EDITION #6

April 1, 2013 · Print This Article

Dubya takes to painting

Many of history’s greats are known to have painted a sun-dappled landscape or two in their day. Everyone from Winston Churchill to Dwight D. Eisenhower, and even Adolph Hitler have handled a palette. Just like Van Gogh and Gaugain’s portrait exchange, Eisenhower even painted a portrait of his venerable ally, Churchill.

Surprisingly, 43rd President George W. Bush has finally managed to join their ranks, not in political savvy, but through his newfound pastime of “makin’ paintin’s.” By now the entire internet is aware that George W. Bush is a prolific artist, having painted at least 50 dog portraits as well as some landscapes and even a couple n00dz. For once, What’s the T? couldn’t be more proud of our former Commander in Chiefing, and we have created a special hypothetical art collection based on his oeuvre.

The Jogging’s oddly clairvoyant portrait of G.W. from July 2012.

In other news, everyone’s a critic.

Reading is Fundamental

#best.gif

Progress, 2013
by James T. Green

“T” around Town

The stars must be aligning on April 6th since damn near every gallery in the city is having an opening. It’s ridic. In Logan Square, it’s finally Spring and the Comfort Station is reopening with an exhibition by Isak Applin and Adam Ekberg. Chicago’s fav Italian artist living in Vienna, Helmut Heiss, has also triumphantly returned for his upcoming ACRE show at Slow in Pilsen. Happy sources report that Heiss’s contribution is large and shiny.

Furthermore, Anthony Romero and Jesse Butcher have an opening at Happy Collaborationists that we heard is inspired by hippies and mud. Word is that Haseeb Ahmed and Daniel G. Baird’s opening at Roots and Culture will dramatically change the gallery space, incorporating a fountain and maybe even fish (but don’t quote us).

Super secret sneak peak of someone’s work. @meredithandanna

Auctions have been trending, so it’s no surprise that LVL3’s 4th Annual HArts for Art is also this Saturday. Guilt free, a portion of the proceeds will benefit local not-for-profit Better Boys Foundation, but the work is going fast. Almost a week out and work by Israel Lund has already been claimed. We heard that the raffle is going to be bangin’ too.

At least the SAIC MFA show isn’t this weekend. Good luck.

The Weatherman Report

Max Pechstein, Schneeschmelze (Melting Snow), 1922 Oil on canvas (30 3/10 × 38 3/5 in), 1970

Grand Marquee on Irving Park Rd.

SMALLTIME ARCHIPHILE:

The Patio Theater

Smalltime Archiphile centers on architecture’s place – sometimes event-based, sometimes aesthetic– in usually small, marginal and forgotten incarnations around Chicagoland.

The Patio Theatre is arguably the most magnificent movie house in all of Chicago. With awesome programming by the Chicago Cinema Society, a revamped 1920’s Baroquesque interior and streamlined Deco marquee, Patio uses the vehicle of space, time and, more specifically color, to heighten its graphic grandeur.

Ornamentation and Chandelier on Ceiling

Color envelopes you in ways only rococo could – through ornamentation, stucco, mirrors, chandeliers, vaults – in variations of gold leaf, reds, blues, yellows and greens. The Patio Theater’s procession starts with its stark yellow and red sans-serif Deco marquee. Once inside, you encounter a nearly 20ft high chromatic ceiling ticketing foyer, followed by a minimally modern concession stand, and finally culminating in the most mindfucking auditorium punctuated by a starry night twice the size of the Music Box Theatre’s. It’s a series of effects that contemporary architects can’t even fathom approaching i.e. using color to form, shape, line and syncopate a procession, not as appliqué.

Patio’s use of color is palpable and interactive. The culmination of this comes in the auditorium’s screen covering that employs classic vaulting effects with an abundance of color to achieve simulacrum by easily inhabiting both traditional building technique (without traditional necessity) and pushing nuanced ornateness in graphic (without being kitsch).

Auditorium – Starry night, Chateau Window Walls and monumental vault screen enclosure

Sitting there watching a Samurai classic like Shogun Assassin on a Saturday night in Portage Park, not Lakeview, Logan Square, Southport or any other “hot spot” is an added bonus to this prismatic gem. Architecture ‘looks’ all the time and the colorful Patio Theater trumps most classic Chicago movie houses in terms of how comfortable it is in its own skin – inside and out.

The Patio Theater is located at 6008 W. Irving Park Rd, Chicago, Illinois 60634.

TRENDING: Music

Fish, the band, at The Chicago Music CD showcase at The Mutiny on Thursday Night Photo courtesy of Chicago Music CD Record Label.

