Daily Archives: October 20, 2009

goodbye alex n’ clay

For those of you who often read my blog, by now you may be familiar with two very good friends of mine by the names of Alexander Ferrando and Clayton Flynn. Both young men just received their undergraduate degrees here at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and will be leaving the city of Chicago to pursue their graduate degrees in Fine Art in the city of Vienna. Alex has been accepted into the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna while Clay is in the process of applying to another Viennese school. With great news comes sad news because these friends of mine will be leaving Chicago in the end of July.

Last night we had a going away party for them, which eventually turned into a mega dance party extravaganza in a space located in Wicker Park. For those of you who know these two fine artists send them good wishes and say “Auf Wiedersehen” as they begin their new life abroad in Austria. Bye Friends!

Photobucket
Armin, Esteban, Alex, Brendan, Natasha, Ghazal, Matt and Matthew are all enjoying their time at the goodbye party.

Choos**

house warming for maliea

Tonight I went to my friend Maliea’s home for a house warming party that she was throwing. Maliea just recently moved into the neighborhood of Humboldt Park on the west side of Chicago. We had a blast drinking lemonade and visiting a local taqueria. We spent the evening telling stories and playing with her cats while lounging on her front porch. The only downside was out of Maliea’s control, and that is the HEAT that Chicago’s summers often bear!

Photobucket
Esteban and a friend on Maliea’s porch.

Photobucket
Maliea was obviously having a great time.

milwaukee art museum: gilbert n’ george

On Saturday I went on a road trip with a few friends of mine to visit the Milwaukee Art Museum. The special exhibition, Gilbert and George, consisted of approximately forty-five large-scale pictures and a selection of archival materials as well.

In addition to just seeing the show, we enjoyed the building itself designed by Santiago Calatrava and representing an image somewhat reminiscent of a large white sail boat that could potentially be made for outer space!

The Milwaukee Art Museum is just one of three museums in total to be hosting the exhibition which just traveled from San Francisco’s de Young Museum. For those of you not familiar with the work of Gilbert and George, a portion of the press release is attached below. For more info about the MAM or the exhibition alone please visit this link http://www.mam.org/gandg/.

“Gilbert & George have made art together since the 1970s to create startling and challenging images and pictures that confront the viewers with critical issues of our times. From the beginning, they wanted to communicate beyond the narrow confines of the art world, adopting the slogan “Art For All.” Almost all of the images they use are gathered within walking distance of their home in London’s East End. Yet, their pictures capture a broad human experience, encompassing an astonishing range of emotions and themes, from rural idylls to gritty images of a decaying city; from fantastical brightly colored panoramas to raw examinations of humanity stripped bare; from sex advertisements to religious fundamentalism.”

Photobucket
A view of the inside of the museum.

Photobucket
Fingle-Fangle, 2004
Gilbert and George

Photobucket
A Barbara Hepworth sculpture was on view in their permanent collection standing elegantly before a window that looked out onto the lake.

Photobucket
Justin Polera and Esteban Schimpf pose in front of the famous Mars Cheese Castle which one passes while traveling between Chicago and Milwaukee often to buy cheese curds.

the suburban: cip contreas/matthew rich

It was a beautiful Sunday and we decided to go to an opening at the Suburban in Oak Park late this afternoon. Many people showed up and there were bratwurst’s galore for visitors to enjoy. The artist’s in the show included Cip Contreras and Matthew Rich; with such a large variety of work between the two men, the show really was quite interesting.

I saw a lot of friends who have been out of town this summer which made the event even more enjoyable–some having traveled to Brazil while some were returning from a short out of town visit to Michigan. As always Michelle and Brad organized a wonderful Sunday afternoon.

