Saturday, December 31, 2011

A [Half] Year in Review? / Thank you, June–December, 2011


Most blogs are probably taking a nostalgic look back at 2011, posting highlights, making tiresome Top 10 lists… That won’t happen here. Which I’d like to say is because this blog is Different. With a capital D. And it is. But mostly it’s because I began this blog and business in June. But really, although this whirlwind started six short months ago, [the latter half of] 2011 has been a great adventure, and I thank you all for being a part of it.

Tonight, we bid adieu to an incredible year. A year of exciting change in the art world, of global awakening and revolution, of the Otis scream and a Common / Drake feud that came out of nowhere but was nonetheless amusing on multiple levels.

Here’s to an even better year. (At the very least, it’ll be the year of the geek. Seriously, the upcoming blockbusters look glorious. Prometheus? The Dark Knight Rises? The Hobbit? Just… oh man. Hold me, Gandalf.) From my end, you’ll be getting a new art show that will blow. your. mind (overhyping it? perhaps, but that’s a risk I’m willing to take), in-depth and firsthand looks into the latest art both from this gritty little city by the lake and around the world (travel destinations will include Hong Kong, Beijing, Shanghai, Basel), and more, and that’s just this Spring and Summer.

Enjoy New Year’s Eve and Day, and see you in 2012!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

A Call for a Global Art History / It’s not all about you, dude


Before I get to the main point of today’s post: Three of my articles made Sixty Inches From Center’s Top 10 Most Read Articles of 2011 list, and I only joined SIFC in the Spring. THANK YOU for reading all the crazy things I write! Make sure you check out my latest piece, “Text, Drugs, and Rock & Roll // PART I.” (Part II will be live on Monday.)

Speaking of Sixty, last week, at WBEZ and SIFC’s “What’s Your Art? Celebrating the Art Centers of Chicago” event at the Chicago Cultural Center, a visitor approached me (“I know you! You put on the show where the woman rolled around on the floor!”), introduced himself (Dubi Kaufmann, who took a few photos of said woman rolling around on the floor), and told me that Exquisite Corpse inspired him to start his own project that engages artist collaboration. Like this audience reaction letter, it made my day. Thank you, Dubi.

On to a different kind of center… Let’s discuss the de-centering of art history, the need to expand mainstream art history’s focus beyond its Eurocentric bent. I came across The Art History Newsletter, which published Art Historian, Globalize Thyself” yesterday:

Globalizing art history is “the most urgent task now facing art historians,” says David Carrier, professor at Case Western Reserve University. [...] Art history has moved beyond its blatantly Eurocentric, colonialist origins, when all non-Western art was considered “primitive”—if it was considered at all—but scholars say that serious problems remain. They note that Intro to Art History textbooks may now boast chapters on, say, “Monumental Olmec Sculpture” and “The Buddhist Temples of Korea,” but those make little impact alongside the books’ central narratives, which as always celebrate the long march of Western art from the Greek kouros to Jeff Koons.

To state the obvious, by limiting art history to the West, we severely limit ourselves. Obviously. What’s more, however, is that broadening our perspectives can allow us to re-examine and re-structure our established frameworks, to see our own world through a new—and better—lens. Take, for instance, the essence of Modernism itself. I can never get over how so much ancient Chinese art looks downright Modern—in the economy of line, in the minimalism, in the symbolism, in the abstraction. (In a similar vein are Tantric paintings from 17th C. India:)

Image via NYT.

But then, in the article, things take a turn toward the problematic / offensive…

Elkins doubts we can write a truly global art history until non-Western countries start writing more of their own art history—they currently do very little, as he’s shown. Even then, he says, art history will remain “in its basic structure and institutional habits, permanently Western.” He notes that non-Westerners who take up art history typically imitate Western models and goes further to say, “The very idea of writing an art history of some country or region is Western.”

·         Yeah, no. The onus shouldn’t be on “non-Western” (an inherently imperialist term, making the West the norm and everything else something that deviates from that norm) cultures to write more about their respective art histories (which they already do). Rather, Western institutions should be the ones providing such educational platforms. Look at languages: learning English is often mandatory in primary schools throughout the world. Many Americans, meanwhile, know only one language (and it ain’t Urdu).

