How We Work: An Interview with Kate Ruggeri

May 9, 2014 · Print This Article

Guest post by A.Martinez

Kate Ruggeri is a Chicago-based artist, DJ, and curator who has shown at Roots & Culture (Chicago), Green Gallery East (Milwaukee), Western Exhibitions (Chicago), and Important Projects (Oakland). She is one of those people who exudes a humble cool, yet is enthusiastic about all she’s committed to, and excited about life and the people and things in it. After a handful of years of staying in touch from afar, I wanted to connect more closely to ask Kate some questions about her life and her work before she moves to New Haven in July to pursue her MFA at Yale.

A.Martinez: Were art and making art important to you from a young age?

Kate Ruggeri: Oh, yeah. Totally. My parents were always really encouraging. In elementary school I started taking drawing classes outside of school. I won a few poster contests. I used to do this thing every year called The Olympics of The Visual Arts, which is a New York State program. Pretty much you assemble a team, work on a year long project, and then compete against other teams. When I got a little older I got really into dark room photography. You know, carrying a camera around all the time and developing film in your bathroom. My mom and I took figure drawing classes together. A lot of colleges have art classes for kids during the summer, so I was always doing that too.

Kate in her studio

Kate in her studio

Martinez: How long have you kept a journal? And what does this practice of journaling do for you and your art practice?

Ruggeri: Since elementary school. I think my first one has a little lock on it. I never really stopped. It’s actually super important, to clear your head, to drain it. I try to write every day. I feel very scattered if I don’t. For art making, it’s good for me to work through ideas and to understand impulses I have. Often I make something and I’m not sure why I made that decision or was drawn to that form. Writing brings everything to the surface. It brings clarity. Studio work is one way of thinking and writing is how I detangle everything. Not just artwise, but life wise. It’s all the same, of course.

Martinez: How long have you had your own studio space? What does it look like?

Ruggeri: After school I had a tiny studio in a building across from Moonshine on Division. It’s been torn down since. I’ve been in the spot I’m at now for a little over a year. It’s a co-op at Damen and Fulton. I moved in there after my old spot on Elston burned down. We have an entire floor that is divided amongst us. My studio’s a mess. I see other people’s studios sometimes, and they have a turntable and little plants and it’s very cozy. My place is like a construction zone. I like that better. It lets me focus on the work.

Martinez: What is a typical day in the studio like for you?

Ruggeri: Nights are better. I like working when no one is around. You can play music loud. I believe in a witching hour. It really depends, though. I usually am working on one sculpture and 4-5 paintings at the same time. If I just finished something big or just installed a show, I draw and watch movies at home. I don’t really have a routine. Ben Medansky once described his ceramic studio as being around a million crying babies. That’s how I feel in there. I work a lot in series, so I just treat 6 pieces at the same time, and then have some experiments going. Right now I have some exercise balls I’ve been sort of doodling on. Then I’ll carve on these wood paintings until my hand hurts. Then I’ll cut some wood shapes out to paint. Or dump plaster on something. It’s a mix of working on very planned pieces and experiments. Everything always changes though.

"Tree Gremlin" 2012

“Tree Gremlin” 2012

Martinez: How do you begin a painting?

Ruggeri: Putting something down, anything! I break it in. I try not to think about it too much and just get the ball rolling. Usually it’s a good color.

Martinez: You work in both 2D and 3D- how does a piece become one or the other?

Ruggeri: When I was in school I used to trip myself up with that question. I can say now that they’re all paintings. I’m a painter that has sculptural impulses. I try to feed both ways of making. I try to be democratic about it. The larger sculptures can be exhausting to make, so there is often a down period of just painting and drawing before starting one again. Material, color, and mark making can drive a piece to be 3D or 2D. Finding a good object. Seeing a particularly inspiring show of painting or sculpture.

"They Have To Cut Out Part Of My Heart And Rebuild It With New Valves And Shit" 2014

“They Have To Cut Out Part Of My Heart And Rebuild It With New Valves And Shit” 2014

Martinez: What artists inspire you?

