If you’re a avid (albeit amateur) gardener like me, this might be up your alley: G.E.E.E. (aka General Economy Exquisite Exchange 2011) is currently in operation at the Hyde Park Art Center (thru October 1st, 2011). Billed as “a post-retail museum shop and rooftop tomato garden where neighborly value has become the operative currency and creative bartering has become the dominant mode of exchange,” G.E.E.E. is in essence a trading post, where you can bring your own plants, seedlings, or gardening materials to exchange for the ones that are available there.Â What you exchange doesn’t necessarily have to take the form of physical goods — also welcome are what the folks behind G.E.E.E. (the Cream-Co. Collective) describe as “immaterial support (dialogue, advice, recipes)” — this could take the form of information exchange or even just a good story.
I stopped by G.E.E.E. several weeks ago, and was completely charmed by every aspect of its homespun display — the handmade, hand-lettered signs, the multi-colored array of seedlings, the little ceramic pig where you can leave money for things you want to purchase at cost. I traded a number of gardening books for a chocolate mint plant, which now sits in a pot in my back yard and which I compulsively sniff every time I go outside. All of the offerings are seasonal, so expect the plants, seedlings, and other good stuff to be changed up on a roughly weekly basis.
The thing about G.E.E.E. is that, if you garden, and if you’re even remotely friendly, you already get what G.E.E.E. is all about. I have plants growing in my garden that were given to me by at least three different neighbors on my block, and it’s common for us to swap stories and advice and the occasional embittered gripes about our gardens having too much shade. But what I find most valuable about G.E.E.E. is the way in which it highlights extant social relations, particularly those that occur neighbor-to-neighbor, whether you live next door or call across to each other from your balconies.
Despite the shitty, depressing, grey, cold, seemingly neverending, and did I say shitty? winters in Chicago, I think there is something so truly lovely, and deeply hopeful, about the act of gardening here. I’ve written about my love for the different kinds of gardens you see in this city before. For some reason it’s always the tiniest efforts that seem to make the biggest impactÂ – you know damn well that if Spring and Fall are short-seasoned, you’re not going to get to enjoy the fruits of your labor for all that long, but still you pull the weeds and breathe in the dirt and try and make a happy home for the worms, and you do it because most of all it’s fun, but also because you’re bringing color and scent and texture and order and chaos to life, after so many months of grey, frozen dormancy.
Can you tell that winter hit me kind of hard this year?
At any rate, give G.E.E.E. a visit. I promise it will lift your spirits if you’re feeling low – it made me think of how grateful I am to have nice neighbors, and most of all a garden that’s more than willing to work with me.
This Friday, May 20th, from 3pm – 7pm at HPAC G.E.E.E. will host the grand planting of the Center’s rooftop garden – and you can pick up a trowel and pitch in. The planting also double’s as the exhibition’s official opening. On Friday, your efforts will be rewarded via barbecue, and on the next day, from 10 am – 2pm, there’ll be a garden party to celebrate. Bring stuff to swap or donate – if you have questions or plants to swap,Â contact email@example.com.Â For more info, check out the GEEE blog.
Hello again my friends. Sorry for the lateness. First off, one more round of shameless self promotion, and I promise this will be the last one for a while. This Saturday night, for one night only, Flesh and Bone, a exhibition curated by myself, Jeriah Hildwine, and Annie Heckman, will be up at Co-Prosperity Sphere and HPAC. We’ve brought together 24 amazing artists, and are presenting their macabre works for this exhibition. If you’re anywhere on the south side, or can get there, please stop by, you won’t beÂ disappointed. You can hit HPAC any time between 1pm and 10pm. Co-Prosperity’s reception is from 7pm-9pm, after 9pm there is a cover, and bands will be playing. Ok, enough about that, on to the Top 5!
Work by Zach Taylor and Aaron Williams.
Linda Warren Gallery is located at 1052 W. Fulton Mkt. Reception is Friday from 6-9pm.
Text based work at one of Chi-town’s blue chippers.
Rhona Hoffman Gallery is located at 118 N. Peoria St. Reception is Friday from 5:30-7pm.
Halloween horror art from the place that brought you The Unicorn Show.
Tattoo Factory Gallery is located at 4443 N. Broadway. Reception is Friday from 6-11pm.
No show image available, so I justÂ pickedÂ somethingÂ appropriate. And I quote, “Reuben Kincaid andÂ The Hills Esthetic Center present an exhibition from the French Print HouseÂ Le Dernier Cri.”
The Hills Esthetic Center is located at 128 N. Campbell Ave., Unit G. Reception is Friday from 8-11pm.
Work by David Harper.
Swimming Pool Project Space is located at 2858 W. Montrose Ave. Reception is Saturday from 5-9pm.