Last month, in the midst of the crazy Expo Chicago extravaganza, I had the pleasure of going on a tour withÂ Gallery Weekend Chicago. GWC wasÂ founded by Chicago gallerist Monique Meloche in 2011 and offers annually a weekend of private gallery and museum tours. I went on the Sunday tour which took us down to the Washington Park and Hyde Park neighborhoods on the South Side and made stops at the Arts Incubator, the Smart Museum, the Renaissance Society, and the Logan Arts Center.
The Arts Incubator in Washington Park was the first stop of the day. This space, part of the University of Chicago’s Arts & Public Life Initiative, was conceptualized by Theaster Gates, who is now director of the project. The Incubator is home to an artist residency program, a community arts education program for teens, as well as an exhibition and performance space.
The Incubator currently hosts five resident artists. They have access to all of the facilities at the Logan Arts Center, where we headed later in the day, and have studio space at the Incubator. The Space Between, an exhibition of these artists’ work, was installed at both the Incubator and the Logan. The work addressed the social differences between these two spaces – one located in the University-centric Hyde Park, the other in the adjacent Washington Park neighborhood.
Despite the early hour of our arrival four of the five artists were kind enough to meet us at the Incubator to show us around their studios and the exhibtion: Avery Young, Cecil McDonald, Cauleen Smith, and Tomeka Reid. We were also joined by the curators Allison Glenn and Monika Szewczyk.
Cauleen Smith created two “space stations” for the exhibition – one in her studio at the Incubator and the other in the gallery at the Logan. The installation in her studio played off the aesthetic of a work space with filing cabinets, a work table and a temporary wall made from screens that she used to screenprint wallpaper for the other space station at the Logan. There were also shelves with plants and small artifacts that she made from materials found in the surrounding neighborhood: chunks of cement and fragments of a road sign.
Avery Young and Cecil McDonald have a shared studio space, the floor of which was laid out with Avery’s work for Groun(d), a solo show now up at the Incubator.
In the main exhibition space Avery Young, Tomeka Reid, and Cecil McDonald spoke to us about their work.
After going to the Smart Museum and the Renaissance Society (both of which have amazing shows up right now – Suicide Narcissus at the Renaissance Society blew me away.) we ended the day at the Logan where Monika Szewczyk showed usÂ the other half of The Space Between, featuring Cauleen Smith’s other space station, photographs by Cecil McDonald, assemblage works by Avery Young, and sound pieces by LeRoy Bach.
Monika also gave us a tour of building and, by the way, the view from the 10th floor is pretty phenomenal.
Bailey Romaine is an artist and bibliophile based in Chicago.
September 20, 2013 · Print This Article
September 19, 2013 · Print This Article
6 Must-See Discussions at Expo Chicago
byÂ PADDY JOHNSONÂ onÂ SEPTEMBER 13, 2013
Joel Sternfeld | McLean, Virginia, December 1978 | 1978. via participating gallery Luhring Augustine
Expo ChicagoÂ launches next week and Iâ€™m already preparing. So far that means reading the website schedule and mentally preparing myself for reporting on the fair. Iâ€™ll be heading out to Chicago next Thursday to check out Expo and participate in â€œDialoguesâ€, a series of panel discussions on contemporary art launched in partnership with The School of The Art Institute of Chicago.Â Contemporary Art Dailyâ€™s Forrest Nash,Â The Baer Faxtâ€™s Josh Baer, and myself will speak on a panel about digital publication moderated byÂ Bad at SportsÂ Founders Richard Holland and Duncan MacKenzie.
Perhaps thanks to the fairâ€™s partnership with the institute, the panel discussions look a lot more interesting than the normal gamut of collector centric talks fairs normally launch. As such, Iâ€™ve put together a list of the discussions Iâ€™d most like to see.Â Check out Johnson’s list here.
This week in the podcast realm of Bad at Sports: I had the great opportunity to sit down and talk with Claire Doherty in Portland this last May. Doherty was a keynote speaker at Open Engagement where we met. She initiated Situations, where is is currently the Director, in 2003 following a ten-year period investigating new curatorial models beyond conventional exhibition-making at a range of art institutions including Ikon Gallery, Birmingham, Spike Island, Bristol and FACT (Foundation of Art and Creative Technology), Liverpool.Â Listen to our discussion about art in public space, alternative models for funding and curatorial practices here.
Edition #16 came in this week with notes about the magnetic field of Roger’s Park galleries, the pilot episode ofÂ â€œBetter Luck Next Time,â€ (a newlyweds-style game show for artistic duos), dispatches from ACRE, and noted recent popularity of the sahrong. That and much much more here.
Paul King kicked things off on Monday with a vivid description of Protues, an a-typical, evocative video game:
To move past the title screen and into the game, you begin by clicking the silhouette of a distant island. After fading, the screen opens from a murky black into a gently disappearing elliptical shape, as though you were slowly opening your eyelids. Youâ€™ve awoken in what appears to be an endless ocean, a muted sea-green punctuated by the gentle lapping of white reflections. In the distance, you begin to make out the outline of a shrouded landmass. As you trudge towards it, the only anchor in the gameâ€™s ceaseless sea, you can practically feel the sunlight of the raincoat-yellow orb shining in the sky.