Ruggeri: Philip Guston, Mike Kelley, Matisse, Picasso, Claes Oldenberg, Cy Twombly, Franz West, Rauschenberg, Joan Miro, Giacometti, Sterling Ruby, William J. O’Brien, Jonathan Meese,  Mary Heilmann, Huma Bhabha, Gerhard Richter, Howard Fonda

Martinez: You have a pretty extensive record collection and DJ monthly at Danny’s. Do you feel there’s a connection between your music endeavors and your art-making?

Ruggeri: Yes. It feels very connected.

Martinez: What musicians inspire you?

Ruggeri: Parliament/Funkadelic, Dead Moon, Congos, Minutemen, Bad Brains, Robert Wyatt, Brian Eno, Miles Davis, Captain Beefheart, Sparks, Beach Boys, Lee Scratch Perry, Roxy Music, De La Soul, Neil Young, Patrick Cowley, Big Star

"Ghost Curtain Call" 2013

“Ghost Curtain Call” 2013

Martinez: What do you typically listen to while in the studio working?

Ruggeri: It’s different every time, chosen for the day and mood. But Nas “Illmatic” gets played a lot. J.Dilla, Shuggie Otis, Pastor T.L. Barrett, Skip Spence, Velvet Underground. Mixes from friends. Jorge Ben, Milton Nascimento, Witch, Amanaz are all good…

Martinez: Do you do collaborations with other artists?

Ruggeri: Sure, I’ve done it a few times. Right now I’m working on a collaboration with Alex Valentine. He gave me these plates to draw on, and then we’ll print them together on newsprint, and then use them to paper mache a sculpture. It’s great because Alex is primarily a printmaker and I know barely anything about the process. I love the idea of making a sculpture made out of drawing. A perfect hybrid.

Martinez: In 2012, you co-curated a show, “Quarterly Site 11: Line-of-Site“,  at Western Exhibitions. How did you land this opportunity? What was the experience like for you? And do you think you’ll curate more shows in the future?

Ruggeri: Jamilee Polson Lacy asked me to do it. She’s been doing these curatorial series for a while now, asking artists to curate a show at a different gallery. It was great. I got to work with Alicia Chester and Karolina Gnatowski. It’s fun to be on the other side of things, and it gave me an opportunity to create a show entirely different from my practice. I really wanted to see a show of top notch performance work. Curating is a lot of work, but I would love to do it again. I think the trick is when you start to think, “Why isn’t ___ kind of work being shown? Why hasn’t someone curated a show about ____?” is when you should get on curating a show. I’m starting to feel that, but I would need the right time and space.

Martinez: You and I actually met while undergrads at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. What is something that has stuck with you from your education and experience there about being a painter, artist, or person?

Ruggeri: Something that always stuck with me is remembering how I felt there: supported, invigorated, and that changing the world was definitely possible. It’s good to protect that enthusiasm, even when you’re working 9 to 5 and feel too tired to go to the studio.

"Dollar Sign" 2012

“Dollar Sign” 2012

Martinez: How has your experience at Ox-Bow School of Art as student and then again as a fellow affect your art? How long were you there total?

Ruggeri: Ox-Bow. Oh, man. I first went in 2007 as a student, and pretty much tried to take as many classes there as I could. If you got work study, you just had to pay for the credits, which I needed anyway. I went three consecutive Summers and one Winter. The Summer of 2010 was great, I took a class with Jose Lerma called “Expanded Painting, Expanded Sculpture.” Not hard to see it was a big influence on me. I was really lucky to receive a Joan Mitchell Fellowship this past Fall and I was an artist-in-residence for 5 weeks. As a student, classes meet everyday. I also had to wake up every morning to clean toilets for work study. This time, as a resident, it was like being at a beautiful retreat. There were only other residents, I had my own studio, and I got to structure my own day. It was incredible.

Martinez: Congratulations on your acceptance to the MFA Painting program at Yale!  What are you most excited about in starting this program in the fall?

Ruggeri: Thanks! I’m most excited about a fresh start. And making better art.

