Compiling Reports: EXPO Chicago 2013

September 24, 2013 · Print This Article

In case you thought we maybe glossed over the epic amount of blood sweat and tears that went into last week’s art fair extravaganza, I thought I’d repost a few articles that came out in the last few days including this one from Art in America:

img-expo-chicago-1-vernissage_210432148013.jpg_x_475x356_c

Strong Sophomore Outing for Expo Chicago

by Brian Boucher

“I’ll tell you what distinguishes this year from last year,” Expo Chicago director Tony Karman told A.i.A. at the fair’s sophomore outing on Saturday, “and I’ll tell you in one word—sales. It was very important that big dealers like David Zwirner and Marianne Boesky do well, and they have.”

Featuring over 120 international galleries at the capacious Navy Piers (up from 100 last year), with views of Lake Michigan, Expo Chicago (Sept. 19-22) represented dealers from 17 countries and 36 cities. Some were returning, like Zwirner (New York and London), Matthew Marks (New York and Los Angeles), and Kavi Gupta (Chicago and Berlin). There were also many first-timers, including Marianne Boesky (New York), Cabinet (London), Massimo de Carlo (Milan and London) and Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects.

While almost every exhibitor acknowledged that sales were little to none in 2012, nearly all said that business was better this year. Dealers reported a range of sales, starting as low as $4,000 for works on paper by Chicago’s own William J. O’Brien at Boesky. Works in a modest price range found the most ready buyers, but there were outliers. Boesky told A.i.A. of serious interest in an assemblage by Salvatore Scarpitta, Drummer Seargeant (1963), which was tagged at $750,000, and one dealer who declined to be named told A.i.A. that he had sold a million-dollar artwork—and to a walk-in customer, no less. read more

A handful of additional EXPO 2013 accounts can be found here:

2013-09-19-L1080344

Paul Klein on The Huffington Post, with some lovely installations shots to boot:

This is the second year of this wonderful mid-sized art fair, with substantial galleries bringing some A quality art and almost enough cutting edge galleries showing off exciting artists to watch.There are some gorgeous treasures to be seen. 

A selection from the Annely Juda Fine Art installation.

A selection from the Annely Juda Fine Art installation.

More photos of favorite works via The Chicagoist.

Many reports via Art Fag City over the course of the week/end, beginning with from Paddy Johnson’s mixed reaction:

Importantly, the fair seems an enormous step up from anything Merchandise Mart offered, a mega-fair corporation that’s been largely unsuccessful at handling art. Much as the company does for Volta in New York, Merchandise Mart used their own real estate to house Next Art Chicago, even though its low ceilings were unsuited to showcasing art. Last year, when they closed, the organization claimed that collectors were only purchasing art on the coast lines.

A photo collection courtesy of Paddy Johnson, with “the good, the bad and the ugly:”

It’s impossible to describe EXPO Chicago without offering a few images to tell the story. This slideshow with commentary do just that. Highlights, lowlights, and everything in between below.

Andreas Lolis' marble "cardboard" boxes IN/SITU, EXPO Chicago, 2013.

Andreas Lolis’ marble “cardboard” boxes IN/SITU, EXPO Chicago, 2013.

And AFC’a closing word from Robin Dluzen:

A main concern for EXPO and the exhibiting galleries was last year’s absence of collectors and museums from the wider midwest region and beyond, and this year, EXPO managed to draw them in. William Lieberman of Zolla/Lieberman Gallery (a veteran Chicago dealer, first time EXPO exhibitor) saw his clients from St. Louis and San Francisco; Monique Meloche, also exhibiting for the first time at EXPO and the founder of Gallery Weekend Chicago running concurrently with the fair, had museum groups from Kentucky and Denver buying for themselves and buying for the museums. “MoMA is not going to buy here,” she explains, “But this can be a strong regional place.” It’s not just the out-of-towners making themselves known, but also the more reclusive local collectors. “I had Sanford Biggers in my windows for months,” said Meloche of the artist’s recent exhibition at her eponymous gallery, “I brought him here to the fair and there are Chicago collectors discovering the work for the first time.”

Dmitry Samarov writes in Art on its Own Terms:

My strategy at these fairs has always been to run through the entire thing quickly, then return to anything that made my eye stop. Most years that amounts to four or five paintings or drawings and this year was no different. There was a good corner where a David Park portrait was next to an Elmer Bischoff figure painting, with a Richard Diebenkorn drawing round the corner. I was also happy to see a Leon Kossoff painting along with a couple of drawings. There was an Alice Neal children’s portrait too, that made all the work around it look like newspaper clippings. The thing I liked best though were a couple small Harold Haydon cityscapes.

Terraniums edit

Chicago Magazine got a kick out of Seattle-based artist Vaughn Bell, mini earth-and-moss terrariums that were “available for adoption this weekend at the Expo Chicago art fair on Navy Pier.” 

And finally — Artslant Thomas Connors interviewed Tony Karman:

TC: A fair of modern and contemporary work must be something of a balancing act. You’ve got the de Kooning collector on one hand and the Simon Starling fan on the other. And I’m guessing the blue chip collector isn’t looking to acquire an emerging artist.

TK: Let me disagree with you. To some extent, there are certain collectors who will only want to buy that de Kooning. But other lifelong collectors want to be in the vanguard; they are going to look to the younger work because that is equally exciting to them. That’s probably more the norm. A great collector likes to have a balance of contemporary work and historical material.




