2013 show, at work.

SAIC Fashion 2013

SAIC Fashion 2013
Above: Model Marissa Banks/Factor on the runway.

SAIC Fashion 2013

SAIC Fashion 2013

SAIC Fashion 2013
Above: Designer Elaine Hoang’s collection on the runway.

SAIC Fashion 2013
Above: SAIC Fashion 2013 volunteer, between shows.

SAIC Fashion 2013

SAIC Fashion 2013

SAIC Fashion 2013

SAIC Fashion 2013

SAIC Fashion 2013

SAIC Fashion 2013
Above: Designer Francisco Gonzalez’ garment on the runway.

SAIC Fashion 2013

SAIC Fashion 2013

The School of the Art Institute of Chicago
Fashion Design Department

Millennium Park
Chase Promenade North
201 E. Randolph St.
Chicago, IL

Top 5 Weekend Picks (11/4-11/6)

November 4, 2011 · Print This Article

1. Archival Impulse at Gallery 400

Work by  The Alliance of Pentaphilic Curators (Jason Dunda and Teena McClelland), John Arndt, Conrad Bakker, Dexter Sinister, Christa Donner, Kota Ezawa, Edie Fake, Eric Fleischauer, Stephen Lapthisophon, Jason Lazarus, Dani Leventhal, Aspen Mays, Mary Patten, Jenny Perlin, Public Collectors, Jason Salavon, Paul Lloyd Sargent, Cauleen Smith, Edra Soto, Stephanie Syjuco, Sergio Vega, and Philip von Zweck.

Gallery 400, 400 S. Peoria St. Reception Friday, 5-8pm.

2. Water at SideCar

Work by Tom Burtonwood, Holly Holmes, and James Jankowiak.

SideCar, 411 Huehn St, Hammond, IN. Reception Saturday, 5-10pm.

3. A Paler Shade of Yellow at Kirk’s Apartment

Work by  Larry Lee

Kirk’s Apartment, 3710 N Marshfield. Reception Friday, 6-9pm.

4. Wax/Wane at ACRE Projects

Work by Liz McCarthy.

ACRE Projects, 1913 W 17th St. Reception Sunday, 4-8pm.

5. Dirty! Dirty! Dirty! of Playboys, Pigs, and Penthouse Paupers: AN AMERICAN TALE OF SEX AND WONDER at The Renaissance Society

Reading by Mike Edison.

The Renaissance Society, 5811 S. Ellis Ave, Cobb Hall Room 307. Reading begins at 2pm.

Top 5 Weekend Picks! (10/1 & 10/2)

September 30, 2010 · Print This Article

1. Leap of Faith at Architrouve

Paintings by Chicago artist James Jankowiak.

Architrouve is located at 1433 W. Chicago Ave. Reception is Friday from 6-9pm.

2. GLI.TC/H run.time & real.time at Transistor and The Nightingale

Work by Theodore Darst, Ben Baker Smith, Cole Pierce, Omar Mashal, Clint Ens, Morgan Higby Flowers, Antonio Roberts, Evan Meaney, Richard O’Sullivan, BotBorg, Aaron Zarzutzki, Morgan Higby Flowers, Jeff Donaldson, Vadim Sprikut Anton Marini, jon.satrom, and Jason Soliday (Friday) and work by Jodie Mack, Theodore Darst, Nick Briz, Alexander Stewart, Clint Ens, Nick Salvatore, Johnny Rogers, Jon Satrom, James Connolly, Ben Pearson, Jimmy Joe Roche, Karl Klomp, JB Mabe, LJ Frezza, James Connolly & Eric Pellegrino, Tamas Kemenczy & Mark Beasley, Jeronimo Barbosa, Andrew Bucksbarg, Ben Baker-Smith & Evan Kühl, and StAllio! (Saturday)

Transistor is located at 5045 N Clark St and will host Part 1 Friday from 8-11:30pm. The Nightingale is located at 1084 N Milwaukee Ave and will host Part 2 Saturday from 7-10pm.

3. Future Shock at The Green Lantern Gallery

Work by Brandon Alvendia, Conrad Bakker, Edie Fake, The Library of Radiant Optimism, Red76, People Powered, and Randall Szott.

Green Lantern Gallery is located at 2542 W. Chicago Ave. Reception is Friday from 7-10pm.

4. Wild Card at Johalla Projects

Tarot cards by Bridey Bowen, Alex Chitty, David D’Andrea, Rob Doran, Ryan Duggan, Ron Ewert, Heather Gabel, Horsebites, Myles Smutney Hyde, Damara Kaminecki, Jenny Kendler, Rick Leech, Monique Ligons, Alexis Mackenzie, Roy Miranda, Kyle James Morrison, Steak Mtn, Rachel Peacock, Bird Reynolds, Cristy Roads, J.L. Schnabel, and David Snedden.

Johalla Projects is located at 1561 N. Milwaukee Ave. Reception is Friday from 7-11pm.

5. Neither Here Nor There at Helicon Hall Gallery

Work by James Beckman, Arielle Bielak, Sher Dionisio, nikki hollander, Damien James, Robert Jeffries, Blake Parish Lewis, Lauryn Lewis, Vivien Park, Sarah Park, Holly Sabin, and Shawn Stucky.

Helicon Hall Gallery is located at 1542 N. Milwaukee, 2nd floor. Reception is Saturday from 6-11pm.

Conrad Bakker’s Untitled Project: eBAY/DEPRESSION GLASS

September 23, 2009 · Print This Article

Conrad Bakker–he of the individually hand-carved and painted replicas of a year’s worth of Artforum, made available at the genuinely unbelievable low price of $72, the art magazine’s own subscription fee–has just launched another of his untitled eBay projects that plays with notions of originality and market value. Bakker’s Untitled Project: eBAY/DEPRESSION GLASS is a series of nine oil paintings on panel each measuring 7 x 9.5 inches and based on photographs of depression-era glassware placed for auction on eBay. (The paintings are on view right now as part of the University of Illinois’ art and design faculty exhibition at the Krannert Art Museum). Last Friday Bakker put the paintings themselves up for auction (they can be found in eBay’s Pottery & Glass > Glass > Glassware > Depression category) but this time, he’s donating the proceeds to the Eastern Illinois Foodbank. Bidding closes in exactly 4 days, 23 hours and 34 minutes (as of this writing) and thus far prices remain ridiculously low–the priciest (the green bowl pictured below) is still only at $274. Yes, I may well drive them up by posting this, but it’s for a food bank after all. Take a look at some of the works on the virtual block, and if your wallet allows get thee over there and ramp up the bidding.


Conrad Bakker, ""Hazel Atlas Royal Lace Cobalt Blue 3 Footed 10in Bowl"

Conrad Bakker, “”Hazel Atlas Royal Lace Cobalt Blue 3 Footed 10in Bowl”

Conrad Bakker, "Indiana Glass Company Red 3 Toe Crimped Bowl"

Conrad Bakker, “Indiana Glass Company Red 3 Toe Crimped Bowl”

Conrad Bakker, ""Anchor Hocking Depression Green SANDWICH 6 1/2" BOWL"

Conrad Bakker, “”Anchor Hocking Depression Green SANDWICH 6 1/2″ BOWL”

(Via Open Space via C-Monster).