Martinez: What do you think are some interesting things happening around the city of Chicago art-wise?

Ruggeri: Ryan Travis Christian has a show up at Western Exhibitions that I need to get over to. William J. O’Brien at the MCA. Isa Genzken at the MCA. Alexander Valentine has a show at 3433 coming up.

Martinez: What are you currently working on?

Ruggeri: I’m finishing up a re-make of a sculpture I lost in the fire. It’s a harp. I just wrapped up these brooches I made for the Three Walls Gala coming up in June. Starting some new paintings. I keep thinking I need to stop because I’m moving, but I have some projects I want to do before I leave. I have an ongoing series of fake album covers, and I have a photo shoot coming up for the next installment.

"Rainbo Series" 2013

“Rainbo Series” 2013

Martinez: Your recent show, “Tropical Depression” at LVL3 just closed May 4th. Do you have any other openings coming up?

Ruggeri: No, thankfully! I’m moving to New Haven end of July. I’m trying to tie up loose ends.

Martinez: Is there a piece of advice, art related or not that you think of often?

Ruggeri: Say yes to all opportunities offered to you. Avoid excessive thinking about the past and future.


To find out more about Kate, her artwork and her upcoming shows go to http://kate-ruggeri.com/ 

All photos courtesy of the artist.

 

A.Martinez is a freelance art and music organizer living in Chicago, IL. She is currently working on a performing arts summer festival called The Living Loop, and will release her first book of poetry this summer.

 




Chicago Art in Pictures: March-April 2013

April 15, 2013 · Print This Article

A graphic, editorial overview of art, artists, and visual art events, found in and around Chicago over the course of the preceding month. All artwork copyright original artists; all photography copyright Paul Germanos.

Daniel Shea @ Gallery 400

Daniel Shea @ Gallery 400

Above: Daniel Shea with his photography in Gallery 400, as seen on April 13, 2013, at the closing of UIC’s third MFA exhibition.

“A Spectre Is Haunting”
2013 UIC Art MFA Thesis Exhibition 3
April 9 – April 13, 2013
Gallery 400
College of Architecture and the Arts
University of Illinois at Chicago
400 S. Peoria St.
Chicago, IL 60607
Artwork by Liliana Angulo Cortés, Ian Curry, Daniel Shea, and Daniel Tucker
http://www.danielpshea.com/

Jennifer Mills @ Chicago Artists Coalition

Jennifer Mills @ Chicago Artists Coalition

Above: Jennifer Mills (right) with collaborator Christopher Ottinger (left) in Mills’ CAC/Bolt installation “101 one-liners; Falling Flat,” on March 30, 2013.

Jennifer Mills
“101 one-liners; Falling Flat”
March 15 – April 2, 2013
BOLT Residency
Chicago Artists’ Coalition
217 N. Carpenter St.
Chicago, IL 60607
http://jennifermills.org/home.html

Picasso @ Daley Plaza

Picasso @ Daley Plaza

Picasso @ Daley Plaza

Above: 2013 promotional “P-I-C-A-S-S-O” installation by Chicago Scenic Studios, foreground; 1967 Picasso sculpture, background.

Daley Plaza
Washington between Dearborn and Clark
Chicago, IL
http://www.chicagoscenic.com/

“Picasso and Chicago”
February 20 – May 12, 2013
Art Institute of Chicago
111 S. Michigan Ave.
Chicago, IL
http://www.artic.edu/

John Neff @ The Renaissance Society

John Neff @ The Renaissance Society

Above: A 30-second exposure indicating spectator movement within Neff’s installation.

John Neff @ The Renaissance Society

Above: A talk with the artist (John Neff at left, Hamza Walker at right) at 5:00PM, on March 3, 2013, in Kent Hall, Room 107, University of Chicago campus.

John Neff @ The Renaissance Society

Above: Following the artist’s talk, Molly Zuckerman-Hartung (far right) raises a question.