Chicago Art in Pictures: Summer of 2013

August 20, 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 months. All artwork copyright original artists; all photography copyright Paul Germanos.

CourtneyBlades
Mickey Pomfrey & Blake Cameron Harris @ CourtneyBlades
Above: CourtneyBlades’ partners, Mickey Pomfrey, left, and Blake Cameron Harris, right, in the gallery for the opening reception of “Definitely Living, Likely Cognitive,” on August 9, 2013.

Ria Roberts & Matthew Richardson @ CourtneyBlades
Above: “Medium Cool” art book fair organizer Ria Roberts, right, with Matthew Richardson, left, in CourtneyBlades.

Definitely Living, Likely Cognitive @ CourtneyBlades

Mickey Pomfrey is one of a relatively small number of people I encounter on a regular basis at gallery openings in Chicago. In spite of that fact, I’d never before brought a camera to the space (CourtneyBlades) which he runs with Blake Cameron Harris. And it was only because I happened to take photographs there on August 9, 2013, that Ria Roberts noticed me, and reminded me to attend Medium Cool: a new art book fair with which she’s involved.

Bea Fremderman, Brian Khek, and Micah Schippa
“Definitely Living, Likely Cognitive”
August 9 – September 1, 2013
CourtneyBlades
1324 W. Grand Ave.
Chicago, IL 60642
http://courtneyblades.com/

Medium Cool
Tom Burtonwood @ Medium Cool
Above: Tom Burtonwood shares his 3-d printed book–which itself “prints” by means of being folded upon some plastic material.

Yuri Stone / Renaissance Society @ Medium Cool
Above: Yuri Stone for The Renaissance Society at the University of Chicago.

Scott Speh / Western Exhibitions @ Medium Cool
Above: Scott Speh of Western Exhibitions.

Ed Panar & Melissa Catanese / Spaces Corners @ Medium Cool
Above: Ed Panar & Melissa Catanese of Spaces Corners.

Vincent Uribe / LVL3 @ Medium Cool
Above: Vincent Uribe feigns interest in my shenanigans while the ladies of LVL3 ignore me. In truth, everyone smiled for the first picture; this was the fifth picture.

Medium Cool
(art book fair)
12:00 — 8:00 PM
August 11, 2013
Prairie Production
1314 W. Randolph St.
Chicago, IL
http://medium-cool.net/

LVL3
Chelsea Culp & Katy Cowan @ LVL3
Above: Chelsea Culp and Katy Cowan.

Matt Nichols & Josue Pellot @ LVL3
Above: Matt Nichols and Josue Pellot.

Whether called collaboration, the pairing of artists or galleries is now at least as common as food trucks outside, or bars within, our local venues.

“2 of a kind”
June 29 – July 21, 2013
LVL3
1542 N. Milwaukee Ave, 3rd Floor
Chicago, Illinois 60622
http://lvl3gallery.com/

The Mission
Yhelena Hall @ The Mission
Above: Yhelena Hall’s upper-gallery installation joining a helium-supported wooden craft with wall-mounted video.

Joshua Albers @ The Mission
Above: Joshua Albers’ lower-gallery (Sub-Mission) projected video installation.

Yhelena Hall’s da Vinci-like creation is built from fabric stretched over a frame, which method of construction reminds a Chicago resident of Linda Warren’s artist Juan Angel Chavez. But, maybe, within Warren’s stable the better comparison is to Conrad Freiburg–for as helium escapes its imperfect balloon, Hall’s wooden machine has a self-destructive potential.

Joshua Albers and Yhelena Hall
PARALLELS / A Collaboration with ACRE Residency, Part 2
August 2 – 24, 2013
The Mission
1431 W. Chicago Avenue
Chicago, IL 60642
http://themissionprojects.com/

Linda Warren Projects
Conrad Freiburg @ Linda Warren Projects
Above: The framing device “Undecagon Tripod,” 2013, at the center of Freiburg’s kinetic, wood installation.

Like Yhelena Hall at The Mission, Conrad Freiburg chose to present freestanding, three-dimensional objects made largely of wood, in the company of smaller, wall-mounted graphic works, which in this case are still images rather than video. Unlike Hall, around the perimeter of gallery interior Freiburg set a race, which in turn carries bearings or marbles as such activity is initiated by visitors. Four years ago, in June of 2009, Monica Herrera arranged a similar work at 65GRAND, there observed with an additional audio component: falling marbles “played” upon successive wooden elements with each drop in elevation.

Conrad Freiburg
“Before the Grave and Constant”
June 7 – August 10, 2013
Linda Warren Projects
327 N. Aberdeen (151)
Chicago, IL 60607
http://lindawarrenprojects.com/

Monica Herrera
Monica Herrera @ 65Grand
Above: A visitor interacts with Monica Herrera’s installation in 2009.

Eliza Fernand, Jodie Mack, Monica Herrera
“post-scarcity”
Curated by Thea Liberty Nichols
65GRAND
June 19 – July 25, 2009
1378 W. Grand Ave. (old location)
Chicago IL 60622-6450

Chicago Artists’ Coalition
Jake Myers @ Chicago Artists’ Coalition
Above: Audience members interact with Jake Myers at his cardboard sports bar.