Photobucket
Also having a good time are Claire Pentacost and Ken Fandell, both professors at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Photobucket
An installation by artist, Cip Contreras.

nueva austria: work from vienna

Last night I attended the opening of “Nueva Austria: Work From Vienna” at the Plaines Project. Curated by Alexander Ferrando and Armin Lorenz Gerold the show includes work by Anna Barfuss, Verena Dengler, Armin Lorenz Gerold, Manfred Hubmann, and Georg Petermichl, all artists from Vienna. As the press release states “The artists comprising ‘Nueva Austria’ are being shown together on the basis of the proximity of thier social position in Austria to that of the Plaines Project’s proprietors here in Chicago. As young, newly emergent artists their work is defined more by impressions, inverstigation and interpretation than by statement and purpose,”

Overall, the show was exciting with works covering a variety of media, form, and sources. I had a great time, as is the usual outcome at any opening at the Plaines Project. Following the opening we enjoyed bratwurst’s from Maxwell Street Market just down the street from the exhibition space.

Photobucket
The pow wow taking place in the rear of the house once the opening was coming to a close. In the foreground Matt Brennan is seen chuckling away, while Ben and Armin converse in the background.

Photobucket
An image taken outside the gallery space.

For more info about the show feel free to visit their website at http://www.myspace.com/plaineprojects

oak street beach

For some reason the summer heat has made it hard to sleep through humid nights, for that exact reason I decided to invite many of my friends out to the beach today. However, I got their a bit early and encouraged everyone else to join me. I left the house at 6:30 am with about 3 hours of restless sleep under my belt, exhausted I called a taxi to come get me and drop me off at one of my favorite beaches in the gold coast, Oak street beach. Perhaps I was missing my traditional Hawaiian summers from home, but I sure did get out to the beach by 7am. Esteban joined me and we fell asleep at Oak street beach, you can be sure the weather was much cooler there than anywhere else in the city and of course if the sun got too hot the lake was at the tip of our toes!

So the day was long, crazy, and fun. One of the highlights of the afternoon occured when a boy jumped into the lake with his pet racoon sitting on his shoulder. It was a glorious site to see indeed, a tamed racoon that was just a tad bit larger than your average tea cup terrier, but soooooo much cooler of course! The sweet racoon had been rescued by the boy and he is currently raising it, he taught it to do tricks and to eat a variety of meals from cranberries to fruit loops. I had the opportunity to not only photograph the young coon-lad, but we became friends as he placed his paw upon my own with a friendship lick of approval.

We ordered Jimmy John’s to be delivered directly to the beach, we watched people come and go. Two others joined us as the day continued on, Maliea and Ghazal who were in the area and caught the free trolley to our destination. Once they arrived we flipped through Us Weekly, enjoyed the final sunny moments, and then as a finale flipped our hair through the lake.

By the time it was 6pm we decided our bodies had endured enough sun and that getting home seemed much more appealing. It was one of the best summer days and the clouds didn’t come out once.

Photobucket
Here the racoon scoops his Fruit Loops up one by one for lunch.

Photobucket
Ghazal, Maliea, and Esteban chilling at the beach.

Photobucket
The beach is located in the center of downtown.

ravinia: gilberto gil

Last night Esteban and I were invited by a dear friend of his, Remy LeBoeuf, to attend a concert at Ravinia in Highland Park, Illinois where Remy is currently doing a residency.

Remy, a native of the bay area moved to New York at the age of 18 to play music and study with Dick Oatts, Steve Wilson, and Donny McCaslin. In 2007 he received his Bachelor’s degree from the Manhattan School of Music and is currently working on his Master’s there as well. This summer he was invited to attend a 2-week residency at Ravinia and will be playing alongside many of the musicians in concert throughout the next few days.

One of the musicians that we were delighted to hear was Gil Gilberto who is a singer, composer and guitar-player in the field of Brazilian popular music. The energy he exuded while performing was CRAAAZYYYY! The scene was terrific with tons of people of all ages jumping up and down as if at a rock concert, some holding their Brazilian flags while some held up a peace sign. Gil Gilberto sang a number of love songs, pop songs, and a few covers in which everyone joined in singing.

