Filed under: Chicago
Chicago Art Review is now at:
I’ll leave this site up for posterity.
I like artists books but don’t really know anything about them, so it is with great pleasure that I present local maven and collector Anthony Elms’ first in a regular or irregular feature of artists books suggestions. He’ll be focusing on books that are generally affordable, still in print, and available to a Chicago buyer at a local bookstore or via the web. Let Elms spend your money!
Every now and then I teach a course, “Publications as Curatorial Practice,” and the most frustrating part of organizing the class is finding readings that don’t talk about publication projects as if artists’ books are the only solution to thinking with form. Now there is this slim volume from a lecture Joseph Grigely gave in London at the always interesting (let’s hope) Architectural Association. The book is published by the newish upstart publishing imprint Bedford Press run by the friendly graphic designer Zak Kyes (who you might also be reading).
You’ll read this book in 40 minutes, tops. And that is if you rest to take notes, or wonder why all the images are yellow. But a good and necessary quick read. It will train your eyes on the little ways that art is framed, and the peculiar, strange and necessary relationship between titles, wall labels, press releases and art works. In fact, even if I have a disagreement with the angle Grigely takes a time or two (privileging the artist a touch too much in the relationship to museum wall labels, stopping to consider press releases as artistic gestures, but not simply as press releases, etc.), the only real complaint is that the book is over too soon. So some items seem skimmed rather than developed. Then again, it was just a lecture–with a lecture’s gentlemanly time constraints. And I must admit that I know this book is just the beginning of Joseph’s recent public grapplings with the issues. (See, for example his recent exhibition at Rowley Kennerk Gallery.) Exhibition Prosthetics is an opening volley into what are essential and complicated questions. (Anthony Elms)
Here’s a big collection of new shows to see this Friday and Saturday and Sunday. I usually try to keep these lists down to a few favorites, but there’s really just a ton of excellent work hitting the city this weekend. See the post’s toes for extras too.
Andreas Fischer @ Galhberg Gallery
While the Hyde Park Art Center has Andreas Fischer’s Ghost Town portraits, the landscape arm of this two-part exhibition are in Glen Ellyn’s Gahlberg Gallery. See the work and the artist tonight, Thursday, January 21st from 6-8 PM @ Gahlberg Gallery, 425 Fawell Blvd, Glen Ellyn.
Jeff Marlin @ Corbett vs. Dempsey
Noble Square gallery Corbett vs. Dempsey opens a survey of Jeff Marlin’s work, loaded and worked paintings exploring surface, source, and interaction with mechanical processes. Solid process work like good moons with surfaces guaranteed to reward exploration. Marlin’s show opens this Friday, January 22nd from 5-9 PM @ Corbett vs. Dempsey, 1120 N. Ashland Ave.
Mike Kloss @ The Hills
I don’t know much about Mike Kloss or The Hills, but I’ve heard a buzz to follow. Kloss’s show The Hills have Thighs opens this Friday, January 22nd from 7-10 PM @ The Hills Esthetic Center, 128 N. Campbell Ave.
Daniel Lavitt @ Peregrine Program
Daniel Lavitt‘s awesome miniature living spaces address domesticity at various economic levels and look damned smart too. Come see Chicagoland‘s opening on Friday, January 22nd from 6-10 PM @ PEREGRINEPROGRAM, 500 W. Cermak Rd, 727.
Rune @ Ben Russell
JT Rogstad, Melanie Schiff, Deborah Stratman, Joshua Manchester, and Ryan Fenchel come together for a show about runic magic and darkness and mystery and other topics of the totally fucking metal persuasion. Rune opens Saturday, January 23rd from 6-9 PM @ BEN RUSSELL, 1716 S. Morgan St, 2F.
MinimumixaM @ Pentagon
Relatively new space Pentagon hosts the Twelve Galleries Project’s group exhibition curated by Nicholas Cueva, Dan Gunn and Heather Mekkelson, and featuring work by Eric Fleischauer, Chris Edwards, Xavier Jimenez and Liz Nielsen. With a very clever title, layers upon curatorial layers and promising work too, Quarterly Site #1: MinimumixaM opens Saturday, January 23rd 7-10 PM @ Pentagon, 961 W. 19th St, 1F.