Mothergirl @ Chicago Artists’ Coalition
Above: Attendees model the available Mothergirl costumes.

Jessica Harvey - Kera MacKenzie - Jenny Buffington @ Chicago Artists’ Coalition
Above, left-to-right: Jessica Harvey, Kera MacKenzie, and Jenny Buffington at the “pARTicipatory” opening on August 9, 2013.

When I hold a camera to my face and look through the viewfinder I’m blind to the room around me, so that it’s especially surprising to be struck at that moment. I write here with authority as I’ve suffered the aforementioned indignity on multiple occasions. On August 9, 2013, for the second time at one of Myers’ openings, someone threw something at me while I was taking a picture. If the games, and food, and liquor, all now frequently available at gallery openings, have served to draw in a certain sort of person then, maybe, they’ve done so only at the cost of another sort of person. After six years of work on this photographic project, my patience has been exhausted.

“pARTicipatory”
HATCH Projects Residents: Chaz Evans, Amber Ginsburg, Mothergirl, Jake Myers, Hoyun Son, and Latham Zearfoss
HATCH Curatorial Residents: Meredith Weber and Anna Trier, a/k/a the Happy Collaborationists
August 9 – August 29, 2013
Chicago Artists’ Coalition
217 N. Carpenter St.
Chicago, IL 60607
http://chicagoartistscoalition.org/

Sonnenzimmer
Sonnenzimmer

Josh Berman @ Sonnenzimmer
Above: Acclaimed coronet player Josh Berman, foreground, nagged by my mother, background. It’s better him than me.

Nick Butcher @ Sonnenzimmer
Above: Nick Butcher, right, gave my mother, left, a Tecate, and she seemed concerned.

Sonnenzimmer print and design studio is Nadine Nakanishi and Nick Butcher. On July 14, 2013, Nick and Nadine held a sort-of art benefit / garage sale, during which Michael Bingaman (electronics), Josh Berman (cornet), Anton Hatwich (double bass), and Matt Schneider (guitar) played music. There, I bought a big Taschen contemporary art compendium for three dollars, and got a Design Bureau magazine for free. Everyone was cool! And John Corbett was there–because he’s really good about attending these things. Even my mother was happy.

“On the patio at Sonnenzimmer”
10:00 AM – 6:00 PM
July 14, 2013
Sonnenzimmer
3605 N. Damen Ave., Rear
Chicago, IL 60618
http://www.sonnenzimmer.com/

Columbia College Chicago: Portfolio Center – Industry Events
Nick Albertson @ Columbia College Industry Events Photography Review
Above: Nick Albertson

Ryan Bringas @ Columbia College Industry Events Photography Review
Above: Ryan Bringas

Meg Noe @ Columbia College Industry Events Photography Review
Above: Meg Noe

Tim M. Johnson @ Columbia College Industry Events Photography Review
Above: Tim M. Johnson

Rikki Levine @ Columbia College Industry Events Photography Review
Above: Rikki Levine

The scale of the event was overwhelming. The quality of almost all of the work was very high. I spent most of my time with those presenters who seemed to have a fine arts orientation. Rikki Levine, above, was something of an exception as she seemed (?) most interested in travel and documentary work. But, her book (portfolio) looked too good to ignore. Whether they knew it, not a few graduates produced material recalling John Opera or Jessica Labatte. And I should have been yet more forceful in my exhortation to go out and look at what’s being made here and now.

Columbia College Chicago
Portfolio Center – Industry Events
“Photography Review”
May 16, 2013
Studio East
1006 S. Michigan Ave.
Chicago, IL 60605

Allan Sekula
Allan Sekula @ The Renaissance Society
Above: A visitor at the entry to “Polonia and Other Fables” seen engaged with one of Sekula’s photographs during the opening reception in 2009.

Allan Sekula died on August 10, 2013 after a long struggle with cancer.

Allan Sekula
“Polonia and Other Fables”
September 20 – December 13, 2009
The Renaissance Society
5811 S. Ellis Avenue
Bergman Gallery, Cobb Hall 418
Chicago, Illinois 60637
http://renaissancesociety.org/site/

Chicago Art Department
Meg Noe @ Chicago Art Department
Above: “Mr. Grief” by Meg Noe.

“&again&again”
Jeffery Austin, Marne Provost, Kimberly Kim, Meg T. Noe, Jonathan Pivovar, John Brookes Turner
Curated by Jonathan Pivovar
Supported by Columbia College Chicago’s Photography Department
July 12 – 14, 2013
Chicago Art Department
1932 South Halsted #100
Chicago, IL 60608
http://www.chicagoartdepartment.org/

MCA Chicago
Amanda Ross-Ho @ MCA Chicago

The timing of this exhibition is either fortuitous or tragic depending upon one’s knowledge of the not dissimilar installation on Michigan Avenue, and sense of humor.

Amanda Ross-Ho
“THE CHARACTER AND SHAPE OF ILLUMINATED THINGS”
Organized by MCA Curator Julie Rodrigues Widholm.
July – November, 2013
MCA Chicago Plaza Project
The Museum of Contemporary Art of Chicago
220 E. Chicago Ave. (MVDR Drive)
Chicago IL 60611
http://www.mcachicago.org/

Frogman Gallery / Pop-Up Art Loop
Gwendolyn Zabicki @ Frogman Gallery / Pop-Up Art Loop
Above: Dmitry Samarov (painting) at left, curator Gwendolyn Zabicki at center, and Noah Vaughn (photo print) at right, in “Never a lovely so real,” opening night.

