Author: Tempestt Hazel

An Interview with Jovencio de la Paz

For those who aren’t convinced of the complexities that abstraction can hold, I offer the work of Jovencio de la Paz to persuade you. Once you get past the boldness of his large fabric or felted surfaces and move through the elegance of overlapping shapes lingering in space, you’ll find something symbolic, celestial, ancestral, and deeply political. The way he approaches form and materials evidences a careful consideration of the heavy repercussions of colonialism and trade, art history, and contemporary life. He takes these anchors and combines them with a personal yet widely relevant symbology that embraces the range of his cultural inheritance. He employs all of it and then some from his perspective as an immigrant to the United States from Singapore, as an artist harnessing the tools of queer aesthetics, and as a maker using materials and processes that have countless generations of makers behind them. The result is a synthesis and translation of a highly personal and global visual language. After receiving his MFA at Cranbrook Academy of Art in Michigan, de la …

Interview with Jan Tichy, Part 1

Tempestt Hazel: I’m curious about your decisions for laying out the East Gallery with the videos. How much of this was your decision? Jan Tichy: All of it. Everything was my choice. It was clear to me that this was the darkest space, and many times when I’m doing work in these dark spaces people relate to them as these dark photographic spaces in which images are being created. It felt natural to create something like what you see here with Installation No. 15 (Siskind). And even the relationship between the street, this gallery and the other gallery is a sort of camera obscura. But I wasn’t interested in recreating that. I’ve had previous pieces dealing with that specifically. But here there is the notion of the dark space that the image is being created in, like in a camera or in our eye. I did think about the space specifically because it’s not a typical white cube. There is this presence of a wall, and it came together with Siskind who was taking pictures …

Attempts, Impulses and Talking With Fear, Revisited

  Forward motion is ineluctable. It is something that most of us accept as a part of life. Art-minded individuals tend to be particularly sensitive to this intrinsic vanward impulse, which makes the occasional chance to stop and reflect something to be appreciated. Almost two years after our initial interview about the series Talking With Fear About Dying Tomorrow, Matt Austin and I once again found ourselves in conversation about the photographic fragments of his travels several summers ago. Only this time around a selection of photos have been pulled from the series and placed within the context of  Everyday Always Trying, the inaugural exhibition of The Coat Check at David Weinberg Photography. Revisiting the past isn’t always easy or even desired, but we tried it anyway–perhaps channeling the ideas at the heart of the exhibition. Over drinks on a  warm fall evening, I got the opportunity to ask Matt about the different definitions of impulsive, the value in our attempts and who to call if you’re looking for a good time in Fargo. Tempestt …

Arresting Views of the Arrested: An Interview with Marcelo Grosman

It is not everyday that we are confronted by work that stops us in our tracks, works at our psyche and leaves us wanting more. When I first laid eyes on the work of Argentinian-born artist Marcelo Grosman, I couldn’t help but wonder who the artist was and who were the people in these spellbinding and unsettling images. Guilty!, the most recent show of Grosman’s work at The Mission Projects, brought together Chicago-specific works that used the open image source provided by the Illinois Department of Corrections Inmate Database to create a show that was not only visually arresting, but act as a window into the disturbing truths that weave themselves into our local and global systems of control. During his visit to Chicago in late September for Expo Chicago, I got the chance to speak with Marcelo and The Mission Projects director, Natalia Ferreyra, about his constantly evolving relationship with photography, process and purity in portraiture, and his desire to reinsert the aura back into the duplicated image. Tempestt Hazel: Before we get into the …

Sixty on Sixty: An Interview with Danielle Jackson

Since she started with Sixty, Danielle Jackson has shown undeniable dedication to the art and artists that she chooses to write about.  In her short time with us she has brought a refreshing and often playful edge to the archive through her conversations with artists like David Leggett, Michael Rea, Willy Chyr, Claire Ashley, Dutes Miller & Stan Shellabarger and Adelheid Mers. In the final days leading up to her departure to San Francisco to begin graduate school at California College of the Arts, Danielle and I sat down for brunch and revisited some of the most memorable moments of her interviews, the themes that will anchor her curatorial practice and her imagined future as the potential James Bond of the art world. TH: When did you realize that art was something you wanted to do as a career? DJ: I think I always knew it. But I originally started off in architecture. I got really frustrated with that, I felt really restricted because you’re designing for someone else. You’re not really doing what you …

Black To The Future Series: An Interview with Cauleen Smith

Using a title borrowed from an essay by cultural critic Mark Dery, the Black To The Future Series is a sequence of interviews with artists whose practice has started to define a new generation of work in the realm of afrofuturism and afrosurrealism. Using a pointed series of questions, these interviews have been conducted to spark conversation, to hear various points of view on something that is constantly changing and transforming, and with the hopes of allowing the practitioners to be at the center of determining what these movements are. This week we get some insight from artist and filmmaker Cauleen Smith.  Cauleen has spent the past two years in Chicago researching and digging through the Alton Abraham Papers at the University of Chicago and music archives at the Experimental Sound Studio to find gems from the life of musician and philosopher Sun Ra, a key figure in the conversation around afrofuturism.  The results of her investigation can be seen in A Star Is A Seed, an installation and series of short films at the …

The Moving Image | An Interview with Amir George

It takes a certain amount of courage and vision to push the aesthetic limits of film in a way that is intriguing and unpredictable, but filmmaker Amir George‘s work does this regularly. His shorts have been screened in various different places across the city–for the crowds at the Art Institute, as well as smaller spaces like the Society For Arts in Wicker Park. If you caught some of the screenings at the Chicago International Music and Movies Festival this year, you may have seen some of his work. In his first year participating in the festival he broke records. Three of his works were included, which until this year that was unheard of.  Amir’s video for the song Get It Off My Chest by Chicago’s own Drunken Monkeee puts a new spin on the 2008 film Bronson. The video for She Wants a Man by Supertoy is a visually alluring with its inventive use of costume and editing, and the occasional familiar Chicago landscape. In one of my personal favorites, Meshes of Fear Land, he …

