Times are tough, but there’s a lot to look forward to with the coming Fall art season in Chicago. Here’s what Meg and I are most looking forward to seeing over the next three months — and be sure to check out Stephanie’s guide to Friday and Saturday openings below!
9/11 Philip Von Zweck at ThreeWalls (M, C) The title of this show is “The Fortieth Anniversary of the First Anniversary of May -68 (in September).” Von Zweck is a significant and much-beloved figure in the Chicago art scene who ran a highly respected apartment gallery for a number of years. This exhibition marks his return to a more traditional solo artist exhibition framework.
9/11 Luis Gispert at Rhona Hoffman (C) New large-scale photographic portraits and videos by the Miami-born, Brooklyn-based Gispert that focus on immigrant sectors of the American workforce and the search for expressive outlets outside the realm of labor. A three-channel film focuses on Gispert’s friend Rene, a Cuban immigrant who works in a Miami restaurant supply store.
9/11 Jessica Labatte at Scott Projects (M). Labatte’s exhibition Bright Branches documents found objects collected from Chicago alleys and junk stores.
9/11 Craig Doty: Women at Roots and Culture (M,C). The women in Doty’s new photographic series have been described as appearing “physically exhausted as well as ethically or morally debased,” i.e. a wet and shivering woman looking out past viewers with few narrative clues as to why, etc. Given Choire Sicha’s description of Doty as “a sick little pervert” whose previous body of work was “very John Hughes meets John Waters meets John Lydon,” well, let’s just say we can’t wait to see his approach to the subject for ourselves.
9/12 Doug Ischar at Golden (M,C). A body of work from 1985, never before seen in its entirety, is the enticement here. Ischar’s show is titled Marginal Waters and features images taken in Chicago’s now-defunct Belmont Rocks.
9/19 Jonas Wood at Shane Campbell Gallery (C). He’s from L.A. and showed at Black Dragon Society, plus he’s collaborated with painter Mark Grotjahn…for now, that’s all I need to know to want to see Wood’s show.
9/19 Jason Lazarus, Wolfgang Plöger, Zoe Strauss at The Art Institute (M). A show of recent photographic acquisitions of these artists’ works by the Art Institute.
9/20 Allen Sekula, Polonia and Other Fables at The Renaissance Society (C). New photographs by anti-globalization hero Sekula that focus on Chicago’s rich labor history, its Polish working-class population along with The University of Chicago’s famous lineage of economic theorists. Heady yet vital stuff from this woefully under-recognized L.A.-based artist.
9/25 – 9/27 Mikhail Baryshnikov at Harris Theater (M). It’s Baryshnikov dude. ‘Nuff said.
9/30 Heartland at the Smart Museum (C). Co-organized by the Smart Museum of Art and the Van Abbemuseum, a survey of artists from the Midwest aka the American Heartland. Hopefully it’ll subvert the syrupy connotations of it’s title, or at least be the kind of show that people argue, bitch and moan about rather than simply ignore.
10/2 – 10/4 Western Exhibitions and Golden Age at the NY Art Book Fair (M). The only event to make it to our list that is not in Chicago. If your in New York at the beginning of October check out two Chicagoans holding it down at the Fair.
October, opening date TBA, Carroll Dunham at He Said/She Said (C). Carroll Dunham shows in a suburban apartment gallery: the Oak Park home of Pamela Fraser and Randall Szott. Can’t wait for this.
10/8-21 Chicago International Film Festival (M) In it’s 45th year the film festival the two week festival is the hub for all film fanatics. This festival might be the only time to catch certain films so be sure to check out their schedule in advance.
10/10 Jeremy Deller: It Is What It Is: Conversations About Iraq, at the MCA (M) Commissioned by The Three M Project Jeremy Deller will invite numerous participants to discuss their knowledge of the Iraq War. Some guest will include verterans, and scholars.
James Welling at Donald Young (C)
10/10 Playing with Pictures: The Art of Victorian Photocollage at The Art Institute (C). I’m a sucker for Victoriana, and this exhibition –the first “to comprehensively examine the little-known phenomenon of Victorian photocollage, presenting work that has rarely-and in many cases never-before been displayed or reproduced” — is probably the one show I’m most looking forward to seeing this fall. A medium mostly practiced by aristocratic women, Victorian photocollage combined human, animal, and botanical forms in all sorts of wacky and whimsical ways, and I’m looking forward to reading the accompanying full-color catalogue to learn more about the ways that female artists of this era approached the form some sixty odd years before Picasso and Braque started playing around with it.
10/13 Alex Halsted and David Moré at Gallery 400 (C). Chicago-based Moré “collaborates” with an elephant nose fish, who emits an electrical pulse as a navigation tool which the artist then amplifies. I love the gallery’s blurb on this show: “This performance duo mixes issues of displacement, communications, commercial sound and inter-species contact in a singularly engaging bio-tech format.” Yep, pretty much says it all.
10/16 In Search of the Mundane at ThreeWalls (M) Organized by Randall Szott and InCUBATE According to ThreeWalls this series will , “include boozy brunches, a lecture on the art of storytelling, various leisure excursions, and a tour of personal collections.”