The Chicago Loop Alliance deserves credit for the good work it’s done in offering such opportunities to people like Gwendolyn Zabicki.

“Never a lovely so real”
Clarissa Bonet, Dmitry Samarov and Noah Vaughn
Curated by Gwendolyn Zabicki
Pop-Up Art Loop from the Chicago Loop Alliance
Sponsored in part by Columbia College Chicago
July 11, 2013
Frogman Gallery
108 N. State St. (Block Thirty Seven, First Floor)
Chicago, IL 60603
http://gwendolynzabicki.com/home.html

Chicago Artists Coalition
Jordan Martins @ Chicago Artists Coalition
Above: Jordan Martins in his projection, opening night.

Nick Butcher, Jennifer Salim, E. Aaron Ross, Aaron Delehanty @ Chicago Artists Coalition
Above, left-to-right: Nick Butcher (half of Sonnenzimmer), Jennifer Salim, E. Aaron Ross, and Aaron Delehanty standing in a projection by Theodore Darst at the Chicago Artists Coalition’s “Natural Fallacy” opening.

“Natural Fallacy”
Noelle Allen, Theodore Darst, Brent Fogt, Jordan Martins, Nicholas Sagan, and Matthew Schlagbaum
Curated by MK Meador
July 12 – August 1, 2013
Chicago Artists Coalition
217 N. Carpenter St.
Chicago, IL 60607
http://jordanmartins.com/

threewalls
Brenna Murphy & Birch Cooper @ threewalls
Above: MSHR a/k/a Brenna Murphy & Birch Cooper performing an electronic audio work in their installation.

Hear it on Vine: vine.co/v/hamYhHDJJ0d

Abigail Satinsky, Lauren Basing & Shannon Stratton @ threewalls
Above, left-to-right: Abigail Satinsky, Lauren Basing, and Shannon Stratton, a/k/a threewalls, on the occasion of their last opening at 119 N. Peoria Street, Chicago.

Edie Fake @ threewalls
Above: Edie Fake’s installation, with spectators.

Joe Jeffers & Jeremy Tinder @ threewalls
Above: Joe Jeffers, left, and Jeremy Tinder, right, attending the opening.

Thanks to Abigail, Lauren, and Shannon for playing along. I’m sorry that I didn’t get a better shot of you three together. Good luck and best wishes…

“Binary Lore”
Edie Fake and MSHR a/k/a Brenna Murphy & Birch Cooper
June 28, 2013
threewalls
119 N. Peoria, #2C
Chicago, IL 60607
http://www.three-walls.org/

Firecat Projects
Gil Leora @ Firecat Projects

Gil Leora
“In Between Drinks”
June 28, 2013
Firecat Projects
2124 N. Damen Ave.
Chicago, IL 60647
http://www.firecatprojects.org/

Smart Museum
Gigi Scaria @ Smart Museum

It’s too bad that a piece which suggests many questions related to resource allocation within the context of non-European, urban poverty, here found available for view in the lobby of a free, teaching museum, was ignored in an article entitled “Marginalizing Chicagoans’ Access to Culture” at Newcity.

Gigi Scaria
“City Unclaimed”
Sponsored by BMO Harris Bank
January 19 – December 8, 2013
The David and Alfred Smart Museum of Art
5550 S. Greenwood Ave.
Chicago, IL 60637
http://smartmuseum.uchicago.edu/

EXPO / Public Chicago
Duncan Mackenzie, Caroline Picard, Richard Holland @ EXPO / Public Chicago
Above, left-to-right: Duncan Mackenzie, Caroline Picard, Richard Holland, a/k/a Bad at Sports.

EXPO Chicago
Gallery Announcement
May 14, 2013
Public Chicago
1301 N. State
Chicago, IL 60610
http://expochicago.com/

Johalla Projects
Jessica Taylor Caponigro @ Johalla Projects
Above: Jessica Taylor Caponigro’s “There in a Darkness,” 2013, coal in cast glycerine soap.

Jessica Taylor Caponigro & Aimee Quinkert @ Johalla Projects
Above: Aimee Quinkert, curator, at left, and Jessica Taylor Caponigro, artist, at right, foreground; “What Was, Was I” and “II” on wall, background.

It’s the third of Jessica Taylor Caponigro’s installations which I’ve seen, each of the three having been abstracted from both architectural and also literary sources. The comparison between works made over time (a span of several years) is interesting, and maybe best reveals her intent.

Jessica Taylor Caponigro
“Black Damp”
Curated by Aimee Quinkert
May 11 – June 2, 2013
Johalla Projects
1821 W. Hubbard St., Suite 209
Chicago, IL
http://www.johallaprojects.com/

Rhona Hoffman
Fred Sandback @ Rhona Hoffman

Fred Sandback: Sculptures
April 26 – June 1, 2013
Rhona Hoffman Gallery
118 N. Peoria St.
Chicago, IL 60607
http://www.rhoffmangallery.com/

Columbia College Industry Events BFA Open Studios
Columbia College Industry Events BFA Open Studios
Above, left-to-right: Columbia College BFA Seniors Brianna Baurichter, Corinna Cowles, and Nicki Penz with artwork.

