by Todd Renier
In the library-quiet halls of Western Exhibitions, my laughter caught the attention of a large bearded man who was dressed in a sea captain’s hat and a yellow raincoat, a living, breathing version of the Gorton’s Seafood fisherman. “This is funny,” he said, unsmiling. (He was not part of the show.) I didn’t quite understand why the fish stick facsimile was so ambivalent, because Deb Sokolow’s exhibition is definitely funny.
Deb Sokolow, All Your Vulnerabilities Will be Assessed
The unframed collage drawings and artist books hanging in the main gallery create a meta-narrative of paranoia, detailing the insidious accounts of a clandestine world power known as the “Association” whose goal is to rob the world of precious art. The collages are handwritten in pencil, and they are covered in erasure marks and White Out, not unlike the blemished tri-fold posters of an elementary school science fair.
I blurted out laughing again as I read: “They had also rented an apartment across the street and were watching you through a telescope as you ate buttered noodles and hotdogs for dinner.” Glued below this text is a crude black and white photograph of a tray of noodles, and to the side of the photo is a thinly scribbled piece of annotation: “Some nights it was just noodles (no hot dogs).”
The second gallery is devoted to Sokolow’s “All Your Vulnerabilities Will Be Assessed”, a fictional account of the artists’ recent two-month art residency at Dale, Norway. The collage is composed of several interlocking pieces of paper and spans the length of two walls. Each page is filled with glued-on pictures of the artist’s fellow residents, three-dimensional diagrams of their cabins, and black bars that obscure certain words, as if we were scanning redacted government dossiers.
Reading along, we learn that how the protagonist (simply known as “you”) and seven other artists were hand selected to the residency program by the “Association.” As it turns out, the artists were not brought to Dale for their talents, but rather their close proximity to great works of art, (the protagonist worked as a security guard for the Art Institute of Chicago) making them ideal accomplices for an art heist. In return for their compliance, the “Association” promised the residents fame and prominence within the art community. Here, the anxiety of an artist (any artist) is being explored through absurd narration: Does fame validate one’s work? How important is critical recognition, and what does it mean to be celebrated? The self-consciousness of the author is palpable. The protagonist is plagued by self-doubt, worrying about her merit and abilities, “You applied even though you never thought they would choose you.” The narrator doesn’t believe she is qualified or good enough for the program. Anyone that has ever applied for a grant, stipend, or matriculation, can attest to the same nervous sentiment.
Deb Sokolow’s fictitious narratives are an examination of the creative process. The doubts, the mistakes, the re-written words, the erasure marks are all integral, because the development appears just as important and interesting to the artist as the final product. The enjoyment may be in the work itself, but the “work in progress” is the art.
(The show runs at Western Exhibitions until April 20, 2013)
This week’s picks from me. Click links for artist’s websites.
Robert Rauschenberg, Airport Series: Cat Paws
Helen Frankenthaler, Persian Garden
Theo van Doesburg, Arithmetic Composition
Joseph Albers, Homage to a Square Ascending
Richard Anuszkiewicz, Squares
Roy Lichtenstein, Brushstroke
This week’s picks from me.
Mark Flood, Aquamarine
Noam Rappaport, Soft City II
Melissa Oresky, litter
Monique Van Genderen, Untitled
This week’s picks from me. Click images for links to more.
Adam Pendleton . untitled (code poem amsterdam)
Shanique Smith, Favorite of the Gods
Mark Manders, Fox/Mouse/Belt
maybe you actually aren’t
This week’s picks from me.
Imi Knoebel, Untitled
David Reed, Color Study
Andrew Falkowski, This is What You Get
at the very deepest level, all our secrets are the same
This week’s picks from me:
Catalina Castro, Untitled 9
Miranda Maynard, Bananas
Olivia Valentine, Pilaster
Chris Duncan, Patterns & Light
Laura Hart Newlon
Amanda Carmer, The Problem With Pictures
you gotta give me something to dream with
This week’s picks from Ryan Travis Christian:
Devin Troy Strother, The Coloureds Series Part 3 Gurrrl I'm just talking about that composition, Gurrrrl what'chu know about that post modernism
Trudy Benson, Inside Out
Lauren Luloff, Flowers and Gold
Mark DeLong, Bagels for Lunch
Sarah Weber, Game Face
Very sad news for Chicago.
