Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Pop-Up Art Loop: Vacant Lot to Vibrant Art


Pop-Up Art Loop: Vacant Lot to Vibrant Art

By Chicago Art Magazine on Dec 29, 2009 in Featured, Reviews Alternative Spaces

Chicago-Photography-Collective by Carley Demchuk

Recently, an organization called the Chicago Loop Alliance began exhibiting art in the loop’s abandoned storefronts. Of the three current exhibition venues, there is no real overarching theme connecting one artist’s work to another’s, other than the general goal of space utilization, for something more productive, more creative, more appealing than a dark, vacant venue. In a time of economic depression, this notion of turning a dead space into an artistically vibrant pseudo-gallery, could not be more appropriate. And, the best part of all: it’s free!

I started this public art frenzy at 29 E. Madison, where the Chicago Photography Collective exhibits a group show of sorts. Temporary carpet lines the ground, walls are stark white, and photos are eloquently lit, making this space appear most gallery-like of the three venues. Exhibition-wise, there’s no preference in style or situation, placing all of these photos on the same artistic level. Different photographers’ photos hang next to each other, creating an impromptu compare-contrast of image, idea, and artfulness, making this particular pop-up art venue rather approachable. (Photographs can be purchased at the displayed prices. See ChicagoPhotographyCollective.com for more information.)

Martin Jon and Bill Boyce

A few blocks south, at the Sullivan Center (E. Monroe between State and Wabash), the work of Martin Jon and Bill Boyce adorn the Center’s windows. Jon’s painting, Manyon was most intriguing for me. He states, “The experience of looking into a painting creates another experience all together.” As I gazed at this painting while standing in the frigid Chicago wind and snow, I couldn’t help but envy this Manyon and his warm room with a view. The juxtaposition of the snowy sidewalk behind me, and this temperate scene in front of me, linked me to this two-dimensional timber of a man. By looking into the window to view the image, I in turn gaze out of his window and become the man. The real windowpane in front of me becomes the physical canyon between this image and myself, completing the manyon circle (though perhaps not the exact one that Jon was hoping achieve).

A few blocks more south, at 220 South Wabash, I anticipated Sara Schnadt’s phenomenological work, Network. This work reminds me of Lawrence Fishburne’s claim that “Unfortunately, no one can be told what the Matrix is. You have to see it for yourself.” However, in this case, you have to see and experience the work for yourself.

Spanning the entire space, Network takes on a mind of its own. It twists, stops, and changes directions, much how one might imagine an invisible, virtual network to move (though, if nothing else, it’s especially fun to crawl beneath the network and pop up in the openings, intertwining you with the work). Schnadt, who’s previously exhibited work at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, is “inspired by the idea that we simultaneously live in a real and virtual world, and that the virtual is infinitely expansive…” She utilizes the reflective property of mirrors, to not only make the space appear larger than it is, but to also make the yellow twine appear as though it is escaping into the wall and beyond, where I, the viewer, cannot follow. In this sense, the line between real and virtual is clearly drawn.

Sara Schnadt, Network
These three spaces will only exhibit these artworks through December 31st, so get a peak at them while you still can! For more information on Pop-Up Art Loop, visit http://http://www.popupartloop.com/inde

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Studio Chicago


Studio Chicago: a collaborative project that explores the artists' studio: Creativity; Production; Infrastructure

Why and how is the studio important to art and artists today?

What is the artist studio today?

What infrastructures are needed to support art practice and production?

The Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with leading local arts institutions, announces a year-long collaborative project, "Studio Chicago" to generate deeper, more nuanced understanding about these issues among the artist community and to broaden awareness and understanding among the "art-curious."

Studio Chicago focuses on the Artist's Studio, through exhibitions, talks, publications, tours, and research. Participating organizations will celebrate the working artist and reveal their sites of creative production from historical and contemporary perspectives, with concepts ranging from the 'studio as muse', 'virtual studios', 'street as studio' and 'gallery as studio.'