Columbia College Industry Events BFA Open Studios
Above: Madeleine Lowery with artwork in studio.

Columbia College
Industry Events
Fine Arts Open Studios
5:00 – 8:00 PM
April 18, 2013
1006 S. Michigan Ave.
Chicago, IL

The Storefront
Erik Wenzel @ The Storefront
Above: An overhead view of Erik Wenzel’s Artforum installation “Fernweh,” as seen within Brandon Alvendia’s The Storefront gallery, on the show’s opening night.

Wenzel, like Fake, above, and Andre, in the previous article, has made use of the floor for the purpose of presenting modular units in a grid pattern. Here the invitation to the audience to walk upon the artwork is wanted to be especially cheeky: an institution (magazine) and a commercial appropriation of culture resources (gallery ad) are both trodden upon, which action symbolically mimics Wenzel’s own “progress” through the real and metaphysical worlds of art.

Erik Wenzel
“Fernweh”
April 20 – May 12, 2013
The Storefront
2606 N. California Ave.
Chicago IL 60647

Vertical Gallery
The Economics of Art 2013 @ Vertical Gallery
Above: Work by Dmitry Samarov, center; Steve Seeley, at right.

The Economics of Art 2013 @ Vertical Gallery
Above: Vertical Gallery, exterior.

“The Economics of Art 2013″
Dmitry Samarov, Ian Ferguson, Julie Murphy, Steve Seeley, and Jimmy Bunnyluv, along with Anthony Freda, Dave Pressler, David Cooper, El Gato Chimney, Hernan Paganini, Klub7, Raudiel Sanudo and Ruel Pascual.
August 3 – 31, 2013
Vertical Gallery
1016 N. Western Ave.
Chicago, IL 60622
http://verticalgallery.com/




Chicago Art in Pictures: January 2013

February 18, 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.


Thelonious Elliot and Wray Morgan Herbert-King @ ACRE Projects

Thelonious Elliot and Wray Morgan Herbert-King @ ACRE Projects

Thelonious Elliot and Wray Morgan Herbert-King @ ACRE Projects

Above: Theo Elliot at left; Morgan Herbert-King at right; opening night at ACRE Projects.

Thelonious Elliot and Wray Morgan Herbert-King
“Moving a Hole”
January 20 – February 4
ACRE Projects
1913 W. 17th St.
Chicago, IL 60608
http://www.acreresidency.org/


Dmitry Samarov @ Chicago Public Library

Dmitry Samarov @ Chicago Public Library

Above: “Algren” 2012

Dmitry Samarov @ Chicago Public Library

Above: “Morandi” 2011, top; “Entrapment” 2012, bottom.

Dmitry Samarov
“Bookshelf Paintings”
January 11 – March 1, 2013
Harold Washington Library Center
400 S. State St.
Chicago, IL 60605
http://www.dmitrysamarov.com/


Goshka Macuga @ Smart Museum of Art

Goshka Macuga @ Smart Museum of Art

Goshka Macuga @ Smart Museum of Art

Above: Exhibition closing and curator talk (MCA curator Dieter Roelstraete, left, and Smart curator Stephanie Smith, right) January 13, 2013

Goshka Macuga
“Of what is, that it is; of what is not, that it is not,” panel 2
(wool tapestry from photo collage, approx. 11 x 38 feet, half of diptych)
December 13, 2012 – January 13, 2013
Smart Museum of Art (lobby)
5550 S. Greenwood Ave.
Chicago, IL 60637
http://smartmuseum.uchicago.edu/


Robert Chase Heishman @ Roots & Culture

Robert Chase Heishman @ Roots & Culture

Above: Robert Chase Heishman with artwork at Roots & Culture, opening night.

Robert Chase Heishman
“Fractal Semblance”
January 18 – February 16, 2013
Roots & Culture
1034 N. Milwaukee Ave.
Chicago, IL
Curated by Eric May, Stephanie Cristello and Allison Glenn
Artwork by Robert Chase Heishman, Jessica Labatte, Alistair Matthews, and Liz Nielsen
http://www.rootsandculturecac.org/


R. H. Quaytman @ The Renaissance Society

R. H. Quaytman @ The Renaissance Society

R. H. Quaytman @ The Renaissance Society

Above: Peeking inside the piece “Public Space/Two Audiences”

R. H. Quaytman
“Passing Through The Opposite of What It Approaches, Chapter 25″
January 6 – February 17, 2013
The Renaissance Society
5811 S. Ellis Avenue
Bergman Gallery, Cobb Hall 418
Chicago, Illinois 60637
http://www.renaissancesociety.org/


Deborah Baker @ Packer Gallery

Deborah Baker @ Packer

Deborah Baker @ Packer

Above: Cotton on linen, embroidery, under glass, framed.

Deborah Baker
“Zodiac”
January 11 – February 16
Packer Schopf Gallery
942 W. Lake St.
Chicago, IL 60607
http://www.packergallery.com/


Sarah Mendelsohn @ The Plaines Project

Sarah Mendelsohn @ The Plaines Project

Above: Sarah Mendelsohn with her artwork at The Plaines Project, opening night.

