Chicago Art Review

Keil Borrman & David G.A. Stephenson @ The Suburban by Steve Ruiz
July 29, 2009, 5:49 pm
Filed under: Chicago, Openings, Reviews

Two little shows opened this Sunday at The Suburban, the backyard super-space of Michelle Grabner and Brad Killam. The first, Keil Borrman: I have not painted in a year. I have been listening to my stereo, is a small collection of works by Borrman and six others. The second, located in the original ten by ten space, is a multimedia installation by David G.A. Stephenson entitled Songs for Suburbanites, an art rock display shipped in from the United Kingdom along with the charming artist himself.

@ The Suburban

Amelia Saddington, Notes

I thought Keil Borrman: I have not painted in a year. I have been listening to my stereo represented interesting work from interesting artists, but casually presented. Borrman‘s four paintings were good but scrappy (all were suggestively entitled November 3rd, 2008), Divya Mehra‘s photograph was also enjoyable but was only a selection of a series, and Malika Green & Alex Jovanovitch‘s piece was a funny one-off exquisite corpse. The Virginia Poundstone/Bel Canto design pairing was smart,  and the Amelia Saddington was beautiful.

Keil Borrman

Keil Borrman

What I mean is that it’d be impossible to complain about the work or the quality of the work, but the whole show together felt like it was curated by way of “So, what have you been up to?”. I’m okay with that. These shows are one of the benefits of having alternative spaces. And it led me to watch Divya Mehra‘s holy shit, insane videos like this one.

Keil Borrman: I have not painted in a year. I have been listening to my stereo

Keil Borrman: I have not painted in a year. I have been listening to my stereo

While the outbuilding was still done up as it was when Konsortium installed their “Eurostyle” show last month, Sebastian Freytrag‘s wallpaper fit perfectly (and ironically) with David G.A. Stephenson’s installation. I really enjoyed the three pronged iconoclastic combination of Americana (though limited specifically to the overlap between artists and musicians) by way of English fascination laid on a background of German design.

The show featured clips and collages of music and art history from art reviews to raisin boxes to magazine spreads pinned to the walls or spread on the ground before a television which played videos accompanying musical pieces by Stephenson and about, well, art.

David G.A. Stephenson, Songs for Suburbanites

David G.A. Stephenson, Songs for Suburbanites

Stephenson’s tunes were great, both poetic and funny in an appropriately Lou Reed-y way, and I liked being reminded of the history of (and crossover between) art and music and appreciated Stephenson’s enthusiasm in pointing out all the polymathic artists who made it happen.

Here’s his song, I Want Paint a Joke Like Richard Prince:

And another, I Want To Hang Out With Ed Ruscha:

The Suburban has an extensive description of his life and work here. For now, at least.

Dave Muller (Untitled)

Dave Muller (Untitled)

Not a new show, but one that I saw for the first time and thoroughly enjoyed, was a show of xerox prints put together by (and with the proceeds benefiting) the long-time, longest-time running New York alt space White Columns. With each piece in editions of 50 and priced at or around $150, it makes for a really smart, affordable show, and a great way of fund-raising with excellent art on a relative dime.

Xerox Show @ The Suburban

Xerox Show @ The Suburban

Pretty cool stuff all around. I’ll mash both shows together and give the whole experience a:


Keil Borrman: I have not painted in a year. I have been listening to my stereo & David G.A. Stephenson’s Songs for Suburbanites both run July 26th to September 5th @ The Suburban, 125 N. Harvey, Oak Park. Hours by appointment.

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