Ok, so for those of you who don’t know yet, CAA (College Art Association) has dubbed Chicago worthy for it’s pedagogical adventures, and has settled in our fair city for the weekend. As a member of CAA, I’ll be cruising from lecture to lecture the next few days, trying to suck up as much strange knowledge as I can while the circus is in town. But I’m not the only one excited about the CAA crew. As a result of the conference, just about everyone else in town is trotting out something or other, much of which is AWESOME! As a result, I bring you The Biggest Top 5 You’ve Ever Seen! Rather than picking individual galleries for the Top 5, I’ve corralled a Top 5 of places (in no particular order) you should go this weekend. Hope ya’ll enjoy.
The self-proclaimed Chicago Arts District is holding it’s monthly 2nd Fridays round of openings. Here’s the places I’d go if I were you:
Chicago Art Department – 1837 S. Halsted. Cultural Excavation, work by Christopher Piatt, Ben Valentine, Wayne Bertola, Virginia Broersma, Allison Rae Butkus, Seth Gershberg, Jennifer Hines, Jennifer Jackson, Sarah Leitten, Amanda Paulson, Aaron Wooten and others. Reception Friday, from 6-10pm.
ROOMS Gallery – 645 W 18th St. ORACLE:CHANNELING, with Marrakesh & Todd Frugia. Performance Friday, from 8-10pm.
Aspen Mays has been a busy woman with both a 12×12 show at the MCA (February 6-28) and an installation at the Hyde Park Art Center (January 24-April 25). She was kind enough to take some time out of her busy schedule to answer some of my questions about both exhibitions, her process, and her plans for her Fulbright Grant to Chile.
Recently you spoke at threewallsSALON in a discussion called The Doctoral Artist: Research & Practice. What role does research play in your practice? How do you typically begin a series/piece?
Research is often the catalyst for my work. I studied Anthropology as an Undergraduate student- that’s what my degree is in, and I think that sort of academic training has found its way into my practice mostly because I enjoy it so much. I’ve always been a really curious person, and I try to channel that as an artist. I love spending time in the library chasing down ideas, and I also try to get out and do a lot of hands-on research. Perhaps its my background in another field, but I read a lot of books about science and astronomy, and as an artist, I love speaking to folks in different research areas. A lot of projects start by tracking down experts in different fields that I’m interested in. I enjoy that interaction and these sort of “field trips” can be a great source of inspiration and potential collaboration. The video piece Larry, for example, was made with the help of the Adler Planetarium in Chicago. I contacted them after I’d been looking into weather ballooning, and I just started visiting the planetarium speaking to several of the astronomers that launch research balloons as part of the Astro Science Workshop each summer for high school students. I started attending the Workshop – for pleasure really because I thought it was all so interesting….one thing lead to another and I struck up a friendship with Mark Hammergren (an Astronomer there) and the video piece I ended up making sort of evolved out of all of that. That process is a pretty good example of my practice- I love seeking out that interaction. It makes making art feel a lot less solitary to me.
1. Dialogue: Presented by IRUS art (an intercultural collaborative art show between artists in Iran and the U.S.) at Co-Prosperity Sphere -
The crew down at Co-Pro are always working hard to put on events that are relevant withing AND beyond our little world of art. This is obviously no exception. And I quote, “Two teams of artists, one in Tehran and another in Denver have assembled under one name: IRUS (Iran – United States). Starting with our mutual respect for art, we have established collaborative projects between our groups.” Friday night is the show reception, and Saturday is the discussion panel.
Co-Prosperity Sphere is located at 3219 S Morgan St. Reception is Friday from 7-10pm. Discussion is Saturday from 5-7pm.
2. M155 4m3r1c4 at Noble & Superior Projects –
Now, I will admit, I am rather partial to Noble and Superior Projects already, but that said, this show absolutely deserves a place in this weekend’s Top 5, regardless of my previous experience with ‘em. This show is a double whammy with Patrick Bobilin and Cara Anne Greene. Patrick’s work, and I quote, “M155 4m3r1c4 (Miss America), is a loose narrative which uses documentation and fiction together to create a broad self-portrait doubling as cultural commentary,” and involves video, photographs, and documents relating to the M155 4m3r1c4 narrative. And Cara Anne Greene, beautiful, beautiful Cara Anne Greene will be serving up cullinary complements to the story of M155 4m3r1c4. AWESOME!
Noble & Superior Projects is located at 1418 W Superior St 2R. Reception is Friday 6-10pm.
3. Closing Reception for Byron Roche –
Byron was one of the first gallerists I met in Chicago, and he set the bar high. He is endlessly knowledgeable and endlessly kind. It is, therefore,with a sad heart, that I make this addition to the Top 5. After 16 years with a public gallery, Byron is closing his space. He will continue to operate as a private art consultant, but no longer will there be that comforting island of Byron Roche Gallery in River North. No more box wine, no more Sweetheart Jewelry. So come down and say goodbye, this is your last chance.
Byron Roche is located 750 N. Franklin. Closing reception is Saturday from 11am-6pm.