John Neff
March 3 – April 14, 2013
The Renaissance Society
5811 S. Ellis Avenue
Bergman Gallery, Cobb Hall 418
Chicago, Illinois 60637
http://www.renaissancesociety.org/site/

Christopher Ottinger @ Chicago Artists’ Coalition

Christopher Ottinger @ Chicago Artists' Coalition

Above: Christopher Ottinger, background, at the opening reception, his uncovered, kinetic light art seen rotating in the foreground.

Christopher Ottinger
“Ghost Machine”
April 12 – May 2, 2013
BOLT Residency
Chicago Artists’ Coalition
217 N. Carpenter St.
Chicago, IL 60607
http://chicagoartistscoalition.org/

Lossless @ Chicago Artists’ Coalition

Matthew Schlagbaum in Lossless @ CAC HATCH Projects Residency

Above: Matthew Schlagbaum’s kinetic light installation visible within its smoked vitrine housing.

“Lossless”
April 12 – May 2, 2013
HATCH Projects Residency
Chicago Artists’ Coalition
217 N. Carpenter St.
Chicago, IL 60607
Curated by MK Meador
Artwork by Jordan Martins, Matthew Schlagbaum and Theodore Darst
http://chicagoartistscoalition.org/

The Wail of Silence @ ROOMS Gallery

The Wail of Silence @ ROOMS Gallery

Above: Alex de Leon lifts her veil in “Ritual No. 4 – Toll of Eyes,” a three-hour performance, 7:00-10:00 PM, March 8, 2013.

“The Wail of Silence”
March 8, 2013
ROOMS Gallery
1835 S. Halsted
Chicago, IL
http://roomsgallery.com/

Psychosexual @ Andrew Rafacz

Scott Hunter @ Andrew Rafacz

Above: “Psychosexual” curator Scott Hunter in the foreground, with artwork, left-to-right, by Nazafarin Lotfi, John Neff, and Peter Otto, visible in the background.

Psychosexual @ Andrew Rafacz

Above: Artwork by Peter Otto, Rachel Niffenegger, and Brenna Youngblood, seen left-to-right in Andrew Rafacz Gallery.

“Psychosexual”
April 6 – May 25, 2013
Andrew Rafacz Gallery
835 W. Washington Blvd.
Chicago IL 60607
Curated by Scott J. Hunter
Artwork by Lutz Bacher, Tom Burr, Edmund Chia, Matthias Dornfeld, Jayson Keeling, Jutta Koether, Nazafarin Lotfi, Jeffry Mitchell, John Neff, Rachel Niffenegger, Peter Otto, Kirsten Stoltmann, and Brenna Youngblood
http://www.andrewrafacz.com/

Lauren Edwards & Kera MacKenzie @ ACRE Projects

Lauren Edwards & Kera MacKenzie @ ACRE Projects
Lauren Edwards & Kera MacKenzie @ ACRE Projects

Above: Lauren Edwards and Kera MacKenzie, participants in UIC’s first MFA exhibition of 2013, seen within their subsequent show at ACRE Projects’ home site in Pilsen.

Lauren Edwards & Kera MacKenzie
“Burden of Proof”
April 14 – 28, 2013
ACRE Projects
1913 W. 17th St.
Chicago, IL 60608
http://www.acreresidency.org/

Michael Ian Larsen @ PEREGRINEPROGRAM

Michael Ian Larsen @ PEREGRINEPROGRAM

Michael Ian Larsen
“The Tree, the Gift, and the Amphibian”
March 10 – April 7, 2013
PEREGRINEPROGRAM
3311 W. Carroll Avenue, #119
Chicago, IL 60624
http://www.peregrineprogram.com/

Tina Tahir @ Gallery 400

Tina Tahir @ Gallery 400

Above: Tina Tahir at her closing reception with the installation “41.876503,-87.649666,” an ornamental ‘rug’ made of ash and magnetite mineral, whose title provides its GPS co-ordinates. Intentionally made available to foot traffic throughout the course of the exhibition, said piece is shown disturbed from its original state.