Sarah Mendelsohn
“Stretches Topless”
January 19 – February 8, 2013
The Plaines Project
1822 S. Desplaines St.
Chicago, IL
http://plainesproject.wordpress.com/


Tom Torluemke @ Hyde Park Art Center

Tom Torluemke @ Hyde Park Art Center

Above: Tom Torluemke with his horrific vision of environmental degradation, shot at the opening reception.

Tom Torluemke
“Fearsome Fable – Tolerable Truth”
January 20, 2013 – April 28, 2013
Gallery 4
Hyde Park Art Center
5020 S. Cornell Ave.
Chicago, IL 60615
http://www.hydeparkart.org/


Teruko Nimura @ Roxaboxen Exhibitions / ACRE Projects

Teruko Nimura @ Roxaboxen Exhibitions

Above: Hummingbird in flight, floral origami aim, installation at Roxaboxen.

Teruko Nimura
“Potentialities,” a two-person show with Milcah Bassel
January 20 – February 1, 2013
Roxaboxen Exhibitions / ACRE Projects
2130 W. 21st St.
Chicago, IL 60608
http://www.terukonimura.net/


Scott Hocking @ Chicago Artists’ Coalition

Scott Hocking @ Chicago Artists’ Coalition

Above: Scott Hocking with artwork at opening reception for “EXCHANGE: Chicago-Detroit”

“EXCHANGE: Chicago-Detroit”

CHICAGO: Chicago Artists’ Coalition, Chicago IL
January 11 – 31, 2013
DETROIT: Cave Gallery and Public Pool, Detroit, MI
February 23 – March 16, 2013

Chicago Artists’ Coalition,
217 N. Carpenter Street,
Chicago IL 60607
http://chicagoartistscoalition.org/


Edie Fake @ Thomas Robertello

Edie Fake @ Thomas Robertello

Above: Edie Fake at opening reception; artwork in background.

Edie Fake
“Memory Palaces”
January 4 – February 16, 2013
Thomas Robertello Gallery
27 N. Morgan St.
Chicago, IL 60607
http://www.thomasrobertello.com/


Lauren Payne and Erin Washington @ Johalla Projects / ACRE Projects

Lauren Payne and Erin Washington @ Johalla Projects / ACRE Projects

Above: Lauren Payne and Erin Washington’s collaborative installation, opening night.

Jenny Kendler with Lauren Payne @ Johalla Projects / ACRE Projects

Above: Jenny Kendler (ACRE Board of Directors) left; Lauren Payne, right; opening night.

Lauren Payne and Erin Washington
“As Above So Below”
January 25 – 31, 2013
Johalla Projects / ACRE Projects
1821 W Hubbard, Suite 209
Chicago 60622
http://www.johallaprojects.com/


Harvey Moon @ Hauser Gallery

Harvey Moon @ Hauser Gallery

Above: Harvey Moon with “drawing machine” installed in gallery, opening night.

Harvey Moon
“Transpported Wind”
January 25 – March 22, 2013
Hauser Gallery
230 W. Superior St.
Chicago, IL
http://www.unanything.com/


Paul Germanos: Born November 30, 1967, Cook County, Illinois. Immigrant grandparents, NYC. High school cross country numerals and track letter. Certified by the State of Illinois as a peace officer. Licensed by the City of Chicago as a taxi driver. Attended the School of the Art Institute 1987-1989. Studied the history of political philosophy with the students of Leo Strauss from 2000-2005. Phi Theta Kappa and Phi Kappa Phi. Motorcyclist.




Interview with Dmitry Samarov of “Hack”

September 8, 2011 · Print This Article

Dmitry Samarov. "The Mess I've Made."

I’ve been following Dmitry Samarov’s work for a few years now, about as long as I’ve been living in Chicago. Oddly enough, I first became acquainted with Mr. Samarov through Twitter, which at the time he was just starting to play around with and I was still trying to ignore. How things change. From there, I found his website, Hack, where he chronicles his experiences as a Chi Town cab driver through sketches, drawings, and short written pieces. On Hack, Samarov’s drawings and writings go hand-in-hand–it’s hard to imagine one without the other, actually. I’ve followed Dmitry’s work through his website, found some of his writings archived on the Chicago Reader’s site, and even engaged in a few 140 character-length conversations with him on Twitter. But I’ve always wanted to interview Dmitry, and with the October 1, 2011 publication of Hack in book form (by the University of Chicago Press, no less!) and a slew of shows opening this and next month (including one at Lloyd Dobler Gallery), I realized that now was the ideal time. In this interview, Dmitry gave what is probably my all-time favorite answer to a question, delivered in his typical bone-dry style: “The dream, though, is and always will be to be unemployed.”

I’m very grateful to Dmitry for taking the time to answer my questions (via e-mail, natch)–maybe someday he and I will have an actual face to face conversation. Certainly there will be lots of opportunities to have a live encounter with Mr. Samarov over the next few months–including the book release party for Hack on October 1st at the Rainbo Club, 4-8 pm–a link to his full schedule can be found at the bottom of this post.

*****

Claudine Isé: Can you take me through a typical day for you, a day that involves both work as a cabdriver and work as an artist?

Dmitry Samarov: I usually get up somewhere between 11am and 1pm. I make tea or coffee, then check email and Twitter and nose around the internet a bit while waking up. Next I work on whatever painting or drawing I’ve got going, or, write a new Hack story if one needs writing. In other words, I try to get at least one creative thing done before leaving the house. Typically though, I don’t have more than two or three hours to devote to these things before I have to go out and drive the cab.