This insularity is not a problem limited to the primary school system. My alma mater, Columbia University, prides itself on its Core Curriculum—which might as well be called Kids, Let’s Talk About Dead White Men—comprising courses like Literature Humanities in which, if you’re lucky, a token or two (Jane Austen and/or Virginia Woolf) might be thrown into the mix. There is a Major Cultures requirement, but students must choose and specialize in one particular region (e.g. Africa, Asia, the Middle East). For art majors, one of the requirements is 20th Century Art, and although it was one of my favorite classes (because it’s not like I’m into contemporary art or anything…), it really should be renamed White People In 20th C. America And Europe And Not Even A Cameo By Basquiat.

·         History-writing / documentation is not a Western invention.

·         Etc.

What are your thoughts on the subject? If you’ve studied (or are simply interested in) art history, what has your experience been like?

Friday, December 9, 2011

Survey monkeys


If you’re here because I approached / grabbed / rudely interrupted you at the Art Institute Thursday evening… hello and welcome!

Your thoughts will be shared in the near future, but not until I disrupt the lives of more innocent strangers.

And for everyone else reading this: worry not, friend—it will all make sense in due time.

“Sense.”

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Welcome to Miami, bienvenido a Mi—[C CHECK]


“Art can help us to envision the new cultural images we need to grow our souls.”

While many in the art world descend upon Miami for Art Basel this week… I’m reading The Next American Revolution: Sustainable Activism for the Twenty-First Century by Grace Lee Boggs, and, as I am wont to do, have been finding connections to art and the value of art:

In this period, we need artists to create new images that will liberate us […] and open up space in our hearts and minds to imagine and create another America that will be viewed by the world as a beacon rather than as a danger.

Art / culture and progress / [r]evolution are interminably intertwined. To the Occupy movement, she has the following message:

You have the opportunity to create something new. […] You must not be satisfied with rebellion. We need revolution. Revolution means reinventing culture.

Such is the role of art and the artist.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Art = Life


The last discussion presented art as a vehicle for revolution and change, as the channel through which the people make their voices heard. Rather than letting some bureaucracy-obeying art world sycophant churn out an offensively predictable Top 10 artists list that’s supposed to, somehow, tell you what he thinks you should like… Who and what do you want to see gain more exposure? What kind of art or which artists represent you? (To keep things organized, discuss over here.)

And now for this week’s discussion: I interviewed artist Martin Bernstein for Sixty Inches From Center, and here are some gems from our conversation (and good advice to boot):

Photo by Andrew Roddewig, 2011.

On art:

Art is a consciousness. [...] It’s a way of life. It’s a way of looking at every single nanosecond of every day.

On great art:

Great art isn’t something that gives you all the answers; it’s a starting point for you to then question. [...] You’re always learning. You always have to push towards something you don’t know.

On the value of traveling:

The road taught me: open your eyes right now, because what you are seeing or doing or thinking is gone, and now there’s a new “right now,” and that’s gone, and now there’s a new “right now,” and you keep moving through… Well that’s life. And it’s right now.

On not only knowing yourself, being yourself, and sticking to it…

Principle is all you’ve got in the end, and so you really have to find the basic code of how you want to live, and all your work and all the things you say and do should fit that perfectly. [...] Especially as an artist and they are constantly telling you no. [...] We look outside of ourselves to define ourselves when we [are young]. It’s kind of a parabolic curve of life to me, and somewhere in the middle when we get to our 30s, we start to go, “Wait a minute. It’s not them. It’s me.” You start to realize that you sort of colored in the all the surrounding areas, and now it’s time to fill in this figure that’s sort of the shadow. You start to fill it in.

…but also having faith in yourself:

 I just trust that I’m on the right path, that I’m doing the right thing at the right time, and if I don’t feel that, I’m willing to turn around on a dime.

More wisdom here.

For many of us, art was our first [and only—shhhh] love. To ask an artist if she could do without creating is like asking someone if she could do without breathing, or if she could log in to Facebook and log out within five minutes (it’s impossible). This question applies to everyone, artists and collectors and art appreciators alike: When did you first fall in love with art? When did you know you wanted it to be a part of—no—to be your life?

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Viva la Revolución / Hey art’s pretty important, you guys


“This society—American society—does not value the arts.”

True words from Patric McCoy, President and Co-Founder of Diasporal Rhythms, as well as one of the panelists at “Creating Community through the Arts,” a discussion I attended a couple weeks ago. The conversation was a breath of fresh air. Saying the things we all want to say but are often hesitant to say out loud, the panelists pulled no punches, dispelling and deconstructing misconceptions and myths about art and artists, taking on America’s lack of funding for the arts and arts education; and, most importantly, offering grassroots level solutions to the problems addressed.