Donald Young, a Chicago art dealer who represented many of contemporary art’s premier figures over his decades-long career, has died. He was 69 years old. His death was confirmed by his gallery. No details were available.
In 1983, Young opened the Donald Young Gallery, which was one of the first commercial galleries to successfully market and sell video art. From the earliest years of the gallery, Young represented artists Bruce Nauman, Bill Viola and Jean-Marc Bustamante, among others.
This weeks picks from artist and truth-bomber Michael Rea. Check out his exhibition with Geoffrey Todd Smith and others, Sharks, Dicks, and Drugs, this Saturday at Gold Star Bar.
R. B. Kitaj
Jessica Labatte, Self Portrait With Beach Hair
dane cats go mjouvv
This week’s picks by Ryan Travis Christian. Yo Ryan this is fun, I don’t know why we ever stopped.
Ruby Neri, Untitled (Painted Witch)
Larry Bob Phillips, Ferrets
Tom Betthauser, Untitled Land
Forrest Bess, Here is a sign
the ocean’s mouth opened
This week’s picks from me:
Albrecht Dürer, Apokalypse
Jean Honore Fragonard, Corsesus Sacrificing Himself to Save Callirhoe
Guillaume Apollinaire, from Calligrammes Poems of Peace and War
Mark Rothko, Yellow, Blue, and Orange
Pablo Picasso, Guernica
Ed Ruscha, GIVE UP THE GOLD OR GIVE UP YOUR LIFE
Pieter Bruegel, The Flemish Proverbs
we sat around all of us men and women as friends talking freely for the first time in a long time
Chicago Art Review is going to sit idle for a bit while I pursue other projects (see below). I will keep all of the current content active; however, unless new opportunities to generate content arise, or if I develop new content that fits with the site’s character, no new content will be added in the near future.
Here are some links to keep you active:
If you have any questions or would like to contact me, I’m available at steveruiz at uchicago.edu .
This week’s picks from designer, illustrator, and Quite Strong lady Jana Kinsman.
Emily Vanhoff, Bridgeport Map (detail)
great fountain spray
This week’s picks from Brad Troemel, artist, internet guy, and free art advocate. As always, click links for more.
Devin Kenny, STUDIO WORKOUT
We Have The Technology
Aaron Noah Graham
tumbl you to planet crucon
This week’s picks from artist Timothy Bergstrom. Images point to artist websites, click em good.
Georg Baselitz, Kopf 13.3.85
Magalie Guerin, Sweet Pea
Lee Bontecou, Untitled
Lucio Fontana, Concetto spaziale, Attese
Lynda Benglis, The Graces
This week’s Artists of the Week, my-bad late edition, from guests Holly Cahill and Zach Cahill. As always, click image for links to artists’ websites.
Július Koller, Council Functional Object (U.F.O.) (Ukryty Funkcny)
Jessie Mott, Sad Animal
Theresa Ganz, Cartouche 3
aiPotu, If You Don't Like the Weather, Wait 15 Minutes
Young Joon Kwak, Invocation (still)
Letha Wilson, Pink Cairn
This week’s picks from SAotW veteran Ryan Travis Christian.
Gary Petersen, Open Up
Lauren Seiden, Shadow Dweller
Don Gummer, Passage.
Margaret Lanzetta, White Sulpher
Greg Hopkins, Conjoined Flowers
Warren Isensee, One More Once
the assets that attract us
This week’s picks from Pedro Vélez, artist, writer, and pretty good tweeter too. As always, images link to more info.
Faith Wilding, Waiting
Ondrej Brody and Kristofer Paetau
Somebody with a body!
This week’s picks (well, online or physical collecting and archiving projects) from Marc Fischer of Public Collectors. Marc also is a member of Temporary Services.
So Much Pileup
Four Color Process
Matt Lee, Indian Matchboxes
This week’s picks from me.
Giorgio Andreotta Calò, Beirut-Tripoli
Meris Angioletti, I describe the way and meanwhile I am proceeding along it
Nairy Baghramian, Entrechambrage verticale
Yto Barrada, Book Wall
Birdhead (Song Tao and Ji Weiyu)
Monica Bonvicini. Light Me Black
It’s a bad time to have work to do.