Top 7 Weekend Picks! (9/5-9/7)

September 4, 2014 · Print This Article

1. Various Fades at Johalla Projects

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Work by Stephen Eichhorn.

Johalla Projects is located at 1821 W. Hubbard St. Reception is Friday, 7-10pm.

2. The Passenger at Aspect/Ratio

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Work by Bryan Zanisnik.

Aspect/Ratio is located at 119 N. Peoria St. Reception is Friday, 5-8pm.

3. Burn It Down at Heaven Gallery

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Work by Academy Records, Benjamin Zellmer Bellas, Judith Brotman, Ann Chen, Laura Davis, Meg Duguid, Jason Dunda, Andreas Fischer, Charles Fogarty, Jeffrey Grauel, John Henley, Andrew Holmquist, Carol Jackson, Kevin Jennings, Larry Lee, Jinn Bronwen Lee, Steve Reber, Daniel Schmid and Mindy Rose Schwartz.

Heaven Gallery is located at 1550 N. Milwaukee Ave. Reception is Friday, 7-11pm.

4. Universal Declaration of Infantile Anxiety Situations Reflected in the Creative Impulse at Gallery 400

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Work by the Los Angeles art collective My Barbarian.

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

5. DESIRE(D) at Mana Contemporary

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Work by the Industry of the Ordinary 2014 Summer School: Lucas Ballester, Tory Cheney, Allana Clarke, Andi L. Crist, Marlo Koch, Rian Lussier, Cynthia Post Hunt, Emma Saperstein, Emerson D’Artagnan Sigman and Valentina Vella.

Mana Contemporary is located at 2233 S Throop St. Reception is Friday, 7-10pm.

6. This May Have Happened at David Weinberg Photography

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Work by Daniel W. Coburn, Susan Annable, Robert Shults, Matthieu Brouillard, Stacy Kranitz, Shannon Benine, Joey Potter, Paul Thulin, Elaine Miller, Larry Chait, Jessica Sladek, Eileen Keator, Amy Friend, Rachel Loischild, Joyce P. Lopez, Amy Becker, Kurt Simonson, Mateusz Sarello, Dan Streeting, Kevin E. Lyle, Matt Rahner, Ben Altman, Stefan Petranek, Lex Thompson, Amiko Wenjia Li, Cynthia Henebry and Jaclyn Wright.

David Weinberg Photography is located at 300 W. Superior St. Reception is Friday, 5-8pm.

7. Wolf Peach at Packer Schopf Gallery

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Work by Lauren Levato Coyne.

Packer Schopf Gallery is located at 942 W. Lake St. Reception is Friday, 6-9pm.




Top 5 Weekend Picks! (4/18-4/20)

April 17, 2014 · Print This Article

1. This is Where It Felt Like at Gallery 400

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Work by Elena Feijoo, Jesse Malmed, Julie Potratz and Jonathan Loïc Rogers.

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

2. Tenebris at Spudnik Press Cooperative

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Work by James Bouché and Kyle Tata.

Spudnik Press Cooperative is located at 1821 W Hubbard, Suite 302. Reception Friday, 7-9pm.

3. Past Future Perfect at Maxwell Colette Gallery

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Work by J. Mikal Davis.

Maxwell Colette Gallery is located at 908 N. Ashland Ave. Reception Friday, 6-10pm.

4. Fixation at Zhou B Art Center

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Work by Brianna Angelakis, Eloy Morales, Ivonne Bess, Daniel Ochoa, Tara Betts, Tim Okamura, Brian Busch, Jaime Perandones, Grace Cavalieri, Marcos Raya, Matthew Cherry, Nadene Robbins, Rory Coyne, Cesar Santos, Miranda Graham, Ryan Schultz, Patrick Earl Hammie, Tracy Stuckey, Karen Kaapcke, Harry Sudman, Jennifer Koe, Torri Thomas, Lauren Levato, Daena Title, Earnesto Marenco and Nick Ward.

Zhou B Art Center is located at 1029 W. 35th St. Reception Friday, 7-10pm.

5. Melting at Peanut Gallery

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Work by Derek Weber.

Peanut Gallery is located at 1000 N. California St. Reception Sunday, 5-9pm.