American society at large may not value the arts, but one cannot deny how indispensable the arts are to American society.

“Arts are essential for democracy. […] The arts teach people to think freely.” –Panelist Carlos Tortolero, Executive Director of the National Museum of Mexican Art.

Here’s an excerpt from my write-up of the panel discussion on Sixty Inches From Center:

Patric McCoy: I’m seeing that the energy is actually in the subcultures, and that it really is a bottom-up phenomenon. [...] What we have is a top-down process, is that the Art Institute, the Museum of Contemporary Art, the art critics, and so forth [...] tell you who is good, instead of you telling them who is good. All of our community should be working to promote… should be telling you, “This is who we think is good in this part of the city,” and it bubbles up. I think it’s most prevalent in visual arts. [...] In the musical arts, we don’t have a problem in America that it comes up from the bottom. [...] Hip hop can start in the Bronx, gospel in the South Side of Chicago… we don’t have a problem with that, that eventually, it gets up to the top and it becomes “America.”
Carlos Tortolero: It becomes “America” from the powers that be, and I think the real problem is that the power structure has created an “either/or” situation, and I want to create an “and” situation, where the mariachi music is good, classical music is good, hip hop… it’s all good. It should be an “and” situation where we embrace all forms of art, in which all forms of art are valued.
Luis DeLaTorre: [...] Do you think it’s because music is a very rich commodity, that people can trade easily, and make money off of, and art isn’t seen that way?
PM: That has to do with power, and that the visual arts are associated with power. Imagery is extremely powerful.

When it comes to working within one’s subculture(s) and inciting change from the bottom up, panelist Giselle Mercier, an installation artist from Panama and the Executive Director of Pros Arts Studio, pointed out that anyone can be a patron of the arts, that “it has to be a collective force and can’t be just from people who have means.” She explained that, instead of purchasing a $3 cup of coffee for one day every week, one can donate to a local museum (or, as I’ll interject, invest in a great piece of artwork).

Technology was another topic that was raised, framed initially as another problem (think bookstores-might-be-going-bankrupt-because-of-tablets problem) artists and arts professionals face. One audience member asked whether technological advances “undermine the ability of the people to decide which art is important.” On the contrary, technology makes the world smaller, makes art more accessible (shameless self-aggrandizing: hello, blog), allows for the democratization of art (why yes I will continuously recycle my own words). In the words of moderator and artist Luis DeLaTorre:

[With technology], we can have [art] at our fingertips To be able to experience it, visual art and music, you have it right there. I was talking to a friend of mine and I said, “Art is dead.” Her response was, “Art is never going to die, because it’s that human experience of creating that always propels us.” 

Essential for democracy? Never going to die? It’s what propels the human race? If that’s what art is and we’re not supporting it, it looks like our values are indeed skewed.

Read more highlights from the conversation here.

All of this brings me to the flip side of the discussion we had (and are still having) on this site concerning overrated artistsOne of my main objectives is exposing and sharing the talents of artistswho might otherwise remain under the radarwith shows like Exquisite Corpse and via online galleries. Who do you want to see exalted in galleries and museums? What do you want to see? Who/what do you feel represents you? We need to take the microphone from the mainstream and major outlets and institutions and hand it back to the people, to you. The artist has the ability to condense an entire zeitgeist into a single image, to create something that someone else can look at and say, “This is who I am, and this is who we are.” Art encapsulates the voice of the people.

Related: I’m pleased to be a part of Lolk Collectivea new community-focused initiative I mentioned briefly in this interview. Launched by Zachary Johnson, who exhibited art in Exquisite Corpse, Lolk is looking for collaborators, so this is an artist call for those of you who are interested in street art, guerilla art, and other forms of happiness.

Everything is connected.

Except for the following fact.

My favorite “search keyword” (thank you, Blogger stats) that led someone to this site this week: “how old is jenny lam”

(Well, kind stranger, if you click around on enough links—hint! the sidebar! also! interviews on the press page!—you’ll figure out when I graduated college, and that should narrow things down. Although I’ll let you continue to believe I’m either a 14-year-old prodigy—the ages mentioned on the “About” page are fabulous red herrings—or a geezer with an aging portrait in an attic.)

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Living for the City / “Mommy, where do [great artists] come from?”