Ethan Greenbaum and Katrin Sigurdardottir @ The Suburban
Architectural, physical, and psychological space are considered this month at The Suburban, with Ethan Greenbaum‘s hard-media installations and more along with Katrin Sigurdardottir‘s documented recreation of the Oak Park exhibition space inside her Iceland studio. Reception this Sunday, January 24th from 2-4 PM @ The Suburban, 125 N Harvey Ave. Oak Park
Elijah Burgher @ Shane Campbell
While you’re at the Suburban, don’t forget to check out Shane Campbell’s opening of Elijah Burgher‘s eerily calm blood ritual drawings. Plenty of room in the river. Show opens Sunday, January 24th from 2-4 PM @ Shane Campbell Gallery, 125 N. Harvey Ave.
If that weren’t enough, also check out: Bobby Burg and Jeremy Bolen @ Andrew Rafacz, Vincent Como @ Proof, and Mark Booth, Karen Christopher, and John W. Sisson, Jr @ the Epiphany Episcopal Church, and Cabin Fever @ Co-Prosperity Sphere. That’s a lot to see!
Filed under: Artists of the Week
This week’s picks from Ryan.
Tuna safe dolphin!
Here’s whats up.
Armita Raafat @ threewalls
Armita Rafaat‘s work goes up this month at threewalls, covering the newly renovated space with Persian and Islamic arabesques falling and spreading and crumbling over and from the freshly built walls. Catch the show‘s opening reception is this Friday, January 15th from 6-9 @ threewalls, 119 N. Peoria St.
Edelweiss Cardenas @ LivingRoom Gallery
Curated by Thea Liberty Nichols, this is a solo drawing and painting show from Edelweiss Cardenas titled Wanderers Wonder Where. Opens this Friday, January 15th, 6-9PM @ LivingRoom Gallery, 1530 W. Superior. As a bonus, and through the magic of online voicemail, here’s Edelweiss herself talking about the show:
Joseph Cassan @ Golden
Joseph Cassan’s essential sculptures will be on display this month at Golden, each a pointed construction made of common materials to make a kind of skinless realism. The show opens Friday, January 15th at 6 – 9 PM @ Golden, 816 W. Newport.
Bob Linder @ He Said-She Said
Britton Bertran helped curate this Bob Linder show at He Said-She Said, the dichotomous Oak Park exhibition space/neat stuff sharing center ran by Pamela Fraser and Randall Szott respectively. Linder’s work should fit right in, using a few different approaches to arrive at sentimental, alternative realities. Whatever it is, it opens this Saturday, January 16th, 6-8 PM @ He Said-She Said, 216 North Harvey Ave., Apt. 1, in Oak Park.
EXHIBITION 4.01162010 @ MVSEVM
Group show at MVSEVM this month, featuring the work of Karen Archey, Chris Bradley, Brian Dongarra, Dominic Paul Moore (the moore in ebersmoore), Montgomery Perry Smith, and David Schafer. Also featuring audio recordings from Japanese fluxus composers Toshi Ichiyanagi & Kuniharu Akiyama. Stacked list, I’d see it. The show opens this Saturday, January 16th, 6-10 PM @ MVSEVM, 1626 N. California Ave, #2.
Andreas Fischer @ Hyde Park Art Center / Gahlberg Gallery
Andreas Fischer’s two part Ghost Town exhibition kicks off this week with its first part, called Sunday Best, at Hyde Park Art Center, with a selection of painted portraits from old west tintype photographs opening Sunday, January 17th @ the Hyde Park Art Center. The second part, Original Location, opens this next Thursday the 21st at 6-8 PM, will be an exhibition of landscapes @ the Gahlberg Gallery in Glen Ellyn.
Also, the latest Proximity magazine comes out this weekend, with a release party Saturday, January 16th, 9-1 AM@ the Co-Prosperity Sphere. Its a really good issue, thick with contributions from everyone including myself. See you there or elsewhere.
This week’s picks from Ryan, with an repeat replacement from me.