Everything inÂ ProteusÂ is rendered in a blocky, colorful style that should be familiar to everyone whoâ€™s ever seen an early pixelated video game. (Think the â€œballâ€ of pong, or the sharp edges of Mario.) But the style isnâ€™t due to a lack of processing power or graphical method; instead, the worldâ€™s lack of texture translates into a picturesque canvas of flat colors, almost as though you were gazing directly into a visual interpretation of one ofÂ Brian Enoâ€™s ambient tracks.
This week, James Pepper Kelly submits The Greatest Proposal for hi-fiving high culture, via an imaginary embodiment ofÂ Judith H. Dobrzynski and James Durston:
Imagine thatÂ a writer named Judith H. Dobrzynski boards a plane. Sheâ€™s ambivalent about her recent op-ed for theÂ New York Times, â€œHigh Culture Goes Hands-On,â€ in which she mourned the loss of a classic, passive museum experience. The response was decent (63 comments and a spot on the â€œmost-emailedâ€ list), and the negative response didnâ€™t go much beyond baseless ad hominems (â€œcrank,â€ â€œelitistâ€). But real-world impact? Judy sighs. She tries not to think about institutions these days, their obsequious rush to digitize, crowdsource, and create a â€œfun experienceâ€ for all. Instead, she thinks about real change: about her upcoming fellowship at the Salzburg Global Seminar in Austria, and how sheÂ helped influenceÂ the countryâ€™s new Holocaust restitution laws. Judy sinks back into her business class seat (being a Fellow has perks!), orders a tomato juice and relaxes, thinking of all the reading sheâ€™ll be able to catch up on in the air.
Juliana Driever interviewed Chris Stain who’s “characteristic large-scale murals evolved out of his practice as a graffiti writer, and stand today as a kind of contemporary nod to WPA-era portraiture, featuring the faces and plights of everyday people in all of their affecting, confrontational realism.” When asked about how graffiti has changed since the 80′s, and whether there is a difference between graffiti and street art, Stain replied:
In one sense itâ€™s all art but there are different energies to what is known as â€œgraffiti,â€ mostly lettering based primarily using aerosol paint, and â€œstreet artâ€ which runs the gamut of various mediums. As for the letter-based movement, it has changed quite a bit since the 80â€™s. Technically, its reached levels unimagined back then through the help of all the newer spray paints on the market with lower pressure and cap options. The introduction of the internet helped styles develop more rapidly as it was easier to access photos from all over the world, get new ideas, and spark creativity.
I reposted an interview with EXPO’sÂ Stephanie Cristello, and Bad at Sports’ own,Â Richard Holland and Duncan MacKenzie. They discuss the upcoming newsprint publication Dana Bassett is spearheading, exactly how much gossip said paper will contain, and the interviews Bad at Sports will be conducting on site at the art fair:
Duncan MacKenzieÂ andÂ Richard HollandÂ ofÂ Bad at SportsÂ are two of the best in town to talk with about art. Known for their witty commentary and contemporary art talk platform Bad at Sports, they are most admired for their weekly podcasts and blog. The three of us sat down to discuss their involvement with EXPO/2013 â€“ the recent venture of a newspaper that will be distributed throughout the fair spearheaded byÂ Whatâ€™s the T?columnistÂ Dana BassettÂ entitledÂ The EXPO Register, and the live interviews they will be fielding from their booth next to the /Dialogues stage. The lineup for this yearâ€™s panel is impressive, titled â€œOne-on-One,â€ just one of many sports puns, MacKenzie and Holland will be in conversation with gallerists, directors, and curators, such as Solveig Ã˜vstebÃ¸ of the Renaissance Society, Elysia Borowy-Reeder of the MOCAD Detroit, and Director Charlie James, as well as artists William Powhida, JosÃ© Lerma, and Sanford Biggers. While the details of these interviews are kept secret (you will just have to see them in person to find out), our conversation breaches the extent of Bad at Sports coverage at the fair, their plans for the paper, and MacKenzie and Hollandâ€™s bucket list â€“ like an interview about interviews, or something along those lines.
Monica Westin interviewed Zach Cahill about the third and final installment of Â ”his epic USSA 2012 project,” presently on view at the Smart Museum and now called USSA 2012: Wellness Center: Idyllicâ€”affair of the heart. In this interview Cahill composes as imaginary travel brochure for the USSA, flowers on facebook, and art mourning:
I mean I very much like the direct experience of being in front of an art work, but I enjoy being haunted by art works tooâ€¦a visceral quality that occurs with the work of some of my favorite artistsâ€¦they infect me and I canâ€™t stop thinking about itâ€¦Ideally, Iâ€™d like my work to do both: give off an affecting sensation for the viewer and to haunt them afterÂ they walk away from itâ€¦ my work wants to have its cake and eat toâ€¦.Â
And last but not least, I posted a series of upcoming opportunities including the call forÂ Anchor Graphics’ Artist in Residency program at Columbia College. That and much more here.