“A strange house in my voice.”
2013 UIC Art MFA Thesis Exhibition 2
April 2 – April 6, 2013
Gallery 400
College of Architecture and the Arts
University of Illinois at Chicago
400 S. Peoria St.
Chicago, IL 60607
Artwork by Cameron Gibson, Ben Murray, and Tina Tahir
http://www.tinatahir.com/

Laura Wennstrom @ The Peanut Gallery

Laura Wennstrom @ The Peanut Gallery

Above: Gallery patron interacts with Wennstrom’s “Block City” during the opening reception; cameras hang ready to document the action.

“Artificial Turf”
University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign MFA group exhibition
March 15 – April 9, 2013
The Peanut Gallery
1000 N. California Ave.
Chicago, IL
http://artgraduatestudentorganization.wordpress.com/

Jesse Butcher & Anthony Romero @ Happy Collaborationists / ACRE Projects

Jesse Butcher & Anthony Romero @ Happy Collaborationists

Jesse Butcher & Anthony Romero
“Cyclical, Circular. Like Vultures.”
April 6 – 27, 2013
Happy Collaborationists, in partnership with ACRE Residency
1254 N Noble
Chicago IL, 60642
http://happycollaborationists.com/

Michael Robinson @ Carrie Secrist

Michael Robinson @ Carrie Secrist

Michael Robinson
“Circle Spectre Paper Flame”
April 6 – May 11, 2013
Carrie Secrist Gallery
835 W. Washington Blvd.
Chicago, IL 60607
http://www.secristgallery.com/

Co-Prosperity School

Co-Prosperity School

Above: A Co-Prosperity School student’s presentation on March 18, 2013.

The Co-Prosperity Sphere
3219-21 S. Morgan St.
Chicago IL, 60608
http://coprosperity.org/co-prosperity-school/

Autumn Space Benefit Auction

Autumn Space Benefit Auction

Autumn Space Benefit Auction

Autumn Space Benefit Auction
March 10, 2013
1700 W. Irving Park #207
Chicago, IL
http://autumnspace.com/

Deb Sokolow @ Western Exhibitions

Deb Sokolow @ Western Exhibitions

Deb Sokolow
March 15 – April 20, 2103
Western Exhibitions
845 W. Washington Blvd.
Chicago, IL 60607
http://www.westernexhibitions.com/index.html

Diegesis @ Logan Center

Daniel Rosen @ Logan Center

Above: “The Index for an Encylopedia” by Daniel Rosen

Maymay Jumsai @ Logan Center

Above: “Smell.RB.MFA 2013″ by Maymay Jumsai

“Diegesis”
University of Chicago MFA Show 1
April 5 – 14, 2013
Logan Center Gallery
915 E. 60th St.
Chicago, IL 60637
http://arts.uchicago.edu/

Christopher Meerdo @ Document

Christopher Meerdo @ Document

Christopher Meerdo
“Anthology”
March 15 – April 20, 2013
Document
845 W. Washington Blvd. Suite 3f
Chicago IL 60607
http://christophermeerdo.com/

Juneer Kibria @ The Sub-Mission

Juneer Kibria @ The Sub-Mission

Above: Juneer Kibria in his installation, opening night.

Juneer Kibria
“Hidden Noise”
March 8 – April 20, 2013
The Mission (The Sub-Mission)
1431 W. Chicago Ave.
Chicago, IL 60642
http://themissionprojects.com/

Rebecca Beachy @ Iceberg Projects

Rebecca Beachy @ Iceberg Projects

Above: An audience member views “Warm (bed)” through a rectangular aperture just above the floor; 109 dozen factory-farmed eggs, ground, lit by heat lamps, lie within the piece.