Last week The Huffington Post ran an article that asked, “Where do important artists come from?” (My simple answer would be the following wise words from the masterwork that is Ratatouille: “Not everyone can become a great artist. But a great artist can come from anywhere.” Slow clap.) Here’s an excerpt:

For in a world celebrated for rapid shifts in technique and style, and for the iconoclasm of its young geniuses, the geography of artistic innovation is profoundly conservative.
Simply put, important new artists are most likely to emerge in the same cities where important artists have emerged in the recent past. And even more narrowly, in recent decades important new artists have been most likely to emerge from the same academic institutions that have produced important artists in the past.

But why those cities in particular? Is it the cities themselves or the academic institutions within those cities—or a combination of the two—that produce artists? Above all, forget the chicken and egg conundrum; do those cities cultivate artists, or do artists, regardless of their origins, gravitate towards those cities? (Speaking for myself and those I know, I would say the latter. And if it is the latter, what if great artists actually, you know, stayed in their hometowns rather than making the inevitable migration to places like New York?)

The piece also touches upon the subject of young / once-young (e.g. Hirst—speaking of whom, the overrated artists discussion is still going!) artists, artists steeped in self-awareness and reacting to their historical contexts, taking a rather calculated approach in steering their careers, so the rest is worth a read.

Friday, October 21, 2011

OMG TGIF MDW sifc btw etc


Sixty Inches From Center did a feature on Exquisite Corpse’s closing reception. Thanks, Lindsey Anderson! (Check out the press page for more press.)

It’s yet another beautiful fall day, and thus a perfect start to a big weekend for art; the annual Bridgeport Art Walk begins this evening at 6pm and runs through Sunday:

One of the walk’s stops is the buzzed-about MDW Fair, which showcases over 50 exhibitors comprised of artist-run spaces, small not-for-profits, emerging galleries, collectives, and independent curators. Founded in the Spring, the fair is currently in its second iteration and is not to be missed; this, folks, is the future—and the pure now—of Chicago art. This is the rise of the alternative and underground. I like what Paul Klein had to say about it: “MDW sets a high bar about what an art fair should be—an art experience where the exhibitors present art they believe in to an audience that wants to be welcomed, inspired, challenged, and cajoled.” (Edit: Paul just added a paragraph on Occupy Wall Street, and its worthy of a standing ovation.) MDW’s Vernissage is tonight 8–11pm, and continues Saturday and Sunday 12–6pm.

Of course, you can’t mention “Bridgeport” and “art” without including the Zhou B Art Center; in the heart of it all, the art center comprises 5 floors of open artist studios and galleries. At 4Art Gallery, you can view Spiritus Saltus and Opposition from Exquisite Corpse. Visit tonight 6–10pm (there will be cider!), and/or Saturday 12–6pm and Sunday 12–5pm. Admission is free.

Here’s a map of the art walk. (Some distances more walkable than others…) (Which is why it might be perfectly acceptable to just stroll around 4Art with a mug of cider in hand.) (Just sayin’.)

Monday, October 17, 2011

Only connect


Remember that Exquisite Corpse guest who “approached me and made my night by raving about the performance, telling me how much it moved him—that he had a moment in which he realized he got it—and showing me, literally, pages he’d written as a response to the piece”? Remember when I didn’t have to resort to quoting myself when I’m already linking to said quote? That guest is Danny Bravman, and he [finally!] emailed me a few days ago. Here’s his message in full:

Hi, I'm not sure if you remember me. I was at the closing night of
Exquisite Corpse, and had been so moved by Caitlin's performance
piece, that I wrote a few pages of reactions which you said you'd be
interested in reading. I had some computer issues and, honestly,
forgot about it, but if you're still interested, here they are.  Other
than blanking a few names, I've not edited it at all; sorry if it's
hard to follow in some places.  It's a little detached for me to read
back on this a month later, I'll admit.

---
One girl painted another girl in red. The second girl rolled onto
placed paper. Repeat. I was confused, because the second girl was
the performer, yet it appeared like the first was the artist: the
first painting, while the second the brush she used. And then I
realized it- the point of the piece, the point of the whole exhibit,
the emotion of tonight, the meaning of the past few months, the answer
we’ve been seeking- collaboration. They are not alone. They work
together. They complement. What they create is greater than the
individual.