Cla$$’s 3ft triangle stole the show. Photo courtesy of Chicago Music CD Record Label.

My Bad’s Scott Reeder takes a selfie with adoring fans. Photo courtesy of Chicago Music CD Record Label.

TRENDING: Music

#FREETHEUNIVERSE takes over The Mutiny Thursday night. Photo courtesy of Chicago Music CD Record Label.

Now you can stop dreaming about it. Nick Cave(s) sighting courtesy of Caroline Picard.

Everything we know about Passover we learned at Bobby Conn‘s final residency performance at the Hideout last Tuesday. His full band including Tim Jones fronted brass section was nothing short of a Pesach miracle.

Respect the crown: Kim Gordon with White/Light at the MCA last Tuesday night.




EDITION #3

February 18, 2013 · Print This Article

Watch out QT

Following a preview launch at the closing of 24hours/25days at New Capital, Forever and Always, the joint curatorial venture of Billy Joyce and Brook Sinkinson Withrow debuted at their Pilsen location last Friday night with a screening of Dreamgirl by Sarah Condo work and a musical performance by Younger.

Forever and Always curators Joyce and Withrow by Matthew Joynt

While the Forever and Always main focus is on programming (they have a lecture by Willy Smart scheduled for March 5th), the space features an ongoing “exhibition” of artwork as well. Whether or not this is a clever ploy to decorate the curators’ apartment remains unclear.

“Its not like someone is trying to hide that it’s an apartment. The art is just where it is. It’s like a return to not giving a shit.” – unnamed source (Michael Kloss)

Blog Roll

Can’t get enough irreverent internet in your tumblr digest? Is The Jogging becoming too relevant for your taste? Enter #NYCartlife. Just a couple SAIC to NYC transplants and their NY Advanced Painting analogs posting selfies and bad art history jokes. #thankmelaterorneveritscool

At last weeks opening for #WITH at ACRE Projects, exhibiting artist, Kristina Paabus, introduced What’s the T? to “#SOYEAHDUH” and we are forever grateful. After doing a little research WTT? learned the blog was created by Wicker Park’s Lisa Frame. Frame is also the creator of “Mugshot-Monday,” which is unfortunately just a bunch of people and their coffee cups.

Temporary Alliegance flag by h.melt (via Gallery400 twitter)

State of IL belatedly endorses love

Following hundreds of Valentines Day’s without half of an endorsement from the Illinois State Legislature, queers and homosexuals alike can finally rejoice as “The Democratic-led Senate delivered a Valentine’s Day victory to gay and lesbian couples [today], passing legislation for the first time that would allow same-sex marriage in Illinois.” Dubbed the “Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act,” What’s the T? wonders why the title couldn’t be something catchier like “The Freedom to Love Whomever You Damn Well Please Which Should Have Been Passed 50 Years Ago Act” or “The Let’s Make Marriage Fabulous Again Since Straight People Obviously Don’t Care About It Anymore Act.”

The legislation furthermore provides this blogger with the perfect context in which to repost the recent Temporary Alliegance flag by h.melt. The installation of the flag pole outside of UIC was concieved by Philip von Zweck and functions as an opportunity for others to exercise freedom of expression.

It’s a National Holiday!

In honor of President’s Day, a work by Erin Washington.

Photo by Charlotte Woolf

The Weatherman Report

Claude Monet, Snow Effect, Giverny, 1893

Velez not trying to “slam anyone in particular”

After slamming several prominent galleries, curators and artists in his article “Friends Curating Friends” for New City, local art critic and curmudgeon, Pedro Velez, took to Facebook last week to gloat over his own accomplishments of curating exhibitions and making artists cry while simultaneously chastising more victims.

LVL3 was unharmed.

Velez’s heart failed to grow three sizes that day.

Terry Myers offeres one of the most not-crazy responses to Velez’s article on the illustrious and longwinded Foumberg thread:

What could Nadar have been thinking when he offered his photography studio for his friends to have their first show in Paris? And what about the activities of all of those friends at the Cabaret Voltaire? Not to mention that pointless “Freeze” show in London. Shocking, but thankfully none of these artists had to call themselves curators.

Trending:

All images taken during the opening of the The Couples show at Heaven Gallery last Friday night, unless obviously from @richforever.

Thorne Brandt & Lindsey Regatta

Hornswaggler Arts

LVL3 turns 3.