Dan Berger before Deborah Stratman @ iceberg projects

Above: Iceberg Projects proprietor Dan Berger within the gallery space on June 23, 2012

“The Bearer”
March 10 -April 1, 2013
Iceberg Projects
7714 N. Sheridan Road
Chicago, IL 60626
Artwork by Rebecca Beachy and Walker Blackwell
http://icebergchicago.com/home.html

Lisa Walcott @ threewalls

Lisa Walcott @ threewalls

Lisa Walcott
“Pretty Good Shape”
Artists in Research – Residency
(Closed on March 21, 2013)
threewalls
119 N. Peoria #2c
Chicago, IL
http://www.three-walls.org/


Paul Germanos: Born November 30, 1967, Cook County, Illinois. Immigrant grandparents, NYC. High school cross country numerals and track letter. Certified by the State of Illinois as a peace officer. Licensed by the City of Chicago as a taxi driver. Attended the School of the Art Institute 1987-1989. Studied the history of political philosophy with the students of Leo Strauss from 2000-2005. Phi Theta Kappa and Phi Kappa Phi. Motorcyclist.




Dreams Die So That Other, Better Ones, Might Take Their Place

August 19, 2010 · Print This Article

Las Vegas Art Gallery

The Bellagio Gallery of Fine Art, the last major casino gallery on the Strip stands alone

The great part of the Art World is that it is in constant flux and endless energy. Artists and other members of the community create more commerce, impact, reach & community with $100 then most corporations can do with $1,000. The Art World cleans up and resets urban landscapes, moves when the price gets too high and then does it all over again. Lower Manhattan is a testament to the Art world and not anything City Hall has singlehandedly done. Yes there are aspects that can drive you mad; as in the endless herding of cats, debating fringe points of view that even Fox News would balk at and the deep seated hatred/fear of money or success. That said though, I would take a smart art world person over a smart MBA any day of the week. Ideas come and go but drive and tenacious originality/agility makes them a reality. Vegas was once a dream like that.

For good or ill there was once a dream to make Las Vegas an art capital. To make what was already a destination place for many into something that would include an art & culture discussion. During the time of the drive to reinvent Las Vegas as a family friendly, high culture venue, many casinos built collections and galleries to showcase great works for a small admission fee. Years later that proved to be a dead end. People didn’t want to pay to see works that were not of the highest order of notoriety while in Vegas and even fewer would make the trip with that as a priority. The casino’s multi-million collections now adorn the check-in areas and the galleries are reconstituted for other uses. Interestingly enough once again the poor artist comes along and is renting out the space to work in for later exhibitions in LA. You can read more here.

All in all though that is the Art World every day and the Business world every fiscal quarter. You dream what could be, do as much preparation as possible, swing smart and hard and hope at the end of the day you get your investors more then they paid and build an core infrastructure that can grow into something more. Something better.

You go out swinging every day, hoping that you can find that one idea that is better then the rest and you can gladly spend a lifetime building into something that brings joy, growth and money to all who enter it. You suffer the pain, the failure and the missteps knowing that she is out there just waiting to be found, that opportunity to plug in your skills and view with the needs of the community. Thats why we do this every day, that is the art world where dreams die daily so that other, better ones, might take their place for us all.


  • The Brooklyn Museum continues to try to position itself better to increase traffic, now by extending it’s hours to 6pm on Wednesday’s and 10pm on Thursday & Friday from 5pm. They plan to hire a few more part time staff to cover the extended hours but state that the current budget and suggested admission will more then cover that added cost. read more here
  • Metropolitan Museum of Art exhibition on Picasso that just closed pulled in a record 700,000+ visitors over a 17-week period. This makes it the most attended exhibit since the Impressionist art show in 2001. read more here
  • The Italian state and the city of Florence fight over ownership of Michelangelo’s David. read more here it is a fight that is akin in logic and the boredom of lawyers who need to charge hours to the battle between the FBI & Wikipedia over it’s use of their seal in a entry on the FBI this month. read more here
  • Trafalgar Square’s fourth plinth contenders are unveiled, a cake, a cock, a organ, a topographic relief map of the UK, kid on rocking horse & a Field Marshal. The Bad at Sports oddsmaker’s take is as such: field marshal 1:1, cock, 2:1, organ 4:1, kid on rocking horse 6:1, cake 10:1, topographic map that can only be properly seen from above and below is nothing other then a jagged white shape 1000:1, an artistic discussion that the general public will actually engage in and might remeber for more then a year…… priceless. read more here & here