Eventually they exhaust the red, and there is blue now, and the result
is purple, so perfect thematically. The first girl has paint on her;
the second has patches of skin still visible. They have been talking
occasionally to each other, inaudibly behind the music and the crowd,
who at one point break into to interact with, calling for the second,
who had adhered to the paper and plastic she was rolling across to
“leave it”. And she lets herself roll herself up, cocooning herself
within her own art, then emerges, and lets the next coat be applied.
She is near naked, but yet not erotically: her exposure is not of
shame, but of sharing; playful. At the end they both procure
scissors- I do not know why- and cut up their work into scraps, not
into clothing as I first hypothesized.

I text back the location I originally was going to spitefully not give
K____, having been upset at the insultingly little effort put into
this purported friendship, this constant standing up, so badly lied,
the sort which had me write off another ______ _U 20__ graduate, to
let be given what I ought show to such behavior, contrasting with the
appreciation I show, the appreciation shown to me by J__ mere minutes
before, who was so touched at my friendship in traveling to Wisconsin
for her birthday, for her show, for her, that I realized how
unnecessarily bitter I’d been, by being alone, wandering through this
exhibit, taking a “Fish of Destiny” while leaving a crumpled up
“LIES”, drawing a half-visible off-to-the-side mist-shrouded head for
a trifold self-portrait, sending an unacknowledged text instead of
congratulating in person the sole artist I knew beforehand, silently
composing hurtful hates. But I feel I understand. Now I know. I see
collaboration before me. The second girl writes, her performance
concluded, on the external easels two questions: how is the body best
used for art, and vice versa. I look around, finding these papers and
pen, to take outside to write down reactions.

I understand her art. I understand their art. I understand myself.
We are not alone. We express ourselves, together, creating and
observing, together interpreting. And I hope my crumpled up paper is
still there, so that I can straighten out the scrap, cross out the
black word and write under in purple: “I understand now”. Let’s see.

Thank you so much, Danny, for reminding us why we make art in the first place. (Well, why a lot of us do, anyway.)

If you haven’t already, make sure you take part in last week’s discussion post! I also posed the same questions in the Chicago art discussion-based #chiart group on Facebook. Screencap of group members’ answers after the jump. The names and profile pictures have been redacted because, well, what happens in #chiart stays in #chiart:

Monday, October 10, 2011

More like Damien Worst amirite amirite


Who, in your opinion, is the most overrated contemporary artist? Whom do you absolutely hate? Do any particular pieces from that artist come to mind?

I swear I’m going somewhere with this! (Hint: Two tags.)

Roundup


Exquisite Corpse updates: shiny new menu page for the show (click on the thumbnails), more performance photos on Flickr, a new video clip of said performance, and new images at the exhibition photos page.

Photo by Andrew Roddewig, 2011.

Check out the updated virtual gallery, the new electronic abode of Spiritus Saltus—the exquisite corpse by Melbourne artists Adriane Strampp, Irene Wellm, and Kirsten Perry spotlighted in posts 1 2 and 3—and Opposition by Boston artist Gideon Ansell and Amsterdam artist Mark Pol. I will be writing more about these two works, so stay tuned. In the meantime, feel free to ask me any questions you may have about them.

You can also view Spiritus Saltus and Opposition in person at 4Art Gallery, located in the internationally renowned Zhou B Art Center. The next monthly 3rd Friday opening reception is October 21, 6–10pm, and the annual Bridgeport Art Walk is Friday, October 21, 6–10pm; Saturday, October 22, 12–6pm; and Sunday, October 23, 12–6pm. 4Art’s regular gallery hours are Tuesday–Saturday, 10am–6pm.

And, completely unrelated to any of the above, it’s been a while since my last Sixty Inches From Center contribution, but my art scene documentarian self has risen from the ashes. Risen sixty inches from the ground.*
--
*my height
unfortunately

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The body as art / Art as the body // Photos galore


Photos of Caitlin Bergh’s Exquisite Corpse performance piece are now up on Flickr. (You can find more photo links in the previous post.)

Photo by Andrew Roddewig, 2011.

Here’s a short video clip of the performance, taken on an outdated point-and-shoot camera, and here are lengthier videos taken on Caitlin’s iPhone. (As you can probably tell by the quality and equipment used, documentation was merely and mostly for posterity’s sake. Indie indeed.) I like how you can hear me say, “Do one more roll,” at 2:33 in the last video. Because that one roll resulted in 2:42. Which was a perfectly unintentional and unintentionally perfect moment. [29 October edit: Caitlin accidentally deleted all of her YouTube videos. Stay tuned, as shell re-upload them soon!]