I drive from sometime in the afternoon until anywhere from 2 to 5am, depending on the day. I rent the cab 24-7 so I can take it home, saving the commute to and from the garage, and allowing me to work the hours that I want. In order to make a living at it however, I need to put in 11-15 hours a day. If there’s a movie, a show, or something else that I want to do during work hours, I can always take a break and do it. All I’m out is the money that might’ve been made. It’s one of the few real perks of the job: the freedom to be without a boss or manager asking you why you’re not at work.

After I get home, I’ll unwind with a movie or TV show or with looking around the internet (I don’t have a TV). Sometimes, if I can’t sleep or it can’t wait til the next day, I’ll write or work on an illustration for Hack. I hardly ever do any non-Hack-related work late at night.

Dmitry Samarov.

CI: You studied painting and printmaking at SAIC in the early 1990s. Looking back now, what were the most important things you learned while studying there?

DS: It’s an open question whether my time was worthwhile or not. That being said, I certainly had a few teachers that made an impression. I took Dan Gustin’s figure painting and figure drawing classes nearly every semester I was there. Those classes strengthened my already-strong interest in perceptual painting. To this day, what gets me jazzed most is looking at something or someone out in the world and attempting to make marks that convey some small sense of having been there. The second most influential teacher I had there was Mark Pascale. He taught lithography but, even more importantly for me, was just starting to work as a curator at the Art Institute’s Print & Drawing Room. He’d pull boxes and boxes of Rembrandt etchings, Lovis Corinth gouaches, Lucien Freuds, Max Beckmanns, and many many more for me to peruse. Even though I doubt he was ever personally much interested in my work, his generosity in getting me access to work that might help me get where I was going left a lasting impression. I still speak to him occasionally and have met few more articulate or funny people in this city.

The larger question of SAIC influence is an open one as I said before. Because of the kind of work I did (and continue to do), the school was never going to be a place that I’d truly thrive in. On the other hand, they had all the facilities in the world to put in the time and get better at what I probably would’ve done anyways. The trouble with art schools is that they tend to be inordinately concerned with current art world trends rather than giving students the rudiments of what they’ll need to keep making work past graduation. As an example, during my time there Jeff Koons gave a visiting artist lecture and you would’ve thought that Jesus had returned to anoint the next generation for all the excitement it caused; in my world, Koons isn’t fit to clean a grad school painter’s brushes. My time there certainly made it plain to me that I didn’t want to teach or participate in any similar art school program after graduation. So, perhaps by negative example, it was an important experience for me after all.

CI: To what extent are you able to make drawings and sketches while you’re in the cab? I imagine that sometimes you need to work quickly to get a certain face on the page, or to write down certain things that a fare or a fellow driver has said to you. Are you constantly taking notes or do you just have a really good memory?

DS: None of the illustrations for Hack were done on site apart from the pen sketches of taxis like this one [illustrated below]. Most were done from memory days or weeks or sometimes years afterward. As to writing, over the past couple years I’ve used text messages and Twitter for a sort of note-taking. I’ll look back through a couple days’ worth of messages and if something keeps nagging at me I’ll expand it into a story.

 

 

I have done a ton of artwork in the cab though. A couple years ago I did a series of gouache paintings of taxis out at the O’Hare and Midway Airport Taxi Staging Areas. There are also many pen sketches of similar subject-matter scattered throughout the Sketchbooks section of my website. I’ve done a fair amount of cityscapes like this one [second illustration below], from the front seat as well.

 

 

"Webster's Winebar."

CI: I’ve always been interested in the fact that your art, or at least much of the work that I’ve seen, seems very much embedded within your work as a driver (and vice-versa). The subjects of your short written pieces and of your drawings are often based on encounters or observations you have while driving the cab (or, in the past, while tending bar). To be sure, this “entanglement” stems from necessity–we all need to work to live, to eat–but I also wonder, because your body of artwork feels so organically rooted within the other work you do–if given the opportunity, could you imagine chucking your day jobs and making artwork in some other, less-mobile fashion?

DS: I don’t think I’ll ever stop making paintings and drawings about living in the city. The workplace-related pictures were certainly made out of necessity and lack of alternate options. If I could stop having a day-(or more accurately)night-job, I’d walk away and never come back. I’ve tried to make do with the financial and time restrictions of not being a full-time painter. What else would I be doing work about but the places where I spend most of my time? I’ve done a lot of work that’s not cab- or bar-related as well of course, but there’s no way that something that you do 8 to 14 hours a day can truly be ignored.

The dream, though, is and always will be to be unemployed.

CI: The writing compiled in your book Hack was first published on your blog, also titled Hack. When did you hit upon blogging, or perhaps better described in your case, web publishing, as a way of putting your work out into the world? It’s been a very successful medium for you and I’m sure an inspiration to other artists and writers. Also, you use Twitter in a way that I really enjoy – as a way of having friendly conversations and exchanges, not as a tool for rank self-promotion. I’m curious though, why did you take up Tweeting?

