Start. A continuation of thoughts from the end of mini dutch. November, 2009.
mini dutch ended a two year run in July, 2009. Subsequently, I moved to Los Angeles. Not to pursue a career as an artist or curator in a more viable city, but to be near my mother who was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. This is pertinent because it sets up my inability to be as involved in the art scene as I was in Chicago. At least, for the time being, I long for the tight knit community I felt forced to leave, and detest the highly commercial and impenetrable community that I have not been inducted into. I feel confident that I will find myself in a much more optimistic mood after the unpacking ceases and I can start going to gallery openings, panel discussions, and lectures regularly again. I know that I now live in a city with a larger art presence, with a lively art market and community, but I am still am at a complete loss over leaving Chicago and my contemporaries. My thoughts have recently been drifting toward Chicago and its unique culture of the apartment gallery. What purpose do these spaces serve the city, and what did mini dutch do for me? Read more
December 8, 2009 · Print This Article
Editors’ Note: This week we’ll be running some of the essays written for Floor Length and Tux’s “Untitled Circus” event this past weekend. A number of essays on Chicago’s thriving domestic/apartment gallery art space scene were solicited from local writers/artists/curators involved in the running of such spaces, and we’re posting some of them here on Bad at Sports as a way to extend the discussion. Please feel free to email us with your comments at email@example.com, or if you’d like to contact the folks at FLAT directly, you can email Erik at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Guest Post by EC Brown
As pleased as punch as I am with the latest uptick in domestic artspaces – especially in contrast to my experiences in Chicago through the 90′s and early 2000′s – I prefer to perceive these activities as formative stages, collectively inching toward something that hasn’t already waxed and waned in the past. What has been unique about these events is not so much a change in the way that artists operate, but in the comfort level of the guests. Folks seem willing to allow homegrown spaces to fulfill their needs for viewing (or confronting) art, rather than only appreciating these events in deference to commercial and institutional spaces. Nevertheless, the author vs. spectator dynamic remains intact, and the imprint of the commercial gallery template has proved sometimes indelible, sometimes unproductively.
Potentially, artists and aficionados alike could cultivate a crowded and long-lasting game that wrangles space, atmosphere, scheduling, social relations, archives and marketing schemes as a holistic medium. I do prefer the word game over discourse. Not to suggest zero sum games under strict protocols, but rather the heated intensity of competitive engagement – a fervent clash between dissonant operational models, temperaments and philosophies. At present, there are too few players on the field for a city this size, and the general social atmosphere is congenial and a bit measured – not quite a passionate crucible to compensate for the absent pressures of a lively commercial system. Read more
This coming Saturday evening (that means tomorrow night people), Floor Length and Tux (aka FLAT), the Chicago project space run by EC Brown, Catie Olsen, Michael Thomas and Meg Duguid will host a one-night only event they’re calling “Untitled Circus.” There will be refreshments and much conviviality and music and some free CD giveaways, but what I’m most interested in with respect to the proceedings is the compilation of critical writings on Chicago’s thriving apartment gallery scene that Brown et. al have solicited from a number of Chicago artists who are deeply invested in it.
These booklets, which contain essays written by Caroline Picard (Green Lantern Gallery/Press), Liz Neilson (Swimming Pool Project Space), Eric Mays (Roots and Culture), Lucia Fabio (of the late lamented Mini Dutch) and many many more luminaries from the scene will be distributed via a spinning magazine rack owned by Mr. Thomas. With the kind permission of the writers, we’ll be posting some of these essays here next week for the benefit of those of you living outside of Chicago – think of it as a kind of “mini-series” / online symposium on Chicago’s apartment gallery scene, made possible by the ingenuity and generosity of the FLAT folks and, of course, all of the participating writers.
Over email, I asked EC Brown, Michael Thomas and Meg Duguid to answer a few questions about the event. Their responses follow. Check out the Circus for yourself tomorrow night, Saturday, December 5, from 7-10pm, at 2332 W. Augusta #3F.
What will FLAT 4: Untitled Carnival consist of beyond the distribution of the booklets? Will there be a discussion? What can people expect to see/experience? Read more