Month: March 2011

Concrete = Canvas: Project Buenos Aires

Buenos Aires is not Chicago and Chicago is not Buenos Aires. Yet these two cities are connected in a strange way by a set of bleeding heARTS. Callie Humphrey and I met during an installation of a show about street art and graffiti art back in September of 2010. Realizing that we both had similar interests, we decided to keep our elbows within reach. Last week via Skype, Callie indulged me with amazement by detailing the progress of her public art project Concrete = Canvas, which is set to launch in coming weeks in Buenos Aires, Argentina. The C=C Kickstarter campaign ends this week and funds from the campaign will be used to supplement expenses for the first C=C project, “Project Buenos Aires: From Concret to Canvas.”  Meet Callie Humphrey, the genius creative mind behind Concrete = Canvas, “Transforming concrete jungles into vibrant urban canvas, one building, one city, at a time.” Callie, how is Buenos Aires? You have been down there for a few months now for the launch of your project Concrete = …

A Look at Woman Made Gallery's 14th International Open

For nearly twenty years, Woman Made Gallery has ceaselessly promoted and supported the artwork of women in Chicago. A not-for-profit organization sustained largely by volunteerism, the gallery has nonetheless managed to host regular educational programs, workshops, and exhibitions in its airy, two-story space, and last week it welcomed the public to its 14th International Open.   The opening reception, which took place on Friday, March 4th, was a resounding success. Crowds of art enthusiasts braved wind and freezing rain to admire the works of 37 artists from the U.S. and abroad. Many of the artists were present during the opening, and guests were encouraged to approach them with questions about their work. Chicago based artist Joanna Moscoco —decked out in a strange ensemble made from second-hand Mary Kay bags—drew a particularly impressive flock of gawkers. Moscoco’s face was almost entirely obscured by her creation, and her arms were completely encased in fabric. According to Moscoco, her piece, Mary Kay Protection Device, makes a cynical jab at the way in which humans often transform objects into …

All for Art: An Interview with Robin Rios, PART II

Balancing the integrity of an artist with the acumen of a businessperson, distinguishing between Pilsen and Bridgeport, and telling misguided young artists that their work is mediocre at best… no topic is off limits for the owner of 4Art Inc. Gallery. What follows is the second part of my conversation with Robin Rios in anticipation of her gallery opening on Friday, March 18, from 7-10pm. Read PART I here. Jenny Lam: As an artist and a gallery owner, you’re able to see both ends of a spectrum. How do you strike a balance between being a businessperson and an artist? Robin Rios: It’s hard. It’s hard not just because of the business aspect of it. It’s hard because I feel like a lot of artists just aren’t as excited as I am about what we do, creating art. Sometimes artists are way too hard on themselves. They’re not enjoying art anymore; in fact, they’re tortured by it. Art is an emotional thing, and I think when people meet me, their first instinct is that I’m …

"Frontispiece // The Uncanny Imagination": An Interview with Becket Flannery and Grant Ray, PART II

After wandering through Pilsen, Becket Flannery and I returned to ACRE Projects, where Grant Ray had finished hanging his work for The Uncanny Imagination. As Becket installed his collages for Frontispiece, Grant explained to me his interest in using the photographic medium as a means of documentation, of using scientific processes to present seemingly mundane information and consequently create a social, cultural dialogue. The following conversation proceeds from that explanation and is the second part of my interview with the two artists as they prepared for their exhibition opening. Read PART I here. Jenny Lam: How and when did you first become interested in this kind of documentation? Grant Ray: About a year after my undergraduate studies at the School of Visual Arts in New York, I was really influenced by Gregory Crewdson and Jeff Wall. I came from a street photography background in which I took photographs of things as they existed, and I got not bored with it, but interested in how I could use photography to tell a story that didn’t necessarily …

"Frontispiece // The Uncanny Imagination": An Interview with Becket Flannery and Grant Ray, PART I

Frontispiece and The Uncanny Imagination are projects by Becket Flannery and Grant Ray, respectively, that constitute a two-person exhibition at ACRE Projects. Part of ACRE’s year-long series of shows by 2010 summer residents, their work finds common ground not only through the photographic medium, but also through their exploration of the narrative and the dynamic between images and narratives, often social in derivation. As the artists began installing their exhibition on March 8, I spent the afternoon with them discussing, among other topics, political theorists, hoaxes, New York nostalgia, and late-night woodshop dance parties. Frontispiece and The Uncanny Imagination opened on Sunday, March 13, and will be on view through Monday, March 14, from 12-4pm. Becket Flannery: Thank you so much. Basically, I just took a week off from work and flew out here yesterday. Jenny Lam: What do you do for work? BF: I work at the Institute of Contemporary Art, which is a wonderful organization in Philadelphia outside of UPenn. It’s actually a really incredible organization. They’ve been around for forty, fifty odd …

Jayson Lawfer: The Nevica Project

In our contemporary times, you will not (always) find the life-long artist, or the sole curator or even the staple art collector/dealer/consultant ménage trio. You might instead see professionals in the arts wearing many hats working synonymously as artists, curators, consultants, directors and educators. These hats belong to many of today’s creative professionals and they also belong to Jayson Lawfer. At his very foundation, Jayson Lawfer is a skilled potter and photographer. Lawfer has an extensive curatorial history and directs the highly regarded ArtReach program at Lillstreet Art Center. Separate but also threaded into all of this, Lawfer is also the founder and director of an art consulting business called The Nevica Project—a contemporary art sales and consulting business. The Nevica Project’s mission is, “to develop a unique relationship between highly skilled artists, an online gallery and collectible art.” From one hat-wearer to another it is hard to shake the curiosity of wanting to know how a person like Lawfer does it all. Especially when he still manages to find studio time. It is possible …

The Independent Professional: An Interview with LVL3 Gallery

What started as a simple passion and an opportunity to showcase new and emerging Chicago-based artists turned into something more. In early 2010, artist Vincent Uribe founded LVL3 Gallery an independent gallery in Wicker Park. Studying Art History and Arts Administration,  Associate Director Allison Kilberg began assisting Vincent shortly after. From their inaugural show entitled, Maybes to recently celebrating their one-year anniversary, LVL3 is going strong and expanding the programmatic scope of things evermore. I initially met Vincent during the beginnings of Sixty, last spring. We talked about some of the tribulations that are part of creating an art space or small organization. Everything has a place and purpose in the art world—whether commercial, not-profit or independent. And Chicago is brilliantly pieced together by so many spaces (different and alike) introducing all types of art to the world. All of this is hard to follow but Sixty is taking that challenge. The list is ever-growing and adding to that list we would like to introduce, LVL3 Gallery. Tell us about the LVL3 alternative space from …