Photobucket
A view of the concert from the back of the pavillion.

Photobucket
Remy enjoying the performance.

Photobucket
Gilberto Gil raises his fist in the air as he performs his second “encore” song.

Photobucket
I enjoy the tunes being played.

Thank you Remy, we had a great time!

a day in the park with est

We’ve been having a few days of showers here in Chicago this summer. It seems to be a rather odd 3 months of summer because each time the weather heats up, the city seems to cool itself down with a series of thunderstorms and chilly nights. But today was beautiful, sunny, and clear and Esteban joined me on a bike ride through our neighborhood and then we spent the rest of the afternoon reading and having lunch in the park. I hope it stays sunny all week!

Photobucket

A clear day indeed, with only the trees above us.

Photobucket
The grass was so beautiful you didn’t even need a blanket to rest on!

the suburban: shana lutker/steve berrens

Today was the opening of the first summer show at The Suburban. Included in this exhibition are two artist’s from L.A., Shana Lutker and Stephen Berens. Stephen’s photographs which documented a posting for a lost dog throughout a neighborhood in Los Angeles, lined the walls of one of the exhibition spaces. He also had some of his books on display of courtyards and plazas, a trip to Italy, and more imagery similar to that of the documented dog poster. In the other gallery space Shana Lutker’s large books lay opened on a table for viewers to peruse for a single minute or all day if desired. Many of the books were part of her craigslist ad collection while a large red book seemed to be a collection of her dreams for the past 2 years all laid out as if they were individual newspaper articles.

The opening (as always) was an enjoyable social event on the lawn of Ms. Grabner and Mr. Killam’s home. The show is not to be missed and I highly encourage anyone in Chicago to try to make it out to Oak Park to see these compiled collections of books and photographs.

For those of you not familiar with the independently run artist exhibition space in Oak Park, IL I have included a bit of their statement below:
“The Suburban is an independently run artist exhibition space in Oak Park, IL. We give complete control to the artists in regards to what they choose to produce and exhibit. Thus it’s a pro artist and anti curator site. The Suburban is not driven by commercial interests. It is funded within the economy of our household. Its success is not grounded in sales, press or the conventional measures set forth by the international art apparatus, but by the individual criteria set forth by the artists and their exhibitions. In this, The Suburban is more closely aligned with the idea of studio practice than that of the site of distribution.”
-Michelle Grabner & Brad Killam

Photobucket
Shana Lutker stands beside her book at The Suburban.

Photobucket
Stephen Berens is photographed here beside his installation.

For more information about The Suburban please visit http://www.thesuburban.org

the renaissance society: black is, black ain’t

Today I visited the Renaissance Society of Chicago, located in Hyde Park on the University of Chicago’s campus. “The Society presents art seldom seen
in the midwest, giving the public opportunities to investigate the most recent developments in contemporary art. At the same time, the museum is equally committed to fostering the development of Chicago’s own rich artistic resources”.

The current show , curated by Hamza Walker, is entitled Black Is, Black Ain’t. I was very impressed by the work included in the show from artist’s throughout the country, the show was powerful and many pieces have stuck with me. I enjoyed the works by William Pope L. particularly his cupped-flour sculptures which were scattered throughout the gallery on small make-shift shelves. The video pieces were interesting and very peculiar especially Joanna Rytel’s monologue-based performance/video work about a mixed-race relationship.