Mark Mulroney’s WEATHERBEE’S REVENGE is full of paintings that are dirty and gross and funny, operating on an adolescent paradigm where humor and violence and sexual fantasy are everything and interchangeable. Mulroney’s working process of painting his own depraved bodies under cut-out heads from Archie comics is simple enough, but the ridiculous narratives, awful jokes fit together just right with Mulroney’s clean style and fearless imagination.
In addition to the paintings, Mulroney included four painted wooden sculptures, three of which were interactive in some way. You could rearrange a chest of breasts and mysterious bumps in Archie Spare Boob, below, lever Archie and Betty into reverse-cowgirl coitus, or pull a string to give Archie a clumsy erection.
Having never actually read the Archie comics, the characters’ debasement isn’t as rending as when I stumbled onto a fan-drawn Simpsons orgy. As any unfortunate internet wanderer knows, there are massive communities dedicated to producing cartoon porn of every shape and variety and franchise crossover, and its only a matter of time before “Archie porn” shows up in this blog’s traffic statistics. However, its obvious that Mulroney’s motivations are far from any deviantart weirdo’s, giving retrospective form to a kind of innocent perversion of pop imagery.
Mulroney creates plenty of narrative variation among the pieces, some abstract and bizarre, and others shamefully clever. Every piece looks like it was floated together easily, with the artist’s illustrative handling clean and confident whether rendering a disemboweled Archie or a weeping dick in detail, showing a level of artifice and care which was, I guess, appreciated.
I give it a:
(special thanks to Anni Holm for the photos)
Despite their sharp cornered, faux-wood and steel physicality, there’s an undeniable comfort and familiarity to old school stereo equipment. Like a good tube amp or a vinyl record, they suggest a warmth of sound and barely retro aesthetic which brings invisible music closer to something tangible, simple, less scary, especially compared to the layered and compounded mysteries of an iPhone. This basic theme – more nostalgic than Luddite – is at the heart of the two solo exhibitions at Rotofugi this month, Chad Kouri‘s Concoction and Rotofugi gallery curator David “Netherland” van Alphen’s In Stereo.
Netherland’s works are photos of analog electronics and stereo equipment cut out and collaged on a new surfaces (often replacing a figure’s head) and sometimes painted on with retro rainbows. The style is spot on, the presentation is clean, but while some sculptural renditions of the stereo-head people are a nice deviation, every piece is really only a variation of the one before it. They’re cool little objects though, and look comfortable being as much.
While the material shows more variation and holds the embedded content of found stuff, Kouri’s Concoction is pretty much the same story of formulaic composition. His collages, clips from a desaturated halftone Mad Men world of cigarette advertisements and happy white Americana, are put together like floral arrangements, lovingly built of appreciated materials. Kouri’s eye for design is clear, and his compositions and faded-paper color selections are rock solid.
Like Netherland’s side of the gallery, there’s a ton of work in Concoction, the most interesting of which to me were a few small, framed, but otherwise unmodified pieces of found paper. Despite the cool compositions Kouri makes in other works, whatever content Kouri adds by way of collage is really secondary to the built-in content of his materials themselves, their age and function, lost and unknown. Though perhaps included as an afterthought, I’d call these little guys the most intimate and expressive of the artist’s interest in printable media.
There’s a lot to look at in both In Stereo and Concoction, and almost all of it looks great. While it isn’t a heavy show on the head, don’t let the formulaic appearance of so much work prevent you from appreciating the details and decisions on the surface, especially in Concoction‘s collaged clusters. As Kouri suggests, in a big framed printed letters flanking the cluster of work shown above, slow down – perhaps as much the moral of the show as an instruction to viewers.
I give the whole thing a:
(special thanks to Anni Holm for the photos)
While a bubbling zeitgeist, published theory, secret CIA promotion, institutional propping, market hype and bar booth collectives may be the most commonly understood forces by which art trends and made and made to move, one of my favorite and too often overlooked components of progress is the availability of new materials, and of how their introduction leads to new angles on of art-making. Whenever artists get their hands on something new, there are inevitably those who are able to take advantage of its particulars and create something really excellent, be it tubed oil paint enabling plein air impressionism or the Portapak putting video art in gear. In our own last few years, synthetic papers like Yupo have gradually move into use as a material in fine art, and its been interesting to watch the paper’s beautiful and unique way of supporting paint experimented and capitalized on. If you haven’t played with synthetic paper yet, give it a try and see what it can do. Chicago’s own Kim Piotrowski certainly did, and in the latest show Crowns at 65GRAND, her wildly dynamic work proves it beyond craft novelty as a medium perfect for a renewed formal celebration of paint.