Those who watched the performance in person are right, however, when they tell me that the videos don’t do the experience justice; you really did have to be there. But, as has been mentioned, there will be more [and bigger! and better!] live collaborations between Caitlin and me in the future.

Not seen in the videos is the ending of the performance: We bowed. My obsession from the soundtrack blared. And the audience responded to Caitlin’s questions, “What is the best way to convey the body in art?” and “What is the best way to convey art on the body?”

Of course, the performance was only one small part of Exquisite Corpse. Photos of the exhibition are now up, arranged roughly in the order in which a guest to the gallery might view each collaboration. Keep checking the page for photos of the opening and closing receptions.

Unrelated to the show, the discussion is still going in the “Art as political weapon, artist as social instigator” post from June! If you’re new to the site or haven’t been checking back on the older discussion posts, join in on the conversation!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Hear, hear. Here.

Photo by Andrew Roddewig, 2011.

This is a look of love and trust. Love between first-time performance artists whose one “rehearsal” consisted of merely talking through what might happen in the actual performance. Trust to not get paint up the nose.

Photo by Andrew Roddewig, 2011.

Thanks to Andrew Roddewig for taking photos of Caitlin Bergh’s Exquisite Corpse performance and posting a slideshow on Sixty Inches From Center. If you have a Facebook account, you can view many more—90 total, including outtakes not seen in the SIFC article—in albums here and here.

Thanks also to Dubi Kaufmann—view his photos on Flickr.

The next post will include videos [and even more photos!] of the performance.

Here, I’ve created a new page for write-ups in the press, including such pieces as Paul Klein’s preview / review of the exhibition and my interview on Gapers Block.

I’ve also created a new page for the virtual gallery here. It’s still under construction, but for now, you can check out Spiritus Saltus (which I profiled in these three posts) and Opposition (shown here). I’ll be spotlighting the artworks in future posts as well.

I have been following Caitlin’s budding comedy career since Day 1 (all of six months ago… but hey, the short amount of time makes her progress all the more impressive), ever since she told me she decided to take a stand-up class taught by Cameron Esposito (whom Caitlin eventually opened for as her first “real” comedy gig). She’s already come a long way yet, in her words, you’ve only seen the “tip of the iceberg(h).” Comedy Cares presents: A Benefit for The Broadway Youth Center is tonight at 8pm.

Monday, September 19, 2011

-math? Aftermath.


“I just peed acrylic paint.” –Performance artist Caitlin Bergh, to me.

Saturday night was pure magic. Infinite thanks to: all the artists, all who attended the show, Joe LaNasa for letting me have free reign over the Fulton Street Collective exhibition space, and you. If you took any photos at the closing reception for Exquisite Corpse, please email them to artists.on.the.lam {at} gmail {dot} com.

The highlight of the closing was Caitlin Bergh’s performance piece:


Towards the end of the reception, a guest approached me and made my night by raving about the performance, telling me how much it moved him—that he had a moment in which he realized he got it—and showing me, literally, pages he’d written as a response to the piece. (I told him to type up the written reaction and to email it to me, so if you, good sir, are reading this, please do!) That’s all I need, knowing that art had a profound and even transcendent effect on someone. Well, that, and I need to get rid of this paint still encrusted under and around my fingernails.

Here’s a link to Caitlin’s artist statement. I’ll post videos and more photos soon, so keep checking back.

And here’s the performance soundtrack listing:

            I’m Not Done – Fever Ray
            Beat and the Pulse – Austra
            Earth Intruders (XXXChange Remix) – Björk
            When I Grow Up (D. Lissvik Remix) – Fever Ray
            Lose It – Austra

You can listen to the songs here. (I’m now addicted to Austra.) To recreate the experience as closely as possible, I’d suggest cranking up your speakers and blasting the music at full volume. And then rolling around on your floor. With possibly toxic materials. In a bikini.

Catch Caitlin this Wednesday at Cole’s weekly Comedy Open Mic, where she’ll most likely do a standup set about this performance. More importantly, she’ll also be doing a set this Friday at Comedy Cares presents: A Benefit for The Broadway Youth Center. Laugh for a great cause!