4. Artist Talk with Adam Ekberg at Thomas Robertello Gallery –
The first of two not-to-be-missed artists’ lectures happening this weekend. The be-bearded countenance of Mr. Ekberg will be discussing his work at Thomas Robertello Gallery, amid his wall mounted work. And I quote, “continuing with the use of lens-based phenomena, humble celebratory gestures, and primitive constructs, Ekberg further develops two distinct bodies of work; images created in the woods or nature, and images using his apartment as stage set.” Be there or be square!
Thomas Robertello Gallery is located at 939 West Randolph St. The artist talk begins at 3pm.
5. Artist Talk with Aspen Mays at HPAC
The second not-to-be-missed artists’ lecture this weekend. Aspen Mays will be discussing works from her From the Office of Scientists exhibition currently on display at HPAC. And I quote, “Mays activates the office cubicle as a site for information production and general inquiry where “big ideas” are generated.” Sweet!
Hyde Park Art Center is located at 5020 S. Cornell Ave. The artist talk begins at 2pm.
Hello again, my lovelies. So, as I was sayin’ on my gallery crawl blog, I was a little worried Monday when I started putting the listing together. At that point it was looking a little bleak. Thankfully that situation has remedied itself. It’s always nice when the weekend picks are relatively easy, and this weekend there is so much good stuff that picking was easy, it was whittling down that was hard. Here are a few places that still look awesome, but didn’t make it to the Top 5: Visions from a Foxhole at Pritzker Military Library, Rune at Ben Russell (dude, get a website, please! or if you have one, tell me where it is), We Are the World at Roots and Culture, and Ethan Greenbaum and Katrin Sigurdardottir at The Suburban. This is seriously the Alt. Space Weekend! As an odd testament, not one opening (that I could find) in River North. So go out, support your local project spaces, alternative spaces, apartment galleries, garage galleries, corners-of-living-rooms-with-art-badly-hung-in-them places, and enjoy the (inevitable and awesome) cheap beer. SALLY FOURTH!
1. ChicagoLand at PeregrineProgram
So I saw Daniel Lavitt out in the streets last weekend and asked him about the show. I’d seen the announcement card around (you’ve probably seen it too, him staring Godzilla-style through a tiny window), but wasn’t sure exactly what the hell was going on. Well, my friends, this stuff looks like a whole pile of awesome! I love miniaturized work, it’s always a bit creepy and awkward. For this work, Lavitt is not only miniaturizing Chicago, he’s doing it to culturally and personally significant places AND wiring them along an economic gradient. I’ve never been to this space, so I’m super stoked on seeing a new venue and Lavitt’s new work.
PeregrineProgram is located at 500 W Cermak Rd, #727. Reception is Friday from 6-9pm. Read more
‘Sup ya’ll. Drumroll please…
1. Three cheers for Futurism!?
You’ve got to love an art movement obsessed with industrialized warfare who’s adherents where so woefully incompetent at warfare that most of them died as soon as they set foot on the battle field. Remember dears, function before fashion on the battlefield. If you’d like to learn more about the Futurists, stop by Istituto Italiano di Cultura on Friday around 6pm. They’ll be reading the Futurist Manifesto alongside contemporary music and dance commemorating Futurism’s 100th B-Day. Hooray for Futurism!
2. Inflatable Art at Spoke!
OK, so I don’t think I’ve ever seen Claire Ashley’s work before in person, but I looked up her website, and her performances look weird enough to warrant an in-person look. For Spoke she is creating a giant blow up mattress/wall/window voyeur object-thing. Apparently there will be a camera there to shoot people playing with it, so go play! You can have interactive art with no one to interact with it. Friday night from 5-7pm.
3. Everyone likes art raffles, right
Well my dear friends, it’s time to say bon voyage and go to heaven. Not the dead people one, the one on Milwaukee. Harold Arts is raffling off art by their 2009 residents to raise money for the future Harold Arts Residency. That’s a clean little loop if I ever saw one. So come, play the odds, and perhaps you’ll go home with some art you like. Friday from 8-midnight.
4. The ultimate battle: the herbivore vs. the carnivore.
Dude, high five to Hyde Park Art Center and the people who put on Artist Run Chicago. They just keep having awesome stuff, why must it end? Well it’s not over yet my friends, and this week they’ll be holding the great “Fryvalry.” Ya’ll are invited to bring meat or veggies (whatever fits you persuasion) for Phillip Von Zweck and Kevin Jennings to grill up in the ultimate test of gristle vs. greens. It’s just cool. Saturday afternoon, 3-6pm.
5. Indie films..
If you’re looking for some fun Sunday evening, and have $10 to spare, you should head over to the Elastic Arts Foundation and check out some indie films. The screening was curated by Ehsan Ghoreishi and is being held to raise money for another film, Voices and Faces of the Adhan: Cairo. Voices… is a documentary about muezzins, and how soon, for the first time in over a thousand years, they’re all going to be out of a job. Thanks technology, sometimes you suck. You can learn more here. Movies start at 7pm and go ’till 10pm.