BIFORA | Carlo LoCascio Exhibition at Blanc Gallery

“Living isn’t space or time; living is only many moments, the sum of which is also but a moment.” – Carlo LoCascio   When you step inside of Blanc Gallery you quickly realize just that–it’s a blanc gallery. As you probably know or deduced, Blanc means ‘white’ in French and describes the gallery from floor to ceiling. It is the glowing definition of a white cube. This just might be to the benefit of their most recent exhibition, Bifora: Portrait of a Moment with the work of Italian-born, now Chicago-based artist, Carlo LoCascio. The blank canvas that the space provides mimics what happens on LoCascio’s canvases–guiding the viewer’s eye to a specific place within a given space. The loose laying of charcoal, paint and fabric, which in some cases almost swallows the more tightly rendered subject studies, work together to keep your eye moving until it is given a moment to rest on a carefully-crafted face, hand or object. LoCascio’s work does exactly what he sets out for it to do. It asks that as you …

100 Canvases, 1 Curator | A Few Words With Stuart Hall

Due to their love for The Silver Room’s Sound System Block Party and as a gesture of gratitude for the blood, sweat and tears that go into it, one hundred artists from across the city and the nation each donated a 12in. x 12in. original piece for the fundraising event. I took a trip to The Silver Room and witnessed the moments of planning and brainstorming for the 100 Canvases For A Better World Exhibition just before the show started to go up. Much like a composer who has the challenge of bringing different instruments together in a way that makes sense, Stuart Hall, the exhibition’s curator, had to take one hundred canvases by one hundred vastly different artists and bring them together in a way that spoke to the space, the theme of ‘A Better World’ and a potential buyer of the work. I bet you didn’t know that another term for curator is problem-solver.  During the installation process, I got the chance to ask Stuart several questions about his involvement in the events …

The Silver Room That’s Gold: An Interview with Eric Williams, Pt. 2

This is the second part of an interview with The Silver Room owner Eric Williams, just in time for the 9th Annual Sound System Block Party. Did you catch part one? If not, check out ‘The Silver Room That’s Gold: An Interview with Eric Williams, Pt. 1’. Tempestt Hazel: What I think is so great about The Silver Room is that it allows for such diverse programming to happen in it. Having readings, exhibitions, music, clothing, etc. around those themes seems natural. Eric Williams: It is. And it’s not all me. A lot of times it comes from other people who understand that the space is available for a different kind of voice to be spoken. If they get what the space is they approach me [with an idea] and I say, “Yea, let’s do it.” That way, I’m not always depending on myself to come up with what’s next. TH: Roughly how many shows have you had here? EW: Maybe 20? Hebru Brantley, Krista Franklin and Tyrue ‘Slang’ Jones [have each] had a show …

The Silver Room That’s Gold: An Interview with Eric Williams, Pt. 1

Maintaining a successful art space is no easy task. Those of us who are regulars within the Chicago arts circuit have seen a fair share of galleries, alternative spaces and performance venues come and go. When you find one that stands the test of time it most likely means they’re onto something. After thirteen years of providing a platform and outlet for many up-and-coming or local superstar artists, musicians and artisans–and even the general public through Grown Folks Stories–it’s safe to say that Eric Williams, the owner of The Silver Room, has struck gold (or silver).  He has done this through embracing versatility and flexibility, therefore allowing his business and even his own career path to transform and grow when necessary. In light of the 9th Annual Sound System Block Party happening this Saturday, July 16th, I sat down with Eric to get the full story of how he went from stock broker turned successful street peddler, to the owner of a place that has given new meaning to the term multi-functional. (Note: This is …

Creation and Co-Existence: Artist Talk of Lindsay Obermeyer

The following was taken from the artist talk of Chicago artist Lindsay Obermeyer at the opening reception of Creation and Co-Existence: The Respectful Interdependence of All That Is at the Mary-Frances and Bill Veeck Gallery at the Catholic Theological Union.  Along with the work of Lindsay Obermeyer, the work of master textile artist Akemi Nakano Cohn is on view at the Catholic Theological Union through September 14, 2011. “It’s really an honor to be back here. Akemi and I first met, I don’t know if you remember, at the Textile Arts Center which used to exist on the north side of the city over on Diversey between Sheffield and Halsted. I’ve seen her work and tracked her work for years and have never had the pleasure and honor of showing with her. So, this is particularly wonderful. But, also added meaning to that for me is the fact that the last time I exhibited here was when I came to install the show three days before my mom passed away. And the work that is actually …

One State Together In The Arts | James Goggin, Director of Design at MCA Chicago

  “James is one of the most recognized and distinctive graphic designers of his generation.” – Madeleine Grynsztejn, Pritzker Director, Museum of Contemporary Art At the end of May, Sixty Inches From Center attended the One State Together In The Arts Conference in Bloomington, Illinois. (See the photos taken at the event here) Every two years state-wide artists, educators, arts advocates, arts organizers and arts organizations come together in a different city to exchange ideas, share experiences and get to know the people doing great things in the arts throughout Illinois.   Around the theme Creative Breakthrough, presenters in the fields of design, music, poetry, theater and more offered their insights on what it has taken for them to take their ideas to new heights, push further and apply what they’ve learned to how they will move forward. To do our part in spreading the wealth of information found at the conference, Sixty Inches From Center requested permission to post the videos from One State Together In The Arts on our site.  The following text and videos are …