Gallery finally lives up to its name

LVL3 is turning three(3) years old and to celebrate, curators and co-directors, Vincent Uribe and Allison Kilberg, are showing five artists who have been with them from the beginning: Michael Hunter, Paul Kenneth, Easton Miller, Liz Nielsen, and Kate Steciw.

I heard there’ll be Hunx.

Lucas Blair & Montgomery Perry Smith

Aron Gent & Betsy O’Brien




Talking SLOW in Ad Hoc: Seven Interviews with Exhibition Projects

October 17, 2012 · Print This Article

Slow curated a small 7-person exhibition, “miniature GIGANTIC,” for Clutch Gallery. They brought it to Washington D.C. for its official opening.

Last month, I compiled a collection of interviews with a curatorial projects operating in the city of Chicago. In it, Happy Collaborationists, LVL3, New Capital, slow, Roxaboxen, Plaines Project, and Johalla Projects all answer the same four questions, discussing their respective curatorial agendas. I always love to hear the back room story behind spaces, the way administration and practical impasses influence day to day decisions. I would love to post all of them here, but as it is, I’m only going to wet your whistle on this Internet-machine. After all, the interviews were intended to go together. While the resulting zine, “AD HOC,” was available for free in the Bad at Sports booth of the Chicago EXPO, you can download the entire booklet via the following link: EXPO_Bas_pamphlet_for_web. Below I have included an interview from that collection with co-director Paul Hopkin from slow gallery — a wonderful space that straddles the line between apartment space and storefront gallery. At present, slow is exhibiting Benjamin Bellas, Represent the sound outside these spaces wherein”Benjamin performs herculean tasks and shows what is produced by his efforts.” That exhibit is open to the public until November 10th. For information about what they’re up to, the show they have installed in Clutch Gallery (a portable exhibition site in founder Meg Dugid’s purse). Hopkin’s co-director, Jeffrey Grauel is carrying it around at present, and even brought it to Washington DC for its official opening. Visit their website here  and don’t forget, the following interview is just the tip of the ice berg. Each of those seven spaces has a interesting and varied way of thinking about their curatorial work.

Clutch at The White House

Caroline Picard: What kind of exhibitions excite you generally?

Paul Hopkin: I like an exhibition that gets under my skin. Art is best when I am not sure whether I like it or not, but I can’t stop thinking about it. I always try to get artists to present work in ways they would be less likely to without me, or the kind of space I run. That means pairing people who otherwise would not be paired, encouraging a new direction in the work or taking more risks in its presentation. I have been really lucky to have worked with a lot of really fantastic artists, but I have two favorite shows: one was called the low down and featured the work of Jeffrey Grauel, Caroline Allison, and Danica Favorito. Jeffrey covered all the windows with panels of crocheted video tape. It brought a darkness to the space — clearly because it was a sort of blackout curtain, but it also just pushed its presence into the space generating a kind of tension. Well, the fact that you also walked straight into a slowly spinning baseball bat maybe helped that a little too. I also really loved the play between Caroline’s gorgeously printed and beautifully framed photos with Danica’s that were off her junky inkjet she had at home, wrinkled and hung with obvious pieces of masking tape. I think one of Danica’s photos had a coffee stain on it.

The second show was last spring, titled, it ain’t over. Brent Garbowski and Joe Mault collaborated on this work that was not just designed for the space, but for people who come to it, for me. There was a kind of specificity to the work that was truly remarkable. They cut down a power pole and lay it down on the floor so that it cut through the gallery, through the entrance of my apartment and ran alongside my bed. They fabricated a swing arm with the familiar arch of a streetlight, so that the bulb illuminated my bed, complete with the way-too-bright light of an outdoor fixture. They are in the process of installing parts of that pole in another space and it is becoming a wholly different work. I also love that I got Barbara DeGenevieve to make work that was really light-hearted. I was really excited that she, one of my more established artists, was excited to work with Brent and Joe, two boys still in undergrad.

it ain’t over, installation shot, April 2012

CP: Do you have a particular story about what the back-end of your space is like? Something perhaps indicative of your administrative process? 

PH: I would probably not be running a gallery if there were no separation between my private apartment and the storefront gallery. It is funny to me now, but I thought I wanted to keep people in the public space and keep my home out of the mix. A couple of shows into it I just realized it was ridiculous — it was more comfortable to use my home as the space to hang out in. If I haven’t swept the floor in my apartment and there is an opening, I just let it happen anyway. “Y’all come to see the work and enjoy a beverage. Hell, some of you seem comforted that there are little mounds of my dog’s hair everywhere.”