Top 5 Weekend Picks! (3/14-3/16)

March 13, 2014 · Print This Article

1. Beneath the Paving Stones, the Beach at Gallery 400

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Work by Matt Brett, Houston Cofield, Colleen Kiehm, Melissa Myser.

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

2. From Utopia at SideCar

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Work by Clare Britt.

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

3. Spring Undergraduate Exhibition at Sullivan Galleries

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Work by 300 SAIC undergraduate students.

Sullivan Galleries is located at 33 S. State St. 7th Fl. Reception Saturday, 12-6pm.

4. Mary’s Room at Aspect/Ratio

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Work by Martin Murphy.

Aspect/Ratio is located at 119 N. Peoria St. Reception Friday, 6-8pm.

5. Personhood at Paris London Hong Kong

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Work by Kyla Mallett.

Paris London Hong Kong is located at 845 W. Washington Ave. 3rd Fl. Reception Friday, 5-8pm.




Top 5 Weekend! (1/17-1/19)

January 16, 2014 · Print This Article

1. Ghost Nature at Gallery 400

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Work by Sebastian Alvarez, Jeremy Bolen, Irina Botea, Agnes Meyer-Brandis, Robert Burnier, Marcus Coates, Assaf Evron, Carrie Gundersdorf, Institute of Contemporary Zoology, Jenny Kendler, Devin King, Stephen Lapthisophon, Milan Metthey, Rebecca Mir, Heidi Norton, Okosua Adoma Owusu, Katie Patterson, Tessa Siddle, and Xaviera Simmons with AOO.

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

2. Center of the Circle at Heaven Gallery

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Work by Sarah and Joseph Belknap

Heaven Gallery is located at 1550 N. Milwaukee Ave. Reception Friday, 6-9pm.

3. Pictures and Places at Links Hall

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Work by Edie Fake.

Links Hall is located at 3111 N. Western Ave. Reception Friday, 7-9pm.

4. Walking Driftward at Spudnik Press

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Work by Hannah Ireland.

Spudnik Pressis located at 1821 W. Hubbard St. Reception Saturday, 6-9pm.

5. Stone Throw at TRITRIANGLE

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Work by Jake Myers.

TRITRIANGLE is located at 1550 N. Milwaukee Ave. 3rd Fl. Reception Friday, 7-11pm.




Judith Brotman: New Beginnings, Happy Endings

October 30, 2013 · Print This Article

 

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“The 93 Dreams of Summer,” mixed media with audio, 2013.

 

For over two decades now Judith Brotman’s practice has hinged on relationships built between people. This has taken several forms over the years, and hopefully you’ve had the opportunity of seeing some of her recent work at Bike Room in “I Dozed, I Napped, I Writhed, I Dreamed (reviewed here by Bad at Sports’s own Caroline Picard); at Slow Gallery with “New Word”; or at Gallery 400 in “Whisper Down the Lane.”

For the exhibition “New Word,” Brotman used the Jewish Kabbalistic prompt of finding a word to follow for the rest of your life as an impetuous to generate 1000 new words, including some of the following examples:

skibbring (milestone)

curloup (turnip)

bettergeal (cousin)

squobe (Nutella)

ifflorgi (synthesize)

Brotman relinquished some control over the piece’s manifestation by “not touching the work,” tasking the organizer of the exhibition to fabricate the piece by inscribing the words on the wall for her. Although many of the words are humorous sounding, and the project on the whole involves a certain amount of playfulness, it forces a certain obligation and responsibility on the viewer as well.

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“New Word,” words written directly on gallery wall and scratched off when selected by someone, 2013. Photo by Robert Chase Heishman.

 

In her piece “93 Dreams of Summer” from “Whisper Down the Lane” she generated several texts, related to koans in both their brevity and enigmatic nature, and created a sound recording of her reading them which viewers were invited to listen to over headphones. The phrases, while often absurd, are also witty and poetic, reflecting the skill and comfort with which Brotman writes:

 

Dream 6. You invent a machine that can play the violin, devein shrimp, and shred documents all at the same time.