"Sonic Tops"


Words cannot adequately express my deep gratitude for your support, your professionalism and your unbridled commitment to the manifestation of “Sonic Tops.”

It was a magnificent success and I have been getting a lot of positive feed forward from those that attended and/or participated. I am also getting comments from those that were not at the event. I have been working on the idea for several years. I began making the tops about two years ago and have one hundred ninety working tops and a couple of duds. I will complete the set of two hundred or two hundred twenty five ASAP.

I have not experiences so much joy and happiness on the faces and vibrations of people in a very long time! it was a truly touching experience, very engaging, relaxing and fertile with diverse people and exchanges. I hope with the stellar documentation I will have, I will be able to procure the kind of support that the works needs and deserves. Thanks for you patience, dedication, time, artistry, generosity, magnanimous spirit and encouragement.

Much Love and Respect!

Douglas R. Ewart

3714 17th Avenue South

Minneapolis MN 55407


I've created a slideshow of the event at

http://gallery.me.com/rlblouin#100143&bgcolor=black&view=grid and feel free

Photos aren't downloadable, but if anyone wants to get

in touch with me for photos (price varies by size) or a DVD slideshow ($10)

I can be reached via email or at 773.874.5896. I'll burn you a DVD of this


50 ALDERMEN/50 ARTISTS: A Group Show

December 18: Deadline for artist registration

FOR MORE INFO, EMAIL chicagoaldermenproject@gmail.com

How many Chicagoans know what their alderman looks like? How many Chicagoans can tell you who their alderman is, and what he or she has been doing lately? We're not pollsters, so we don't have any hard data to provide answers to these questions -- but we are artists, and we're interested in using art as a vehicle in depicting and learning more about the aldermen who represent us at City Hall. To this end, we invite other Chicago artists to join us in producing 50 ALDERMEN/50 ARTISTS: A group exhibition of portraits that will enable people to learn more about the 50 aldermen who make up the Chicago City Council, and raise awareness of local government. On Friday, March 16, 2010 from 7-11pm, Old Style proudly presents 50 ALDERMEN/50 ARTISTS at the Johalla Projects Gallery, 1561 N. Milwaukee.

For the exhibit, 50 artists from across Chicago will be invited to choose one alderman to feature in a 16"x22" portrait, using their media of choice. Participating artists will be required to interview or attempt to interview the alderman they are depicting. All 50 aldermen will be invited to the opening, which will include biographical information and a voter registration table. In addition to the show, we hope to feature the 50 alderman portraits — as well as portraits of Richard M. Daley and Cook County Board President Todd H. Stroger — in a book.

Aldermen serve four-year terms, during which they vote on regulations and rules that affect all of us. And sometimes they participate in the notorious Chicago political machine: Since 1974, 30 aldermen have been convicted of federal crimes ranging from tax evasion to bribery. (A couple of others died before going to trial.) Whether ethical or corrupt, aldermen make our city what it is, and make Chicago's history. 50 ALDERMEN/50 ARTISTS hopes to acknowledge this fact, as well as celebrate the richness of our local political culture.

The kickoff event for 50 ALDERMEN/50 ARTISTS will be Friday, Jan. 15 at Debonair Social Club, 1575 N. Milwaukee. This event will be a meet-and-greet for all artists involved, and will be where artists are matched up with aldermen. This will also be an opportunity to answer any questions artists may have.

In keeping with the spirit of 50 ALDERMEN/50 ARTISTS, a portion of the proceeds will be donated to a nonprofit, non-partisan voter registration organization. Not only do we want to inform people about the aldermen who make a daily impact on our lives, we also want to give people the tools to act on that information. The voter registration group, TBD, will register voters at the March 16 opening.


March 12: Deadline for art delivery

There will be a $20 entry fee, with 10% of sales going to cover costs of the event.

25% of sales will go towards a nonprofit voter registration group (TBD).