Like any good artwork based on randomly discovered jpegs, the work isn’t so much representation as liberal dramatization; based on a true story, but barely. While each here painting centers on an image of a crown, pulled of course from the great digital image void, Piotrowski appears to use the crown less as its sign than as a formal skeleton for fleshing out in paint. Attachments of power and opulence are put to work as rich color pools and gold leaf applications, turrets and plumes opportunities for gesture and splash.
With so many materials at play, viewing the work is an experience wrapped in trying to pick out the individual media and techniques in each painting. To its credit, the ability of Piotrowski’s synthetic paper to grip liquid materials without absorbing them made this all the more interesting, with wet pools of acrylic ink laid down without a weave to work into drying to look like something entirely different, more similar to the drawn media around it. Even with a materials list on hand, picking the enamel from the flashe from the gouache from the collage is a fun optical challenge.
If you’d like to try to pick them out yourself, the above image is composed of: acrylic ink, flashe, gouache, permanent marker and gold leaf.
I really enjoyed Crowns. The last few good painting shows I’ve seen in Chicago have shown various way of dealing with the problem of imagery in painting while being uncomfortable without giving it up, eventually arriving at a kind of formal content by way of representation. While the subject matter relationship between the image and the painting has been far more stretched and abraded by other painters, Piotrowski’s Crowns could be looked at as a part of this conversation too, translating the elegance and power from the sign source of its images into painted materiality.
I give it an:
(special thanks to the artist and Anni Holm for photos)
Filed under: Chicago Art Preview
There are actually a ton of shows this weekend due to the holiday bottleneck, but here are my top picks:
Kim Piotrowski @ 65GRAND
65GRAND shows off Kim Piotrowski‘s larger-scale crown forms, paintings and drawings full of dynamic marks and bold designs. The show, titled Crowns, opens this Friday, January 8th from 7-10 PM @ 65GRAND, 1378 W. Grand Ave. Use the Noble Street entrance.
Netherland & Chad Kouri @ Rotofugi
East Village toy store/gallery Rotofugi’s latest show brings together two Chicago collage artists, David “Netherland” van Alphen and The Post Family‘s Chad Kouri. Looking forward to seeing what the two have been lately chopping. In Stereo & Concoction both open this Friday, January 8th from 7-10 PM @ Rotofugi, 1953-55 W. Chicago Ave.
Mark Mulroney @ Ebersmoore
Fucked up, innocently adolescent perversions of Archie comics and more from Mark Mulroney this month at Ebersmoore, complete with bondage whips and bouncy tits. Weatherbee’s Revenge opens this Friday, January 8th from 6-9 PM @ Ebersmoore, 213 N Morgan, #3C.
Cheat Codes @ Antena
A pretty impressive list of artists for this video art group show in Pilsen, with the full title of Cheat Codes: lessons in love. Keep an eye out for personal fave David Horvitz, along with Joanna Bovay, Jennie H. Bringaker, Eunjung Hwang, Basim Magdy, Jason Martin, Jay Schleidt, Robert Spees, Brent Stewart, Amber Hawk Swanson, Joseph Whitt, and Grant Worth. The show opens this Friday, January 8th from 6-10 PM @ Antena, 1765 S. Laflin St.
Getting Aquainted @ Johalla Projects
This multi-media group show from curator (and solid photographer) Joseph Rynkiewicz is all about strangers and getting to know them, and features work from In b Flat, Kristin Freeman, Shane Lavalette, Jason Polan, The Listening Project, and Daniel Shea. Show opens (when else?) this Friday, January 8th from 7-10 PM @ Johalla Projects, 1561 N Milwaukee Ave.
Why is everything happening on Friday?