Dream 27. You live in a world where there are restrictions to saying “Good job,” to your children. Saying it too often leads first to fines, then imprisonment, and ultimately the death penalty. You breathe a sigh of relief.

Dream 55. You are twelve years old, and God comes to visit dressed as a lawn chair. You say hello and sit down.

Dream 87. You legally change your name to “Tater.”

 

In both these exhibitions, Brotman engages language— either via the written word, or words read aloud— and they also both feature words or texts generated by her. Although she has stated she’s as influenced by visual phenomena as she is by literature, Brotman also views both works as engaging with that same, singular, overarching concern that continues to occupy her regardless of the medium she is experimenting with— relationships.

Her interest in relationships has translated into a focus on narratives, especially love stories. Brotman’s tastes run the gamut from day time soap operas to tales of unrequited love, or unconventional, odd ball works that, while they’re well known pieces of literature, may not typically be thought of as love stories (take Frankenstein for example, one of her favorites).

The pivotal moments, or moments of drama that these stories often hinge on, draw Brotman to them, and while she can appreciate the tension and theatricality that arise from their seemingly unending series of climaxes, she’s as equally taken with “the possibility that things will go wrong…”

In a cruel example of life imitating art, Brotman had just such a pivotal moment this past summer, in the form of a hand injury; “…(I) lost the use of my wrist and I couldn’t make anything and I didn’t know if it was going to come back, and it was very depressing… and people were saying to me, this is going to be an opportunity, and I… wanted to punch them, with the good hand (of course).”

This did lead to an opportunity however, and it took the form of a long-term project that, although she claims to have no idea how it may develop over time, imagines it going on, “for the rest of (her) life.”

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“The Reading Project,” Rebecca Duclos reading to Brotman in her home, 2013.

 

The parameters of the project involve Brotman visiting the homes of friends and near strangers alike. She asks them to read to her aloud for forty-five minutes to an hour while she audio records them and takes some still photographs. There’s a certain amount of latitude in what they may choose to read, but Brotman requests that it be a text of meaning.

“Careful what you say, because… when I started at the School of the Art Institute in the late eighties I said there is one thing I will never, ever do, and that is performance,” jokes Brotman. And while her artistic overture is somewhat fluid in this project, she is still interested in the same kinds of dramatic tensions and relationship cultivation.

Generosity seems inherent in the act of inviting someone into your domestic space, thoughtfully selecting a text of meaning, and then sharing both your time and energy in reading it aloud, but the work is complicated by some of the quieter, darker reasons for Brotman’s impetus for the project— a cultural critic of a fast paced, compartmentalized, multi-tasking society that listens to books on tape, reads off a tablet, and texts or emails instead of making face time.

Although the project is only newly underway, Brotman has noticed that it asks a lot of her as a listener as well, and requires a heightened level of “focus and presence.” The project seems to repay careful, thoughtful and active listening, but Brotman is honest about stating that, “…pivotal moments may or may not happen.” Although the action of being read to is repetitive, there’s so much variation within each discrete event that it’s difficult to generalize. She does go on to say that, “…many of the readings have been exquisite and some have not been. Sometimes I can’t wait for it to end— and that’s usually when the reader can’t wait for it to end—…. And then sometimes it really is like a little love story… I have this feeling of being carried away, there’s this falling in love moment, that, I don’t know what else to call it, I’m inspired, I’m excited, I’m curious, I leave feeling like I have 300 times more energy then when I came in.”

The act of reading aloud to someone is usually an intimate affair, but Brotman is experimenting with performing the readings publicly, and recently had the opportunity of being read to for part of “The American Dream: (W)holy Grail” in Edgewater. And although previously her site-responsive installations constructed largely from objects crafted from paper were exceedingly fragile and ephemeral, she is deriving a certain amount of pleasure from  the act of archiving, cataloguing and retaining these readings. It’s clear that the performance itself, rather then it’s mere accumulation, is still what’s most compelling to her though; “it has stripped down to the core what I care about most.” Perhaps as the project marches on, she will find herself generating love stories instead of merely listening in on them.

 

Interview conducted in October 2013.

The author would like to thank Judith Brotman for her assistance.

All images courtesy of the artist unless otherwise noted.