Artist’s included in the exhibition are as follows:
Terry Adkins | Edgar Arceneaux | Elizabeth Axtman | Jonathan Calm | Paul D’Amato | Deborah Grant | Todd Gray | Shannon Jackson | Thomas Johnson | Jason Lazarus | David Levinthal | Glenn Ligon | David McKenzie | Rodney McMillian | Jerome Mosley | Virginia Nimarkoh | Demetrius Oliver | Sze Lin Pang | Carl Pope | William Pope.L | Robert A. Pruitt | Randy Regier | Daniel Roth | Joanna Rytel | Andres Serrano | Hank Willis Thomas | Mickalene Thomas

Photobucket
Glenn Ligon, Warm Broad Glow, 2005
Neon, 39 x 192 inches (Courtesy of Sender Collection, courtesy of Levin Art Group)

Photobucket
Jonathan Calm, Baruch Runoff #2,2008
Pigment print, 40 x 50 inches (Courtesy of the artist and Caren Golden Fine Art, New York)

***********************************************************************************
(portion of press release)
“Taking its title from Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man, this exhibition will explore a shift in the rhetoric of race from an earlier emphasis on inclusion to a present moment where racial identity is being simultaneously rejected and retained. The exhibition will bring together works by 26 black and non-black artists whose work together examines a moment where the cultural production of so-called ‘blackness’ is concurrent with efforts to make race socially and politically irrelevant.”

For more information about the Renaissance Society please visit http://www.renaissancesociety.org/site/

the contemporary arts council: shape-shifters

On Friday, May 23rd, Alfedena Gallery was pleased to host the Contemporary Arts Council’s 14th annual show of emerging artists, Shape-shifters, curated by critic Jason Foumberg.

Three works of mine are included in the show Scratching Peace Symbols on Your Eyes, Shiva, and Something I saw in the desert. All are constructed out of paper and finished with paper mache and enamel paint; some are coated with shark teeth while others are mounted with marbled orange rocks collected from Arizona. The opening reception was really exciting and a great number of individuals made it out to see the show. I decided to keep what I have to say to a minimum and I have included a portion of the press release below for you to enjoy! If you can make it out to the opening there are a lot of great artists involved in the show and it is not to be missed.

Artist’s included in the show:
Mike Andrews
Reed Barrow
Brian Getnick
Sarah Hicks
Chris Kerr
Elliot Layda
Josh Mannis
Samia Mirza
Melissa Pokorny
Mindy Rose Schwartz

Photobucket
Samia Mirza, Scratching Peace Symbols on Your Eyes.

Photobucket
Reed Barrow I Believe I Can Walk through Walls, 2006 and Sarah Hicks, objects from Things Lasting No More than a Day, 2008

Photobucket
An image of Shiva

Photobucket
After the opening we went to Zocalo for the post-opening dinner.

Photobucket
Curator, Jason Foumberg and catalog designer, Ryan Swanson.

**************************************************************************************
Remnants of Digested Culture Re-Purposed in: Shape Shifters
Presented by the Contemporary Arts Council
Curated by Jason Foumberg
May 23-July 3, 2008
Opening reception May 23, 5pm-8pm. Performance at 7pm.

Chicago — Alfedena Gallery is pleased to host the Contemporary Arts Council’s 14th annual show of emerging artists, Shape-shifters, curated by critic Jason Foumberg. There will be an opening reception for the artists on Friday, May 23rd from 5-8 pm. A performance to be held in the gallery by artist Brian Getnick the evening of the reception will start at 7 pm. The exhibition is free and open to the public.
Like a whale’s vacuum-suck mouth that efficiently consumes the ocean, we too devour our surrounds. The art objects in Shape-shifters are remnants of digested culture, re-shaped and re-purposed. Olympiad bodies, zombies, household gods, and urban myths: by holding many pieces of culture in balance inside us, we become a conglomerate body—an animate spawn of the culture that nourishes us.

This is the Contemporary Arts Council’s 14th annual exhibition of new and emerging Chicago-based artists. In order to support contemporary art and artists in Chicago, to seek out the new and valuable, and to foster the insight and enjoyment that good art provides, the Contemporary Arts Council works each year with an independent curator to flesh out his or her idea. A catalog in the form of an exquisite corpse game is available with essays by Jesse Ball, Reed Barrow, Elijah Burgher, Jason Foumberg, Brian Getnick, and Dan Gleason.