DS: Hack first started as a sort of ‘zine or illustrated book that documented my years driving a cab in Boston (1993-1997). I didn’t know how to turn on a computer until late-2003. I was briefly married to a computer programmer and got a crash course in the subject at that time. We launched my website at the beginning of 2004 and I revived Hack as a blog sometime late in 2006. It’s not a blog in the usual sense, that’s for sure. It’s not a diary or particularly personal in the way many blogs are. For the most part, I’ve tried to string phrases together in some way to relate some of what I’ve seen from behind the wheel.

I wouldn’t know what kind of impact or inspiration the thing has had on other artists, it’s not for me to judge, but I know a few people have enjoyed reading my stories over the years and there’s some satisfaction in that, without a doubt.

I started using Twitter sometime late in 2008, I think. I’d been sending text messages to friends about what was happening or what I saw in the cab for awhile and Twitter let me share these with a few more people. It’s quite a challenge to say what I want to in 140 characters but I’ve enjoyed trying nonetheless. I’ve done plenty of rank self-promotion on there as well though. I’m not sure how much longer it’ll remain compelling. MySpace has all but disappeared and Facebook will hopefully go away soon too, so who knows? If I finally figure out some way to get paid regularly for my artwork, I’ll probably drop off the social networking scene altogether. Or at least, I’d like to think I would. We’ll see.

CI: You are and/or have been a cab driver, a bartender, a writer, an artist, a “sketch-artist” — all of which seem to require similar skills, such as being able to listen, to observe (often from a distance), to keep calm and to be able to think and act quickly and “on your feet” (as it were). All of these positions also seem to require a large amount of empathy and acceptance of human foibles, it seems to me. In a lot of ways all of your roles have more than a bit in common with that of a shrink. Is it hard for you sometimes, to maintain a sense of openness or empathy to the strangers you encounter by the dozens each day? I would imagine that if you feel pissed off or even just psychologically closed-off, it might impact the work because it’s coming from “that place” of anger or pissed-offedness. Or maybe that’s the point? I guess what I’m asking is, is it sometimes hard for you to remain “open” to people, because people can be difficult to be around….

DS: I’ve been accused of being cynical and misanthropic most of my life. I don’t know whether that’s so or not. Many times people just don’t get my tone or my odd sense of humor. I’ve been working service-industry jobs since I was 13 or 14 and I’m about to turn 41. That’d be a lot of years to hate the human race. In my own way I love people or at least I love watching them. They never cease to amaze. I’ve felt removed or apart from most crowds I’ve ever found myself in. It’d take someone smarter than me to figure out why that is but coming from another country probably has something to do with it. The critical distance has allowed me to observe others with clear eyes in my good moments. Being “one of the help”, not a social equal, has allowed me to eavesdrop and overhear in a way a participant never could. For whatever reason all these years haven’t soured me on the human race. We’re full of faults, to be sure, but I don’t hold myself above those that I see; put in their place I’d likely be making an ass of myself as often as they do, and hopefully, be funny and sad just the way most of ‘em are.

I don’t know that I’m “open” but I don’t judge (in the sense that I don’t feel it’s my place to correct others’ behavior); my role is to see it, hear it, and show and tell the world about it. It’s what artists have always done: shown those around them the world they live in.

CI: A lot of your work makes me think of the caricatures of Honore Daumier – your work isn’t overtly political, like his was, but it does deal with human folly and excess – especially drunkenness, or the ways that a person comports themselves in front of others when they think no one (except you) is looking. Anyway, I’m curious, which artists have had an influence on the way you think about your own work? Which artists do you love, just because?

DS: Daumier’s great. I assume you’re thinking about the illustrations of passengers in the book here. There’s definitely a caricaturish or grotesque aspect to many of those pictures. I’ve loved Breughel most of my life, as well as Lautrec, Goya, Guston, and so many others that have parodied the human form in various ways. Doing pictures for Hack has always been a challenge because what I love to do best is just to look at something and react and that’s just not possible there. Also, I often don’t think of those pieces as stand-alone visual statements but solely as illustrations to the stories, so, when doing them there’s no way not to think about book illustrations from the past and how image and text interact. Because I’m a visual artist first, doing these pictures has always been a way into the prose for me. They help me write.

CI: Tell me about your upcoming exhibitions.

DS: Here’s a listing of all my upcoming events, but as far as art shows go:

1. Rainbo Club: “Pictures of Books”     September 24-October 21

I’ll be showing oil paintings of books on my bookshelf. I’ve returned to this motif every so often for about 14 years now. The way the books lean against each other and the colors of the spines resonate against one another has always fascinated me. Also, as someone who primarily deals with a deeper space (in cityscapes or rooms) the shallow space of a bookshelf scratches a different kind of itch. It’s probably as close to abstraction as I’ll ever get. Finally, it’s funny to me to have a show of paintings of books when I have an actual book coming out.

"Taxi from Hell."

2. Saki:  “Music & Baseball”     October 1- October 31

This show will contain album and CD cover illustrations, concert sketches, as well as other music-related artwork that I’ve done over the years. As well as a series of portraits of the 2011 Chicago White Sox that I did for a short-lived baseball column from earlier this year.

3. Lloyd Dobler Gallery:  “Hack: Pictures from a Chicago Cab”    October 14- November 19th

This will bring together most of the taxi-related artwork I’ve done. There will also be a few of the Hack stories displayed on the walls along with the original artwork that went with them.

CI: Thanks so much for talking with me, Dmitry!

 

Dmitry Samarov's Fall 2011 Schedule (click image for large version).