10/17 Liam Gillick Curates the MCA Collection (M, C). We love the way that the MCA is experimenting with the curation of its permanent collection. The MCA has invited Liam Gillick to select works for its next hanging.
11/TBA James Welling at Donald Young (C). New work by L.A. photographer Welling, whose ongoing interest in the experimental and abstract possibilities of photography set his work apart from contemporaries like Sherrie Levine and Cindy Sherman as well as today’s younger generation focusing heavily on portraiture. Welling’s last show at Donald Young featured photograms of flowers and “torsos” (the latter actually made out of screens sculpted to resemble human curves) made without the use of a camera; the results were gorgeous, and I’m looking forward to seeing what he delves into next.
12/4 Carrie Schneider at MCA 12×12 (M, C) Often using herself as her main character, Schneider melds several genres of art-making including body art, performance, self-portraiture photography and film in images that are haunting, creepy, and hallucinatory in their resonance. If someone ever gave Schneider a huge project budget she could give Matthew Barney a run for his money, but for now we’ll look forward to seeing the new short film Schneider plans to premiere in her first solo museum outing at the MCA. According to the MCA’s website, the film, made in Helsinki, Finland while the artist was there on residency, continues the artists’ ongoing exploration of doubled selves and the uncanny.
The first piece I was drawn to was the triptych “Omniscience Beta”, which consist of what look like headshots of CCTV cameras on a light pole on either side of an air traffic control tower. The Bechers would have been proud with this execution, which renders the objects as flattened angular sculptures, while at the same time the viewer is still very aware of the multidirectional gaze of the objects.
Around the corner is the first large print, entitled “Many Are Called, But Few Are Chosen #2”, its pair (#1) is across the gallery. The image is a cloudscape, rendered in granular black and white and interrupted with digital additions of angular forms sprouting through the clouds. The title’s biblical allusion, along with the choice of clouds and romantic black and white all point towards the futility of man in the face of god. It made me consider the significance of the attempt being made with computer generated lines and angles to add something to the image of the puffy, organic cloud landscape. The idea of futility or impotence is slammed home in the next piece, “Search Queries II (Self Esteem, How To?)” which is two strings of vinyl cut flags with the words SELF ESTEEM cut out of them. Parts of the letters hang limply, which I’m assuming is the feeling one gets when they search self esteem on the internets. Or buys a book about it. You’ve recognized a problem, you want to fix it, but dude, you just searched how to have self esteem on the internet.
The other triptych on the far wall, “Redactions From Personal Journal”, is three portraits of balls of paper sitting on the floor, with the wall behind it like a horizon line. I like the visual reference here to the cloudscape, the divided plane, the angular shape of the balled paper. Again here is that sense of futility, the striving for perfection, the self editing, which also made me think of clearing one’s internet browser’s history or deleting files from a computer. You know you did it, you just don’t want it there. I kind of felt sad for this guy.
There was a small gum installation that offered the only color in the room. Stamped into two segments of bubble tape were the words “All I Want Is To Not Want At All” (which is conveniently the title of the piece). I say this is convenient because upon my visiting the top half of the piece (“All I want is to…”) was laying face down on the floor, which rendered this piece completely pathetic and much more dramatic that perhaps it was originally intended to be.
The banner entitled “Search Queries III (Is There Something Meaningful?)” which states SOMETHING MEANINGFUL reminds me of those half-assed parties you throw for coworkers and struggle to decorate with office supplies and come up with, yeah, something meaningful. It also made me think of the person who asks this question into the unknown and then answers it, cheekily.
The piece I was most into was a work entitled “Journal” from 2008 that was a 307 page document stack of dot matrix printer paper. It is presented as Everett’s computer history for the entire year of 2008. The front page has his IP address on it, as well as the year. Nice. As someone who internets quite frequently, I was excited to get a closer look at Everett as a person, and was interested to see how he chose to present himself via his internet history. Turns out, he googles himself a lot. As well as things like iPhones, videogames, takeout, Netflix, and grammar. I’m not sure what I was expecting, well, definitely porn, which in my cursory page through I found nothing of the sort. The naughtiest thing I saw was a search for Ortho Tri Cyclen Lo. But after seeing the images of his redactions from his personal journal, I couldn’t put too much confidence in the authenticity of the history log. After all, what would I do on the internet if I knew people were going to be looking at it as a record of myself as an artist and person? Probably less PostSecret.
I really enjoyed the installation of the show. The work had plenty of room to breathe, and the sequencing worked. I liked the conversations between the pieces hanging near each other. The whole show was very office-supply-closet-chic. I liked that the work was installed with clear thumbtacks, that the journal was on dot matrix paper, that one of the images was of a book with one line highlighted in bright yellow marker. I liked the complications of this sentimental work work done on generic, bland surfaces. I was also into the aesthetic success and skill presented through the visual aspects of the show, everything being neat, orderly, well installed, coupled with the almost failed, futile content of the images.
I wish I could write about the video work, which was three pieces that were briefly described to me, but I was told the artist had taken the videos with him.
I missed the opening on the 6th, but the show is now available to see by appointment.