I made a rule — if I find you difficult to work with, it is not worth it to me. I will also not work with you if I don’t trust you to be alone in my home. I do this because I love it, and it is important for me to continue loving it. I have only had a few conflicts, and I hope I have resolved them well. Most of the artists I have worked with have truly been a pleasure. Not that there is never stress; stress is part of getting something worthwhile to happen. But the artists I have worked with have been helpful, resourceful, and interested in having good shows. I have been thrilled to see it work that way. I have had artists who have shown in my space just jump in and help with practical chores even when it is not their show.

I keep a running list of artists that interest me. Some, I check in with from time to time. I throw ideas around, often in casual conversations with friends. Just keep at things until an idea clicks. Then I approach the artists. Sometimes that doesn’t work out and it means I have to start again. Maybe an artist is unavailable, or sometimes just not into the idea. I usually have three or four studio visits with each artist leading up to a show and I always run my show ideas by Jeffrey Grauel, my co-director.

The biggest practical decision I make is to avoid shipping work. I have done it, and it has worked, but I mostly show Chicago folks. I find the practical matters to be a part of the scene, so working within the resources and space I have is a part of the fun. I don’t choose in a terribly practical fashion. I mean I had a power pole hovering over my bed for two months, and I let a performer live in my space drunk for a week.

I write for every show. It brings clarity about the show and why I put the artists together in the first place, and it helps the artists understand it too. When I get it right, the writing also helps generate some interest in the shows. But I try to avoid describing the work. I want to generate experience with the work on its own terms. I have my ideas, but I don’ t ever want to impose them on the work in a way that overshadows the work itself. I don’t have my writing in the space at all during a show. It resides on the internet on purpose.

I don’t understand your question about, “engaging a public audience”— I mean, people come; the events are, in some direct way, public. It is a bit of a mystery to me that I engage a consistent crowd of undergraduate artists, and a consistent crowd of adults who have been out of school for a good long while, whereas I don’t draw a ton of graduate students. It is a little frustrating to me, because critical attention has a way of following the interests of those grad students. But I think the shows at slow are better than that. And not that the projects haven’t received attention, because they have. But sometimes I still feel like slow is a secret. I have had a couple of grad students tell me straight up that it doesn’t seem like a place where they can figure how to get in —and if it doesn’t present them with opportunities then they don’t get invested in the space. The funny thing to me is that it can present them with showing opportunities. And then there’s the flip side of the same question: what good does it do for anyone if the venue will show anything that comes along? Editing, some kind of vision and hierarchy, seem to facilitate better things all the way around. I guess I am still figuring out some things, and those artists are too. But I want to maintain a kind of criticality, a kind of rigor, and I don’t mind that there are interesting artists who remain outside my radar.

CP: Do you think non-traditional sites for exhibition are important?

PH: Important is a funny word. Curators that work in canonized venues rely on the rest of us to decide what is worth thinking about, worth seeing. But what burbles to the top is just that; it is the thing that garnered attention. Local food and local art — you know? A lot of the best stuff will remain unknown to most, and that is why we visit the places that produce locally. It isn’t so much that  that venues like mine are important, but we do a kind of work that isn’t done by important venues. Not so long ago Hamza Walker spoke very directly about waiting in the wings until a certain few venues have chosen first to pay attention to an artist, or to a new kind of approach. I think it is common for important critics and curators to wait and see what the lesser of us do. If a non-traditional venue bites on a new hook, and the results are well received, it can move through a system and become important. But I want to work from a messier place that is full of risk and opportunity. I love to play with ideas on their own terms. I love the heady space of “why the hell not” and “it’s about time.” That can happen when there is no bureaucracy. I can risk a big failure because nothing so terrible happens when I do fail. The payoff can be so much more satisfying when it comes from that sort of space. It isn’t all just freedom and light, but it is so much closer to the fantasy of how the art world works. I support what strikes me, what feels ignored or absent from the scene, but nevertheless compelling. I hope to bring a critical eye to my part of the art world in a time where criticality is threatened and disappearing.

The television show The Wire changed how I think about storytelling. You get such a deep version of a really compelling story if you see the entire 5 year arch of the show. Artists usually work more like the storytelling in The Wire than in, say, Gilligan’s Island. But we tend to see work that is from the fresh young thing just out of school. Or the work that has become important in the meantime. We see the same details, the same place in the storyline, repeated over and over. It is set up in this way that we think we are seeing a serial, but we’re really seeing one or two pieces of a story set on constant repeat. But there is so much more happening than either of those snippets. And I get to pay some attention to work in a way that has a different piece of the puzzle precisely because I do not aspire to become important as a venue.

Importance is overrated.