It was our first time collaborating on anything like this, and both of us have caught the body-painting-and-rolling-onto-a-canvas bug. We have so many new ideas reeling around in our minds (Caitlin being birthed out of a tree with me as the midwife? strip clubs where ladies peel their skin off?), and we can’t wait to share them with you. This is just the beginning.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Performance Paint plus Polymath post


Artist Caitlin Bergh, while purchasing supplies for her performance piece: “Hi, which of these paints will be safest to apply to my whole body?”
Employee: “None of these are safe.”
Caitlin: “OK, I’ll take this one.”
#sacrificesforart

Exquisite Corpse closes tonight 7–10pm, and the performance piece of a lifetime will begin at 8:15pm. Don’t miss it! This is also your last chance to see the show, in its entirety, in person.

(The pieces seen in this blog’s new header are Cassie Hamrick’s I Am Afraid of Horses. I Am Afraid of Being Bitten. (Hip Hip Hippo) and Veronica Stein’s Abjection. Come and cuddle them / do other things to them. The image in the updated press release, also below, is Pug by Minneapolis kinetic sculptor Asia Ward and Chicago fashion designer KC Winter. It moves.)


And more press! I am loving Gapers Block for using the word “polymath” (possibly due to my affinity for the word “polyglot”). Thank you, Michael Workman, for interviewing me!


For this edition of Briefing Room, we check in with artist, artist agent, writer, and independent curator Jenny Lam. A recent transplant to Chicago from a stint at Columbia University in New York, Lam has embraced her engagement of the Chicago scene with wave-making zeal, landing in the press and in conversations for her work at the Zhou B Art Center, 4Art and, most recently, at the Fulton Street Collective. "Exquisite Corpse," the frenetic exhibit she organized for the Collective, drew notable crowds for its open embrace of artistic collaboration.


Read the rest here.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Luckily no heatstroke-induced corpses at an otherwise exquisite opening


Exquisite Corpse opened Friday night, and it was a great success! I and everyone else I spoke with were amazed at the turnout (it was so crowded that it took me a flip through the signed guestbook afterwards to discover that in attendance were some guests I didn’t even know were there), and that’s not even taking into consideration the almost unbearable heat; outdoors, the mercury rose to 94ºF—really, Chicago? in September?—while indoors, the masses found themselves without air conditioning and with an abundance of track lights. Thank you, everyone, for sweating it out in the name of art!

If you or anyone you know took any photographs, please send them to artists.on.the.lam {at} gmail {dot} com. Proper attribution will be given, as always, if your images are used.

Throughout the night, the comments I received the most related to the show’s energy and the artwork’s diversity. Indeed, because I gave the artists no rules other than to collaborate with one another, emphasizing that there were no limitations in size or medium, the resulting creations spanned everything from delicate graphite illustrations to a kinetic sculpture named “Pug”—with bicycle inner tubes as skin and tufts of real human hair woven throughout its body—that jumps, rolls its eyes, and swings its neck, a toy from hell that requires direct interaction with its viewer. One of the many other pieces that asked for interaction was artist Adrienne Glover’s advice booth. Questions (and pleas) posed to her throughout the night included:

Should I pursue my coworker crush?
What should I do about an unrequited crush?
What should I do with my life? I want to travel.
How do I make an honest living with my idea?
I’m about to graduate. I need advice about getting a job.
I want to make muffins! Help.
Should I stay married?
Should I quit my job?
I want to relocate to a different country. How should I do that?
How do I become a musician?
Should I come out to my parents?
Where should I go out for drinks tonight?

Exquisite Corpse is far from over. The closing reception / party is on Saturday, September 17, 7–10pm. Most exhibition closings, compared to openings, are like Disney’s low-budget direct-to-video sequels in which only a couple of the washed-up D-list voice actors return, desperate for work, and the songs—oh God, the songs—induce more secondhand embarrassment than watching a certain demographic try to dougie. The closing for this show, however, will be to the opening what Return of the King was to Fellowship of the Ring. An example of what you can expect: artist [and budding local comedian] Caitlin Bergh will be doing a performance piece that involves body painting, rolling of the body onto a blank canvas, and destruction of said canvas.

Until then, gallery hours are by appointment, and you may contact me at, again, artists.on.the.lam {at} gmail {dot} com. Most of the artwork is for sale, and all are reasonably priced. I will also be creating a page on this blog with images of the works and their respective prices. Virtual viewing, of course, isn’t the same as seeing the works in person. After all, a few of the pieces do ask gallery goers to uncover, touch, hug, interact with, step inside, write in, take something from, and leave something in them. And your visit won’t nearly be as hot as the opening. Pinky swear.

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