Monday, June 7, 2021

Decked Out

It’s here! DECAHEDRON is now live!

June 2021 marks the 10th anniversary of Artists on the Lam. Celebrate with us!

It was a decade ago yesterday that I published my first post on what would later be voted “Best Arts Blog” in the Chicago Reader’s Best of Chicago issue (read more about that in the previous post). As part of the celebration, I’ve curated an international exhibition (read more about this in the artist announcement post).

More about the curatorial process for this show that I didn’t mention in those posts: I’m likening it to an episodic TV series where you wander the land embarking on different adventures and meeting different characters, and then in the end you go back and revisit all your old friends and ask them to be part of your heist. Past, present, and future are all intertwined.

The result? 74 artists, with over 350 works of art.

View the exhibition at the following links: the main page and the artists page (click on each artist to enjoy their art and their words). Most of the pieces are available for purchase (and I was literally in the middle of formatting this post when a painting was already sold).

Celebrating 10 years of:

interaction; collaboration; making art as accessible as possible; proving that art is for everyone; championing local artists while channeling global perspectives; shenanigans; worldwide adventures; saying things everyone thinks but doesn’t say out loud; making messes; winging it; figuring it out; the same pair of sneakers; irreverence; puns; so many puns; open calls; giving emerging artists their first ever shows; refusing to use artspeak; not taking ourselves too seriously; troublemaking; optimism / earnestness / hope; leaving pretension at the door; getting people to actually look at the art; getting people to have fun with art and with each other; getting people to see the world anew; building relationships between artists and viewers; building relationships; building community; bringing people joy; a breath of fresh air; being able to touch the art; people coming into a gallery and not feeling intimidated; teaching; assuring people that they do, in fact, “get” art; showing that there’s nothing to “get”; invoking childlike wonder; connection, and not the schmoozing kind; making sure everyone feels welcome; rejecting cliques; breaking the rules; breaking barriers; bridging the spaces between us; standing out; not paying attention to trends; making our own; substance over style; quality over popularity; quantity; cramming an entire biennial’s worth of artists into one room; cramming as many viewers as possible into one room; helping visitors “hone their art appreciation skills”; giving visitors the “opportunity to explore their own interests and gain a better understanding of the kind of art they enjoy and why”; being worth the wait; being down-to-earth; showing there’s an abundance of culture in the Midwest; every medium you can think of; every art form you can think of; artists spanning the widest range of backgrounds, ages, and experience levels; talent; the best people you’ve never heard of yet; exploring and showcasing the underground; “shaking things up” / “rocking the art world” / “making waves”; changing the game; truly new experiences; being truly independent; perhaps being too DIY [but]; knowing no one is an island; using word of mouth; being unconventional; play; passion; constant growth; and art.

Again, thank you.

Here’s to the next 10 years!

(Pictured: A few photos from the opening reception of 2012’s acclaimed I CAN DO THAT, voted “Best Art Exhibit” in the 20th anniversary edition of NewCity’s Best of Chicago issue)

Leave a birthday message!

What’s your favorite Artists on the Lam memory? Perhaps you had a moment of transcendence at one of our interactive shows, or shared a spontaneous experience with a fellow visitor, or simply had fun. Perhaps a particular blog post moved you. Perhaps you’ve been inspired in some way. Your story could be featured on the site as part of the virtual celebration!

You can also send a photo, a doodle, or any other supplemental material. Email artists.on.the.lam {at} gmail {dot} com.

Sunday, June 6, 2021

What Is Time

Today is the 10th anniversary of Artists on the Lam!

It was on Monday, June 6, 2011, that I published my first blog post here.  

(Looking at that post, which is incredibly embarrassing, it’s funny how I’m much further removed from my 2011 self now than my 2011 self was to my teen self I kept referring to in it. (What a sentence.) I was so young but was writing like I was so jaded and world-weary. (Which isn’t surprising considering I already felt old and that time was passing too quickly when I was only 7.) But that was part of the charm of those early posts, of course.)

Thank you, everyone, for being a part of this extraordinary journey.

To celebrate, DECAHEDRON is virtually opening tomorrow! Save the date. (One day from now. But still.)

Until then: Now that I’m fully vaccinated, I’ve been going on a few art outings (artings?)*, and you can treat your eyes with my photos on Instagram (or your other social media of choice: Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Tumblr).

*(My first one (in over 14 months) was last week, and it was a Special Preview of Frida Kahlo: Timeless at Cleve Carney Museum of Art inside McAninch Arts Center at College of DuPage. Featuring 26 original works on loan from Museo Dolores Olmedo, alongside a multimedia timeline and replicas of objects from Frida’s life, plus other special programming, it’s the largest Frida Kahlo exhibition in the Chicago area in more than 40 years, and it’s now open to the public. (Among my photos I naturally included one of her revolutionary politics; it was an integral part of her identity.) Afterwards my family and I visited the Morton Arboretum (only a few minutes away from the CCMA), where a new exhibition of sculptures by Daniel Popper called Human+Nature just opened and will run for at least a year. And yesterday we went to Immersive Van Gogh Chicago. Vincent is a reminder: Support us artists when we’re still alive.)

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