CP: What are some administrative influences and how have they colored your own approach to running a space?

PH: Artists need good opportunities to exhibit. I feel privileged to have such a big part of my own creative process that functions through the work other artists have made. I try to make the work and the show the focus of the experience. As much as I have a point of view in this, I want that to support the artist’s work, and not the other way around. I have worked as an administrator in several other capacities, and what everyone seems to want is freedom to choose things that have an importance, and for the things that aren’t valued by the individual to just disappear, to be done by elves. I work to make everything simple, approachable, and pleasant for the artists. If I can’t be the elf, I let them know. But if I can make something easier, I certainly will. My structure, my approach, is built on the philosophy that this will be what I want it to be, and what the artists want it to be, as much as possible. This is the place where you can ask to do anything, and it is a simple conversation. I am very aware that I am not an institution. I am not aspiring to be a lucrative business. I am opinionated, invested in fearless and sometimes transgressive art, I have a sense of humor, I have a sense of style, I am social and chatty, I enjoy a good beverage with friends, and I am intellectually motivated. I try to structure the shows to take advantage of all those qualities.

slow is located at 2153 W 21st Street, Chicago, IL.




Top (4) Weekend Picks (8/17 & 8/18)

August 17, 2012 · Print This Article

1. Sic Transit Gloria Mundi at Chicago Cultural Center

Work by Industry of the Ordinary (Adam Brooks and Mathew Wilson).

Chicago Cultural Center is located at 78 E. Washington St. Show begins Friday.

2. All That Is Left of You/Everything You Are Now at Chicago Artists’ Coalition

Work by Amber Hawk Swanson.

Chicago Artists’ Coalition is located at 217 N. Carpenter St. Reception Friday, from 6-9pm.

3. Trepanation: Open Your Mind with Psychedelic Comedy at Octagon Gallery

Work by Everything Is Terrible, Paperrad, Future Machine, Daniel Kibblesmith, Extreme Animals, Scott Whiteman, Jake Myers, Reginald Johnson and Lara Stall, Goop of the Gods, Alex Bach and Austin Smith.

Octagon Gallery is located at 120 N Green St. Unit 3B. Reception Friday, from 8-9:30pm.

4. Wobbly Misconduct at LVL3

Work by Allison Wade, Amy Feldman, and Rachel de Joode.

LVL3 is located at 1542 N. Milwaukee Ave. Reception Saturday, 6-10pm.




Top 5 Weekend Picks (4/13-4/15)

April 13, 2012 · Print This Article

1. It’s Getting Hot in Here at Chicago Artists’ Coalition

Work by Sarah and Joseph Belknap.

Chicago Artists’ Coalition is located at 217 N. Carpenter St. Reception Friday, 6-9pm.

2. With Other People, With Other Sons at Heaven Gallery

Work by Ryan Chorbagian, Hao Ni, and Patrick McGuan.

Heaven Gallery is located at 1550 N. Milwaukee Ave. 2nd Fl. Reception Friday, 7-11pm.

3. Temporal Figuration at LVL3

Work by Andrew Holmquist, David Brandon Geeting, and Jade Walker.

LVL3 is located at 1542 N. Milwaukee Ave, 3rd Fl. Reception Saturday, 6-10pm.

4. limes and bricks suck pink you tasteless hunk or just limes and brick suck pink or tasteless hunk at Terrain Exhibitions

Work by Claire Ashley

Terrain Exhibitions is located at 704 Highland Ave. Oak Park. Reception Sunday 12-4pm.

5. Objet Petit Ahh…, and Benefit for Version Festival 12 at Co-Prosperity Sphere*

Curated by Dayton Castleman and Matthew Dupont, with work by John Airo, Kristen Althoff, Anna & Meredith, Nick Black, Lisa Brosig, Stephanie Burke and Jeriah Hildewine, Jessica Calek and Dan Streeting, Abby Christensen, Melissa Damasauskas, Kaleb Dean, Aaron Delehanty, Jim Duignan, Ben Fain, Karl Gesch, Aron Gent, Ricki Hill, Gabe Hoare, David Hooker, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, Anais Maljan, John Medina, Thomas Moreno, Heather Mullins, Jake Myers, Catie Olson, Haynes Riley, Blake Russell, Chris Santiago, Rana Siegel, Charles Smith, Bert Stabler, Basia Toczydlowska, Emily Van Hoff, Johanna Wawro, and Jen Zito.

Co-Prosperity Sphere is located at 3219 S. Morgan St. Reception Saturday 6-11pm.

*The author has work in this exhibition